Ruminating on Railway Line from Kerala via Kodagu to Mysuru
I had gone away from my job as a journalist since 10th of December, 2017. The persistent fever had taken away my interest in doing what I love most — reading.
Since a couple of days I resumed my book-reading and also reading articles that I was asked to read and comment. One such was about the proposed Railway Line from a place called Thalassery in Kerala to our city Mysuru. The article, rather a report, titled “Kodagu to be Kerala’s appendage if Railway Line is not stopped” is by a native Kodava (not an NRI or NRK!) Kambeyanda Sunil Biddappa, Retired Senior Vice-President, ITC Ltd.
It lays bare the immediate and long-time dangers Kodagu, as a geographical area and the people who live there, will face. Apart from destroying forests, coffee estates, paddy fields, another human problem that would hit Kodagu will be relocating people living in areas acquired by the Railways. It is the most painful part of the project that would do good only to people of Kerala.
Kodagu is part of Karnataka, therefore Karnataka Government and Karnataka people (Governments are always fickle, ideologically driven or with its 5-year agenda) should forthwith stop this project in the initial stage itself, in which it is now. Otherwise, it will be another case of “High Tension Power Line” with those giant steel towers passing through Kodagu (again South Kodagu) which benefits Kerala ONLY.
If Karnataka wants to safeguard its border district Kodagu from eventually becoming de facto part of Kerala and avoid Kodagu being converted into hot-bed of anti-nationals, the time is now to say NO and STOP this most dangerous Railway Line. I agree with Biddappa.
Now, I have some questions to ask our ‘Responsible Government.’ The survey for this 145.5-km Railway Line was conducted by Thalassery-Mysuru Railway Line Action Council.
How and why did Karnataka Government allow this survey to be conducted in its land (Kodagu)? Whose Government was in power? BJP, BJP-JD(S) alliance, Congress-JD(S) alliance or the present Congress?
Who were the IAS or IRS officers who advised the Karnataka Government to give such permission?
Sri Adichunchanagiri Seer late Sri Balagangadharanatha Swamiji once told me and my friend late former MLA H.S. Shankaralingegowda that Karnataka failed to get many Central-assisted projects sanctioned because all the ‘decision-making’ IAS, IFS (Forest Service), Revenue Service, IPS, IRS and other officers were 98% non-Kannadigas.
Karnataka Government and Karnataka people must realise a country or a geographical area loses its original identity when native population is overwhelmed by the immigrant population.
Next time when there is a Review of the State Reorganisation, may be after 50 or 100 years, Kodagu may well disappear and become part of Kerala, like Kasaragod. Kannadigas are warned.
Well, if Kannadigas are not bothered about Kodagu’s identity in the future, then one will have to call our good old N.U. Nachappa of Codava National Council (CNC) and Dr. Subramanian Swamy who espoused the cause of Autonomy or a Hill Council Status to Kodagu under the Constitution within the framework of Karnataka. First, abolition of Jamma land tenure; Second laying of High Tension Steel Towers; Third, 4-lane National Highway; Fourth, the Railway Line from Mysuru to Kushalnagar; Fifth, one-km Buffer Zone from the edges of Forest lands and Game Sanctuaries; Sixth, Greater Talacauvery Eco-Sensitive Zone; Seventh, reckless conversion of agricultural land — paddy and coffee — to commercial use like Holiday Resorts, Hotels, Housing Colonies, Home Stays etc., and now another 145.5-km Railway Line in South Kodagu as mentioned earlier.
Sunil Biddappa has rightly pointed out that all these developments do not portend well for the future existence of Kodagu as a unique land of thick forests with deep valleys and high peaks, a beauty to behold.
Sunil Biddappa says, “It is not only the ecological and economic disaster it portends but also the safety of its people, especially womenfolk staying alone in the estates who will be vulnerable. This will also attract hundreds of fundamentalists across the border who will make Kodagu an important hub for their nefarious activities like radicalising the local youth and other anti-national activities.”
He further warns the people of Kodagu, who are by nature apolitical and complacent, thus: “For the survival of our homeland it is time the people of Kodagu come out of their ivory towers and support the cause with resources to fight against this disastrous proposal of the Railways to save Kodagu from exploitation, impacting the social and cultural ethos of the original inhabitants and finally becoming a colony of the neighbouring State.”
As years pass, population increases, the demand for land in Kodagu will increase. Naturally, the neighbouring State Kerala would utilise Kodagu as a corridor to go to big cities of Karnataka like Mysuru and Bengaluru where already we find a gradual growth of investment from Keralites (with Dubai money) and corresponding growth of the population of migrant Keralites of all communities. If Kodagu people have ears to hear, let them hear Biddappa and act now. Otherwise let them see with the eyes they have, the end of Kodagu.
The imminent, inevitable consequence of providing such corridors and connectivity between two geographically separate units under separate Governments with two separate racial population, as in this case, should be viewed with future concerns on security and demographic balance of the State or District which provides such corridors or connectivity. Here in this case it is the Karnataka Government that should worry.
I am reminded of the Partition plans for India, with many alternative suggestions that included how not to divide India, that followed the visit of the Cabinet Mission to India.
The Resolution on Partition was adopted on 15th June 1947. And Partition came two months later, on 15th August 1947. The Resolution was to partition Punjab in the West and Bengal in the East as Pakistan — a Muslim nation. The majority Hindu India settled for Secular nation.
The fact that Pakistan would have two wings with NO land connectivity worried the Muslims. So, Muhammad Ali Jinnah suggested a 800-mile (1,280-km) long corridor across Secular India to link West and East Muslim Pakistan. For once, for the good fortune of Secular India neither the British nor the Congress agreed. Jinnah was adamant. But when he realised that this ‘issue’ may further delay the day of Independence he did not pursue it.
Imagine, what would have been the social, economical and political consequence now if India had agreed for that corridor? This 1,280-km-long corridor would have had a free-run for militants and terrorists. Be that as it may, think of the hand of providence. In 25 years Pakistan did not find any need for this corridor. You guessed it.
If only Prime Minister of Britain Neville Chamberlain was firm and ruthless with Hitler there would have been no World War II at all. A country is great only if it produces, as often as possible, great leaders like in America or in Europe. After Nehru, who did we get as great leaders? Indira Gandhi, P.V. Narasimha Rao and now Narendra Modi. Jai Hind.
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