Tippu Jayanthi… Birth of Mysore Tiger Tipu Sultan’s TIGER – Part 5

It was a sad day not only in the history of Kodagu but also by whole of India.

Finally on May 4th, 1799, while trying to flee likes an unknown coward, Tipu was killed by a stray bullet or by an unknown soldier marking the end of so called Anglo-Mysore War. While Mother Nature created a severe thunderstorm to cleanse herself of the dirt and grime of a monster along with chasing the last wisp of his Satanic Soul, cowardly British connoisseurs were putting their final act and touch of coating on to their Poster Boy.

An hurried burial with military honour for the limply body with a limp developed by falling from his legendary eight legs horse {sorry palanquin} along with his celebrated ornamental sword in Kerala. When a lie is told, too many arrangements are made to cover it up with meticulous preparation. Unlike trust, a lie black or white or multi coloured, it always leaves trace and shadow, no matter how smart or far reached the tentacles are. I am even wondering if they really found his body or buried a dummy in his place.

British were not only thieves but also seasoned liars who lied to the world for more than two centuries and sadly they got away with it too with the support of power hungry cheap politicians. The Kannada proverb goes “Kote shringara olage goni-soppu” (the fort is decorated but inside it all empty except few inedible leaves), seems to truly reflect the British mighty!

It is interesting to note that the residue connecting Tippu-British-Kodagu ended in 1864 at the Brampton cemetery with a cocktail of manmade religions. A cocktail of Kodava and Lingayat  blood converted none other than by Queen Victoria herself, who also tried to play cupid between the belle and another brave community from North, a Punjabi convertee to produce a super offspring failed to materialize. All these drama leaves a question mark in my mind…. was Hitler’s experiment to breed that special Gene was any different from Victoria’s attempt to thorough-breed a super Tiger from the Daughter of a Kodava mother?

What the heavily Corseted Mother goose failed to understand the simple fact that Kodavas are Tigers not Ligers!

In my individual capacity I stand along my bygone sister-clan, the Kodava-mapilas in dignity who became the collateral damage of the whole saga over mangled ego, power, wealth and fear. Wish the situation was different then… then perhaps I would have not written this article at all.

However the narration leaves a qualified question on the European integrity over the history of rest of the world. It’s time to look at the real Indian history without the smoke screen and who know what lies in the Pandora box? Also I guess it is time for both French and British, to return the stolen treasures of India and apologize to India, along with the tail ended falsehood propaganda makers including politicians within India.

As much as I feel proud to be a Kodava, I feel sorry for Tipu for his ignorant sad psyche, for the Politicians without integrity who used Tipu as a crutch, for the British who took shelter to maintain their image, for the French who stretched their hands for Tipu’s crumbs and last but not the least the misinformed souls who worship Tipu.

While most of the world fought over the religion, in the name of the unseen God, either by hook-or-crook to increase the physical number count, Kodavas the original inhabitant of the beautiful land of Kodagu, without the bondage of religion fearlessly roamed among the trees, bushes, plants, grass and seedlings under the sun and moon, swayed over by fresh wind soaring like 100-D journey among the rivers, valleys and hills reaching to Cosmos. Their philosophy, their free spirit and love for motherland is the secret behind their bravery.

While I admire, appreciate, love and cherish Kodava ancestors, I want the other religious fighters to know that religion does not relate to mortal body. The real religion is intangible…. God has no religion and true religion is magical like the unseen blood and water of our body lay deep among the creases of our heart and in every cell of our folded brain waiting to be explored. Once you are out of the physical religion box, everything becomes tangible. Don’t be the instrument or collateral damage for anyone. Do it for yourself… find the sparkly light individually… in the depth of your heart under the deep mystery of mind.Stop fighting over religion and destroy humanity to fulfill the madness of another individual. Use your common sense… listen to your heart the most precious organ of your body which works from birth to death without expecting anything in return.. waiting to be explored and finally leaves the body and slips away …. Don’t use the bodily religion as the crutch to reality. The physical body with the bodily religion, slipping into oblivion just rots or burns or floats unwanted even by the closest of the closest. Don’t waste your time, spread or spreading peace and harmony in an individual capacity. Live like a human being. I often wonder what if, he was humanly and stretched his hand in friendship to Kodavas and sought their help to fight the British. History would have been different today!

 

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Tippu Jayanthi… Birth of Mysore Tiger Tipu Sultan’s TIGER – Part 4

Finally Tippu took a larger army and marched towards Kodagu. On the way towards north of Kushalnagara to reach Kodagu, he saw large trees felled on the narrow, rugged paths and covered with thorny bushes. Anticipating a larger attack, Kodavas had created the obstructions. On the outer part of the path large trenches were dug. The dug up mud was used to create a wall from where the Kodagu people fired shots and arrows and managed to retract two contingents.

Then Tippu gathered the bravest men from his army and under the command of French man Lally, sent to Kodagu. These men with great difficulty killed many from Kodagu people and managed to defeat them. Then Tippu entered Kodagu with his army and pitched his tent at Uluguli santé-malaa. There he remained fifteen days. Within those fifteen days, he called the mukyastas of Kodagu and told them that he would rule the land justly without troubling the people and made oppanda {agreement} them saying they will not revolt.

At that juncture, {while Tippu kept the leaders of Kodagu busy} Jainullabdeen Susthri came from Bettadapura via Kushalnagara looting and set fire to the place, imprisoned and dragged the men, women and children to Tipu’s tent. There Tipu gave Susthri four contingent and loads of ammunition, food and ordered him to carry it to Madikeri alias Jafarabad fort. Tipu was at Uluguli from Ashwaja month three to Kartika shudda fifteen that is third week of October till November first week of 1795. Then he headed to Madikeri along with the army. Before departure the forest between Uluguli and Madikeri was cleared.

In Madikeri, Tipu pitched his tent on an elevated place at the eastern section. He stayed there for fifteen days. During that time he made the elders whomever he met to promise him that they will not oppose his rule.

{Tippu knew very well that honourable Kodavas never went against their words and sadly the Kodava elders thought him in par with them and failed to understand the cunningness of a greedy man from the street}.

But before Tipu reached Madikeri from Uluguli, most people from around and from southern and western nadus had vacated their homes fearing the consequences if caught by Tipu’s army and reached impenetrable hills and forests. Angered by this Tipu sent his commanders with men to all parts of Kodagu to catch and bring the escaped people.

