Future of Kodavas and Kodagu


Reflecting on the way human societies have evolved and the way Kodavas are evolving is interesting. As a result of fierce competition and survival fears in every society, due to limited opportunities and resources, exploitation, of the natural resources or other human beings, has become the mantra of every day for humans to live, do business, compete, and survive. People who can win by hook or crook or by winning competitions live a good life and a large number, who cannot do the same, are left to live a poor life and curse their fate. This is the sad story of the human world and no one really knows if that is the only way we have! However, we may never see a society where each one can live with complete freedom and without fear. Therefore, it essential that we reflect more on the current situation and try to do our best to live well in this harsh human society.

I have seen and experienced, during my school days, inclusive and cooperative living in Kodagu. The way villagers cooperated and lived by helping and working together during happy as well as sad times was amazing. Those days are behind us now with each one living almost in isolation with their problems and family members in a highly competitive world. Living by competing with a cooperative mindset has better advantages as shown by its adoption in most of the societies in the world.

Competition demands and brings out the best in each one of us which is essential for a strong and robust society. Competition without a robust cooperative environment does put a lot of stress on the body and mind and ignores a large number of people who may not be able to compete very well due to lack of enough opportunities.

It is really heartwarming to see the way Kodavas are trying to excel in many walks of life. As all of us know, one way to become robust, manage exploitation, compete well, and live a good life is to work hard, use our intelligence well, make our children work hard and encourage them to take part well in competitions and help them excel in at least one of the games humans play to become rich. A good society, therefore, will have to create a healthy and cooperative environment to help in the best possible ways to prepare, empower, and support youngsters from all sections to compete well and try to excel. Lack of enough opportunities to do hard work and thinking is a curse for children born in rich as well as poor families.

There are many Kodavas who have done exceedingly well in Kodagu as well as in many other parts of the world in different fields. However, there is a great need to identify areas where we are weak and start providing opportunities for young ones to develop interest and find ways to excel. Kodava samajas, temples, sports clubs, schools, media, and higher education institutions can play a much bigger role, apart from the excellent work they are doing, to create, sustain, provide needed support, and drive innovation and competition in all walks of life to create more awareness as well as opportunities. More activity in that direction with the help of suitable platforms and associated infrastructure in Kodagu for youngsters to excel will lead to interesting as well as desirable results in the future.

One should be fortunate to be born as a Kodava in Kodagu. Everything about Kodagu is beautiful. Living in Kodagu is a blessing and it is fun and pleasure for a person with a little hardworking ability. Anyone who can work hard, Kodagu will make them live well very soon with its fertile soil, forests, rivers, and clean air. It is easy to be healthy in Kodagu with very good appetite to drink and eat. One must really try hard to fall sick in Kodagu or become unhealthy by drinking too much or using drugs or smoking or eating too much! We live in a very strange world. Wish it is possible to have no consumers for drugs and liquor which can automatically reduce the importance of all drug dealers and liquor shops!

Places like Kodagu attracts the attention of people who are hungrier for more money and those who do not have much money. People with less earning opportunities will come looking for better wages and better lifestyle. People with more money will get attracted due to investment opportunities as well as enjoyment opportunities. In the short-term Kodagu may benefit from easy business opportunities generated by such interests. But in the long-term Kodagu may lose much more than it earns in the short-term. Life is not about earning money by any means. The problems created by easy ways of living and earning can cripple the entire society very soon. There are many examples in the world about ways of earning money by any means and associated consequences on future generations.

Kodavas are proud and grateful to their ancestors who were responsible for the creation of Kodagu land with a unique, even now relevant to a large extent, and very meaningful culture, well suited to their time and its requirements. The amount of hard work that was needed to make deep jungles of Kodagu habitable for humans, without any powerful tools, is mind boggling. Making the forest lands cultivable and protect them from animals must have been a very challenging task. Each house in Kodagu will have interesting stories of achievements, sacrifices and hard work with great determination by their ancestors.

Our unique culture was also a result of the hard and wise thinking of many driven and bright Kodavas, whom we may not know today. They put together a set of well thought out unique practices which were much ahead of the contemporary practices of that time. Very fact that, even today we can feel proud of that culture and its uniqueness is a recognition of their fine thinking, intelligence, and hard work. Modifications to that culture may take place in the future to suit current and future lifestyles as a result of better understanding of the human world. There will be new practices which blends well into old practices to create a more relevant and a better culture. Our ancestors will only be very proud of us if we can do better than them in terms of thinking and hard work.

Whenever, any community reaches such heights of maturity and affluence it is easy for later generations to forget the pain and suffering, hard work and clever thinking which results in such greatness. Effects of living in comfort shows up in easy ways of living and spending without much earning or thinking. When majority starts living that way the society starts losing its edge and competitiveness in every walk of life. There will be lack of enthusiasm in doing anything well than just do the minimum work required, depend on destiny and spend rest of the time in easy ways. Those are the times when the place attracts attention from outsiders who are far more hardworking and competitive. As a result, societies may face identity crisis and face extinction possibilities due to others who are more interested to survive and succeed in this competitive world.

For great human societies to last for a longer period with same or better levels of glory and affluence, it must have, majority of its people who continue to work much harder and create good infrastructure to sustain the momentum and help youngsters to stay ahead of the competition, in different walks of life, all the time. Hats off to all those who are helping build a better and stronger Kodagu. A society with more leaders who can create and provide opportunities to youngsters can prevent its bright youngsters from looking for better opportunities elsewhere and even think of leaving their home towns.

Therefore, while we enjoy, in all possible ways, what is given to us by our ancestors and blessed by Kaveramme and Igguthappa, there is a great need for Kodavas to struggle more and sustain our glorious hardworking culture which may result in a stronger and more affluent Kodava society which throws up achievers in all walks of life all the time. Such a society can attract the best to Kodagu and develop it further in better ways. We need more world class people in the area of literature, medicine, engineering, law, politics, management, business, music, dance, science, mathematics, arts, sports, and all other interesting walks of life. This is possible with conscious efforts put on different domains to create necessary platforms for interested people to excel.

We need more achievers in every walk of life including Politics and business in Kodagu. It need not happen by chance alone. A few years of work in that direction by concerned Kodavas will show the results. There is enough talent in our community and by focused efforts Kodagu will be strong with world class winners in every walk of life who will inspire more youngsters to work hard and never let Kodagu look back or worry about its future.

While, Kodavas continue with all existing efforts to make Kodagu a better place, hope there will be continued discussion and thinking on what can be done to realize more dreams. Necessary support and ideas will come from every corner. There are enough best practices in the world to do better as a community. No doubt, future generations will be grateful if it can be done with at least one world class achiever in every walk of life. More thinking and action in this direction will help.

In olden times Kodavas fought with Nature to establish Kodagu land. Forests were, perhaps, easy to manage, though it is a lot of hard work. But the situation is different today. Now it is competition from people from many communities competing aggressively for limited resources and better life. It is a different fight for survival which is a global phenomenon today. Only way to survive well under such situations is to work hard and compete well and sustain the winning spirit. That requires doing very well in all that we want to do than relax and let things shape up by chance and we get left behind in the competition. The situation is same world over to compete, compete, and compete and keep competing without rest. We need to assert our power and capability by our work in every walk of life which matter. Others will respect us only when we are strong and we are in a better position to compete and fight well.

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Good one

P G Poonacha

Thanks for your kind words.

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