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Friday, 9 November 2012

Kodagu Nayakas: Part III

-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

Kolhlhakongi Nayaka 

Kolhlhakongi Nayaka was the ancestor of the Nayakanda clan of Kadiyatnaad. In Konhanjageri village was the Kochamanda house, where now lays the Biddanda house. Near this house was a Bhagwathi (village goddess) temple. Now Kolhlhakongi Nayaka captured  the idol of that Bhagwathi temple forcefully and got it installed in the Bhagwathi temple near his house at Kirundad. This upset the villagers of Konhanjageri  and it’s chieftains the Kochamanda. So thereafter there used to be skirmishes between the villagers of Kirundad and Konhanjageri.

The Raja's Dalavoi (General), Pardanda Ponnappa, took advantage of  this feud and spent the night in the Kochamanda house where his men were fed well and given place to rest. In the wee hours of the next day Ponnappa and his  men awoke and went to the house of Kolhlhakongi Nayaka in Kirundad. The house is situated in what is now Kai-Kaadu village. The mansion of the chief was a mud  house guarded by a deep Kadanga (a simple fortification consisting of a ditch dug out between two mud walls). The house members were still asleep when Ponnappa and twenty five men knocked on the entrance door. The unwary residents  opened the door unarmed and then Ponnappa and his men barged in. The womenfolk cried out loud: ‘Enemies have entered’. Then the Nayaka and his brothers quickly  picked up their broad swords (called the Oidekatti) and rushed towards the intruders. They had a fierce fight until Kohlhakongi and his men were killed. Very few of Ponnappa’s men, who outnumbered them many times, sustained severe injuries.

Pardanda Ponnappa

When he heard of Kolhlhakongi Nayaka's death, Achchu Nayaka strengthened his defences and deepened his Kadangas. So Pardanda Ponappa and his men devised a  plan. A few of them disguised themselves as mendicants and went about Anjigheri naad, the land of Achchu Nayaka, in Kiggat naad. It was the Kail Polud (an important Kodava festival) season  and everybody were just too busy to notice the beggars who wandered at that time. Beggars often visited the place during times of festivity to be able to get some leftovers. Ponnappa's men surveyed the land and then went away. The Coorgs of the region were busy hunting. So one night when Achchu Nayaka and his men were away on a hunt Ponnappa and his men scaled the village walls and then entered the house of Achchu Nayaka. They had got into the house when the Nayaka's men returned and fell  upon the intruders. A battle ensued in which Achchu's men were mostly killed. Achchu Nayaka and Ponnappa fiercely fought each other by sword and sustained  serious injuries some to the head. Ponnappa fell unconscious while Achchu Nayaka who was outnumbered had his weapon taken away and was captured. They were all  taken away alongwith Achchu Nayaka's family to the Madikeri palace. Here Achchu Nayaka was treated as a guest and kept under house arrest. Anjigheri naad accepted the rule of Dodda Virappa (1657-1736) upon learning about the fall of their leader. Meanwhile Uththa Nayaka escaped  to Vayathur (Baithur) in Kerala.

The descendants of Uththa Nayaka and of Kolhlha Kongi Nayaka were called the Nayakanda of Beppoo naad and of Kadiyat naad  respectively, both are unrelated. Achchu Nayaka died in Madikeri and his eldest son went to the Malabar to learn Tantra. The Namboothiri Brahmins of Malabar were masters of Tantra, but a few of the  Coorgs (like Kaliatanda Ponnappa before Achchu Nayaka's son) who went there, learnt the art from them and returned into Kodagu to be revered all their life. According to Richter (who wrote in 1870), in around 1810, the family of Achchu Nayaka was exterminated. The house name of Achchu Nayaka's father was Katte (Kattera), a hero of this family of Kiggat nad was mentioned in the ancient Palame. This must have been the Kattera family of Kiggatnad, which is now extinct, probably due to the extermination ordered by the Kodagu Raja. However other branches of the Kattera clan is still existent and living in other parts of Kodagu. The Ajjikuttira family claim descent from Achchu Nayaka, some claim that his uncle was Ajjikuttira, others claim that his tantric son was called Ajji Kutty.

