Badaga Script

Of late, there has been some serious efforts to have an unique script for Badaga. Though welcoming the initiatives, I do not know how effective it is to make it known/understood ‘universally’ in the short term.

Since most of the Badaga children are studying/sent to English medium schools and many Badaga elders are familiar with both Tamil and English, is it not possible to have an effective communication by simply using English and Tamil ?

Reproduced

JP’s Badaga ‘Script’ – BADDU

Though some friends may feel odd about my adopting an existing Language – English – and adapting it to write in Badaga, for the time being, I will stick to English to express in Badaga (Script).

The conventions used are;

  1. Capital letter brings out emphasis – like o is just o – ஒ [ like in only] but O is OH – ஓ [like in old].  For example, oday – break -ஒடெ,  Odhivi – read – ஓதிவி
  2. OHdhidhama niddhana, OHdidhama erindina – ஒதிதம நித்தன ஓடிதம எரண்டின   – one who is educated stops [to analyse the situation] but one who is hasty – trips [to fall]. See the subtle difference of OHdhina – ஒதின and OHdina – ஓடின
  3. Extra ‘a’ is stretching the letter – like kade [move] is கடெ but  Kaade [a female name] is காடெ
  4. Letters which are not in English alphabet but available in Badaga (and Tamil) can be accessed by using the shift key(Capital) – like l is ல but L is ள , n is ந but  N is ண் . zh is ழ
  5. Capital S is ஸ, small s is ச (ch will also brings out ச)

Now some sentences typed in English and what they bring out in Tamil [I have used ‘Azhagi’ translirate software which when installed, lets you to type in English to convert  the same into Tamil script] to show my ‘Badaga Script – Baddu

  • enna heNNU enna kaNNU maakke – என்ன ஹெண்ணு என்ன கண்ணு மாக்கெ- My daughter is like my eyes
  • ELaya nOdi Edasa bE da – ஏளய நோடி ஏடச பேட – Donot redicule the poor
  • Kalla maaththi kaLLa alla – கல்ல மாத்தி கள்ள அல்ல – Kalla’s son is not a thief.
  • Maadhi mammi madhi kettudhuve – மாதி மம்மி மதி கெட்டுதுவெ – Madhi aunty’s mind is gone

Baarivi, Nodivi, Odhivi & Oridivi !

[Come, See, Read & Listen!]

பாரிவி, நோடிவி, ஓதிவி & ஓரிடிவி

What do you think?

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I had written some time back

It has always been felt that for a language to survive, it should have its own script. It cannot remain only as a spoken language for long. But of course, the script need not be peculiar and specific one pertaining to that particular language. So too is the necessity of a script for Badaga.

Many have attempted to achieve this objective with various degrees of success. But unfortunately, to my knowledge, no records exists, if any. I am no expert on phonetics or languages or much less innovating an unique script. But the urge to have a separate script has convinced me that it is very much possible to ‘ADOPT’ an existing script and ‘ADAPT’ it to Badaga language.

To know more about the BADAGA SCRIPT or rather the need for one go here

Badaga Language and the need for its own script

A Place For Writing: Documenting, Cultivation and Literacy in Badaga Language’s domain
haldorai- Dr.R.K.Haldorai

In the Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu alone, more than ten tribal/unlettered languages are spoken and one among them is Badaga. In the Nilgiri linguistic area, Badaga tops in the number of speakers. Badagas have separate hamlets of their own and due to this almost all the Badagas who live in these hamlets, for at least a few years, can speak and understand Badaga language. During the recent past many Badagas have migrated to other places and the Badagas who are living outside the Nilgiris, identify these hamlets as their native place. Hence, except a few, all are having the natural inclination towards this language and culture. With over four hundred Badaga villagers and few others, Badaga consolidated its language domain and kept its linguistic area almost intact despite many strong negative influences. In recent times, the idea of cultural awareness has increased and this trend induced many indigenous people to look to Badaga as prestigious.

Making Badaga as a written language, in addition to the desideratum of the community, is to actually use the language and to expand its domains. Of course as a spoken language, Badaga speech area expanded its territory considerably over the last few decades. Badaga population too is increasing day by day and now the Badaga speakers are more in numbers compared with the Badaga population found in beginning years of last century. The definition of the Badaga as a single language is not a problematic. Since whatever major dialect language variations may have existed earlier, now the language is spoken more or less uniformly in all Badaga hamlets, which are sparsely located in the entire Nilgiri hills. Continue reading

Listen to these great songs on Hethe – the deity of Badagas

I am not a very religious person in the ’strictest’ sense of the word. But I am a proud Hindu and a staunch believer of HETHAY [HETHE Amma] – the deity of Badagas. In my [late] mother, I see the great Hethe and pray to Her everyday. 
‘GAYATRI CHALISA’ is supposed to be the most powerful 40 verses of prayer along with GAYATRI MANTRA. They are in Sanskrit and I do not understand them fully.[The English translation gives some idea]

The similarities of HETHAY AMMA and GAYATRI MATA are striking and too numerous to list, elaborate and explain.

For one, BOTH are clad in spotless white and formless.

Listen to these great Hethe Songs if you want to be truly blessed

Songs uploaded in Soundcloud by Suresh M

Can somebody help in giving the name of the SINGER so that due credit can be given? – Wg Cdr JP

Gayatri Mantra

AUM BHOOR BHUWAH SWAHA TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM | BHARGO DEVASAYA DHEEMAHI | DHIYO YO NAHA PRACHODAYAT ||

ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेन्यं ।

भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।

ஓம் பூர் புவ ஸவ

தத் ஸவிதூர் வரேண்யம் |

பர்கோ தேவச்ய தீமஹி |

தியோ யோன பிரசோதயத் ||

[Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life, Remover of pain and sorrow, The Bestower of happiness, Oh! Creator of the Universe, May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light, May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction]

Gayatri Mantra, the most  important prayer, inspires wisdom and is also a prayer to the “giver of light and life” – the sun (savitur), ‘Hothu’ in Badaga.

Aum = Ohm [Brahma] bhoor = embodiment of vital spiritual energy(pran) ; bhuwah = destroyer of sufferings ; swaha = embodiment of happiness ; tat = that ; savitur = bright like sun ; varenyam = best choicest ; bhargo = destroyer of sins ; devasya = divine ; dheemahi = may imbibe ; dhiyo = intellect ; yo = who ; naha = our ; prachodayat = may inspire!

Listen to Gayatri Mantra here

[Information above, from various sources, is taken from the net]

Go here for more information and to see the complete Gayatri Chalisa

Seemay and Hattis

nakku-betta1.jpg In an effort to give the exact and correct names of hattis/villages under each of the four SEEMAYS, given below is the list of all hattis under the four Seemays.

The names are given, to the extent possible, as pronounced by Badagas and not as ‘badly twisted’ by others. Like – the original name of Eethoray being called Elithorai.

There may be some omissions/additions/corrections required.

I would request all friends to verify and vet the list and send corrections to bjaypee@gmail.com or add them as comments to this post – LEAVE A REPLY box given at the bottom.

We may separate the hattis as per Badagas, Odeyas and Thorayyas and group them under ‘OORU’ [a group of hattis form an ooru and many oorus constitute a seemay]. At present the focus is on hattis of Badagas [Gowdas] who can marry Badagas from other seemays.

Now, marriages between Gowdas with Haaruvas,  Lingaites, Kanakkas etc sects from different seemays [ in some cases, within the seemay] are common. In my opinion, it is high time, we had only three broad groups among Badagas. Namely, Gowdas[including the other sects mentioned above], Odeyas and Thoraiyas and in the distant future, just BADAGAS.

Please note that some hattis like HOSAHATTI appear to be repeated but there may be more than one HOSA Hatti in a seemay.

Please also see the page on HATTIS for more and exhaustive info.

1.’Thodha Naadu Seemaythodhanadseemegudi (Supposed to be our “Dodda Ooru”. Also known as ‘Raja Padagiri Seemae’. The boundaries are from Solur to Kookkal Thore. The names given as known and pronounced by Badagas)

Oorus under Thodhanaadu Seemay : Thooday Gui, Kadanaadu, Ebbanaadu, Solur, Kagguchi, Honnadhalai, Kookkal,  Poosay Coonoor, Thrichigadi [??}, Solur Kokkal [??]- these appear to be Kotha settlements.

Ajjoor
Akoni
Alattane
Asoganthorai
Athi kallu
Bana hatti
Bara mannu
Baralatti
Batta kore
Bekkodu
Bendatti
Beragallu
Bikkatti
Bikke Kandi
Bikke mora hatti
Billi kambai
Dhavane
Ebbunaadu
Edu hatti
Haalatti
Hanni Kore
Honnadale
Hosa hatti
Hosa hatti [Repeat? – or are there more than one Hosahatti?]
Hullathi
Jakkalorai
Jeenatti
Kada Naadu
Kada sole
Kagguchi
Kalingana hatti
Kallatti
Kambatti
Kappachi
Kara pillu
Karakkallu
Kavaratti
Kavilorai
Kei Kau hatti
Kendore
Kengal
Kengamudi [Kenguvamudi?]
Kodhu mudi
Kokkulu
Konagatti
Kookal Thore
Kookal
Kundha Chappai
Kurumbedi
Kuruthu kuli
Madithore
Malli gore
Mara kallu
Masickal
Mavu kallu
Mel Kau hatti
Melatti
Melur
Moragutti
Moregallu
Motha kambe
Muguttuva
Mynale
Nadu hatti
Nanjanaadu
Nelli Mandu
Ode hatti
Omeyaratti
Ooru malai
Panju mora
Poose kunnur
Seegola
Soluru [Sholur]
Thalai male
Thambatti
Thatha benu
Thatneri
Thattaneri
Thegili
Thooneri
Thore hatti
Thummanada
Thummanatti
Ullupatti
Uyilatti
————————————-
2.’Porangaadu Seemay’
hubbathalai.JPGHubbathalai Hatti – Photo by JP
“Porangaadu Seemay”
Ane ode
Arakkambe
Aravenu
Are hatti
Attave
Avvur
Bagumudi
Baiyangi
Bamudi
Bandime
Bangalada
Banni ooru
Batta Kore
Bearatti
Bebbenu
Bellada
Bendatti
Beraganni
Betlada
Bettatti
Bettatti (repeat?)
Bikkatti
Bikkatti
Denadu
Dhabba kambe
Dhimbatti
Dhodda mane hatti
Edukkore
Eethore
Eruppu kallu
Gundada
Hakkeru
Hayoor [Ali Ooru]
Heriasigay,
Honnore
Hora sole
Hosahatti,
Hosatti (repeat?)
Hubbathale Hatti
Hubbathale Ooru
Hullathatti
Imbi mora hatti
Jakka kombe
Jakkada
Jakkalode
Jakkanare
Kada kodu
Kade kambatti
Kagakkuthore
Kakakore
Kakkul
Kallada
Kallatti
Kanneri
Kanneri mookku
Kappatti
Kari mora
Kathigatti
Katta bettu
Kavilore
Kei Odenu
Kengare
Ker bettu
Ker kambe
Keraiyada
Kerbennu
Kesalada
Ketchigatti
Kil Ane hatti
Kil Bikkatti
Kinnakore,
Kodamale
Konavakore
Koon sole
Kottanalli
Kottuvana hatti
kunni hatti
Kurukkathi
Lilli hatti
Malliore
Manjidha
Marle Kambe
Meedenu
Mel Ane hatti
Mel Bikkatti
Mel Odenu
Melur,
Mudia kambe
Nadu hatti
Nara giri
Natta kallu
Neduguva
Odanatti
Odeyaru hatti
Onnatti (Honnatti?)
Pedduva
Pudiyangi
Pudu mandu
Sakkatha
Samil Dittu
Selakkore
Selakore
Selave
Sippili kambe
Sulli goodu
Sundatti
Thalore
Thantha Naadu
Thinni ooru
Thogalatti
Thooneri
Thotha mokke
Thumbi male
Thumbooru
Ummattipadige
Yeda palli
Yettakallu [?]
————————————-
3.’Mekku Naadu Seemay’

‘Mekku Naadu Seemay‘
Also known as ‘Asala Bisalagiri Seemay’

Please also see the page on HATTIS for more and exhaustive info

https://badaga.files.wordpress.com/2007/06/porere-hatti.jpg?w=467&h=262
Porere – photo by JP
Aadakore (Thulidale)
Achanakal
Adikaratti
Ane hatti
Angidi hatti
Are hatti
Attu Bayilu
Balakore
Belitho
Bellada
Bembatti
Bengal Matta
Bikol
Bingisa Kallu
Byge mandu
Denadu
Denale
Dhodda Appukodu
Dhoddani
Emakkatti
Godalatti
Haalada
Haallattane
Haraguchi
Hosatti
Hosa Attubayulu
Hulikkal
Hullada
Ithalar
Kallakore
Kammandu
Kanneri
Kariyalbe
Kasole
Kattery
Kekkatti
Ken Kundhe
Kenduva
Ker Kandi
Kerada
Kethore
Ketti Ooru
Kil Hosatti
Kodangatti
Koderi
Kokkalada
Kothi ben
Maasi kandi
Mandhane
Mani hatti
Manja kambe
Meekeru
Mel Hosahatti
Mel Koderi
Melur
Melur Hosatty
Muduguva
Mutti nadu
Mynale
Nadu hatti
Nai hatti
Nunduva
Oor thittu
Oranai
Oranai (Kattery)
Panne bennu
Porore
Porthi
Pudugatti
Sakkalatti
Sogathore
Sora gundu
Thambatti
Thangadu
Theda hatti
Theedatti
Thoodhale
Thooratti
Umar kandi
Yellanalli

Murugesh Halan writes :- ‘Melur Hosahatty is missing. I want to know to if Haruvas and Badagas of Mekkunadu are in brotherly relation. If yes, how are they different?’Melur Hosahatty added. As far as Haruvas and Gowdas are concerned, in the early 1900s, Badaga community got vertically split into two main factions called Haruva Katchi and Kotha Katchi. One faction was lead by Hubbathalai and the other by Thangaadu. Those days, funeral expenses were borne by the family of the deceased and NOT by the entire hatti, as prevalent today. Kotha musicians had to be compulsorily called. Since, the funeral ceremonies extended even upto a week, till the ‘KORAMBU kaibathu’, the expenses involved were enormous as the guests from all over the ‘Naakku Betta’ had to be fed and ‘feasted’. Many families of the deceased had to sell their property. Realising that a death in a family is driving it to untold misery, Hubbathalai Bellie Gowder and his son Ari Gowder, who were given the title Rao Bahadur later, brought in the revolutionary reform by which the expenses of the funeral were met by the entire village by means of a ‘tax’ called ‘saavu vari’ and inviting the Kotha Musicians was donw away with. But the leaders of Thangaadu and other mainly ‘Haaruva’ hattis opposed this move. Marriages between these groups stopped.

Fortunately, this difference has gone away. Now, marriages between Haaruvas and Gowdas, as well as Lingaites and Gowdas sects from different seemays [ in some cases, within the seemay] is common. There have been matrimonial relationships established even between Hubbathalai and Thangaadu. In my opinion, it is high time, we had only three broad groups among Badagas. Namely, Gowdas, Odeyas and Thoraiyas and in the distant future, just BADAGAS. – Wg Cdr JP

————————————-
4.’Kundhay [Naadu] Seemay’

 

Kerapaadu (2)

Kerappaadu – Photo by JP

Please also see the page on HATTIS for more and exhaustive info

Attu Mannu
Baigada
Baakore
Bikkatti
Edakkaadu Nadu hatti
Edakkaadu Thale hatti
Emarald
Gai kandi
Gundinaali
Hosa hatti
Kandibikke
Kariamale
Kechigatti
Kei Kundhe
Kerappadu
Kombukorai
Kora Kundhe
Kunjanare
Mani Kallu
Manjooru
Matta Kandi
Mel Kundhe
Mukki Male
Mullegooru
Mulli Male
Nadu hatti
Sundatti
Thooneri
Thorajada

————————————-

badaga-bg.jpg

Badaga Jewellery

Ravindran Jevanah(ravindranj62@gmail.com) writes to ask :-
Ravindran Jevanah's profile photoComing to Jewellery, apart from Chinna, Mookuthi, Belli Ungara, I would like to know about the ‘Cheripenigai and the other broad Belli Bangle which the ladies wear on the lower arms. The Cheripenigai is of two or three designs nowadays we do not see any. Can we have a picture of these if possible?

Please see  Badaga Jewellery and the links given
Seripinige

https://badaga.files.wordpress.com/2007/04/kundha-037.jpg?w=442&h=332

The gold or silver bangle or rather bracelet around the wrist is known as ‘ KADAGA ‘ or ‘ CHIPPU BAE ‘ and the thick flat armlet just above the elbow is ‘BAE’.

When I took this picture of late Kothiben Hatti Laxmi ‘Karuppi’ Hethai on 09-04-07 and mentioned that the photo had come out well, she mentioned with a great sense of humour, ‘ potto olange bandu ena maaduva, utti enbudhu tha kappu edhaga’ – So what can we do if the photo has come out well, but from birth [I am]  black [colour]’

Thank you Kothiben Karuppi Hethe, it was wonderful meeting you !

- Wg Cdr JP

Nanga Naakku Betta – Neelagiri (Nilgiris)

Today is a clear day with bright sunlight in the hills. The hills, I am referring to is the Nilgiris, my native place. Every time I drive ‘into’ the hills, either from Mysore via Bandipur and Kallatti Ghats or from Mettupalayam via Kotagiri Aravenu and Haakeri or from Karamadai via Mulli and Geddai [Kundah], my heart is filled with happiness and joy. Such beauty is bestowed on these blue hills by the Almighty. Probably, the Nature wants to show off or should I say, show case its glorious exterior in a truly grand fashion.

The Nilgiris – Neela [Blue] Giris [Hills] – literally ‘The blue mountains’ is popularly known to Badagas as ‘Naakku Betta’ – though Naakku Betta means Four Mountains, in fact it refers to all the mountains, hills and hillocks spread around the Nigiri range.

Badaga Villages, called Hattis, are spread far and wide in these hills. These hattis exists ONLY in these hills. In short, there can be no Badagas without the Nilgiris and no Nilgiris [history] without Badagas. Every Badaga, where ever he/she may be, can always trace the roots to some hatti/town in the beautiful blue mountains.  

Blessed are the Badagas. Yes, indeed!

Here are some pix taken by Wg Cdr Bellie Jayaprakash

The surreal

 

Mudumalai Forest

Mudumalai

So, to say the least, all of us, the natives of the Nilgiris, have a stake in the ‘well being’ of our district and save it from the mindless destruction of its beauty and eco system. Hence, we must lend our supporting hands to any one who has taken to ‘DO SOMETHING’. Be it, Mª Teresa Llop Navarro (from Spain) who has started a NGO – “Es Purna” to help out the poor especially in the field of girl-child education in the Nilgiris, the NDC of Venugopal Dharmalingam or the bunch of youngsters lead by Prabhu Purnan who have created ‘WOW Nilgiris – now, has the mankind seen any place better then this?’.

‘Wow, the Nilgiris’

What strikes one at the first glance of their web sites is the most beautiful pictures of the Nilgiris. Though born and brought up in this ‘nature’s gift’, some of the pics made me wonder whether they are really taken here.

As ‘WOW Nilgiris’ describes, ‘ Mak’ing YOU wonder if these places do exist in Nilgiris, an out and out “off the regular” escapades, taking you in to the world of sholas, grasslands, thickets and breathtaking vistas to chase the clouds, sight the unique Nilgiri Thar and Martens squirrels’.

