Madikeri: Think of Indian Army and the names of Kodavas instantly spring in the Indian minds. The number of Kodavas who have already served the army and lived their lives with valour for the sake of the nation and the young Kodavas who are carrying on this rich legacy are many.
As per records available as many as 45 Kodavas laid down their lives for the sake of the country post Independence.
Kodagu to a small hilly district of Karnataka, so to say 4,102 square kilometres (1,584 sq mi) of land area in the Western Ghats of southwestern Karnataka, which comes up to mere 2.14 per cent of the total area of the state. But, from this small land emerged some of the greatest sons of soil, who lived their life for the pride of the country.
Records show that Sipoy Madappa (Indo-Pak War of 1948), Gen M B Devaiah (Indo-Pak war of 1962), M B Devaiah (Indo Pak War of 1965), C N Aiyanna (Indo-Pak war of 1965), M M Poovaiah (Indo-Pak war of 1965, A N S Karyappa (Indo-Pak war of 1965), Nayak K N Ponnappa (Indo-Pak war of 1965), Subedar B M Kaveriappa (Cactus Lilly Operation 1971), Sepoy M S Muthanna (Cactus Lilly operation 1971), M S Ponnappa (Cactus Lilly 1971), Sepoy N M Appachu (Cactus Lilly 1971), Gunner S R Palangappa (Cactus Lilly 1971), P S Ramu (Operation Medghdoot 1984), P A Devaiah (Operation Meghdooth 1987), Major K A Somaiah (Operation Pavan 1987), M B Kushalappa (Operation Meghdooth 1987), M P Bopaiah (Operation Pavan 1987), Major Ranjith Muthana (Operation Pavan 1987), Sepoy H Y Venkatesh (Operation Pavan 1988), Sepoy K A Ramakrishna (Opration Pavan 1988), P A Shambhu (Operation Rakshak 1991), P B Kuttappa (Operation Rhino 1993), C M Somaiah (Operation Rakshak 1994), K B Punacha (Operation Orchid 1994), Ganesh Madappa (Operation Rakshak 1995), C R Chandra (Operation Rakshak 1995), G A Uttaiah (Operation Orchid 1995), S K Medappa (Operation Vijay 1999), P D Kaverappa (Operation Vijay 1999), Major M C Muthanna (Operation Rakshak 2000), SS Eerappa (Operation Falcom 2000), K A Saveen (Operation Rakdhak 2001), B M Devappa (Operation Rakshak 2001), K P Belyappa (Operation Falcom 2002), B S Devaiah (Operation Parakram 2002), C P Arun (Operation Of Jammu Kashmir 2003), U Bidappa (Operation Meghdooth 2003), H G Sundaresh (Operation Parakram 2003), A P Prashanth (Operation Rakshak 2003), K K Thimmaiah (Operation Rakshak 2007), K C Thilak (Operation Rakshak 2008), Sunil Ganapathy (Operation Rakshak 2008), A Thangappa Radhakrishna (Operation Rakshak 2009), K C Ravindra (Operation Rakshak 2009), C A Nanjappa (Operation Falcon 2011) laid down their lives for the country.
Any reminiscence of rich Kodava heritage will be incomplete without remembering the great service of Field Marshal K M Cariappa, the first Indian Chief of Staff and one of the highest Indian Army rank holders. He was appointed the Commander-in-chief of the Indian Army in 1949. Rao Saheb I P Muthanna is a World War I Hero who served in Iraq. It is in his memory that Muthanna Airbase and Muthanna Road in Baghdad have been named after him.
Last but not the least, is K S Thimmayya, the commissioned officer of the British Indian Army in 1926 who later became the Chief of Staff of the Indian army.