An interrupted entrepreneur (as he says it with humour) Mr. Kishoo Uthappa has been associated with many ventures for the last 25 years. His passion towards his tribe has made him to create a portal called www.kodavaclan.co which is one of its first kind ever. With a family tree of close to 13000 members, this project excites him to figure out how another Kodava is related to him. Few members in his tree have a lineage of over 13 generations recorded.
Interviewed him on Kodavaclan for the first time and here it goes !!
Mounika: What is Kodava clan and what is a vision?
Kishoo: Kodava Clan, as a portal is a platform for all the Kodavas to login and reveal the memories of Kodagu and study the statistics of all Kodavas we have achieved laurels in life.
Vision is to see that the coming generations do not miss out any of the information on Kodavas and Kodagu
Tell us a few words about Kodavas culture and history
Kodava culture and history cannot be told in a few words. we have a history for more than 10,000 years and the culture, traditions, and rituals which are being followed and maintained since then.
How did you get the idea of bringing back the history and culture in one place?
It is not my idea to bring back the history and culture at one place. For us Kodavas, it was always been there and we will always remain in one place called Kodagu. I’ve just made a small attempt to digitalize it.
What has inspired you to get started?
It all started with generating the family trees of different okkas ( large families ). As we have a different type of culture I found it quite easier compare to other castes to link the families and find out how each one of us Kodavas is related to each other. While creating this tree we came across a lot of Kodavas Who had achieved such Laurels in life and unfortunately not been recorded and given due importance in the present world. We have a lot of men and women from this small tribal community who have represented India in different walks of life.
They were neglected with recognition and the present generation did not even know their existence and sacrifice.
So I wanted to document all of that and make the present generation get inspiration from our elders.
To tell you in the last Asian Games. Out of the 69 medals won by India 6 medals were won by our community
If you check this link you will know about our tribes contribution to the country
So we spread such messages on social media and make our tribe proud of themselves
How long you’re working on this project & Describe the social impact achieved?
The concept was on my mind since 2014 but it came live on the net only in 2017. We have managed to get many of our younger members of our tribal community to get to know the rich culture of Kodavas. The Kodavas are one of the last tribes in India to continue to retain its original culture and heritage. The Kodava Clan intends to continually bring out information to build and retain the interest in the younger generation. Kodavas have an ingrained culture of worshiping and conserving nature; which is what the world needs today.
Every culture relies on its deep roots to survive through the ages. We at The Kodava Clan have researched and gathered data to create family trees of as many as 14 generations. Just to study one’s lineage through generations is awe-inspiring and builds interest in people to discover their relationships with other Kodavas which they did not know existed. The Kodava Clan aims to build community connections and strengthen relationships for a stronger society of togetherness.
Describe how your business addresses the social and/or environmental problem you have described above?
Our tribe’s main aim is to conserve the environment. Our traditional customs are imbibed with rituals that emphasize the importance and value of nature and the need to respect it. This is mentioned in detail, on the website.
Awareness ignites a sense of connection and that is what we aim to accomplish by regularly posting information about our festivals and customs. Over time and with urbanization, the youth have not heard of the traditional festivals and the reason behind the customs. They may have forgotten the value of nature and the importance of respecting it. With continued sharing of information on the website, our youth get educated of their ancestral customs and feel motivated to make the change. What better way to encourage conservation of nature than to treat it with reverence?
Is there any specific reason why maximum Kodavas are into coffee cultivation, is it a part of a Kodava culture?
We are basically agriculturist paddy was always been our main crop Britishers introduced coffee in a commercial way as terrain, climate suited well for coffee and as typical hard workers, we continued the same after they left INDIA.
How important do you think that it is the responsibility of every citizen to protect their tradition?
We have seen countries losing their identity and perish when it shows lethargy to its tradition.
What is your biggest motivation?
Our elders doing so much for our tiny tribal community and the present generation keeping it up
What’s the revenue generation model of Kodava clan?
Kodavaclan portal is a non-profit making portal. We intend to get Kodavas from across the world to subscribe to The Kodava Clan. Members are encouraged to create their family tree at a nominal charge affordable to Kodavas across social strata. Additionally, Kodavas may sponsor a page which in turn contributes to society. We have more than a thousand pages to be sponsored and another five thousand pages yet to be created. (https://kodavaclan.co/kodaguheritage/page-sponsorship/ )
In the future, we intend to replicate this model for other clans/tribes of India to create the same impact of bringing back the feeling of community spirit for improved quality of life which blends family values with modern living trends.
What made you go into social work?
This is not social work !! This is shear selfishness!!! 😊😊
Collecting data to feel proud of my tribe !!
Any suggestions for this generation?
Kodava kids are extremely passionate about their culture and tradition. They are actually well-versed much more than our generations I only request them to keep the passion on and do their best to retain the culture and tradition
Mounika: Thanks a lot for answering my questions!!