Congratulations to Prabhu Purnan and his friends. I understand Deepak Bhojraj, a Badaga, is another gifted photoghapher, and an article on him appears in ‘TheLOCAL’, [Dec, 2009 issue] a monthly published from Aravankadu.

https://badaga.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/3bd72-banner4.jpg?w=324&h=114

Photos  by Prabhu Purnan (copyright)
On my request to reproduce some of their pictures, Purnan has kindly sent me his consent and writes > hello mr JP. i am in fact following your blog keenly. its my pleasure to be profiled in your blog, the very purpose of this blog is to send across the messages to folks around. yep you can use any of the fotos you want and let me know if you need any specific fotos from here as well. another thing myself and deepak bhojraj are good friends he keeps telling me that your blog is really informative but cultured a small suggestion thats it you can mail deepak on more about it. With warm Regards, Prabhu Purnan D
Visit their websites where you will not only find some extraordinary photos but also a wealth of information on the beautiful Blue Mountains. I am sure that they will make you say ‘WoW’.
 http://wownilgiris.blogspot.com , http://purnanprabhu.googlepages.com

[This post is reproduced)

Badagaru Hittu

A taste of the hills – K. JESHI [The Hindu – ]

There is unusual fare at The Taj Vivanta as its Badaga Chef prepares a traditional Badaga feast for you The Badaga platter Wholeseome and packed with nutrients Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

The Badaga platter Wholeseome and packed with nutrients  (Photo: S.Siva Saravanan – The Hindu)

It’s a combo of bathalu, sandege, and uppukorai that introduces us to the traditional Badaga fare at Vivanta by Taj Surya. Bathalu is crispy sun dried potatoes, sandege is the tangy onion and garlic chutney that we dip into, and uppukorai is steamed and salted beans. That’s starters for you and they score high on taste. It gets better with a cup of hot rasam or maasu neeru, as the Badagas call it. The Badaga farmers are known for their mixed farming of millets, barley, wheat, and commercial vegetables including potato, carrots and cabbage, and hence the food they eat often uses seasonal and locally grown vegetables.

Continue reading

Badagas at the cross roads

Three main factors were high lighted in the last post – Badagas at the cross roads, about the need to change with changing times. One of them is the problem of ‘outside’ marriages and the root causes. ‘Moray’ being one of them.

 Our friend Sivakumar.B (Muckimalai) writes:Sivakumar B's profile photo If we want to remove the restrictions levied by elders, convincing ourselves that they are outdated, then all the customs including blessing, karu haruchodhu, chanting, etc, may  also get removed as outdated.   I think customs and systems are the sovereignty of a community. These are NOT Regulations/Constitution/Law which we can amend from time to time at our will and wish.

Within `Seemay’ means brotherhood (one blood).So, marriage within the `Seemay” will lead to lot of complications. Removal of `moray’ will not be the solution for ‘outside’ marriages. Running to outside is Sick/Crazy and I think it will continue even if `moray’ is removed.

திருடனாய் பார்த்து  திருந்தாவிட்டால்  திருட்டை  ஒழிக்க முடியாது.

Though, I can understand the strong feelings of Sivakumar, some clarifications are called for. Moray, in my opinion, is a very scientifically significant restriction brought in by our Muthappas/Hethappas. This restriction has avoided a lot of health problems associated with ‘in breeding’ and may be one of the reasons for a better health prevailing among Badagas as compared to other native tribes of the Nilgiris.

But, it is mistaken by many that marriages do not take place among people belonging to the same ‘seemay’. Let us elaborate.

https://badaga.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/nakku-betta1.jpg?w=486&h=300&h=300

A typical Badaga Village [hatti] consists of houses of brothers [both blood brothers and cousins]. Their chiildren are ‘anna thammaru and akka thangairu – brothers and sisters’. So, the ‘moray’ restriction is very much required as otherwise, one will land up in literally marrying a ‘sister’. Many hattis, not necessarily congruent or geographically adjacent, form a OORU. Many Oorus form the Seemay. The number of villages/hattis in one ooru to another differs. Marriages between OORUS within the same Seemay is very much possible and is in vogue. Like for example,  in Porangaadu Seemay which has many oorus, HATHTHOMBATTU OORU [19 villages] and AARU OORU [6 villages] have marriage relationship. See the page on Hattis for more information.

[to be continued]

At the cross roads?

Are we, the Badaga Community, at the cross roads?

With drastic changes that have engulfed every thing around us, how long can we stay and live unaffected?

With farming, especially growing vegetables [potato in particular] becoming a nightmare with monkey menace and green leaf tea prices on a free fall [mind you, still the tea leaf agents, tea factories, tea brokers are all making money when the actual small tea growers are feeling the pinch of  low price that has fallen below Rs.10/- per kg], agriculture that has always associated with Badagas has become an alien word.

With more and more people being forced to leave their villages/Hatties, both for economic and unimaginable reasons [like what happened in Nanjanaadu], following centuries old customs and traditions are becoming difficult.

Added to this is the growing ‘fashion’ among the young and eligible adults to marry ‘outsiders’ that is driving a society to the brink.

Last but the most disturbing is the conversion to ‘another religion’ that has not shown any decline.

Will there be a Badaga Society that is so proud of its unique history, origin, culture, customs, rituals, language and lifestyle, fifty years down the line?

?

?   +   ?

?

Classical Badaga song and Dance

Very pleasantly surprised to see a classical dance by two Badaga sisters K.Niveditha and K.Kavyaa in the following youtube video [uploaded by Krishnamurthy Hallan] to a very classical song in Badaga.

What a fantastic performance both by the sisters and the singer. Can somebody give more information about them?

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

4th December is the 121th Birth Anniversary of Ari Gowda

Bowing our heads in silent reverence and respect for all that he had done for our community

Ari Gowderrbhbag.jpgAri Gowder2Ari Gauda[above – text] From the book ” A BADAGA – ENGLISH DICTIONARY ” by Prof.Paul Hockings and Christiane Pilot-Raichoor]

Rao Bahadur H.B.Ari Gowder, the first Badaga graduate & first Badaga M.L.C & M.L.A for a long time  including the British time. He brought many reforms in/to Badaga Community including ‘prohibition’ (no alcohol – kudi) to Nilgiris in British days itself.

Ari Gowder lead the Indian contigent (yes, “INDIAN CONTIGENT”) to World Scouts Jamboree held in Europe in the 1930s.

Ari Gowder was associated with the Nilgiri Mountain Railways, now an UN Heritage,  right from the time this great and beautiful track was established in early 1900s till his death in 1971. In fact his father Rao Bahadur H.J.Bellie Gowder was contracted by the British to lay the mountain railway from Mettupalayam to Ooty. Also, probably, Bellie Gowder and Ari Gowder are the only father -son duo who were conferred with Rao Bahadur title in India, though Ari Gowder hardly used the title being a great nationalist.

He was not associated with any political party  but was a true representative of the people, a powerful orator and  welfare minded  social reformer’ – says A.Kari Gowder [“Prongadu Seeme Welfare Association”] in his booklet published in  May 2006.

                                        AG1 bridge

He was the President of the Nilgiris District board in 1930s and 1940s and carried out a lot of welfare measures for the upliftment of the residents of the hill district, mainly tribals in those days. To remember his contribution to the society, the bridge connecting Tamil Nadu [then Madras] state and Karnataka [then Mysore] state, built in 1936, is named ARI GOWDER bridge (above pix).

Ari Gowder was listed as one of the famous leaders of South East Asia – Who’s who in India, Burma & Ceylon. Who’s Who Publishers. 1940. p. 681.

H. B. Ari Gowder’s name figures in the Famous Madras Christian College Alumni list along with people like Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

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Nilgiri Mountain Railway

  <a href="/channel/UCXOhrdRpgxCo9jOiORYm9Qw" class=" yt-uix-sessionlink     spf-link  g-hovercard" data-sessionlink="ei=O1V5VIz6ON38oAO08oDQDw" data-ytid="UCXOhrdRpgxCo9jOiORYm9Qw" data-name="">BoxKite Films</a>

What a beautiful documentary which offers not only a great visual treat but valuable information about the ‘Toy Train’ – Nilgiri Mountain Railway. Being a native of the Nilgiris and belonging to a family that is deeply involved in the construction of this unique railway system of the world, [my maternal grandfather Hubbathalai Bellie Gowder was involved in the construction and maintenance of this railway line from Mettupalayam to Ooty, till his death in 1935 and later by my uncle, the H.B.Ari Gowder [till  1971] and both of whom were great Badaga Naakku Betta leaders and recognised for their contribution and conferred with the title of RAO BAHADUR by the British], my mind and memories are filled with thrilling thoughts.

Not only that, traveling in this train from Aravankadu to Ooty everyday in 1964-65 while doing PUC in the Govt.Arts College, Ooty, the journey was nothing but a carefree but enjoyable experience of an adolescent in the company of other students and later in 1970-71 as a junior engineer, in the PWD along with other colleagues working in different fields – the travel would steer around with discussions of worldly affairs and politics, the days are still fresh in mind. I remember the  return journey to Ooty from Aravankadu would cost a ‘royal’ sum of Rs.3 for three months in 1964-65 for what was known as student pass.

A must see documentary for all. Hearty congratulations to Mohan Krishnan!

Mohan Krishnan’s film on NMR is commendable and well documented. That it is by a son of the soil makes it all praiseworthy. May other competent sons of the soil go about documenting visually other treasures of the Nilgiri hills. Best wishes

Dharmalingam Venugopal,

Nilgiri Documentation Centre,Kotagiri

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‘Morey’ and marriages….

Sangeetha  Sir, can we get married from Kundhae semae to Ketti.Both are entirely different semmae and its so strange about this restriction. Please can I know more about this?

There are a lot of emails I get from youngsters wanting clarity on Morey and its ‘unjustified restrictions’ on marriages. While we see the alarming trend of many Badagas getting married to outsiders, atleast, some of these ‘naadu jana madhuvey’ is due to the confusion and complications created about Morey. With the changing times, it is high time, we give a serious thought to this system. What was intended by our fore fathers to be scientific restriction to stop ‘in breeding’ among close relatives, has unfortunately, gone a bit too far – unreasonable restriction by the un/semi informed.

