By P.T. Bopanna
My book ‘Rise and Fall of the Coorg State’ which I hold close to my heart, has now been published using ‘print-on-demand’ technology. This format enables the printing of either a single book, or multiple copies.
The book first published in 2009, had then created a record of sorts for a book on Coorg in English. The book was reprinted within two months of its release.
The bestselling book throws light on the circumstances leading to the unpopular merger of the erstwhile Coorg State (now officially known as Kodagu District) with Karnataka in 1956.
Rise and Fall of the Coorg State is the only book written by me which has been translated into both Kannada and Kodava languages.
The book answers some of the questions like why the key players, including the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, took such a short-sighted decision resulting in the snuffing out of the prosperous Coorg State forever from the Indian map.
In view of the general belief among the locals, especially the Kodavas (Coorgs), in Kodagu that the then Chief Minister of the Coorg State, C.M. Poonacha, was mainly responsible for the merger of Kodagu with Karnataka, Poonacha’s son and noted writer C.P. Belliappa has written a chapter in the book, explaining the circumstances in which his father had to agree for the merger of Coorg State with Karnataka.
The book discusses the demand for separate statehood for Kodagu and suggests a political road map for the future of the district. The book also highlights the neglect of the district ever since its merger by successive governments in Karnataka.
In the book, I have argued that the time is not ripe for an independent statehood for Kodagu. I have suggested the setting up of an autonomous hill council, on the lines of the erstwhile Darjeeling Gorkha Autonomous Hill Council in West Bengal to look after the developmental needs of the neglected region.
Well-known political scientist Dr Sandeep Shastri has given an ‘outsider’s’ perspective by writing a chapter on the feasibility of seeking separate statehood for Kodagu. He has also prescribed the ideal road map for political action by those demanding separate statehood.
C.M. Ramachandra, former Editorial Advisor of The Hindu, Bangalore, who was the Coorg Correspondent of The Hindu newspaper in the 1950s when the crucial decision was taken to merge Kodagu with Karnataka, has written the foreword for the book.
The well-researched book with tables and other illustrations, has a chapter on how politicians from neighbouring districts have deprived Kodagu of its rightful share in Cauvery River water by diverting the water to irrigate the farm lands in their assembly constituencies.
There is an exclusive chapter on the Freedom Movement in Kodagu. The book also analyses the reasons for the shrinking population of the local Kodavas, and the exponential growth of the migrant population leading to an ‘Assam-like’ situation.
The book was translated into Kannada in 2011 by journalist B.K. Ganesh, who also hails from Kodagu. The book titled ‘Coorg State: Udaya-Pathana’ was published by the Bangalore Press Club.
Eminent Kodava language writer Nagesh Kaloor translated the book into Kodava language in 2012. The Kodava title of the book is ‘Coorg State: Udchad – Thandad’.
Paperback copy of the English version of Rise and Fall of the Coorg State is available on Amazon. Follow the link below: