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Kodagu People, Karnataka (India)

Last modified: 2009-06-06 by ian macdonald
Keywords: kodagu | karnataka | codava national council |
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[Kodagu Flag] image by Chrystian Kretowicz, 11 April 2009

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Description of the flag

Variably called Kodagu, Codava, Kodava, Codagu, or Coorg, Wiki and the official district's website says "Kodagu", so let me use that name:

"Kodagu is a district of Karnataka State in southern India. It is also known by its anglicized name of Coorg. It occupies about 4,100 square kilometers (1,580 miČ) of land in the Western Ghats of southwestern Karnataka. As of 2001, the population was 5,48,561, with some 13.74% of the population residing in the district's urban centers. Kodagu's capital is Madikeri. The district is bordered by Dakshina Kannada District to the northwest, Hassan District to the north, Mysore District to the east, the Kannur District of Kerala to the southwest, and the Wayanad District of Kerala to the south. Kodagu is home to many communities with diverse ethnic origins, with Kodavas being the main ethnic group. Other communities include AreBhase Gowda, Malayali,. There are also a number of tribes such as the Yeravas, Kurubas, Airies and Kudiyas, who are believed to be of tribal origin. Muslims from the Malabar coast, the Mapilles, have also been present as traders and entrepreneurs. The Kodava community numbers about one-fifth out of a total population of over 500,000, speaking the Kodava takk language. The Kodavas are traditionally ancestor worshipers with a martial tradition. The Kodava along with other communities like Lingayat, Are Bhashe Gowda, were once part of the Kodagu King's army, and remain a  prominent Kodagu group.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 11 April 2009

Codava National Council

[Codava National Council Flag] image by Eugene Ipavec, 22 April 2009

There is quite strong sentiment among Kodavas to separate from Karnataka and to create an autonomous district for themselves. Among many organizations demanding the change of status is Codava National Council which has a flag described as:
"kodava flag, depicting the sacred 'pathk' and 'peeche kathi' within a circular enclosure, guarded by two guns outside and the 'chembooka' extending its wings underneath. The entire motif is within a maroon-coloured diamond. maroon represents the prime costume of a 'kodavathi', the diamond background the tenacity of a kodava, the blue frame represents their cool."

Despite the numerous requests I was unable to obtain the image of that flag, but the photos of it can be seen at

James B. Minahan (Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations - Ethnic and National Groups Around the World - volume II) presents another flag, which he describes as follows:
"The Kodava national flag, the flag of the national movement, is a black field bearing the traditional seal of Coorg, two crossed swords over a rifle surrounded by chains."
I managed to reconstruct faithfully the image of this flag using Minahan's description.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 11 April 2009