If at all, there are important ‘reforms/reinventions’ to be done about certain traditions and customs, ‘Morey restrictions’ should come on top.

An informal assembly of informed and educated Badagas from all the four Seemays that includes both MEN and WOMEN should deliberate, discuss and decide on this issue on high priority.

Million dollar question is – who will bell the cat?

Hello there…

In our constant efforts to make this website a great one, we try our best to get the most suitable theme with widget options !

You, the regular visitors, numbering more than 150 per day, are the true motivation.

Your visit gives me the Vitamins. Humbled but honoured!

The problem is, I do not know how to thank you !

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Badaga Recipes

ErigittuErigittu with Thuppa, Avare Udhakka and Keere Soppu

 http://badaga.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/misc7307-001.jpg?w=474&h=261

Thuppadha hittu or Enne Hittu

Badagas usually grow vegetables in their small patch(es) of land called ‘HOLA’ (see photo) for their regular use apart from other commercial crops like potato, cabbage, carrot and cauliflower etc. These would also include many varities of beans, peas, greens, corn etc. Every variety of avere(bean) has a specific (sometimes unique) badaga name. No Badaga wedding meal is complete without ‘Avare & Gaasu udakka’ [beans & potato curry]. Incidentally, Badagas do not serve non-vegetarian (meat) dishes on the wedding day , main meal is called – ‘maduve hittu‘. Another great trait among these simple peasant people is called ‘nattu‘ – a sort of gift (again mainly the home grown vegetables & grains) given to relatives, friends and guests.

Tea >>Tea Leaves… the crop on which Badaga ‘economy’ depends so much..

The agricultural produce, food, dishes, eating habits and some interesting recipes of Badagas.
Apart from badaga.org, I am thankful to N.Bellie, R.Ramachandran (Kekkatty) and others for their imputs. A lot of info is from Prof.Paul Hockings’s books.
I have tried to discuss and describe, not only of authentic recipes on Badaga dishes but also on their agricultural produce, known in Badaga language as BAE - like for example Badagas used to grow wheat, barley, millet – GHODUME, GANJE, ERAGI, BATHA -etc but have almost completely stopped now.

The food, eating habits, preparations of some dishes as well as the ingredients used are covered. along with the methods used in cooking (like in a mud pot known as MADAKE in traditional fire place - OLE)

It must be mentioned that though many masala powders are available in the market, the Badagas use a specially prepared curry powder known as ‘ BADAGARU MAASU HUDI’ in their preparations.

I remember my childhood days when the dried GANJE / GHODUME (barley/wheat) used to be spread in the fore court of the houses called KERI (street) , between two groups of Hatti HEMMAKKA (ladies) squatted opposite to each other with GANJE DHADIS (sticks of about four feet long and an inch thick) systematically & alternatively beating to remove the chaff. The rhythmic ‘tak tak’ noise would be accompanied by some folk lore Badaga songs. This is known as GANJE SACHODHU.

How can anyone forget the GANJE that would be HURUTHU - fied (fried) in a HURI MADDAKKE (mud pot with a hole on its side) through which a HURI KOL (a short stick with cloth tied at one end as a ball) would be inserted and the contents stirred constantly for uniform frying?

Huri Maddakke >

The fried ganje called GANJIKKE would be taken with BELLA (jaggery) and THENKE (coconut). The taste of this would increase if hurutha keerai is added. Used to be a very common snack during the “kodai” season when no one can venture out on account of severe wind and rain.

This ganjikke would be powdered in a ‘ BEESA GALLU ‘ or ‘BEESARAN KALLU’ ( grinding stone ‘flour mill’) that was a permanent feature in the EDHA or NADU MANE and stored for furture use. People who go on long journeys (in olden days travel was by foot only) took this powder along with them, a very handy and healthy meal. This powder would be mixed with hot water to make a gruel. Salt and jaggery could be added to taste.

[ Also see BADAGA RECIPES]

[Illustration by Bellie Jayaprakash]

Edha Mane (notice the Beesa Gallu (Grinding Stone-mill) at the right bottom corner. The corner is called GOTTU MOOLE)

(Buttermilk) MAJJIGE [ also known as – Pay’ray’] KADANJODHU or HAALU SORAKKODU( milk churning ) used to be a routine job and great fun for the children in trying their hands. The BENNE (butter) and THUPPA (ghee or clarified butter) are very healthy. When taken with ERAGI HITTU (wheat ball in the size of cricket/hockey ball), it is very tasty.

EEGAVE THIMBUDHUGA AASE BANDHARAVA ? (don’t you feel like eating now)?

POTHITTU (wheat dosai) has to be an all time favourite of Badagas. During SAKKALATHI HABBA (the last festival before HETHAI HABBA ) POTHITTU with THENKE NEERU (coconut water) is the main dish.

What about dishes like OTTU KUDI UDAKKA (bamboo shoot curry) which can put any BAADU UDAKKA (non veg curry) to shame?And KOONU (mushroom) preparations?

There are many side dishes like SOPPU, BARRATHA AVARE , GAASU SANDEGE Then the question of how to ERAGI HITTU HOKKUDU (make wheat ball?) or make HABBA (festival) specials like BADE (vadai) KAL KAL (sweets made out of maida) etc etc.

Talking about chutney – GAASU SANDEGE , when GAASU (potato) is cooked in KENDA (ember) – SUTTA GAASU - and mixed with UPPU & OLLIYA MAASU (salt & pepper) it really tastes great ……umm…really mouth watering.

Incidentally, a DODDARU SHULOKA (Badaga Proverb) goes like this ; GHANDA (GHANDU) ILLADHA MANE HOLLA, GAASU ILLADHA UDAKKA HOLLA” meaning : -” without a man(husband), house is bad ; without potato, curry is bad”

I was pleasantly surprised to know that Taj Garden Retreat hotel in Coonoor (in the Nilgiris) serves some exclusive Badaga specials like THUPPADITTU & OTTU KUDI curry.

“Since the British lived here for long, there was a mix of the English food with the local ingredients – mostly, the native Badaga food. Thuppathittu, is an example. That makes it different from the typical English food…..For vegetarians, … Ottakudi Gassu poriyal ( a typical Badaga food of potatoes, spices and bamboo shoots), …. Avarai Uthaka (traditional Badaga speciality), Khuni khichri (spice preparation) and Gassu Dhotti (boiled potato preparation)”

http://www.expresshospitality.com/20050808/viewpoint02.shtml

Rasam is called MAASU NEERU ( milagu thanni in Tamil that has found its way into dictionaries).BATHA HOKKUDHU was done by elephants in ancient period, and till a few decades ago, by 50 to 60 bulls and cows brought from the plains (mainly Avinashi near Coimbatore) to the villages and mostly done during night time. One of the methods/processes in storing/pruning our farm produce ERAGI (millet) is known as ” ERAGI METTODHU ” (Stamping).

This is done on the green ERAGI stems freshly harvested from the fields. A bunch of this is put indoors on the floor and squeezed by bare feet . This is done mainly in the night in the EDHA MANE (middle room) and stored in the DHARSAE PETTI / BALLA (storage basket) which is located on top of the HAGALAE (permanentally fixed long wooden plank from wall to wall that also served as a huge cot) in the EDA MANE . See the illustration above.

BALLA or BALLA PETTI is a big cylindrical basket for storage and fixed to the wall/floor by cow dung. There would be hole at the bottom to take out the grain. The hole is sealed with cow dung and removed whenever required. Smaller storage basket is called KUKKE. Depending on the usage they are known as BENNE KUKKE (butter basket), HUYIGAL KUKKE (multi utility basket), DODDA KUKKE (big basket) with a handle to carry mud to clean the temples before puja in the olden days and of course, the GANJIKE KUKKE with smaller baskets attached to a central bigger one used in SAVU (funeral) rites. MAKKIRI was a larger basket used to carry food items to fields (HOLA) and on long journeys.

BESAKATTI is a large flat basket, used for drying grains, hung above the fire place/ hearth ( OLE ) in the inner room (OGE MANE) of a Badaga Home during earlier days.The basket is suspended from the beam with wire rods /ropes (KANNI).

There are a lot of DODDARU SHULOKAs on BALLA (storage container for grains). A couple of them are listed here :

Ballada hattale siri, Kukkeya hattale uri” ,

Baavava balla ethone getta, badava baathu satha

visit Badaga Recipes for more

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Tidbits

[Reproduced]

Badaga Inspiration

I love watching the Badaga dance in Coimabatore. Two years back when Amma last was here, and again during Amma’s 53rd birthday celebrations in Amritapuri, they also enchanted the crowd – inspiring westerners, students, and Ashramites to join in . The same happened again this year. Young and old, men and women. Their rhythmic movements, graceful flowing hands and bodies, the beating of drums and call and response voices calls to the dancer inside us. It’s so primal, so natural, and so beautiful. 

One wonders how long these people have been dancing like this – how far back in time? How wonderful that India has been able to preserve these
timeless traditions.

For a while, I was content just taking photos, or watching from the sidelines – focusing on their movements. But I found my inner self wanting to join in. I stood there – conflicted – trying to overcome my inhibitions – people would look at me – a westerner in white awkwardly throwing his body around. But then some westerners did join in, the Badaga happy to show them the movements even as they were ‘throwing a wrench’ into the coordinated movements of those already dancing.

Still, I stood by the sidelines. Then, at the end of the first night, as Darshan ended, and the Badaga still playing, Amma Herself stood up to leave the stage – and made a full circle – turning round with the beat, no inhibition, no concerns. Just dancing…..

The next day, I knew the Badaga would be there again. Would I join in?

