A grand ‘Kodava Yuva Mela’ was hosted by Jabboomi Charitable Trust at Crystal Court Hall in Madikeri yesterday that reflected the unique Kodava culture, attire, traditions and practices.
Such a Mela was held for the first time and thousands of community members, wearing their best traditional attire, had gathered from all parts of Kodagu and the gathering also comprised community members from Mysuru and Bengaluru. Special buses were arranged to ferry them to Madikeri.
The Mela provided a platform for youth to connect with one another to build long-term bonds which will enhance cohesiveness within the community. It enabled the Kodava youth to meet, greet and network with each other and recall, re-live and experience the tradition and culture.
Kodava youths are scattered across the State and country owing to professional, educational, residential and personal reasons. As a result, intra-community relations have weakened over decades. The only occasions when youth are able to interact with each other are limited to social and family get-togethers within Kodagu and beyond its borders.
The Mela began with a puja to Goddess Cauvery and ‘Gejje Thand’ (a sacred wand held by Kodava men during important events. It is usually sacred ownership of every Okka (family)) and the overall message to the youngsters was to unite and not to forget the traditions and culture of the motherland.
Jabboomi Charitable Trust Convener Chottekmada Rajiv Bopaiah said that the youths must not forget the roots of the community. “Kodagu, its uniqueness, culture, traditions and practices are like a ‘mother root’ and cannot be forgotten. “It is our duty to safeguard the Kodava soil (land), ethos, tradition, family values, age-old and time-tested practices, festivals and holy observations,” he noted.
“We must be committed to preserving the tradition and fight for the existence of the Kodava community in the face of any adversities and at the same time unite the community socially, financially and culturally so that we can live in co-existence and facilitate the thriving of Kodavaame in the land of Kodagu,” he added.
Noted youth achievers of the community Vice-President – Talent Acquisition, State Street Ajjamada Goutham Chengappa, chef Bariyanda Naren Thimmaiah, singer Machchanda Sharan Aiyappa, actors Ulliyada Bhuvan Ponnanna, Uddappanda Harshika Poonacha, Koothanda Tarak Ponnappa, IRS officer Dr. Kottangada Pemmaiah, Bharatanatyam exponent Mukkatira Shilpa Nanjappa, young writer Mevada Aliya Chondamma, make-up artist Baduvanda Madhushree Ganapathy, head of Lopamudra Medical Centre Mukkatira Dr. Amrit Nanaiah, industrialist Machcharanda Deepika Appaiah, planter Kallichanda Chengappa and forest officer Naganda Parvathi were felicitated.
A massive procession was held on the streets of Madikeri as part of the mela from the private bus stand to the Crystal Court Hall where the male community members carried their traditional weapons including guns and ‘Odikathi’ (sword), the female crowd sporting their traditional Kodava saree and the ‘vasthra’ (head scarf) and accompaniments like ‘Thalithakki Bolcha’ (traditional lamp). A lot of traditional bands too performed along the procession route attracting the crowd and tourists.
The statues of war heroes and Generals including Squadron Leader Ajjamada Boppayya Devayya, Major Mangerira Chinnappa Muthanna and General Kodandera Subayya Thimayya were garlanded along the procession route. Hundreds of youths rode their bikes along the procession route.