“Elli Bhurame Deva sannidhi Bayasi Bimmane Bandalo” (Where Goddess Nature has promptly manifested in quest of Abode) – writes Sri Panjamangeshwar Rao, well known Kannada poet that is often quoted to describe the beauty of Kodagu’s landscape, its people and their culture. Kodagu is known for natural beauty, which is still fresh and pristine. The glimpse of history of Kodagu with reference to culture and education will not be prolific and complete without listing the path of growth traced by erstwhile Government College, Madikeri.
Formal education either in vernacular medium or any other popular medium was not vogue in Kodagu district until the advent of the British in this region two centuries ago. Primary and secondary schooling began in a low key during that time but need for access to higher education in this region was not felt so keenly until the year 1941, when a proposal for starting a Second Grade College was placed at the general body meeting of the Coorg Education Fund. In the same year a Bill to this effect was moved before the Chief Commissioner in a session of Kodagu legislative Assembly. Though it was passed with majority, it was kept at abeyance by the government due to financial constraints.
In 1943, the matter once again was raised once again by the President, Coorg Education Fund, but in vain. There was a typical hindrance in getting affiliation from Madras University since it extended affiliation only to First Grade Colleges. So, the proposal for opening a Second Grade College was abandoned. In 1944, the School Education Officer was directed to draft a plan to open a First Grade College. The bill was passed in the session of the legislative Assembly and the Govt. Of India was urged to sanction an assistance of Rs. 5.00 lakhs. The government finally gave consent to open the college soon after the Second World War.
After independence, as the number of High schools began increasing in a phased manner, access to Higher Education also became indispensable. In 1948, Mr. C.T Modaliyar, the Chief Commissioner of Kodagu, explained the circumstances to Sri Sardar Vallabha Bhai Patel, the then Home Minister, Govt. Of India, Dr. Tharachand, Secretary to the Education minister and Sri Mr. H.V.R Aiyangar, the Secretary to the Home Minister. As a result, the Government gave its assent and directed the Madras University to give affiliation to the college. In May 1949, a Committee lead by Sri Lakshmanaswamy Modaliyar from Madras University visited Madikeri. As per their report, the University gave permission to start Junior Intermediate Courses. To begin with, Intermediate Courses were started in the Central High School building in 1949-50. It was inaugurated by Mr. H.V.R. Aiyangar, Secretary to Home Minister on June 30th 1949. On the same day, the foundation stone was laid for the new building at the police parade ground. The college was shifted to the present building in 1953-54. In the same year, degree course in Arts was started and in the following year a course in Science was introduced. In 1955-56, Pre-University course of one-year duration was started. ‘C’ State Kodagu was merged with Mysore province in 1956 and incidentally the college was affiliated to Mysore University. In 1980-81, the college has been affiliated to Mangalore University. Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com) course was started in 1988. The makeover of erstwhile Govt. College as a Constituent college of Mangalore University and its phenomenal ascendance later is a great saga. Mr. M.C. Nanaiah, Former Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Govt. of Karnataka, Mr. S.M Yahya, Former Education Minister, Govt. of Karnataka and Prof. M.I. Savadatti, the then Vice-Chancellor, Mangalore University, have been instrumental in the takeover of the college by Mangalore University as its constituent college in 1993. The objective was to develop the college to cater to the needs of higher education of the district more qualitatively and days later it’s definitely showing results.
In April 1994, the college was renamed after Field Marshal K.M Cariappa, the first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Armed forces. Since then Mangalore University has been taking keen interest to not only strengthen the existing courses but also extending the course availability as per needs of the time. Computer Science as an optional subject was introduced at the B.Sc level in 1994, introduced Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) and revived English as an optional subject at B.A in 1995. Computer Application as a vocational subject was introduced at B.Com level in 1996. Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Application and Microbiology at B.Sc level were started during 1997. The same year the then Vice Chancellor Prof. S Gopal inaugurated Post Graduate Center in the campus that housed the PG departments of Microbiology and Biochemistry, which have been relocated to New PG of Mangalore University at Chikka Aluvara during 2013-14. In 2002, Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA) course was introduced. B.S.W, Journalism as a subject of studyat B.A level, UGC funded Add on courses – Travel and Tourism, Hardware and Networking have been introduced during 2007-08 and Functional English during 2008-09. B.A(HRD) and Data Processing at B.A level were introduced during 2010-11, Travel and Tourism Management and Certificate in Animation and Visual Effects during 2011-12. M.Sc (Physics) was started during 2012-13, M.A (Economics) and M.A (English) during 2014-15, M.B.A (TA) during 2015-16, M.Com during 2016-17 and PG Diploma in Yogic Science was introduced in the year 2017-18.
The Institution has been maintaining an impressive track record in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. It has produced many sportspersons of national and international fame and also famed achievers in other fields. A long list of distinguished alumni is a testimony to this. The college has NCC and NSS units. The college, which started in 1949 with 114 students, is now imparting education to more than 2000 students. It has been the envisioned commitment of the college to provide quality education to the students and mould them as better citizens of tomorrow. This college is the first institution in Kodagu district to undergo NAAC Assessment and accreditation process and had been accredited with B++ grade for the period 2004-2009. Re-accredited with A grade with CGPA 3.25 for the period 2011-2016. The College has been recognized by UGC as the College with Potential for Excellence for the period 2016-2021.