Madikeri: Addressing a long- standing demand of the Kodava community, the Karnataka Cabinet yesterday stamped its approval for the official use of ‘Kodava / Kodavaru’ on caste certificates and all other documents, replacing the previous ‘Kodagaru’ designation or classification.
The State Government has endorsed the recommendations put forth by the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission. The Commission’s recommendations include the usage of ‘Kodava’ and ‘Kodavaru’ in Kannada and ‘Kodava’ and ‘Kodavaru’ in English, a departure from the earlier ‘Kodagaru’ designation.
The Karnataka High Court had directed the State Government on December 16, 2021, to adopt the ‘Kodava’ and ‘Kodavaru’ terminology as suggested by the Backward Classes Commission. This directive came as a response to a petition filed by the Codava National Council (CNC), with Justice Krishna S. Dixit issuing the order.
Soon after the Congress Government came to power, the issue was taken up at the Government level by Virajpet MLA A.S. Ponnanna, who is also the Legal Advisor to Chief Minister Siddharamaiah. Ponnanna, during his election campaign, had promised to fight for the change as the community had been demanding it for many years.
This decision by the Cabinet represents a significant victory for the CNC and its President, N.U. Nachappa, who had been advocating for this change for over a decade. With a change in Government in the State, Nachappa and other CNC members along with Ponnanna met the Chief Minister to reiterate their demand for ‘Kodavaru’ to be included in the Caste Certificate. Nachappa emphasised that the use of ‘Kodagaru’ in the past had adverse effects on Kodava cultural and social values.
“We are happy that the Government has approved our long-pending demand as we have been fighting for it since 2008. The CNC had appealed to the Karnataka Backward Classes Commission Secretary to modify the Caste Certificate issued under Category 3a. Responding to our plea, the CM brought the matter before the Cabinet, which approved the use of ‘Kodava’ and ‘Kodavaru’ in Caste Certificates, replacing the earlier ‘Kodagaru’ designation,” Nachappa said.
“This Cabinet decision has exposed the earlier elected representatives of Kodagu, who had evaded their responsibility regarding the issue for years as they had consistently argued that the matter fell under the purview of the Central Government and was beyond the State Government’s jurisdiction. The CNC will thank MLA Ponnanna, CM Siddharamaiah, Backward Classes Minister Shivaraj Tangadagi, Dr. Dwarakanath and Dr. Jayaprakash Hegde, of the Backward Classes Commission, Justice Krishna S. Dixit, Advocate Ballachanda Belliappa, volunteers of CNC and the Kodava community,” Nachappa added.