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Did reorganisation panel ignore Kodava leaders' plea?

K. Jeevan Chinnappa

Representative Assembly opposed merger


  • Kodavas are now outnumbered by other communities
  • Excellent infrastructure is a thing of the past
  • No Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha seat for Kodagu

    Madikeri: Is the amalgamation of Coorg State, now Kodagu district, with the then Mysore State in 1956 justified? The debate still goes on. Going by the representation given by the 24 elected members of the Coorg Legislative Assembly to the States Reorganisation Committee (SRC) on June 14, 1954, it can be inferred that the amalgamation went against the will of the people.

    The memorandum read: "In conclusion, we beg to submit that the States Reorganisation Commission be pleased to recommend to the Government of India that Coorg be allowed to continue as a separate State."

    The memorandum said that Coorg's boundaries were naturalm and historically it had been a separate State for centuries. It was the only Part "C" State, which had the training and experience of a democratic institution since 1924 with a separate budget of its own. The State had always been surplus in food grains and economic and social conditions of its people were better than elsewhere. Coorg had high literacy rate and its medical facilities were second to Delhi. The condition of labour in Coorg was decidedly better than elsewhere and it had a separate culture and individuality of its own.

    The memorandum said: "Coorg is more a multi-lingual State than purely Kannada speaking area and it is self-sufficient in finances and never a burden to the Centre. Coorg has many resources and as a self-contained State in the Indian Union, it will strengthen the Central Government. Finally, the Assembly members had stated that Coorg was an ideal place to work out a model State."

    Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, in a reply to Pandyanda I. Belliappa, one of the members of the Coorg Legislative Assembly on November 3, 1951, said: "I have repeatedly explained to you our position in regard to Coorg. The question of merger of Coorg does not arise at present and the coming elections will have nothing to do with it. Only recently, Parliament passed legislation governing various States in India, including Coorg."

    The memorandum said: "In any event, it is not Coorg Assembly that will decide the matter but Parliamant which will have to take into consideration not only the views of the people of Coorg but many other important factors." As things would have it, the amalgamation process came through on November 1, 1956.

    The Secretary-General of the Codava National Council (CNC), N.U. Nachappa, said the Centre held an opinion poll in Goa to ascertain the will of the people whether to remain a separate State or merge with Maharashtra or Karnataka. Lt. Gen. B.C. Nanda (retired) recently said there is a strong feeling among the people of Kodagu that every effort is being made to wipe out this minority group or at least to make them of no consequence in the land of their ancestors. The finest road communication network, medical, educational facilities are a thing of the past. The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha representations too have been taken away. Now, there is talk of reducing the three Assembly constituencies in the district to two.

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