By P.T. Bopanna
Are Kodavas (Coorgs), especially the women, once known for their broad-mindedness, becoming intolerant?
Kodavas, a microscopic community who hail from Kodagu (Coorg) district in Karnataka, have high literacy rate because of their long exposure to education, thanks to the initiative taken by the British who ruled Kodagu as an independent province.
Because of their early exposure to education, the Kodavas did extremely well in all the fields. C.B.Muthamma, who studied at the St Joseph’s Convent at Madikeri, was the first Indian woman to clear the UPSC examination in 1948, and join the Indian Foreign Service.
Due to the exposure to education and a stable administration provided by the British, the Kodavas were a liberated lot. They co-existed peacefully with the other local communities, including the Mophla Muslims from Kerala who were engaged in petty business.
However, the situation has changed dramatically in the last two decades, ever since the BJP started taking roots in Kodagu. The Kodava society, known for its ancestor and nature worship, switched over to Brahminical Hinduism, influenced by the Hindutva ideology. Presently, every village in Kodagu has a Hindu temple, presided over by Brahmin priests. The once proud warrior race of the Kodavas, have become the foot soldiers of the Hindutva brigade and are at the mercy of Brahmin priests.
The Tipu Jayanti celebrations started by the Congress government headed by Siddaramaiah, came in handy for the Hindutva brigade to inject the poison of communalism in Kodagu.
The social media, especially WhatsApp has been effectively used to transmit toxic messages, both political and communal, to brainwash the members of the Kodava community against the minorities and the so-called secular parties.
Being a journalist who is active on social media, I have been repeatedly targeted by the members of the saffron brigade. Even if I share a link on contemporary political developments, I am trolled by the Hindutva activists as an ‘agent of the Congress’.
In the recent weeks, even some Kodava women have used abusive language against me. Though I am a bit lenient towards women, the language used was so toxic, I had to block a woman on Facebook.
Generally, I have zero tolerance for personal attacks, and I have no hesitation in blocking such people. I do not believe in getting into an argument with fanatics, because I have always followed this famous dialogue from a Western movie: “When you want to shoot, shoot, don’t talk.”
To put it in perspective, I am a journalist, and it is my duty to expose people who are on the wrong. I have not spared any political party. If still people have doubts, I ask them to visit my website www.coorgnews.in and find out.
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