French officer Lally was sent to the most difficult part of West and South cardamom male, Husain Ali Khan Bakshi to North Kodagu, Meer Mohammad to Bhagamandala nadu and Imam Khan and others towards Kushalnagara side. They were sent with the orders to bring the captured prisoners to his next camp.

Then Tipu left Madikeri on margashira shudda padya day that last week of November reaching Bhagamandala in two days. There after meeting and inspecting his men went to Iyangeri area and pitched his tent at the large field called Devati Parmbu*along with his army. When he was at Devati Parmbu, queen of Kannur {Cananore} Ballia Banu sent elephants, horses and other valuable items as kappa to show her respect. In return Tipu sent her an expensive dress.

{*Devati Parmbu is a large ground at Ayangeri grama near Bhagamandala. It is the very place where Kodavas backed by Veraraja I, the founder of Haleri dynasty had fought with Nayaka Karnembahu, in which two of my own ancestors were the well known fighters, Commander Manicha and Madaiah. Commander Manicha’s gallantry was so powerful, unable to withstand him; Karnembahu’s men threw chili powder to his eyes to immobilize him and killed him cunningly. It is said that with the recording of Manicha’s bravery, the recording of viragathe, viramarana started in the form of folk songs}.

The Officers and Munshis who accompanied Tipu to Kodagu were astonished to witness and experience the forest, rain, cold of Kodagu. Felt difficulty with the experience too.

The historian accompanied Tipu wrote about Kodagu this way:
What can I write about this astonishing kadu-sime {forest area}, with the very mention of its name my pen shivers. Its bamboo bushes, so dense and impenetrable like the curls of Abyssinian sheep. Its large paths and small paths are squeezed like the paths in-between the stars in the sky. It is impossible to pass through the hills and valleys of this country. The crops in the paddy fields of plains are as high at chest level. Sun, even though with self heating ability, afraid of the cold here, everyday covers himself with clouds and slips away as fast as he could. Every night, fast moving moon veils himself, covering his face under the blue sky. If summer is like this, in winter God only has to save us. During rainy season, for six months, the rain is so heavy that like the tears in the eyes of a sad person, the earth is filled/soaked with water. From evening to until after two hours of sun rise, mist covers hills and valleys. Many tall, muscular and active young men, losing their body heat in cold, sleeps in their hut pulling their legs close to their chest. For six month, farmers cover from head to toe with old blankets or thick cloth and work in the fields for nine to ten hours. During this period, the leeches from trees and fields will suck enough and more blood from them and their cattle before leaving them. Even before I describe the cold of here, my hand which is holding the pen is frozen as if dipped in the frozen sea. The tongue which describes the weather, even though hiding behind the lips, is frozen like ice cube with fear and astonishment.

While stationed at Devati Parmbu camp, Tipu invited all the Kodavas from around and assured them that he will take good care of them and will be good ruler to them. However, his talk was all mosagarike {cheating andr dishonest} only. However, most people did not come to him voluntarily. But within fifteen days of Tipu’s camping, the commanders whom he has sent to captured the fled people returned with ample prisoners.

The military commanders with great difficulty captured thousands of people and brought them to Tipu. Lally managed to bring not only civilians but also few leaders too. Like this until margashira bahula panchami day that is tenth to fifteenth of 1785, eighty thousand men, women and children were brought in writes Tipu’s royal historian Mir Hussain Ali Kirmani.

Marks Wilks writes in his History of Mysore about it and writes seventy thousand men, women and children were captured. {Perhaps because a list was not made, it was difficult to give the exact number}.

Tipu sent the prisoners under the guard of his army to Srirangapatna. Then strengthening all the garrisons at Kodagu forts, returned to Srirangaptna via Siddapur.

{A French report says that a good number were butchered at Devati Parmbuand too many died on the way.}

Once in Srirangapatna, he converted the entire captured lot from Kodagu and distributed them to different borders of his country. These convertees were called as Ahmaddiyas. Before that well built selected men from the convertees along with their family were kept at Srirangapatna and formed eight tukadis {regiments}. To train the newly joined recruits in warfare and strict life, he appointed the experienced senior officers. These people from the rugged hills of Kodagu were well trained within no time. Tipu honoured the trained officers with neck belts stitched to their uniform made of gold and silver according to their ranks.

The Ahmaddiya soldier got the uniform in Tiger-stripes* specially commissioned and stitched for them. Before that, on the day the Eighty-five thousand {this number might be the correct figure} captured men, women and children were forcibly converted to Islam was deemed a Holy Day and he conferred the title of Badshah on himself and proclaimed that he was free from the control of Moghal Badshahs of Delhi.

{Perhaps that was the origin of the expression of famous Tiger-stripe mania of Tipu.

Tiger and tiger stripes were part of the decoration of Tipu’s possession and anything made to proclaim his rule or personal association. His throne, his coinage, his swords, guns, small bronze mortars made for his army, the men who fired lethal iron-cased rockets against the British wore tunics with stripes woven into their fabric. Even though Tipu never killed a tiger, he must have fulfilled his desire of killing a Royal Tiger by leashing Kodavas, the brave people of hills where both men and women killed tiger}.
Before British took over the control of India completely, most parts of the India including modern Pakistan, most part of south India including Northern Mysore and Arcot in Tamil Nadu. Those days, both those who were under and those who were not under Mughals paid tribute to Mughals, and expected birudu {titles}. Until the middle of nineteenth century, even British Governor Generals wore the titles such as Nawab, Mali ul Alkab kurshid janab ummar, etc., etc., before their profession. Hence, the other rulers of Hindustan were under the impression that British were dependants of Mughal until the beginning of nineteenth century. Hindu rajas of Mysore had sent gifts Mughal and gotten titles. Therefore, until then Tipu was under the impression that he was under Mughals. But with the conversion of Kodavas, Tipu declared himself Badshaw.
End of translation

Tippu Jayanthi… Birth of Mysore Tiger Tipu Sultan’s TIGER – Part 3

Tippu Sultan not only kept his garrisons in all the four major parts but also appointed his favourite nowkara (workman) Jainullabdeen Susthri as the adalitha-adikari (ruling officer) of Kodagu. He also ordered him to severely punish anyone who goes against and vacated Kodagu before the dawn of rainy season and returned to Srirangapattana.