Coorg Patelas/ Palegaras

Royal Seal in 1790 (Courtesy: Richter, 1870)
Between the years 1782 and 1789, conflict arose between the Coorgs and the Mysore Sultans. The Haleri Raja dynasty members were imprisoned by Mysore. The Coorgs engaged the Sultanate in a guerrilla war and they kept  declaring themselves independent each time after the Sultan marched through Kodagu to secure it. 12 Coorg Palegaras (also called Patelas) led the Coorgs; four among them were more important, they being: Kuletira Ponnappa, his brother Kuletira Machchayya, Appaneravanda Achchayya and Pattacheravanda Boluka. Another Patela was Uththa Nayaka of Kadnoor. They led the Coorgs and later got the members of the Haleri dynasty to escape from confinement in Periyapatna.

  1. Chinnappa, Nadikerianda. 2006. Pattole Palame (Translated by Boverianda Nanjamma and Chinnappa) Delhi : Rupa.
  2. Chinnappa, N. 2006 [1924]. Pattole Palome (Kannada), Madikeri: Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Akademi.
  3. Krishnayya, D. N. 1974. Kodagina Ittihasa (Kannada), Mysore: University of Mysore.
  4. Muthanna, I. M. 1971. The Coorg Memoirs (The Story of the Kodavas), Mysore.
  5. Richter, Rev G. 1870. Gazetteer of Coorg Mangalore : Basel Mission.
  6. Rice, B. L. 1914. Epigraphia Carnatica Vol 1 . Madras: Madras Government Publications.

Kodagu Nayakas: Part II

-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

Achchu Nayaka

Kiggat nad remained outside Haleri control until the reign of Dodda Virappa. Chittiappa Nayaka ruled Anjigheri nad (‘nad of five villages’), Mathth  Mukkati Nayaka ruled over Maththur and Machangala (Machangada) Nayaka ruled some other parts of Kiggat nad. Periyapatna was under relatives of the Ikkeri Rajas and allies of the Haleri Rajas. Nanjunda arasa was the Raja of Periyapatna.  Many Coorgs lived in Periyapatna at that time.

A feud arose between Chittiappa Nayaka and Machangala Nayaka. A tiger was killed in the forest, which bordered both their territories, and both claimed to have killed it. Chittiappa’s claim was widely accepted and so Machangala grew jealous. One night, along with his ally Mukkati Nayaka of Maththur, he had Chittiappa’s house burned down and it’s inmates killed. However, Chittiappa’s son Achchu was saved by the housemaid who then escaped to Periyapatna where she sought and obtained refuge. Nanjunda arasa ('ruler') became mentor for Achchu and got him educated in his palace. Upon his coming of age, he returned home and with assistance from Nanjunda arasa he defeated and killed his two sworn enemies who had destroyed his family. Then he annexed their territories and established himself as the Nayaka of Kiggat naad.

Uththa Nayaka

Uththa was an orphaned Coorg boy of common parentage. He was made the cowherd of the Buduvanda clan, the Thakkas (traditional local chieftains) in Beppoo naad in South Kodagu. He was noticed and brought up by Muddu Raja who was like a foster parent to him. Being a favorite of the Raja, the Raja gave his daughter Neelammaji in marriage to him, got a  fortified palace built in Armeri in Beppoo naad and made him the feudatory Nayaka there. This way the Raja planned that there would be an Haleri stronghold in South Kodagu just as it was there in North Kodagu where the Madikeri palace and fort and the palaces at Haleri and Horamale naad (Appangala) existed.

However the people of Beppoo naad didn't think highly of the Nayaka and would deliberately ignore him. This enraged Uththa Nayaka who was hurt and sought to avenge this insult. So he planned to get the Balliamanes (ancestral houses) of the  Bachetti and the Ichetti (Bachettira and Ichettira) clans burned down. The Bachettira and the Ichettira were powerful families of the region. One night Uththa Nayaka, along with his accomplices, crept up to the Bachetti and the Ichetti residences, got the doors locked from outside and burned down the hay-roofed houses. In those days the Coorgs lived in houses which had roofs made from the hay obtained after the paddy was threshed out. The people were trapped inside and they cried as they burnt to death in pain. Anyone who tried to escape, especially the men, were beaten up and killed.

