Speaker K.G. Bopaiah’s rise in political arena was phenomenal, yet he did not show any qualm in handling a pair of oxen to plough the wetland like a farmer at Ammangala village in Valnoor in Kodagu on Sunday.
He was taking part in “Kodava Samskruti-Bole Samskruti”, a programme organised by the Karnataka Kodava Sahitya Academy. An unpretentious Mr. Bopaiah held the plough in one hand and a stick in the other to drive the oxen as a farmer, much to the amazement of the people who had gathered at the village.
He then stepped into the wetlands holding a bunch of paddy seedlings and transplanted them, which only goaded many others, including president of the Academy Addanda C. Cariappa, to follow suit.
Mr. Bopaiah proved a point that agriculture and lands in Kodagu that had bound families together in the past still had great significance.
Mr. Bopaiah said that paddy cultivation was once the lifeline of people in Kodagu and must be saved for posterity. However, he cautioned people against selling their lands for non-commercial purposes. Sports and games associated with paddy cultivation such as “nativota” (wetland sprint) was relevant even to this day, he said.
The Speaker assured people that he along with Minister for Youth Services and Sports M.P. Appachu Ranjan would strive to make Kodava one of the three administrative languages in Kodagu.
The anomalies in the RTC had been corrected and farmers could avail themselves of bank loans, he said. People should not worry about the ‘bane’ land or forest-related issues as they would be solved soon.
The elected representatives of Kodagu would not allow implementation of a separate rule for Kodagu, he said.
Mr. Cariappa appealed to the State government to consider Kodava as the third official language in Kodagu, on the lines of Konkani and Tulu.
President of the Zilla Panchayat Standing Committee on Agriculture Babbira Saraswati, zilla panchayat member Ballaranda Mani Uthappa, Editor of “Poomale”, Kodava weekly, Ajjinikanda Mahesh Nachaiah, and agricultural scientist G.S. Mahesh spoke.