During the period of Tipu building the fort at Kushalnagara, it’s worthy to mention few things about the place. After the death of Lingaraja, to keep Kodagu under his control had arranged to keep his Tanya, seems like there was a station at Kushnagara too. Before the place was named Kushalnagara, it was part of Mullusoge grama {the place was closer to Kaveri River and was ideal to send soldiers and goods to Madikeri. While Haider was at this place, the good news of his eldest son Tipu winning over his enemies was brought in and the place was named as Kushalnagra (happy place). Rice Saheb in his history of Kodagu writes that Haider got the news of the birth of his son Tippu here and hence the name Kushalanagara. However, historically this does not match as Tippu was born in 1750 and at that time Haider was a small Nayaka (leader) with Mysore army. After winning Bidanuru in 1763, Haider kept the Mysore ruler for name sake and became the controller of Mysore kingdom.

After winning Bidanuru, Haider claimed that Kodagu was under the dependency of Bidanuru Nayakas and since he won over them, Kodagu became his territory and wanted to rule over Kodagu. However, Haider for the first time occupied part of Kodagu in 1780, after the death of Lingarajendra Wodeya*. Perhaps at that time he must have built a wooden fort at Mullusoge {Mullusoge is a thick thorny acacia tree which grew plenty around} and while keeping station possibly must have called it as Kushalanagara.

{*The term Wodeya was suffixed by the Mysore ruler and the Haleri rulers used suffix raja in front of their names. Hence, Lingaraja Wodeya must have been a wrong term used by one historian or record keeper which was copied by others in the due course}.

Opposition to Tippu Sultan’s rule in Kodagu: no matter how much Tippu Sultan tried and made arrangements, people would not accept him as a ruler. Same year that is in 1785 during the rainy season people of Kodagu stopped food supplies to the garrisons. Left the plains and went to the forest area. Tippu’s men were not accustomed to the forest, hills and valleys of Kodagu and on the other hand Kodavas who were well versed with the terrain of Kodagu, comfortable living there could attack them at will and disappear again into the wilderness even before Tippu’s men lifted the weapons. So it was impossible to defeat them and more over Mysore men were not used to the cold and rains of Kodagu.

During that period as well as until the Europeans established coffee cultivation after British occupation, Kodagu was a dense forest except for the Kodava farmer’s paddy fields and backyards. The thick jungle was home to plenty of elephants, tigers, bison, deer, kadave {stag}, wild goats, boars, etc.. So to travel from grama to gram, nadu to nadu, either elephants backs or boies carrying the palanquins were the only mode of transport and the roads were just big enough for that and was filled with ups and downs.

In summer, shallow parts of the rivers were used to walk and during rainy season boats were used to cross the river. Between the Nadu, deep kadangas (trenches) of about 25 feet with high walls were present. Between many miles, there were small path openings for the people to cross. They were called as Bakka in the local dialect. In these Bakkas, raja’s watch guards were present.

There were no restrictions for the people to go between the nadus. If people are traveling to Malayala or Mysore to bring things or sell their rice, they had to obtain a permit from the Taluk Subedar. Only Yelusavira-shime and Nanjarayapattana which were to the east of Kodagu were on the plains. The forests were not dense; there were not many deep kadangas like the middle and west parts of Kodagu. Hence, most part of Kodagu was like an abyeda-kote{impenetrable fort}. It was the period of 1785 – 1789.

Thirty years after that between 1815 – 1817, Lieutenant Connor who arrived at Kodagu to gather details on geography, weather, fauna, crops, etc., wrote about Kodagu: the aspect of Codagu presents an entire forest, the long and narrow cultivated valleys enclosed within it serves best to render those vast woods more striking.

Those days because of the thick forest, rainy season was longer and heavier, pouring all through the day. During winter the mist covered the area until ten in the morning and was very cold. Because of the severity of adverse weather, Tipu’s soldiers were like prisoners in their own fort. The seasoned Kodavas occupied the other parts of the land and trouble the soldiers.

Hearing about the people of Kodagu taking the control back on most places, to contain them and bring Kodagu under control again, Tipu sent Fifteen thousand soldiers under the command of Jainullabdeen Susthri to Kodagu. This large army entered Kodagu from East and pitched their camp on Uluguli santé-malaa {market place}. Uluguli santé-maala is the current Sunticoppa area. Weekly santé {sandy} was held there for the surrounding area. The army stationed at santé-maala was attacked by 4 to 5 thousand Kodavas and in koota-yudda {hand to hand fight} managed to chop/kill many from the Mysore army. However, commander Susthri managed to gather the remaining army and reach till the Madikeri fort {around 9 miles}.

But once again Kodavas attacked him. Without enough food and men, feeling weak he turned to go to Bettadapura and pitched tent again at Uluguli. However, Kodavas once again surrounded the army and attacked him and thrashed his army. Finally with heavy loss, Susthri ran away with the remaining men leaving behind whatever was left with him to Bettadapura. From there he wrote to Tippu of his defeat and asked for more men {army}.

Tippu Jayanthi… Birth of Mysore Tiger Tipu Sultan’s TIGER – Part 2

However, unlike Tippu, the British understood the psyche of Kodavas and that’s why they offered the hands of friendship than of foe. That’s why inspite of Rev. Mega-Linga (Rev. H. F. Moegling) writing to company to increase the tax and expressing unhappiness over the other facilities, {indirectly expressing his inability over not been able to convert the stubborn Kodavas}, no action was taken by the company!

After French man Lally had managed to escape through North Kodagu (Coorg) despite losing his entire arms cache from France meant for Tippu at the hills of South Kodagu, anger of both maniac-Tipu and mercenary-French fleet against mighty Kodavas had no bound. Do or die situation…. They had to beat them at any cost and the plot took shape secretly. Though not a great fighter, Tippu was a great strategist, and traveling in the comforts of palanquin like a newly married bride, with his famous 7.4 kg ornamental Sword, reminding of how important it is to stay in power along the writing equipments and desk, carried behind him he could plan it well too.

It was rumoured that the Kodagu fighters from South Kodagu had moved to help the fighters in North. So a plan was meticulously hatched to beat the Kodavas. Without trusting the generals, this time Tipu kept the plan with himself and wanted to execute it in secrecy. Hence, he became a gomukha-vyagra… showed the face of cow under the cover of animal of his obsession which he could never kill…. the Tiger.