In the Ichettira house, any chances of escaping were very slim, in fact impossible. There were several infants in the house at that time. The household maids, who lived in separate quarters, came toward the house on seeing the fire. The elders called out to the maids, picked up the infants and threw them out of the small high windows. Two of the infant sons survived and were carried away by the maids to safety. They headed to the Ballachanda clan who were close to the Ichettira clan and narrated the incidents the incidents that occurred  Feeling pity, the Ballachanda thereafter reared the two boys, one was named Appayya and the other was named Poovanna.  They survived into adulthood, got married and had children, thus they are recognized as the founders of Ichetti clan. Meanwhile, in the Bachetti  mane one of the pregnant women survived, having been away from the house and at her parents' place. She gave birth to a son who survived into adulthood, got married and had children. He thus regenerated the Bachettira clan and is recognized as the Karana (primal ancestor) of the clan. Later Ichetti Appayya became a  Dewan (Prime Minister) of the Coorg Rajas. The Ichettira and the Ballachanda clans don't inter-marry because they recognize each other as brother clans.

Later Uththa Nayaka was an opponent of Dodda Virappa his brother-in-law, son of Muddu Raja and the next king. Dodda Virappa had to fight off attempts that were made by Uththa Nayaka to oust him. Uththa had contrived to get the Kodagu country from him. According to one source, he had even managed to usurp the throne and become Raja for a while, around the initial years of Dodda-Virappa's reign. He allied himself with other dissidents such as Kolhlha Kongi Nayaka and Achchu Nayaka, independent Coorg Nayakas and contemporaries.


When Dodda Virappa was the Raja of Kodagu his relative Nanjunda was the Nayaka of  Periyapatna. Nanjunda's officials betrayed him and invited the Raja of Mysore, Chikka Deva Raja, to invade the town and rule over them. Perceiving this threat, Nanjunda fled to his kinsman to espouse his cause and march in his support against Mysore's  invading army. He had meanwhile left his son Vira Raja in command of his capital. But the enemy laid siege on the fort and captured it. In desperation, the Raja killed his wives and children, lest they fall into the hands of the enemy and get tortured, then he gallantly fought a losing battle against the enemy and got killed. It was too late before the army of Dodda Virappa could arrive. Thereafter  Nanjunda was a broken man who spent the rest of his years in Kodagu.  The Coorgs who had settled down in Periyapatna abandoned the place and entered Kiggat naad. Incidentally, Nanjunda had mentored Achchu Nayaka during his initial years as Nayaka of Anjigherinaad (and eventually of Kiggat naad entirely) and aided him in his war for power.

Palpare War

(Courtesy: Richter, 1870)
Chikka Deva Raja was in ecstasy after his victory.  He then marched forward towards Kodagu and sought the conquest of the land. His army marched into Balele in Kodagu and then proceeded into the plain of Palupare (Palpare) when their advancing forces were met by the Coorgs. The large army of Mysore was then fiercely slaughtered by the emotionally-charged and sturdy, but outnumbered, Coorg army. 15 thousand soldiers and 77 officers of the Mysore army died that day. The rest of the Mysore army was forced to flee.

Tomara War

Meanwhile, Uththa Nayaka was still scheming to get the throne. So as he planned, once the Coorg army had marched to face Mysore, he invited the Kote Raja Vira Varma of Waynad to invade Kodagu. Assuming that the Coorg army would be bettered by the Mysoreans, Uththa got a temporary fortress built for the Raja of  Waynad and his 5000 Nair soldiers at Tomara. He promised to provide this garrison supplies. But when Dodda Virappa heard of this treason, he sent over a force  of 1500 Coorgs to Tomara to lay siege to the place. Hence the garrison and the Kote Raja were cut off from any supplies which Uththa was prevented  from provided. Meanwhile, the victorious Coorg army returned from Palpare through Tomara. They destroyed the garrison, slaughtering it's men. Vira Varma,  the Kote Raja, surrendered before Dodda Virappa and pleaded mercy but was instead executed.

Pardanda Ponnappa

In 1718, Pardanda Ponnappa of Naaladi village of Nalku Nadu was the Sarva Karyagara (general) of Dodda Virappa. At that time parts of South Kodagu were independent of Haleri rule. Kiggat naad had been independent of the Rajas while Beppu naad was part of the Haleri kingdom but grew independent.  Dodda Virappa sent Pardanda Ponnappa along with a hundred men to defeat Kolhlhakongi Nayaka of Kadiyat naad, Uththa Nayaka of Beppoo Naad and Achchu Nayaka of Kiggat Naad.

