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Book Review

Rise and Fall Of the Coorg State


Author - P. T. Bopanna

This is a book serves as an answer for many people who are curious
to know about Coorg and its history as a state and issues related to
the merger of coorg with Mysore state now known as Karnataka.
The author has referred to many sources and has also
made C.P.Belliappa , son of C.M.Poonacha (Chief Minister of
Coorg from 1952-56) to pen down his thoughts and the situations
faced by Coorg and his father C.M.Poonacha during the time of
merger and a small picture about his father's life.

Coorg, as a separate state had an identity since 1834 and was also
maintained by the Britishers and subsequently continued as Part 'C'
state in independent India till 1956. Around 1946, when a member
had to be elected to represent Coorg at the National Constituent
Assembly, Poonacha was elected as the representative.
From then leaders of Coorg, (the Congress members) started
fighting among themselves, some for the merger and some against
it.
The issue of merge came into light because India wanted to show
its unity and decided to merge all the Part 'C' states except for
Himachal Pradesh. By this time there were many Non-Kodavas
residing in Coorg. The British had made Kannada and English
compulsory in all schools by which Coorg was completely
considered as a Kannada speaking state. Poonacha was for the
merger, listening to Jawaharlal Nehru, then the Prime minister of
India who told that were no chances merger of the state as of now
and if so also the parliament would decide and referendum
wouldn’t play a role in it. Later in 1956, even though Poonacha was
in favor of merger Beliappa, who in the initial stages was against
the merger turned against and stood in favor of merger. Out of 24
members 22 were in favor of merger which as a result got merged
with Karnataka.
Though in the starting it seems to us that Poonacha was in favor of
merger he said it was because of Jawaharlal Nehru and the congress
leaders at Delhi that had made him to be in favor of merger and he
was in "Catch 22" situation at that time and was forced to do so.
Because of the ego and politics of the people,
Coorg got merged with Karnataka and as a District has been seen
very low and has been given least importance. In 1949, Deputy
Prime minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel said, "Now the only place in
India where you may say there is Ram Rajya is Coorg; where there
is no complaint; there is no robbery; there is no theft. During 1956-
57 Coorg made a very good progress in all positive fields and its
revenue was Rs.1.75 crore. On April 1st there was a surplus of 53
lakhs in Coorg treasury.
Though Coorg in all the matters---that is financial, culture,
tradition, language, etc was fit to remain as a separate state was
merged with Karnataka for many reasons. Now Coorg is facing
many problems. There are only two ministers from Coorg. Injustice
has been made to Kodavas with regard to Cauvery water.

The birth of river Cauvery is in Coorg and they


have only not been given for proper use, instead dams and bridges
have been constructed and water has been directed to other places.
Though Coorg contributes 400 crores annually to the state
exchequer, the state government spends only 34 crore annually on
Kodagu, of which 16 crore is towards administrative expenditure.
Even literacy rate is very high in Coorg, but irony is that after the
merge, Kodavas living in Coorg has been reduced and more of
Kannada, Malayalam, Urdu speaking people have settled there.
Coorg once known as Ram Rajya for people being so honest has
now changed.
People have started adopting corrupt methods to get their work
done by the Karnataka government.

Hence Coorg, a place known for its distinct culture and tradition
and cool climate which performed its best as a state has now lost its
identity and has been betrayed.
Injustice has been and being made regarding Cauvery water and its
precious land known for coffee plantations. The best result as of
now which Coorg can expect is only to have an autonomous
administration and not a separate state all of a sudden. Even now
people are fighting in Coorg to regain it as a state.