The question remain why did British kept him on pedestal. According to me, the answer is simple:  the British dint want to be known as the lesser fighters than Kodavas. Perspective alters history…The untrained, self taught Kodavas had beaten both father and son duo again and again, until they sought help from French and shelter under cunningness to beat Kodavas!! So what would be the face value of or credibility of “Great Britain” for fighting with the duo so long? Hence they elevated his own aura to make them look good!

Well from the foreskin of cunningly imprisoned Kodava/Kodagu men, women & children came out the hero on the mechanical toy tiger… No wonder politicians still cash in on it… while the world condemns Hitler, Tippu is celebrated, and the Kodava men’s foreskin indeed is expensive after all! Perhaps with very few exceptions, Politics coupled with ego teaches the valueless believes which politician in general inculcate in their philosophy. That’s why for few votes they glorify even the blood thirsty monsters.

Shame on those who calls Tipu, the son of soil and a freedom fighter…. I am sure if you look deep into their eyes of those beholders, it has the scar of foreskin in them.

The translation:
Tipu Sultan won Kodagu again: Before waging war on Kodagu, Haider had won the places around Kodagu. However until Lingarajendra {Lingaraja I} asked for asylum under him, he could not win over Kodagu because of its rugged hills, deep valleys and thick forests. More than expansion of his country, Haider was always eyeing and wanting to win Kodagu because of its strategic location where he could keep his army to control over Dakshina Kannada, Malayala and Mysore Kingdoms. Therefore, when easily it came to his indirect control because of the infighting of the Haleri dynasty (Branch II and III}, Haider did not want to return the land to Virarajendra {Lingaraja’s son Vira raja IV} as long as he was alive.

Similarly, after his death when his son Tippu Sultan took over the reins, he did not want to give up Kodagu easily. He was also well aware of the strategic position of Kodagu, wanted and made up his mind to win Kodagu again. However, the fight with English which started with his father was yet to get over, so he could not concentrate on Kodagu.
During this period that is in 1783, he transferred the entire royal family of Haleri, who were at that time imprisoned at Goruru Fort in Hassana, to the Periapattana Fort in mysore. Soldiers were placed both inside and outside of the fort to guard over the family, so that they would not escape. The family got an annual grant of three hundred pagodas that is thousand two hundred rupees. They were housed in an ordinary building. After a short period, due to shortage of food, unhygienic and spread of small pox took toll on Devambike Amma {wife of Lingaraja I}, mother of Virarajendra and his brothers’ and few other family member perished there.

As soon as he ascended the throne, Tippu Sultan continued his war with the English. In 1783 and 1784, he attacked Nagara kote* and Mangalore kote, winning it back, which was under the control of General Richard Mathews. After which on March 11th, 1785 Tippu and English made an agreement at Mangalore, putting an end to the fight. Finally Tippu Sultan had the time to wage war against Kodagu.

{*Nagara kote {old name Fortress of Bednore}, had been surrendered to General Mathews on 14th February. Tipu Sultan came with an overwhelming body of troops and forced the British to retreat to the citadel –smaller part of the fort. With shortage of supply, after ten days, they surrendered and General Mathews and his army were taken into captivity. After imprisonment, General Mathews was executed on 16th August 1783.}

On his way back from Mangalore to Periapattana, Tippu Sultan arrived at Kodagu. He invited the heads of Kodagu and conveyed the message that: inspite of you all revolting against me, I will forgive you but if you all revolt again I will catch and convert all of you. According to historian Wilks, Tippu Sultan told the mukyasthas that: after my father won your country, you have revolted seven times and became the cause of thousands of our soldiers. I will forgive you once but if you revolt again, I will convert every man in this country to Islam; such is my oath to God. And also I will make you all stay away from your homeland, away from your homes and property. I have heard that your women practices polyandry. If you all are converted and sent away both your revolt and your women’s polyandry could be stopped in one go. Tippu’s opinion and comment about Kodava women practicing polyandry was a wrong notion, wrote the later historians.

When Tippu came, Madikeri fort was of mud walls and he got it removed and built with stone walls. {Knowing the situation and the availability of raw materials, it seems either it was strengthened or makeshift one were built. Hence there are no remains.}

He kept a garrison and appointed a Sardar {commander-in-chief} Jaffer Kuli Baig as the kille-dar {kille meaning fort} and renamed Madikeri as Jaffarabad after his Sardar. Remaining soldiers were distributed between Kushalanagara, Arameri of Beppunadu and Bhagamandala*, with orders to build forts so that Kodagu will not slip out of his hands. Similarly, not only Madikeri fort wall was rebuilt in stone, forts were built at Aramane-geri {old name of Armeri} of Beppu-nadu, Kushalnagara and Bhagamandala forts were built. In all the four forts, Tippu Sultan’s tukadi {garrisons} were kept. The yards of Bhagandeshwara and other temples of Bhagamandala became the station for Tipu’s soldiers.

{*Arameri had a damaged fort from Utha Nayaka’s era which must have been repaired and in Bhagamandala there was no fort and the temple was used to station the army and the walls of the temple became their fort. Kushalnagara it’s hard to say. Hence, building a fort with limited labour and material in that short period seems little confusing. All in all they must have found ways for makeshift forts}

The outer walls of the temple became the walls of the fort. Since the rivers Kaveri and Kanake are flowing on two sides of the place, Tipu named the land as “Abjalabad”. Even before the soldiers had occupied the temple, Brahmin’s had vacated the temple and had taken the Linga and idols to safer place to perform poojas.*

{*The amazing story of Pattamada Uthiah’s bravery and dedication for four months to the Bagandeshwara and other idols, when all the Brahmins ran away in fear of pollution, made him famous all over Kodagu and later the ruler had granted him annul rice “padi”. A brave tiger killer, Uthaiah had not only carried a Brahmin boy everyday religiously on his back to perform the daily rituals but also had given up nonveg and alcohol}.

Tippu Jayanthi… Birth of Mysore Tiger Tipu Sultan’s TIGER – Part 1

Famous French historian March Bloch quoted: “History is neither watch making nor cabinet construction. It is an endeavor towards better understanding. The very names we use to describe ancient ideas or vanished-forms of social organization would be quite meaningless if we had not known living men”.