Kodagu Nayakas: Part I

-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

Map of Coorg (Courtesy:  Rice, 1914)
For centuries before the reign of the Haleri Rajas (c.1600-1834), Kodagu was under it's Nayakas. Kodagu was divided into 12 regions, groups of nads (shires), and each of them was ruled by a chieftain called a Nayaka (also called a Palegara, a Bachikara or a Bavu). Each region was divided and  separated from the other by a Kadanga (ditches fortified by mud walls) . These Kadangas remained untouched over the ages by the Haleris and after them as well. The hereditary families and the chieftains of each region are largely forgotten; as writing was not yet wide-spread then, no records remain till date. However oral traditions and references in the accounts about the Rajas mention them. The ancient Coorgs were allies of the Kolathiri kingdom of neighbouring Kannur; some Coorgs served as mercenary soldiers of these Hindu Rajas, but in general they traded large quantities of rice in exchange for gold, salt and other commodities  with them.

In the Song of Igguthappa (God of the Kodavas) there is the mention of one Nayaka of Kiggat naad, Appa Kongi Balu (the Nayakas of Kodagu were also called Balu or Bavu a term for a local leader). He gave an abode to the brother of Igguthappa, called Pemmayya, in Thirunelli on the fringes of Kiggatnaad in what is today in Waynad. This shrine of Pemmayya became the famous Thirunelli Janardhana temple dedicated to Shiva.

When Pemma Virappa was the Changalva Raja in around 1174 CE, his lieutenants were Gondayya and Kurchi Udayaditya, they were the Kodagu Malepas (hill chieftains, or Nayakas) of that age. Later some important Coorg Leaders were (Ajjikuttira) Achchunayaka of Anjikerinad in Kiggat naad, Karnayya Bavu of Bhagamandala, Kaliatanda Ponnappa of  Nalknad and (Nayakanda) Uththanayaka of Armeri in Beppu naad. Even after the reign of the Rajas a Council of Elders governed over the Coorgs. Some of the other lesser known Nayakas were Bavali Kolhlhakongi Nayaka of Kadiyat Naad, Kaibili (Kaibilira) Nayaka of Thavalhagheri naad, Maachangalha (Maachangada) Nayaka of Haththu gattu naad and Mukkati Nayaka of Maththur.

Even under the rule of the early Haleri  Rajas, from the reign of the first king through the reigns of his son, his grandson, until the reign of his great grandson large parts of Kodagu remained independent, to some degree, from the Haleri Rajas. These parts were controlled by powerful individuals who called  themselves Nayakas. While Kaliatanda Ponnappa and Karnembahu were contemporaries of the first Haleri Raja (Vira Raja), Chittiappa Nayaka, Machangada Nayaka and Maththur Mukkati Nayaka were contemporaries of Vira Raja's  grandson Muddu Raja, Uththa Nayaka, Achchu Nayaka and Kolhlha Kongi Nayaka were contemporaries of Muddu Raja's son Dodda Virappa. The descendants of Uththa Nayaka of Beppoo naad call themselves the Nayakanda today.

Kaliatanda Ponnappa and Karnayya Bavu (Karnembahu)

In circa 1600 CE, the first Haleri Raja, Vira Raja I, had established himself in Kodagu. At that time there were two powerful local lords: Karnayya Bavu of  Tavunad (Bhagamandala region) and Kaliatanda Ponnappa of Naalnaad (Nalknad). Kaliatanda (also called Kaliat) Ponnappa is the hero of a popular Kodava ballad. He was a magician, a  warrior and the most important person of Naalnaad. The following is the story of Kaliatanda Ponnappa.

In Kunjala village in Nalknad among the 20 original okkas who lived there, there was the Kaliatanda okka. To this clan belonged Kuttaya whose wife Chiyavva was of the Kuttanjettira okka of the neighbouring village of Bale Nurambada. But for years they had no offspring and so they performed penance for forty days and paid obeisance Iggutappa. After some time Ponnappa was born to the couple.

Kaliatanda Ponnappa studied the magic arts in North Malabar and became a famous tantric (magician). He had a friend and man Friday Boltu of Bollur, a very handy assistant who belonged to a forest-dwelling lower caste from the vicinity of Kodagu and was also well versed, like Ponnappa, in sorcery. Ponnappa reigned in Nalknad but displeased the Nayaka of Tavunad who became his nemesis. Kaliat Ponnappa went to the Haleri Raja to seek his protection against Karnayya Bavu of Thavu nad and his stealth army. At that time Nalknad was under the Haleri Raja, but Thavu nad still enjoyed some amount of independence.  After Ponnappa's death, Vira Raja managed to kill Karnayya and bring Bhagamandala and Thavu naad under his complete control. Ponnappa is also known as Kaliat  Achchappa. His followers who claimed to be possessed by his spirit would perform the magic tricks that he performed during his lifetime. He is an ancestor of the Kaliatanda clan.

