The Coorg Ballad – I Am A Mountaineer

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19th Century Coorg
Photograph of an elderly Kodava(Coorg), 19th Century © Basel Mission

The Ballad was sung by young Coorgs(Kodavas) during the Kailpodh Festival. I have put it as documented by Richter, with edits.[ref]The book which I have has typos and garbled text. I have tried to edit according to my understanding. If anyone has better version , do send across.[/ref]

To the taste of “Young Coorg” the Kaylmurta is the most glorious of all festivals and the popular song of the Coorg Mountaineer does full justice to this sentiment.[ref]Richter G, 1887, Ethnographical Compedium on the Castes & Tribes found in the Province of Coorg, with a short description of those peculiar to Coorg. p.25[/ref]

Behold a jolly mountaineer !
My home is Coorg, a land so dear;
As none in India, far or near,
I am a happy mountaineer !

High from the hill tops I behold,
The fertile sea coast, bathed in gold,
And rivers seaward flowing clear,
Yet I remain a mountaineer.

The Mysore plateau clearly seen
Is not like Coorg in morning sheen;
Rich forests, fields and gardens here
Delight the wealthy mountaineer.

The Bane Green[ref]Deverakad(The God’s Forest), The Sacred Forests in Coorg, where hunting and gathering is prohibited[/ref], fair natures park,
I share with kine and singing lark;
I drink from brooks the water clear,
I am a roving mountaineer.

When monsoon storm pass over my home,
Then there’s no time for me to roam;
I plough the fields, plant rice with cheer,
But still remain a mountaineer.

At Kailmurt feast my work is done;
Then to the woods with knife and gun !
I shoot the bison, tiger, deer.
I am a fearless mountaineer !

What enemy dare touch our land !
I join my clan, fight hand to hand;
For Empress, country, with a cheer;
I die, a loyal mountaineer !

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Marilyn Colyer

This is wonderful. I think it will only work where not lots and lots of people. To love the land and still go around shooting the wildlife is fine but not with way too many people like now some places on earth,

Remember–the human population a hundred years ago was 1 million– now it is 7 million and of course we need to have fewer people and let some be mountaineers

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