Around 2am, they were singing and dancing again. Again, I stood by the sidelines, thinking about how Amma was so natural, innocent when She danced. I recalled how Amma says it’s just not enough to stand at the shore of the ocean and just get your feet wet. You have to dive in. I recalled how I overcame my fears when I used to go firewalking (walking on hot coals) – I would stand there trying to convince myself that it would be fine. It just takes a leap of faith…

In a moment of surrender, I joined the line. I found myself behind a Badaga man who was more than happy to call out the movements and changes as we made our way around the circle. I loved it. At times, it was awkward, but once I got the jist of it, it seemed so natural, so beautiful. When we were in synch -hands, legs, arms, – it was so nice – like a huge drum circle when they reach that magical moment when all the drummers are connected and the music just flows. So did our bodies-around and around, faster and faster.

I can’t wait till the next time..

Sri Pati, USA
Coimbatore, 23 January 2007


Enna Alli Mutta Beda…

A couple of days back I received the following email  from David McCreedy :

I’m looking for translations for four sentences in Badaga to add to my web site:

Currently the site lists over 500 languages in their own writing systems, everything from Afrikaans to Zulu, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics to Braille.

I realize this request is rather odd…  Please let me give you some background:  My best friend from college has, since graduation, traveled extensively for her employer.  So much in fact that she JOKES she only needs to know four phrases in the local language to get by:

1)  Where is my room?
2)  Where is the beach?
3)  Where is the bar?
4)  Don’t touch me there!
I am hoping that you can provide me with translations preferably using the native/normal writing system for the language as well as the Latin alphabet.
I will appreciate any effort you can make. Thank you,

And here is my reply :

Your email to me. Quite interesting. Here are the Badaga – equivalents -
1)  Where is my room? – Enna Roomu ellie? என்ன ரூமு எல்லி?
2)  Where is the beach? – Beechu ellie hadadhey? பீச்சு எல்லி ஹடதெ?
3)  Where is the bar? – Baaru ellie hadadhey? பாரு எல்லி ஹடதெ?
4)  Don’t touch me there! – Enna allie mutta beda! என்ன அல்லி முட்ட பேட!

You can ‘see’ the Four Essential Travel Phrases at http://www.travelphrases.info/languages/badaga.htm

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Microsoft on Badaga Language….

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Limerick on Badaga

[found on the net]

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This must be the first book(let) published in 1925 about a very pressing and serious problem that split the Badagas vertically

[Original Cover page in Tamil ]

firstbadagapublication.jpg

firstbadagapublication5.JPG

[English translation interposed]

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I came across this interesting article while searching about Badaga music that goes with the unique dance form,

[H]ethai amma in Kovai [by Sakshi]

Seventy kilometers north of Coimbatore, in the Nilgiris hill town of Ooty, resides a community of people known as the Badaga. The Badaga trace their ancestry back to Ethai Amman, a pious woman from Mysore who fled the city when a Muslim king wanted her as his prize. Theirs is a somewhat cloistered community, stretching across some 500 villages in the Nilgiri Hills, which make the border of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The Badaga have their own customs, codes, traditions and language. Dharma, faith, compassion and service—these are the hallmarks of the Badaga. They will proudly tell you that one will not find a single beggar among their “brothers and sisters” and rarely are any of their children born handicapped. (They attribute both of these to their culture, which nurtures service-mindedness.)……

…..A central element of Badaga culture is music and dance. When inspired, the Badaga will spontaneously begin improvising melodies and lyrics. “It is our way of expressing our fondness for someone,” explains Smt. Sivagami, [a Badaga teacher].

Their often-ecstatic music comes in the form of call-and-response, and some say the Badaga even have a form of telepathy, which enables them to improvise cohesively. The words and melodies are ever new, but the dance steps remain the same, regardless of the occasion. The Badaga sing and dance at weddings, births, funerals and nearly all other occasions……..

The music was an onslaught of drums and cymbals. It was an earthy, powerful and glorious ruckus to which the Badaga’s synchronized slow-motion dance served as a stirring and poignant counterpoint……

Read the complete article here

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GANGAMMA

[from the book FOLK-LORE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT]

by James George Frazer – 1918

The Badagas, a tribe of the Neilgherry Hills in Southern India, belieive in a deity named Gangamma, “who is supposed to be present at every stream, and especially so at the Koonde and Pykare rivers, into which it was formerly the practice for every owner of cattle, which had to cross them at their height, to throw a quarter of a rupee, because their cattle used frequently to be carried away by the current and destroyed. It is enumerated amongst the great sins of every deceased Badaga, at his funeral, that he had crossed a stream without paying due adoration to Gangamma.

gangamma.jpg

Crossword in The Hindu about BADAGA

In ‘The Hindu’ newspaper of June 17,2008, crossword No.9252 carries the following clue for a six letter word for 5 Across:….. ” SHEEP’s CRY CAPTURES GADABOUT, A TRIBAL (6)”….. Yes. your guess is correct. Sheep’s cry is ‘BA’….. [Of course, as usual the answer to the crossword 9252 was given the next day June 18, 2008 in crossword no.9253]. Info Courtesy – my wife who is more fond of crosswords and sudoku than me – sob sob !! ….. See the crossword here !

No articles, images and other material in this website can be reproduced without the written permission of
Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash B.E.(GCT,Madras Univ).,M.B.A (FMS, Delhi Univ)
Contact : bjaypee@gmail.com
belliejayaprakash©2014

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Happy Birthday, Hethey [Grandma]!

2nd September,2014

Idyammal Bellie Gowder

Mom, you would have been 104 years today and we would have celebrated your birthday in style.

Your children and grand children would have called from all over the world to wish you Happy Birthday – a daughter from Kundey Kettchigatti, another daughter from Chennai/Madras, grand son from South Africa,  a grand daughter from Ooty, a grandson from Bangalore, a grand daughter from Australia, another grand daughter from New Delhi….. and from many other places

Your sons and daughters in law would have celebrated the day with you along with a Birthday Cake brought in by another grand daughter from Coonoor and her son/your great grandson would have bowed his head and said,’Somee hethey, harachu’. You would hold him and blessed him as you would have blessed us all, ‘Somee, harachava kottu, sogava kottu , hoppa edey bappa edey ella olliththay aagali’ / Oh Almighty, give them health and happiness and , let there be only good things wherever they go‘.

You would have in typical style said with a smile ” ennu aesu kalaththa ebbadhu – how long you want me to live?

And, suddenly one night, you chose to leave us WITHOUT REALLY SAYING ‘Hoyittu Bannu – good bye!’

You were everything for us in all those glorious 99 years and 10 months when you were ‘here’. Your blessings still guard and guide us in all our endevours.

We miss you , Mom / Hethey

Elle idhale’yu engava harachu

[Bless us all from wherever you are]

MOM 5.jpg
Idyammal Bellie Gowder
Born September 02, 1912
Hubbathalai, The Nilgiris
Died July 13, 2011 (aged 99 years 10 months)
Parents Rao Bahadue HJ Bellie Gowder and Nanji Hethe
Sister of Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder
Spouse B.K.Bellie Gowder [Bearhatti]


[A pencil sketch of Mom by  son JP in 1968 while she was reading an issue of Femina]

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Rajma

|[President’s award winning KV Teacher]| comments :-
Memories of this great and royal lady will remain eternally in the hearts of all who have known her. Happy Birth Day Hethey. Brilliant eyes and flawless smile. She looks stunning in photograph.Blessed are her children ,grand and great grand children who live around the world..

Badaga Chant – “Eay, Ah How” – [ ‘Athikkodhu’]

“Eay, Ah How” – Badaga ‘Athikkodhu’

The beauty about Badaga community is not only the unique customs specific to the community but the steadfast belief with which atleast some of them are followed by Badagas with fervour. one of them is the loud chanting of ‘Athikkodhu – saaying of EAY AH HOW – on certain but specific occasions.

Three occasions come to mind immediately,

1)During “hethay Habba’ – both when from every village the devotees go to Hethay temples at Beragani and Peddhuva as well as when the Hethay deity is taken to ‘Madi Halla -river’ for change into new dress once a year [and also whenever is a temple deity is taken on procession during habbas in hattis],

2)during weddings when the bride and groom are brought to the ‘Madhuvay Mane – wedding house,and the newly weds are taken to the temple and

3)on funerals when the widow is brought for ‘olay Kattodhu’ and the ‘akki eththuva ‘ procession starts from the ‘dhodda Mane’ to ‘saavu hanay ‘ where the corpse/body is kept before being taken for burial.

This loud ‘cry’ is made from the bottom of the stomach by a few leading the procession and repeated by the rest following them.

Listen to ‘Saavu Aathikkodhu’ recorded live in Ketchigatti here
http://soundcloud.com/bjaypee/athikkodhu-saavu

Listen to ‘Maduvay Aathikkodhu’ recorded live in Thambatty here http://soundcloud.com/bjaypee/athikkodhu-madhuvay

Badaga Songs on the web

Badaga Panjayats…?!

In the olden days, Badagas lived a very simple but highly cohesive life. Evey village -hatti, consisted of one or two ‘families or Kudumbas’. Each kudumba, as the name indicates, consisted of brothers and they usually lived in the same street – ‘thara’. The ancestral home was given to the youngest son and, due to space constraints, the elder brothers moved out to build separate houses.
 
The youngest son  [when married] was expected to take care of the elderly parents. The sister(s) married off to other hattis were always welcome to the parents house and for the children of the these females, their parents house was a source of great safety and security and the brother’s house was a sacred house known as ‘GURU Manay’. Though the property was given ONLY to sons, the married daughters could come back to the parents house anytime in case of any matrimonial discord. The daughters were given all the respect and they never felt neglected. Mind you, this was a time when girls were married off at a very young age and in most of cases, not educated.

Every family lived a contented life with total cooperation. This, of course, was the time when the undivided Hindu family wealth and property was given to only sons in our Country.
 
But all that changed over time. Material lust took control over conventional matters. The daughters, more often than not, were not welcomed by the brothers (generally due to their wives pressure). This combined with lack of education and absent of other alternatives, forced many daughters to suffer in silence. If they had children and a wayward husband who indulged in wasteful life with drinking being an eternal curse, the life was not only miserable but unbearable. Like in all other communities in our great country, the girls were forced to live a condemned life.