While researching for my forthcoming book about Kodagu and Haleri dynasty, I came across one of the strangest and disgusting claims one can ever grasp. Sadly no one has the time to read, that too Kannada books and hence I took the liberty to translate few pages for the younger generation to know the truth. This five part article traces one of the ugliest steps in the history of humanity and can quell many misconceptions about the real history of Kodagu and Mysore.

Though I had taken a break from blogging to concentrate on my book, the content was too valuable to be ignored. As I read sitting in the sun room, thousands of miles away, my late father’s words echoed at the back of my head… darveshi nai sulemova tipu kodavada samanramele samrajya kettechi… my father knew it but I was too naïve to understand then! Tippu–British–French–ugly Karnataka politicians, naked danced around me…. the ugliest sight one can ever see and bile was rising. Born and raised in Kodagu with values, it took a while for me to digest the utterly disgusting reality.

A step by step, day to day bullock cart journey leading to the grand finale of action is described meticulously by historian Mr. D. N. Krishnaiah. Buckle up, take a deep breath and experience the ugly side of maniac Tipu’s manipulative journey first hand on the rugged path of Western Ghats..…. …. Though the famous historian has given clear step by step pictures of the horrendous journey, luckily has spared the unpalatable and gruesome details on Devati Parmbu massacre and the painful journey of prisoners to Srirangapatna {it is mentioned elsewhere}.

On the other hand, ironically while Tipu was busy fulfilling his Tiger quest, by piling the manhood of Kodavas strand by strand, without his knowledge the British Empire was meticulously carving out their own “Poster Boy”, a hero larger than life in flesh and blood with an artificial aura of supremacy to save their own self-image from Tippoo. Tipu, armed with only good strategic capacity of a mere cunning tiger-salamander was promoted shamefully as a real magnificent Tiger known for its grace, strength, agility and enormous power, the pride of India. This allowed them to use this aura as an excuse for their own shortcomings against him

Sri Krishna says “Dharma only will protect Dharma” and I think Adharma only exposes Adharma.

It is said that everything happens for a reason and it’s for a good reason. Thanks to the manipulative vote monger Tipu-Jayanthi celebrations, glorious past of Great Britain’s “Poster boy’s” bravery is a household name not only in India but around the world. Hence the read would fascinate more people than before. However, it is time to do the postmortem of Tippu Satan’s Tiger Fallacy, clear the air and restore the peace, dignity and honour of not only Kodava Ancestors, but also scores of other innocent souls from many other communities within and around Kodagu, e.g., Catholics of Mangalore, Nairs of Kerala, etc., etc., to have their own moment of peace. I realized that it was the reason that I had found it and had to offer “pinda” to each and everyone. I couldn’t have asked for more blessing from the Creator than such a noble deed.

Blogger’s Note: The word Kodava is used rather than Kodagu warriors as the highest majority of them were from the Kodava clans and included families. Secondly, sorry about the language used… but after four years of research, I believe that one has to be bold and brash to tell the truth. The comments in {} is not part of translation and is instead my own insertions used for better understanding.

If there ever is a question…. who had the most prized “Foreskin” on earth, the answer would be definitely “the men from Kodagu”!! Am I kidding? Not really.
Tippu rose to power on it, British extended their friendly hand to Kodavas but portrayed Tippu as a hero to boost their Self-Image, like leeches French lived rather sucked on it and politicians still continue to suck on it for votes. When our own people could conveniently pull wool over our eyes with treason, it was not difficult for the white men. No wonder Truth is always bitter…

Beaten again & again by the ill equipped, self taught Kodava/Kodagu warriors, Tipu’s ego was tired of both the insults mooted out on him & his dead father as well as their inability to expand. The French, one of the European suckers shared the same sentiments too. Haider had the collaboration of more than 3,000 French soldiers and weapons at his disposal. Later numerous proposals of alliances were made by Tipu, leading to the dispatch of a French mercenary fleet of volunteers to help him. Infamous French man Lally was transporting metal cannon balls which can be still found in Kodagu.

Kodavas had a secret of their own for winning the wars and taking up the arms again and again without fear. They were raised under the warmth and love of an undivided family tree called Ainmane, their prospect of wealth was different. For that matter their ideology was different and miles apart than the mercenaries, traders or anyone who ever fought with them. They were the guardian of the boarder….Safety, Sanctity and Security of Motherland was their dharma which connected them with their past and their heritage, and a reason to live. They deemed it as their proud duty and fought for the safety and honour of their beloved Motherland and their family, often even without remuneration.

This is unlike the story of Tipu, who was the descendant of a mercenary from the deserts of Middle East, follower of an unknown strange sect, who spent first thirteen years of his life on the back streets of Devanahalli fort, perhaps radicalized, once even abandoned by father when Haider ran away, life was all about wealth and power. Coming from the streets of Devanahalli fort, with an absentee father, Tipu did not know the value of a true family or what a real family is.

True to the say: culture is caught not taught, living in an Ainmane, for a Kodava, the treasure “Kodavame” or the Kodava way of life passed on by generation to generation through watching their predecessors was/is a natural inborn instinct. It was/is the foundation of his courage coupled with love and reverence for his land, culture and family, becomes his passion. It was inculcated in their blood, their very DNA. River Kaveri was the strength behind them, the very umbilical cord which connected them to Kodagu.

  1. Fighting for the protection of mother land was inborn and came naturally to Kodavas and when necessary they could blend with each other like milk and sugar from all the four corners of Coorg Proper without any hitch as they were fighting for a single cause and not for wealth or power. That is what made them different, stronger and selfless.

Kodagu: Is her exceptional beauty & fertility becoming the cause her grave?

Earth quakes

The geography of Western Ghats is altered for good with the recent natural disaster/landslides that flattened hills and attracted worldwide attention. As man stood helpless, disaster struck between 12th and 19th August 2018 when unprecedented amounts of rainfall caused irreparable damage to the land mass and misery to the people of Kodagu, scarring them for life. More than the loss of property, it was the pain of the people who lost their near and dear ones, in some cases people disappeared without a trace. Is Mother Nature angry or man himself is the cause of the catastrophe?

