When Karnataka is on the cusp of Assembly polls, Social Welfare Department and Backward Classes Minister Kota Srinivasa Poojari has stated that Rs. 5 crore will be released for the development of ‘Ain Mane’ (ancestral houses) in Kodagu and also, Rs.25 lakh will be released for the genealogical study of 18 Kodava language natives.
The Minister was speaking after inaugurating ‘Othorme Koota’ (get-together) and an exhibition at a gathering of 18 Kodava-speaking groups organised by the Kodagu Heggade Community Organisation and Kodava-Speaking Communities Association recently at Kodagu Heggade Community Hall in Bittangala. The issue of ‘Ain Mane’ is an emotional one for Kodavas and the community has been critical of successive State Governments for doing nothing to protect the ancient tradition and ancestral houses. Dejected by lack of Government grants, many families have contributed money, resources and time on their own to restore many ‘Ain Manes’ at their native villages.
Even the genealogical study by the Mysuru-based Karnataka State Tribal Research Institute (KSTRI) in 2016 has come in for intense criticism for a ‘biased and unscientific survey’ and there is a demand for a fresh order to conduct a comprehensive, unbiased, judicious and a meticulous ethnographic study.
“At the Government level, we can give reservations through genealogical analysis to the most unrecognisable ethnic groups. I will discuss with Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and release Rs. 25 lakh for the study. It will be entrusted either to the University of Mysore or Hampi University. Later, reservation will be announced for the communities that are economically weaker in Kodagu,” the Minister assured.
He also said that implementing the Sadashiva Commission Report on internal reservation will be taken up with the CM. Virajpet MLA K.G. Bopaiah has made a request at the Government level to release Rs. 5 crore for the development of ‘Ain Mane,’ Poojari said and added that five acres of Government land will also be allotted to construct a community hall.
Former State Advocate General and Congress leader Ajjikuttira S. Ponnanna said that though the Government has been planning to study Kodava genealogy for over six years, it has been of no use. “The study of genealogy, reservation, and political reservation is subject to legal struggle under the Constitution,” he noted, asking the Government to take concrete and concerted measures to uplift marginalised communities in Kodagu.
State BJP President Nalin Kumar Kateel inaugurated the book stalls and said that Kodava community is facing a stark reality of dwindling numbers and a rapid decrease in geographical areas owned and occupied by them. He criticised the Congress Governments for neglecting the marginalised communities.
MLA Kombarana G. Bopaiah, MLC Mandepanda Suja Kushalappa, head of History Department of Hampi University Tambanda Vijay Poonacha, President of Kodava-Speaking Communities Association Dr. Mechira Subhash Nanaiah, former Karnataka Western Ghats Conservation Task Force Chairman Shantheyanda Ravi Kushalappa and others were present.