This is the time visionaries and forward looking Badaga leaders like Rao bahadur Bellie Gowder and his son Rao Badahur Ari Gowder high lighted the impoetance of education, the former built the first school along with a hostel that provided free education to Badaga boys and the latter insisted that the girl child should be educated and equal rights and property be given as the boys among Badagas. Empowering women. Now, even the laws in our country has been amended wherein the boys and girls have equal rights on the property of the parents.
Sadly, even in this day and time, in many hattis, the property is recommended to be given ONLY to sons by the so called hatti ‘elders’ in what can be termed as ‘kapp’ panjayats to sort out property disputes. As you may be aware KAPP panjayats are popular male dominated forums in Hariyana and wester UP who had given the ‘OK’ for honour killings, acting as extra constitutional authorities and are in trouble as Supreme Court is looking into their actions.

The problem is, in olden days a complaint was made to the common wisdom of hatti elders when the disputes could not be solved within the family – Kudumba. The Badaga proverb – doddaru shloka – ‘manay ya maathaadi, mandaga hogu’ aptly describes this. Also, in olden days, the options of going to the court or seeking remedy through legal channels were not easy. Tthe ‘core committee’ of elders looking into complaints was made up of non partisan, experienced and where available educated people and their rulings were acceptable to all.
 
These days, in most of the hattis the ‘Gowda’ chosen is the one who does not have a permanent or regular job as he has to attend to a lot social functions both in his as well as in other hattis.  Other members of the ‘problem solving’ group are youngsters selected for collection of tax – wari and to organise temple festivals – habbas etc. By no stretch of imagination, they can can be considered as competent or qualified and least of all experience which is a must.

And, most importantly, when it comes to property allocation to daughters, how can these panjayats go against the law of the land? The feeble argument that only a son can be called a ‘WARISU’ is blatantly brutal, one sided, gender biased and ‘anti-female’ like many other social issues in our society.

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For a change – to relax on a weekend

Can you crack these codes and find out the ‘hidden messages’?

Yes, it is better to stand on your head and clear all DO(ub)TS ?!

 

 

Art in WORDS or Words in ART ? !

Original works of ‘ Bellie Jayaprakash ‘ [No reproduction permitted]

 

~~~ A picture is worth… a thousand words ~~~

Photos by Bellie Jayaprakash ©2014

Dhoddaru Shloka – Badaga Proverbs

One of the fascinating and interesting aspects of Badaga [both people & language] is the free use of delightful but deep meaning proverbs called “DHODDARU SHLOKA”. When you engage an elderly Badaga into any conversation, you are sure to hear a lot of these proverbs thrown in to make / emphasise a point. Prof. Paul Hockings, probably the most authentic researcher on and of Badaga lists nearly two thousands Badaga proverbs, 1730 to be precise. He feels that 1730 could be a complete figure containing all the proverbs there are. See his book,’Counsel from the Ancients: Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses’. He has given the meaning in English as well as making it easy to understand, in a beautiful manner.

Though I find his collection extremely interesting and educative, I do not agree with some of the conclusions he draws on certain proverbs. For example, on the proverb, ‘Odhidhama Niddhana, Oddidhama Erandina’ Prof.Hockings interpretation is quite different to what I feel is the correct meaning. I think ‘a person who spends time learning and ponders (over a problem) is better than the one who runs away (in a hurry) and thus trips over. [Odhidhama – one who has learnt (spent time learning), Niddhana – stops to ponder over[think], Oddidhama – one who runs, Erandina – trips over]. We can hear mothers telling their young children ‘Oda beda , Erandire’ – Donot run, you will trip over (a stone or any obstruction). That is ‘ do not be in a hurry and take a hasty decision’.

Another one is ‘Michidhavaga Morande Kolu Bangara’. In my opinion . the lady who does not listen to any one (Michidha Hemmathi) is bound to land up as a widow (when ‘Morande Kolu – a small stick of morende tree – replaces her jewellery (bangara) during the Ole Kattuva ritual of husband’s death / funeral ceremony). Prof.Hockings feels Mechidhavaga (see the difference between michidhava – one who does not listen- and mechidhava – one who is appreciated by all – even a morende kolu is enough as jewellery. Is it a case of wordplay (pun) by our ancestors??

I have listed a few of the proverbs below and hope to add more in future.

[Sources : Interaction with Fellow Badagas, ‘Naakku Betta’ monthly (1979) –Edited by K H Madha Gowder, Achanakal, Ketti Post , ‘Naakku Seeme’ monthly – May 2006, Edited by K.M Nanjan, Kil Cowhatty Village, Muthorai Post,

Counsel from the Ancients: A Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses By Paul Hockings]

Continue reading

Echo of First World War in the Nilgiris

Dharmalingam Vengopal [Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri]

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As the centenary of the First World War is being solemnly observed world over, the beautiful BEM Neethi church on the slopes of splendid Kalhutti valley in the Nilgiris also silently observes its centenary as a victim of the global war.

The Basel Evangelical Mission (BEM) was established in Basel in Switzerland in 1815 by German and Swiss missionaries who worked in Africa, China, South East Asia and south India. Their work began in 1834 in the Malabar area and spread to Karnataka and south Maharashtra.

Basel Mission came to the Nilgiris in 1845 at the invitation of retired judge G.J.Casamajor who donated his entire property at Ketti to the mission. The first missionary to arrive was Michael Buhler, a gifted linguist, who was the first to document Badaga folklore including the Badaga forefather sayings and ballads. He was the first to put, ‘Badaga language and culture on the scholarly map’. Buhler died young at the age of 37. Several  Badagas attended his burial at St. Stephen’s church at Ooty where Judge Casamajor was  also buried.

‘Thanks to the missionaries, many Badaga villages have had primary schools for longer than thousands of comparable small communities in Canada, the United States, South Africa or Australia’ says Prof.Paul Hockings, an authority on Nilgiri studies.

Exactly one hundred years after the mission was founded its missionaries were unceremoniously sent out of India and their properties confiscated as ‘enemy property’ after the outbreak of First World War in 1914.

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The BEM Neethi Church stands a mute witness to the global war which had its echo as far as the peaceful Nilgiris.

Baduga or Badaga – which website ?

Baduga or Badaga …well both are the same!

While, http://www.baduga.co has more plugins that allow greater flexibility with animations and easier accessibility & ‘ad’ support [since it is based on wordpress.org], http://www.badaga.co [based on wordpress.com] is updated with the ‘latest’ on and of Badaga almost on a daily basis.

For a quick update and ‘faster glance’ visit www.baduga.co

badugaDOTco~~~~~~~~

You can easily access the websites that is

‘ALL ABOUT THE BADAGAS OF THE BLUE MOUNTAINS’

in your smart phones and read/see the posts/pix !

In excerpts that can be expanded !!

Take a look !!!

The websites www.badaga.co and www.baduga.co are  ‘mobile friendly’ !

Talented Young Badagas

There are a lot of young Badagas who are highly intelligent and hugely talented and have made a mark for themselves in their chosen fields. NRNiranjan Ramamurthy is one such young Badaga. He is a AdWords Certified Google Partner and can give a boost to your business wherever it is located worldwide. He is presently at Kotagiri, The Nilgiris. Being a PROUD BADAGA, he informs me that he can make ‘special offers’ to Badagas and regular visitors to our Badaga websites here or here He is looking to become a Google AdWords Premier SME Partner with a growing base of small, medium and large sized businesses globally. Currently the one-man agency, Adostrophe.com manages multiple clients who advertise their websites through Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Facebook and other platforms. While SEO article writing is another service offered, the core speciality lies in managing Google AdWords accounts.

AdostropheVisit his website adostrophe.com for more details. email : – Niranjan@Adostrophe.com

If you are a ‘talented young Badaga’ please send details for publication in our websites – Wg Cdr JP

Join In the Nation Building

One of Prime Minister Modi’s initiatives ‘MyGov’ is to make the citizens to be a ‘part’ of Nation Building’.

Let us Join In to make this country the best

MyGov –  ‘The citizen-centric platform empowers people to connect with the Government & contribute towards good governance’.

Click here

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Need for All Nilgiri Badagas Union (ANBU)

Dharmalingam Venugopal

[Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri]

The Nilgiri district administration’s open mind to consider the positive winds of change among the feuding factions of the Badaga community is praise worthy. However, a lasting solution to the recurring problem and a competent body to take over the YBA Building should take into to account representations from across the Badaga community.

Badagas have always been socially conscious and have been forming various associations and advocacy groups to spread social, cultural, economic and ecological awareness among the community. A federation of all such groups will be the best representative body of the Badagas to manage common community assets like the YBA building and to make representation to  district, state and central administrations on the problems and welfare of the Badaga community.

All registered social, cultural and economic welfare associations including bajan and music groups and modern groups based on websites and social media as well  as documentation centres can form an umbrella organization which may be called All Nilgiris Badagas Union (ANBU ) or GAVA, the equivalent of the word  love in Badaga.

Only such a federation would reflect the glorious traditions of the Badagas together with the high achievements and aspirations of the community spread world over. Such a body will be capable of bringing all the two lakh odd Badagas under its active fold, mobilize enough funds and undertake necessary welfare and developmental activities.

The management can be of two tiers. The traditional leaders or the Parpathis and can be the patrons of the Union whose functioning can be managed by an Executive council  with due representations to the four Nadus and the various eligible associations.  A management consultant can be engaged to frame the criteria of eligibility, functions, laws and bylaws. The Union should be the sole voice to represent the Badaga view to the administration and  mediate in  local issues and disputes.

One third of the Executive Members should be necessarily women.

The YBA building can be managed professionally by a paid Manager and a Accountant, preferably non-Badagas,  to the satisfaction of all groups.

A library and a cultural gallery depicting the history and culture of the Badaga community should be the top priority of the new management.

 

Mahendra commented on Need for All Nilgiri Badagas Union (ANBU)

Sir, there is no doubt, our community needs a bonding body which can interact with every village. I hope all the seniors and experience elders like you can take up this task by approaching every village. As you have mentioned that Badagas have always been socially conscious and if every house becomes a member for the association then the bargaining power may increase. Badaga words for abbreviation only may give emotional touch for naming the association. beyond this with my limited knowledge, to get social identity, I humbly wish to suggest a celebration every year on a great personality who worked for the up lift meant of our community. District administration may be approached for the celebration and have a statue of such a personality at Coonoor or Ooty. Through my grand father I came to know about one of the great personalities Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder, the great man who lit the light of education to our community. Like him other great personalities might be there in our community and those personalities can be remembered. Finally we must respect our community ladies for their hard work which helped our community’s development along with education.

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Bellie N commented on Need for All Nilgiri Badagas Union (ANBU)

Dear Mr Venugopal, Your article seem very good and productive. If it is implemented our community will be united in alll aspects, and will get good knowledge about our culture and all. But unfortunately there was a Federation of all of our community Associations. The first hurdle started at that stage only. The ego and power fight between the Federation and YBA started and some unnecessary difficulties started there. At one stage all the leaders of Federation and YBA decided to stop the functioning of Federation. OK past is past.

I humbly suggest all our leaders to prefer YBA as our Apex Body for all the Badaga Organizations throught the Nation and Abroad. Any Association started at any place in India and abroad should be affiliated with YBA, and its name should be the same YBA followed by their respective area, like YBA, Coimbatore, YBA, Chennai and so on. As YBA is situated in our Native Nilgiris head Quarters, and all the Naakku Betta people are the members of YBA,, it is obviously the sole Association for our whole community. Of course all the other Associations, out of Nilgiris should be given representation in the Governing committee, and office. i hope it will be a welcome suggestion, I hope.

I welcome other opinion, to get a wide discussion in this matter.

The positive initiative of Prongadu Seemay to solve the YBA problem

The Porangadu Seemay leaders, lead by Seemay Gowda, Bheema Gowder have taken the initiative to end the unwanted and unnecessary embroglio and to solve the problem of running of Young Badaga Association [YBA] at Ooty.

They have correctly pointed out to the fact that YBA belongs to the whole community of Badagas. A few individuals cannot hold the entire community to ransom for their selfish motives and personal gains by forcibly occupying the premises under one pretext or another.

They have called for a Nakkubetta Kootu, at the traditional meeting place at Nattakallu, near Kerban, Kotagiri to sort out the issues on 16-8-2014.

Our best wishes  and hope the YBA will once again regain its past glory.

Gayatri Mantra and Hethey Prayer

Gayatri Mantra, the most important prayer, inspires wisdom and is also a prayer to the “giver of light and life” – the sun (savitur), ‘Hothu’ in Badaga.
If you analyse the prayer to  Goddess Hethey [by listening to many Hethey songs], you will find striking similarities with Gayatri Mantra!
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Gayatri Mantra

OM BHOOR BHUWAH SWAHA,
TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM |

BHARGO DEVASAYA DHEEMAHI,

DHIYO YO NAHA PRACHODAYAT ||

ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेन्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।

ஓம் பூர் புவ ஸவ |
தத் ஸவிதூர் வரேண்யம் |
பர்கோ தேவச்ய தீமஹி |
தியோ யோன பிரசோதயத் ||
[Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life, Remover of pain and sorrow, The Bestower of happiness, Oh! Creator of the Universe, May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light, May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction]
To listen to Gayatri Mantra go here
Most of the information has been taken from the net and may Goddess Gayatri bless all those authors who have put so much info on the net so that they are freely available to any one.
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Recalling gold burst on the Nilgiri hills

Dharmalingam Venugopal

[Nilgiri Documentation Centre,Kotagiri]

Hindustan Photo Films was not the first industrial misadventure on the Nilgiri hills. 140 years ago the South India Alpha Gold Mining Company, ‘the biggest venture to date’ was set up for gold prospecting in Gudalur by two Australian coffee planters who had been gold miners earlier.

The New Zealand Herald of 31 March 1875 was agog with excitement. It talked of famous geologists of the day Messer Foote and King having made the project study, the Governor of Madras Lord Hobart himself having inspected the area and ‘experienced diggers’ involved in the project.

As for the quantity of the gold it was said that the, ‘auriferous quartz veins are as rich as are any which have been discovered in California’. The only danger was the , ‘fearfully malarious nature of the climate’.

The East India Company also notified that, ‘should any gold be found, a portion of it would be considered belonging to the government’.
‘Ootacamund, the delightful hitherto recherché sanitarium on the Neilgherries is to be the new busy and bustling Ballarat (a gold mining town in Australia)’ concluded the report and predicted an exodus from ‘Melbourne to Madras’.

However the folly of the whole sordid episode was exposed soon after. As Shyam Rungta says in ‘The Rise of Business Corporations in India 1851-1900’ the whole venture was, ‘founded on incompetence and ended in misfortune’. The average cost of an ounce of gold produced was three times the market price.

The failure of Alpha only added to the speculation. When the gold rush peaked in 1879-81 as many as 41 companies were set up with a capital of over 5 million Pound Sterling in London, Bombay and Madras.
The shares of these companies commanded 50 to 100 percent premium even before any work was started merely on the basis of the cables sent by the ‘mining experts’ one of whom turned out to be a retired circus clown.

From little more than clusters of native huts, ‘gold towns’ of Devala and Pandalur blossomed suddenly into busy mining centres substantial buildings, bungalows, hotels, a store for ‘valuable quartz which was to be extracted’, a saloon and even race course laid out on paddy fields.

When the gold ‘boom’ burst without producing any gold several companies and banks collapsed in London and India. The only people who benefited were the ,’professional promoters, vendors of land, engineers and government of Madras and Mysore and their officers’.
The gold burst left Devala and Pandalur ghost towns, a place which a Times of India reporter had described before the gold rush thus, ‘Nature was undoubtedly in a poetic mood when she conceived and evolved the country, wild and lovely in extreme at one moment suggesting by the impressive grandeur of its mountain masses reminiscences of the Austrian Tyrol, at another recalling the sweet scenary of our own beautiful Wales by the delicate sylvan richness of its wooded valleys’

SONG OF THE HILL-PEOPLE

SONG OF THE HILL-PEOPLE

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by Indu.K.Mallah
~~~~~
What myth informs you
That your god is greater than ours?
Which fairy tale tells you
That your god is the only one?
Which god gave you the right to brain-wash our vulnerable, guileless people
With a brush dipped in guilt?
And who gave you the right to maul our culture?
You justify your self and say
That religion is different from culture,
But one is the warp, and the other, the weft of the fabric of our credo,
Which has the texture of the trees,
The flow of the mountain – stream
The scent of the earth,
The melody of bird-song,
And is in tune with the music of the cosmos.It is the age-old story of exploitation,
And it will take ages for us to recover from the wounds
You have inflicted on our souls
In the name of saving them.
But you have reckoned without
Our God of Satyam
We will wait——
Tomorrow is time enough for your expiation .
((((((((((((((((((((((O)))))))))))))))))))))))

