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COORG PERSON OF THE YEAR: CREATING ROLE MODELS
Kodavas (Coorgs), a microscopic minority community hailing from Kodagu (Coorg) district in Karnataka, were once known for their leadership qualities. This Kodava trait of being natural leaders was very much in evidence in the Defence services and Kodagu came to be known as the ‘Land of the Generals’.
However, in the last few decades, the community has not produced many truly outstanding men and women, except in the arena of sports.
As a chronicler of Kodagu, journalist and author P.T. Bopanna felt that one of the reasons for their inability to play leadership roles, was the absence of enough ‘role models’ in the community.
With a view to reignite the famed leadership qualities in the community,
Bopanna decided to promote ‘role models’ by starting the ‘Coorg Person of the Year’ title.
The concept first took shape in 2005 and Dr Kavery Nambisan,
a novelist and medical practitioner, was selected as the first Coorg Person of the Year. The selection was made based on the basis of a poll Bopanna conducted through his news portal www.coorgtourisminfo.com. There has been no looking back. This book features all the winners of the Coorg Person of the Year title till 2020.
The selection was not confined to the Kodava community, but included all residents of Coorg. For instance, one of the joint winners of the title in 2018 was industrialist Ashok Kumar Shetty, who donated part of his land to the government for building a road which was damaged by the floods and landslides of 2018. Another winner is Dr S.V. Narasimhan, the birdman of Coorg.
Age is no bar while selecting the Coorg Person. For instance, the winner of 2020, Dr Sanjana Kattera, a corona warrior, is in her twenties. So far, the title has been won by 19 persons. The winner of 2022 was film actress Rashmika Mandanna.
The book published by Rolling Stone Publications, features the achievements of the winners of the Coorg Person title.
The foreword for the book has been written by Preeth Ganapathy, who is an officer of the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
Author Bopanna has written nine books so far, including the Gourmand award-winning book ‘The Romance of Indian Coffee’ and the bestselling books – ‘Are Kodavas (Coorg) Hindus?’ and ‘Rise and Fall of the Coorg State’.