Kodava community enraged by use of traditional attire at gay wedding in US

Ponappa, a native Kodava settled in California, married his partner in September

US-RIGHTS-LANDMARK Representational image | AFP

A gay wedding, where the groom wore traditional Kodava attire has angered the Kodava community in Coorg. The images of the wedding, which were widely shared in Kodagu, has shocked the tiny martial community and triggered condemnation. Sharath Ponnappa, a native Kodava and a California-based doctor married his partner Sandeep Dosanj, a North Indian settled in the US, on September 26. 

The community said that they will expel and ostracise Ponappa for this ‘blasphemous act’. 

Ponappa migrated to the US 20 years go. The wedding took place in California as per Kodava customs in presence of friends and family. Madikeri Kodava Samaja president KS Devaiah said, “Such a shocking thing has never happened in the past. It is an insult to our community and our beliefs. We can't tolerate such a thing. Gay marriage is one thing and wearing sacred Kodava attire to solemnise a gay marriage is another thing. We are against the latter.” 

Another community leader said that the clan is ‘embarrassed’ and ‘humiliated’. Ponappa’s parents, who live in Dubai haven’t commented. Kodavas are a martial race, who are mainly into growing coffee. They wear their traditional attire only on special occasions and non-Kodavas are discouraged from doing so. In 2019, a five-star resort in Kodagu encountered rage of the community after staff wore Kodava attire to serve guests. The five-star chain later apologised to the community. 

There are around 3 lakh Kodavas all over the world and one-third of them still live in Kodagu.

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