[In the ‘Song Of The Hill People‘, Smt.Indu K Mallah has beautifully brought out the mindless and meaningless (religious) conversion of hill people especially, Badagas. What used to be an unforgivable act a couple of decades ago, has become a routine affair now. 

I am yet to meet a ‘converted’ Badaga who could give me atleast one convincing reason for the change. I know of many Badagas who say ‘I am a proud HINDU and have no problems in praying/ keeping pictures of other religious deities also in my puja room’. Hats off to these who are true Badagas!!

 Badagas have been a very closely knit community. Let not “religion” divide them – Wg Cdr JP]
Smt.Indu.K.Mallah writes : Thank you for re-printing my poem.  My collection of poems, which is under consideration for publication, has a separate  section on Indigenous Idioms –

Thank you very much

It was indeed a very pleasant surprise that on 24th, July 2014, this website had 552 hits. On a single day.

Best ever in the existence of

www.badaga.co – ‘Badagas of the Blue Mountains’

Statsstats2

I am deeply humbled and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Proud to be an Indian : Proud to be a Badaga.

Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash [ bjaypee@gmail.com]

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Badaga Dress

Here is an interesting article about how the vesti -dhoti- mundu has been the traditional dress of Badagas. Obviously, the recent incident of a High Court Judge not being allowed entry to the Cricket Club at Chennai because he was wearing a Vesti/Dhoti, has triggered the author to write this article.

24408 007Badagas with family (1914)

Mitchi Hethay

Mitchi Hethay

150507-011.jpgIncidentally, in the olden days, the ONLY dress for Badagas, both men and women, has been the ‘MUNDU’ – a longish handwoven white sheet, a wrap around. While a smaller piece of white cloth, the size of a towel, called ‘PATTU’ is used by the women to cover the head, the men used a thinner version – ‘Mallu’ as their turban – mallu ‘MANDARAY’. Both genders use another longer piece, usually same as the MUNDU, to cover the upper body. – Wg Cdr JP

 

Dhoti and the Badagas

By Venugopal Dharmalingam
There may be more to the humble dhoti than what the ‘English’ Clubs may think. Dhoties have been the traditional dress of not only the hot tropical plains of Tamil Nadu but also that of its cold hills like the Nilgiris.

2 Badaga men 1865

The basic dress of the Badaga men and women, the most numerous social group on the hills, have been the ubiquitous ‘mundu’, as the dhoti is called here. While men use a doubled over single mundu, women use two pieces of the same supplemented by a head cloth. ‘Each person was thus wrapped in a total of 8 to 10 m of cloth’ says Prof. Paul Hockings, the authority on Badaga social history.
He adds, ‘Cloth among the Nilgiri people is one of the commonest items of ceremonial exchange. It is the one most visible aspect of every person when it is worn; it is clearly differentiable according to degree of newness and cleanliness, especially as the favoured colour of Badaga dress is white’.Badaga man 1920
He further says, ‘Apparel is much more than a cover for the Badaga body; it functions as a symbol of complex and enduring relationships which hold the society together’.
Badagas wove their own cloth in the 19th century before buying them from itinerant Chetti traders since the 20th century. It was made from the fibres of two Nilgiri bushes, hoary basil and harmless nettle. It was said that people of Nanjanad used to specialize in making the cloth. The art of starching clothes to make them stiffer and resistant to rain was also long known to the Badagas.
Even after coming of the British and having close association with them, the Badagas adopted many of their dress but retained the mundu.
In recent times the passion for the white mundu by both men and women has reached new heights. The mundu is given a singular honour on occasions of festivals, funerals and social events. Even the Badaga youth increasingly seem to prefer the mundu to jeans.

