As Home Ministry Upholds Kodavas’ Ancient Right To Bear Arms, Here’s Why The Order Is So Significant

by Swarajya Staff - Oct 31, 2019 02:46 PM +05:30 IST
As Home Ministry Upholds Kodavas’ Ancient Right To Bear Arms, Here’s Why The Order Is So SignificantKodavathis with the guns.
Snapshot
  • Recently some elements wanted to deprive Kodavas of their ancient right to bear arms, the Home Ministry though has come to their aid

The Amit Shah led Home Ministry in an order dated 29 October, extended the gun license exemption granted to the Kodavas for ten years up until 31 October 2029, Press Trust of India reported.

Weapons are a sacred and integral part of the culture of Koravas who hail from the Kodagu region in Karnataka.

The Home Ministry notification states that every person of Coorg by race and every jumma land tenure holder in Coorg is exempted from having to carry a gun license for his or her weapons.

Threat To The Cultural Practice Of Kodavas

The Kodavas are the only community in India who do not have to carry an arms license for their weapons which include revolvers, pistols and double-barrelled shotguns.

Every person in entitled to own and carry one rifle and muzzle loading gun along with 600 rounds of ammunition. This exemption was provided to them by the British all the way back in 1861 and has continued ever since.

This privilege granted to the Kodavas was recently threatened by a petition filed in the Karnataka High Court which questioned the exemption granted to them under the Indian Arms Act, 1959.

The petitioners against this exemption also knocked on the doors of the Home Ministry calling for a cancellation. The Karnataka High Court had dismissed the petition before it on 13 August after Home Ministry agreed to review the arms act, 1959.

This led to much angst among the Kodavas but much to their relief, the Home Ministry has heard their plea and extended the exemption by 10 years.

The Importance Of Weapons For Kodavas

As extensively reported here, weapons are part of the Kodava identity and are an integral part of their culture and existence.

Their association with weapons begins all the way from the childhood as the kids grow up with guns around them. This association transcends gender as both men, women and boys, girls have equal rights to the family weapons.

Their familiarity with weapons has borne fruit for India in a national scheme of things as Field Marshal K M Cariappa and General K S Thimayya both hail from Kodagu.

India’s sole Indian Air Force (IAF) officer Ajjamada Boppayya Devayya who was posthumously awarded the Maha Vir Chara, was also a Kodava.

Their guns are considered a representation of their ancestors and are a part and parcel of the customs followed by their people.

For example, in ancient times the Kodavas used to inform of a birth in their family by firing a single shot from their guns. Two shots were fired in case they had to report a death to their neighbours.

This tradition is showcased every year during the occasion of Kailpodh - which is a form of Ayudh puja for Kodavas. During the festival, the guns are worshipped in a traditional ritual led by their clan head.

After the puja is complete, the Kodavas fire their guns on suspended coconut - a relic of a bygone era when they used to hunt boars.

In the 18th century the Kodavas had resisted the rule of Tipu Sultan and the later, in all his barbaric might, had inflicted upon them a genocide by slaughtering 60,000 of their people.

The Kodavas - despite having a peace treaty with the British - faced atrocities at their hands as well.

With the 10 year exemption granted by the Home Ministry, their traditional practice is safe, for now.

Also Read: Yet Again, Kodavas Forced To Defend Their Right To Carry What They Literally Worship – Their Guns infliced jkjdd

Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Comments ↓
Get Swarajya in your inbox everyday. Subscribe here.
Advertisement

Latest Articles

    Artboard 4Created with Sketch.