Only July 22, it was reported that cracks had developed for a distance of two kilometer at Monnangeri in Galibeedu grama panchayati of Madikeri at 5,000 feet above sea level. It is said that a negligible crack had arisen at the spot some days back and it suddenly widened on Sunday 19th, creating wide spread panic among the villagers. Tahsildar of the taluk, rural police station house officer, geologists and other officials visited the spot to assess the development, who later said that the problem would subside one the rainfall recedes! The credit for the crack was given to the excessive percolation of water into the earth triggered by copious rainfall and that there is no chance of the earth suffering depression in the area. Perhaps the confident group of officials should have stayed with the villagers to record the developments.

The apprehensive villagers near the crack were accommodated in a school as a precautionary measure. It is noteworthy that in the yore Kodagu was known as the Chirapunji of South, my parents would say that they never saw sun light for days together. In early 60s, my grandfather’s coffee plantation was completely ruined due to heavy rains at Karthakad (Black forest). However, no such cracks were reported then in, at least not in living memory.

Why North Kodagu damage is higher than the South Kodagu.. Why are the hills collapsing? Were the signs too small to be noticed by the authorities? Or human understanding is too little? Is democracy only about who wins & retains power? There is one too many questions without answers… some say it is due to the earth quake in the neighbouring Kerala, if that is the case then why there were no such vast destruction of land or hills?

Kodagu, my beloved home land, where I spent all my childhood, pretending that I was a bird in heaven flying in the misty magical places, searching for wild fruits & berries, every bit of it so beautiful, so plentiful & always naturally air-conditioned. Nostalgic memories of which always brings a smile & warmth to my heart, today part of it lies in ruins shadowed by uncertainties. The incessant rains brought by the so called Somali-Jet-Streams randomly recurves (changing its course) resulting in unperceivable destruction of this beautiful piece of land which was known as the heaven on earth, Kashmir of South, Scotland of India. Though geographically limited in area, with captivating rugged mountainous landscape with lush vegetation, picturesque deep valleys and, shining waterfalls earning the nick name heaven on earth. For me it is just my beloved Kodagu, home of my mother Kaveri, my heart & mind refuses to believe or accept the damages.

Kodagu, birth place of River Kaveri is home to unique warrior race Kodavas with distinct way of life who consider themselves as the children of River Kaveri and treat her as Mother Superior. They even kept aside land known as sacred Devara Kadu in the name of God, which belong to the village and maintained natural flora and fauna.

Year after year, as an amazing display of Mother Nature’s magic, the life giving South-West monsoon travels 3,000 kilometers from its birth, off the Madagascar coast to Somalia from where it gets deflected to India to its retreat to Tibet in September & its final dissipation in Madagascar again. The wind that makes the journey aided by other elements of the nature, transcending continents, cultures & different climate is known as the Somali-Jet-Streams. Sadly the jet-stream gathered it momentum from the warm sea and decided to empty the load on Kodagu and Kerala. Raising global temperature, melting of ices has changed the weather patterns around the world due to man’s action-inaction-over action.

Rain is nothing new to Kodagu & though intensity had diminished in recent years due to various factors,. Even when I was growing up, rains were heavy & season was longer & we even got more than 3-weeks rainy season holidays. Though there used to be floods & landslides, there never was case of hills being damaged or vanishing from the map. Unprecedented sight of landslides, land splitting apart, mushrooming waterfalls, cracking & collapsing roads, I never dreamt that one day I will be witnessing such vast destruction. So why is it happening?

Was the prolonged rainy season intensified by Somali-Jet, the only cause of this destruction some of which are as bad as ground-zero? Would Mother Nature hurt her children without reason? Was there any warning? How much man has contributed? Sadly Man has been provoking & abusing the Mother Nature in the name of progress, tourism & votes…. Though like every good mother, Mother Nature is tolerant & tried to warn, water God Varuna, said to be responsible for natural & moral orders of the cosmos seems to have determined to tighten the noose of chastisement, on man. Or is the global warming sole responsible around the world?

Living in Kuwait I have experienced tremors five times in my life. It was actually the effects from the high density earth quake in nearby Iran. Interestingly my husband never felt it in his life –no I am not a torturous wife. At one time I was in the office and after I felt the shaking, I went around asking most of my colleagues in the 2nd floor from 3 different departments. To my surprise only handful had felt it. Another time it was in the afternoon and I was skyping with my daughter. I was sitting with my left foot on the floor and the other one on the left thigh. Suddenly the right leg was pushed down with force and I was shocked, wondering what was happening…it is then that I saw the house plants shaking violently. My husband was not home. I called my friend Dr. Asha who was at home, she came near and I asked her did you feel the earth quake? She laughed and said are you dreaming? I showed the shaking plants behind as she stood dumb stuck… the plants were still shaking much after the incident. I have no idea whether it was because the pots were near the balcony or if the plants are very sensitive or perhaps because the earth is the base for its very being. In any case plants and animals experience more than we do. Though the news of the tremor appeared in the newspaper, most of my friends and colleagues never felt it.

Monday 9th July 2018, I was in my friend’s garden at Guddehosur (Kushalnagar) searching for mushrooms, when I heard a loud noise at 12:45 pm but did not really feel the tremor. My friend confirmed it & also said there was tremor. Suntikoppa, Somwarpet, Shanthalli, parts of Madikeri of Kodagu, Hassan, Chickmagaluru &, Sulya Taluk of Dakshnia Kannada felt & the rattling furniture & utensils caused panic among the residents forcing them out of their homes. It was also felt in Kerala. Later in the social media someone said it was 4.5 & someone else said 3.4.

Sunday 19th August 2018, unconfirmed reports reported two tremors felt between 7:45 & 7:51 am, at Napoklu, Ballamavati, Cheriyaparumbu, Pulikotu & other surrounding areas. Scared resident ran out of their homes. The other reports below were collected from the local news paper reporting as well as hear say. As there is no official confirmation, it’s difficult to stress on it. Many unofficial reporting of tremors and noise within that week were floating around.

Tuesday September 12, 2017, Star of Mysore reports: The residents of Napoklu and surrounding were in for an early morning shock as they felt two mild tremors between 7.45 am & 7.51 am. Tremors were felt at Napoklu, Ballamavati, Cheriyaparumbu, Pulikotu & other surrounding areas. Soon as the tremors were felt, the residents, fearing for their lives, came out of their houses. It may be recalled that mild tremors measuring 3.9 magnitudes on Richter scale were felt in some parts of Sullia and Puttur taluks in DK and also in parts of Kodagu on June 4 early this year.