While Richter claimed that Karnayya was a Coorg and Kaliat Ponnappa was a Malayali, this claim is erroneous. Many other historians like D. N. Krishnaiah, who were better equipped with information, clearly state that it was Karnayya who was from Kerala and Kaliat Ponnappa was a Coorg who however roamed the Malabar in his young days to procure an education. Richter, on the other hand, spoke about Ponnappa being a Malayali sorcerer who naturalised in Coorg, married a Coorgi woman, practised his trade in Nalknad and displeased some Coorgs who then shot  him dead near the Nalknad Kacheri. However Ponnappa's traditional ballad says that he was born of Coorg parents, Kaliatanda Kuttayya and Chiyavva, and that his mother was from the Coorgi Kuttanjettira clan. He was a magician who married his mother's brother's daughter and had an altercation with Karnayya whose men killed him.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

War of the Smartphones

-->by: Kushal Mucon (Mookonda Kushalappa)

A smartphone is a mobile phone with an operating system, multimedia support, Internet connectivity and some computer abilities. It would serve as a media player and a digital video camera, usually has a touchscreen, map navigation, Wi-Fi access and web browsers. Nokia's Symbian phones and Blackberry can be called the early popular smartphones. However it was the iPhones with their large multi-touchscreens (which used no stylus but the human touch) that revolutionized the smartphone world. Although I use smartphones, I still keep a Nokia feature phone maybe for old times sake and for simplicity.

Apple is credited for popularizing software technology be it the personal computer with it's Mac, the mp3 player with it's iPod, smartphone with it's iPhone or the tablet with it's iPad. Predictably iPhone 5 is a bigger version of the previous version, but there stops the freshness. IPhone 5 has arrived a year too late. In fact one can state that it is the Samsung Galaxy SIII that's the best smartphone currently with it's powerful hardware, polished looks and creative software. The iPhone 5 has simply been made as a competitor for the S III. But yes it is the best iPhone until date. As of today (November 3rd 2012) the sales of the S III has hit the 30 million mark. HTC One X is also another great advanced android smartphone. The Samsung Galaxy S III, the HTC One X, the LG Nexus 4, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and some other phones currently have screens that are bigger than that of the iPhone 5.

Currently Android rules the smartphone market with a market share of around 64 percent this year as compared to it's 43 percent last year. Meanwhile iPhone has roughly stayed the same with 18 percent market share. Symbian sales have fallen from 22 percent in 2011 to 6 percent in 2012. Every year the sales are decreasing but yet it is quite considerable enough not to ignore presently. Many Nokia devices use Symbian and Nokia is still the largest mobile device seller in India. Blackberry sales has fallen drastically intact it has halved; around 12 last year to about 5 percent this year. Microsoft's market share has increased from 1 percent to 2 percent especially after the introduction of Nokia's Lumia. Worldwide both Nokia and Samsung each make up around 20 percent of the mobile phones market share. Apple with around 7 percent of the share this year comes third. (Source: Gartner Reports, 2012)

In the US currently Android sales lead the way followed closely by Apple. Blackberry and Microsoft Phone are distant competitors with below ten percent of the smartphone market share. In China android makes up nearly 70 percent of the smartphone market share. In many European countries, Israel and in Australia, Android comes first followed by Apple. Blackberry still has a significant market in these countries. Symbian is used in Africa (nearly everybody in Guinea Bissau, Somalia, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Mozambique, many people in Niger, Swaziland, Egypt, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Chad), in India, Russia, Middle East (Oman, Iraq, Jordan), Central and Southern Europe (surprisingly a major player in Italy), South America (Paraguay) hardly ever used in USA and is on the decline in China.

License Patents have been brought out to protect Companies' intellectual property. But these have led to several disputes between companies. Litigation, suits and counter-suits have occurred between Software MNCs over the use of technology. Apple initially claimed that HTC and later Samsung have stolen and copied their design ideas. Some of the most famous law suits fought between Smartphone manufacturers have been: 2009 Apple vs. Nokia in 2009, Apple vs. HTC, Nokia and Motorola each in 2010, Apple vs. Nokia, Samsung in 2011, Microsoft vs. Motorola in 2010-11 and Apple vs. Samsung in 2012.