Sunday October 14, 2015 a 3.9 magnitude earthquake shook Sullia at 2:21 pm causing panic & the tremors were felt in neighbouring Chikmagalur (Mudigere, Aldur, & Avathi), Hassan (Sakleshpur & Belur taluks) & Kodagu (Madikeri) districts. However there was no report of injuries or damage.

Wednesday April 27th 2011, Mild tremors measuring 1.6 to 1.9 on the Richter scale, shook homes for about ten seconds in Madikeri city at 10.53 a.m., triggering panic among citizens as they rushed out of their houses, some claiming falling of utensils, window panes shaking violently, feeling the vibration along the walls, loud explosive noise akin to a boulder rolling down or a booming sound passed under the earth, etc. The editor of local Kannada daily Shakthi said that following the tremor, newspaper bundles rolled out of the vehicle parked outside the newspaper office. However, the intensity was mild & no damage of life or property.. Social media claim of Houses developing cracks were authentic or not is not clear.

June 2005, there was a mild earthquake in the Somwarpet region in which several houses were damaged.

These were previous cases of tremor & sounds from earth which were was not given much importance. In all the cases not everyone felt the tremors or heard the noise. Perhaps the frequency was different or the usual din & roar of the mundane life never made them feel. The news of earth quake during the 15 days period of rain havoc was considered as rumours.

Interestingly State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre never recorded any such activities in the above mentioned quakes, perhaps because the intensity was less than two, what is known as micro-tremor. Micro-tremor is said to be a low amplitude ambient vibration of the ground caused by man-made or atmospheric disturbances. It is also said that such tremors are common in Kodagu & Chikmagalur. Though tremors were mild, coupled with sound it was strong enough to create panic among the residents. Why the series of occurrences & complaints were neglected? Did the district authorities note the complaints? Were the signs ignored? Or over confident government combined with step-motherly treatment to the district did not pause & think about the consequences? It will remain a million dollar question.

In an earth quake, the location of the epicenter (the point on the earth’s surface vertically above the focus of an earthquake) will have more influence and effect than the magnitude itself. Shallower the epicent higher the damage. I guess since the records will never be made public, no one will ever know.

Sadly already State and central governments having differences, parties within the state having differences, like the say goes when husband and wife fights, the child suffers. At the cost of disaster at Kodagu, every Tom, Dick & Harry raising funds & materials in the name of disaster, & in the bargain even diverting it elsewhere including their own pockets, shadowing the genuine work done by Good Samaritan. Interesting I saw someone kept a box to collect fund for Kodagu on the mori at Kukkarahalli lake for 2 days!

Sensible scientist Madhav Gadgil Committee report or the little milder space scientist Kasturirangan report on Western Ghats did not see the day light as the Karnataka & Kerala state governments had their own vested interests. And the proposed railway project is hanging in the midair like Trishanku. Man has short term memory & I wonder if the ISRO report will make any difference?

Rain havoc in Western Ghats… Scientific and unscientific or non-scientific reasoning….

This article is purely based on my perception and understanding of the Nature and Indian culture.

Huyo.. huyo.. maleraya huvina totake neerilla (pour, pour rain king there is no water for the flower garden..) a song we all sang and played in the rain while growing up. Now the situation in Kerala and Karnataka is such that one has to sing nillo.. nillo.. maleraya kudiyoke neerilla (stop, stop rain king there is no water to drink). Sadly after four years of draught, rain god has unleashed his fury with a bang like the minor version of big-bang. Ativrushti and anavrushti (too much or too little falling from heaven), both are purely under the control of nature and no matter what one cannot control it.

Both Kerala (nick named God’s own country) and Karnataka are part of Western Ghats. The Western Ghats or Sahyadri (benevolent) Mountain range along the Western side of India, which was formed more 150 million years ago during Gondwana split-up and is older than the mighty Himalayas. The range starts near the Gujarat and Maharashtra border and runs approximately 1,600 KMS through Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala till Kanyakumari.

Irrigated by healthy monsoons, Western Ghats was a dense tropical forest and the canopy was always wet. These ancient well balanced hills form a catchment area for complex riverine drainage system and were filled with tall remarkable trees, giant bamboo clusters, medicinal plants, flora and fauna. The area had over 5,000 species of flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species and 179 amphibian species recorded. The UNESCO world heritage site is one of the eight hotspots of biological diversity in the world.

But nothing has stopped man from meddling in Mother Nature’s affair. Due to ignorance and greed, destruction and death on the Western Ghats, which Mother Nature nursed and nurtured so very carefully over thousands of years has been going on over a period of time. But now it is slipped into fast forward motion which I have witnessed in my life time. Flora and fauna is pushed into extinction faster than the food is being digested in the stomach! Even the insects including the major pollinator the honey bee population is practically wiped out. Sight of sands on the river banks has become a luxurious sight! Karnataka and Kerala are strange bed mates and are poles apart in ideology but vested interests are common. After all they are human.. For some personal gains of few people, it’s been massacred and continued to do so.

In 1947, the onslaught of endless invaders from Middle East to Mongolia who brought their looting, killing and messing up the religious beliefs finally ended. Unfortunately seven decades of independence we are still held hostage by few powerful ruthless politicians and dynasties. Regrettably there are few individuals, in the name of religion and politics doesn’t lag behind too. Innocent people become victims of party wars and religious propaganda.

Aiding and abating is equally sinful as committing a crime. Like how both the states seems to be competing on who gets more rain, they competed in victimizing the people too. When politicians makes Kodagu a battle ground for votes, men armed with whatever they can afford comes to do dadagiri from Kerala too…. For example when an innocent man was hunted down and killed in broad day light in front of thousands of people within the hospital premises, even before his body was cooled down completely the verdict on killing was passed sitting in a faraway place, perhaps the fasted verdict on record. This is the fate of our beloved country… murder, rape, corruption has reached almost to the point of no return. At times, even a demon king shines dim in front of some deeds.

Now the scientific reason… over the years Mother Nature has been used, misused and abused by man, continuing to do so. Even when I was growing up the situation was not that bad. Even the Kasturirangan committee report sought to balance the development and environment protection of Western Ghats never saw the day light.

Unfortunately Man has short memory and he never learns from history. There is a limit to the tolerance of the most tolerant, the beloved Mother Nature. Unless the children/children are reformed from time to time, they will surely go wayward. How much of an imbalance is being created in recent years can be compared with the picture of Kodagu and its forest using the following report as benchmark even with habitation after establishing Madikeri.

When Tippu Sultan came to Kodagu in summer, he was also accompanied by officers and Munshi, who were shocked to experience the climatic conditions, forest, cold and rains in Kodagu. The weather was such that Tipu Sultan’s soldiers imprisoned themselves inside the fort to keep warm. A historian who accompanied him writes about Kodagu in his words. Since they were in a new place and new atmosphere, he could give a better picture than a local who was bred there.

What can I say about the amazingly wild land? Just uttering or spelling the words, the pen shivers. The bamboo bushes like the Abyssinian sheep fur, curled and impossible to penetrate. Both the large paths (cart-ways) and small paths (footways) are like passing through the stars in the sky. This country’s hills and valleys are impossible to pass through. On the taggu bhoomi (flat land), paddy crops are as tall as the chest level. Sun, even though hotter-than-hot thyself always covers himself with clouds being afraid of the cold in Kodagu, hurries along and departs early from here. Every night the fast traveling moon seeks cover under the blue sky. If summer is like this, then God only have to save us in rainy season.

The rainy season, for six months in all of this country it rains so much that the entire land is filled with water in such a way like a sad person’s eyes filled with water all the time. From evening till after the sun rise, the valley is filled with heavy mist. Lots of tall, well built, active young men, losing their body heat with bone biting cold, sleeps like an arched bow pulling their body close to their chest.  For six months, farmers cover with thick cloth or old blanket from head to toe and work nine to ten hours. During this season, the leeches from the trees and branches suck enough blood from them and their cattle before letting them go. While describing the condition of Kodagu, the hand that holds the pen is frozen like the hand dipped in the frozen icy sea. When the weather is being explained, the tongue safe within the lips feels like the ice berg with fear and astonishment!

Let us look at it in the non-scientific angle. Kerala is said to be created by the axe carrying warrior sage Parsurama, the Sixth Avatara of Lord Vishnu. He is supposed have thrown his axe and the sea receded covering the distance it covered. No wonder there are thousands of temples for the size of Kerala. In short the legend goes that:

His birth claimed to be to quell the oppression of the then ruling Kshatriyas. When he finished the blood filled five lakes! Burdened by the sins of killing, he approached an assembly of learned men to find a way for penitence. He was advised that, to save his soul from damnation, he must hand over the war gains to noble and pious people and meditate at Gokaranam. Doing so in Gokaranam, Varuna, the god of ocean/rain and Bhudevi, Goddess of Earth blessed him.

Once free of his sins, from Gokaranam he walked upto Kanyakumari and threw his axe northward across the ocean. The place where the axe landed is Kerala. According to the old measures it was 160 Katam. Earlier Kerala was known as Parasurama Kshetram or in Sanskrit Aitareya Aranyaka. Later when King Keralian Thamboran ruled it got its name Kerala. There are some people who also say, when desert dwelling Arabs landed on the shores of Kerala they were mesmerized by the beauty and said Kair-alla (gift of God) and hence the name.

Then there is the world famous harvest festival Onam, in the honour of benevolent Asura (demon) utopian King Mahabali, the great grandson of Hiranyakshipu, the grandson of Prahlada and son of Virochana who was wise, judicious and extremely generous. But that legend is from Lord Vishnu’s Vamana (dwarf) avatara. However, both the legends are related to the arrival of Lord Vishnu.

Santana dharma, the oldest philosophical school of thoughts has given us not just a book but a library to learn. It teaches us to respect Mother Nature and live in harmony with every living being in the universe.

Indian culture believes that every element in the universe created by the creator has sagacity. That’s why the philosophy says God in me is God everywhere. God is not an individual entity sitting in a far off place probably known as heaven but we are all inside him, he is part of us. Mother Nature is the manifested form of the God. Like a fish in the ocean we dwell within him in his unmanifested form. The very spark of life which makes us alive, the very breath we take which when stops we die, is the very presence God. (Sorry these explanations come from my limited knowledge and I cannot explain more).

Based on that Indian culture says water carries memory. Now scientists say that under certain circumstances water can retain a memory of solute particles after arbitrarily large dilution. Water memory is the purported ability of water to retain a memory of substance previously dissolved in it even after an arbitrary number of serial dilutions. So if we think in that term then is the water claiming its property which was taken forcibly?

Scientists gave up searching for the God particles even though they claimed finding it and spent billions and billions of something to be scraped! So is there a force beyond our understanding capacity? What our forefathers found and tried to explain has some essence in it? Is there a secret buried or hidden in Western Ghats which cannot be disturbed? Is it time to learn to respect the privacy of Mother Nature?

Then there is Naga, the serpent people who is supposed to live underground. There is no logical explanation as no one has seen them in the living memory but it appears in Indian scriptures. A remnant of it still lives in Indian culture as Naga Panchami (it was on August 15th). While building the new airport, yet to be commissioned, the once sacred grove of serpents was claimed by man forcing them to seek shelters in people’s home. Deeming homeless over night after thousands of years, Mother Nature wants people to taste the same?

In the home front, whatever is happening in Vidhanasoudha, the New Chief is not sleeping during the session but has been knocking on the doors of every Gods within reach! In 80 days of power ONLY 42 temples are visited.. so more begging in front of God than….. Its noteworthy that sadly the movement of Indian politicians disrupts the normal life as if a green corridor is made for a organ carriage, including in holy places.

Scientific or unscientific of nonscientific, it’s a wakeup call for all the citizens of Mother India, to wake up and live in harmony with all the living beings, with utmost priority to the welfare of the nation and fellow living beings. To use the God given commonsense instead of being influenced by propaganda of imaginary differences, outside forces, social media, etc. Come out of the Religious intolerance in the name of unseen God, no one can ever show God to anyone or give ticket to heaven. If they could do it then what are they still doing here provoking others to act bad to fulfill their own personal ego than going to their favourite destination? All-pervading God is an not object to see or hold, no one can see the God one can only feel or sense the presence of God. Unless this is done we will be dragging the rock on our own feet.