The sea of white on the green background of tea plantations on major Badaga festive occasions has become a great cultural sight.

Rare Photos

 

Do not lose a piece of paradise called the Nilgiris / Nakku Betta

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Yes, it is highly tempting to sell our land [mostly planted with tea] due to the unbelievable prices offered by outsiders, the so called ‘Bombay Buyers’ as claimed by the brokers -many of whom are, believe it or not, Badagas.

But have you given a thought why ‘they’ are buying land in the Nilgiris, Nakku Betta?

The beauty, clean air and the feeling of living with the Nature – in short our land as handed down to us by our ancestors is nothing but a piece of paradise on earth.

Even if we have to sell our property, please make sure that you retain atleast a small portion to build a house and enough land for a ‘hola – vegetable garden’.

Remember, if you sell your land today, it is going to be impossible to buy any land in the Nilgiris in future for the prices are going to be very high.

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[photos by Wg Cdr JP]

The one stop website of/for Badagas

Landscape bbadaga.co

and

baduga.co

will to take you to our website

BADAGAS OF THE BLUE MOUNTAINS

the one stop destination to know everything about BADAGA

Badaga Proverbs – Doddaru SHLOKA

Badaga Proverbs – Doddaru SHLOKA

One of the fascinating and interesting aspects of Badaga [both people & language] is the free use of delightful but deep meaning proverbs called “ DODDARU SHLOKA”. When you engage an elderly Badaga into any conversation, you are sure to hear a lot of these proverbs thrown in to make / emphasis a point.

Prof. Paul Hockings, probably the most authentic researcher on and of Badaga lists more than a thousand Badaga proverbs, 1730 to be precise. May be he had extensively borrowed these from the unpublished manuscript of M.K.Bellie Gowder. He feels that 1730 could be a complete figure containing all the proverbs . See his book,’Counsel from the Ancients: Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses’. He has given the meaning in English as well thus making it easy to understand in a beautiful manner.

Though I find his collection extremely interesting and educative, I do not agree with some of the conclusions he draws on certain proverbs. For example, on the proverb, ‘Odhidhama Niddhana, Oddidhama Erandina’ .

Prof.Hockings interpretation is quite different to what I feel is the correct meaning. I think ‘a person who spends time learning and pondering (over a problem) is better than the one who runs away (in a hurry) and thus trips over. [Odhidhama – learned one , Niddhana – stops to ponder over[think] a problem, Oddidhama – one who runs away or is in a hurry, Erandina – trips over.

It is common practice for Badaga mothers to tell their young children ‘Oda beda , Erandiray’ – Donot run, you will trip over (a stone or any obstruction). That is ‘ do not be in a hurry and take a hasty decision’.

Another one is ‘Michidhavaga Morande Kolu Bangara’. The lady who does not listen to her husband /any one (Michidha Hemmathi) is bound to land up as a widow (when ‘Morande Kolu – a small stick of morende tree – replaces her jewellery [bangara] – nose ring and ear rings during the Ole Kattuva ritual of husband’s death / funeral ceremony). Prof.Hockings feels Mechidhavaga (see the difference between michidhava – one who does not listen- and mechidhava – one who is appreciated by all – even a morende kolu is enough as jewellery.

Actual proverb could have been, ‘Michi dhavaga Moranday kolu Bangara, Mechi dhavaga Morenday Kolu Singara’

Is it a case of beautiful wordplay (pun) by our ancestors??

I have listed a few of the proverbs here, or….….read more here

Rare Photos

'''Topographic map of Nilgiri Hills showing so...

Image via Wikipedia

On the unique BADAGA community of the Nilgiris in Southern India…their origin, language, culture and customs !!

Website of Wing commander Bellie Jayaprakash that is regularly updated and more info added

The following photos are from Thurston’s Book “Castes and Tribes of South India” published in 1909 by Government of India Press, Madras

Badaga Temple

Badaga Temple – This must be one of the oldest Badaga temples as the photo was published in 1909. The deity of this temple? Also, notice the elephant, horse and the snake on the outer wall. Any guess as to where this temple is located??

Madivale

Madivale

Badaga girls in 1909 or earlier

Badaga girls in 1909 or earlier. At first glance it appears as those these girls are wearing ‘pattu – head gear’.Take a closer look, their heads have been partially shaved. Did this signify any particular custom or period in the lives of these very young girls. No info available in Thurston’s book

Fire Making by Badagas -1909

See more here

Badaga Funeral Rites

Many a time, when we realize that some of our elders and educated have felt the need to put our old customs, traditions, rites etc on record – be it a manuscript or a printed booklet, it becomes a source of reference for many generations that follow.

I had the good fortune of reproducing the ‘Hethe Amma History’ by Naduhatti Bogga Mada Gowder published in 1925 [see the page on HETHE] and now the ‘ SAAVU HARAKKE -Funeral Prayer’ originally complied and published by Ketti -Achenekal M.Kala Gowder on 25-9-1944 and reproduced by M.K.Nanja Gowder [ see below the 8th edition]. He had been gracious to acknowledge the support extended by Rao Bahadur H.B.Ari Gowder’s family in his effort.

It is important to mention that Ketti Achenekal Mr.M.K.Nanja Gowder’s manuscipts have been extensively quoted by many researchers including Prof.Paul Hockings.

Karu Arachodhu 1
Karu Harachodhu 2
Karu Harachodhu 3 Karu Harachodhu 4

For more on BADAGA FUNERAL RITES go here or here

Proud to say we got 300,000 hits !

WP Hits

Extremely grateful to one and all for ‘HITTING’ us 300,000 times.

This landmark was reached on – 6th January, 2014 !!

Thanks again for the new year gift !!!

Uri Hogi, Siri Barali

Oh Man…

Here’s a question that was posed to the Dalai Lama: “What thing about humanity surprises you the most?”

His answer is : “MAN – Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn’t enjoy the present,

And as a result he doesn’t live in the present or the future. And he lives as if he’s never going to die and then he dies having never really lived”.

Is it NOT true with every Badaga-  male or female?

Badaga Proverb – Dhoddaru SHLOKA

DHoddaru SHLOKA

One of the fascinating and interesting aspect of Badaga [both people & language] is the free use of delightful but deep meaning proverbs called “DHODDARU SHLOKA”. Also we can call it – “DHODDAVAKKA HEGIDHADHU [What the Elders said] or “MUTHAPPANA MAATHU [Ancestors Words].When you engage an elderly Badaga into any conversation, you are sure to hear a lot of these proverbs thrown in to make / emphasis a point.

Prof. Paul Hockings, probably the most authentic researcher on and of Badaga lists more than a thousand Badaga proverbs, 1730 to be precise. He feels that 1730 could be a complete figure containing all the proverbs there are. See his book,’Counsel from the Ancients: Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses’. He has given the meaning in English as well as making it easy to understand, in a beautiful manner.

Though I find his collection extremely interesting and educative, I do not agree with some of the conclusions he draws on certain proverbs. For example, on the proverb, ‘Odhidhama Niddhana, Oddidhama Erandina’ Prof.Hockings interpretation is quite different to what I feel is the correct meaning. I think ‘a person who spends time learning and ponders (over a problem) is better than the one who runs away (in a hurry) and thus trips over. [Odhidhama – one who has learnt (spent time learning), Niddhana – stops to ponder over[think], Oddidhama – one who runs, Erandina – trips over]. We can hear mothers telling their young children ‘Oda beda , Erandire’ – Donot run, you will trip over (a stone or any obstruction). That is ‘ do not be in a hurry and take a hasty decision’.


Another one is ‘Michidhavaga Morande Kolu Bangara’. In my opinion . the lady who does not listen to any one (Michidha Hemmathi) is bound to land up as a widow (when ‘Morande Kolu – a small stick of morende tree – replaces her jewellery (bangara) during the Ole Kattuva ritual of husband’s death / funeral ceremony). Prof.Hockings feels Mechidhavaga (see the difference between michidhava – one who does not listen- and mechidhava – one who is appreciated by all – even a morende kolu is enough as jewellery. Is it a case of wordplay (pun) by our ancestors??

Visit the website Badaga Proverbs for more interesting information

Rajma from Kethorai – you make us proud!

ATT00010She was the first Badaga woman [teacher] to win the President of India award in 2010. Now she was awarded the Woman Achiever’s Award -2015 under the banner ‘Talent South” in recognition of her pursuit of excellence in the field of Education and for being  the change in society [social work] by RajTV along with other sponsors. She was one of the six  women chosen from different walks of life in Tamil Nadu.

She is Rajma from Kethorai hatti.

4411Rajma, you make us proud again!

__________

Congratulations akka. Hope for many more achievers from our community. However I thought we had forgotten the ambitious personality Rao Bahadur H.J. Belle Gowder who had enlightened our community through education. I hope, to keep our community identity we need to erect a statue in ooty or coonoor and explain to the world about his achievements through tourists. This may be a small gratitude we can show to our beloved great personality.

J.K.Manoharan [mano.nilgiris@gmail.com]

International Women’s day – India’s Daughters!

On this International Women’s day, I join our Prime Minister in saluting the indomitable courage and achievements of women.

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At the same time, my heart is filled with mixed feelings. Happiness and sadness. Happy that women have achieved so much despite the discrimination that they face in their lives – as a child, girl and adult. Sad, because the mind set of males in our society is still stuck up in a time warp. Considering women to be equals is not acceptable to the males even in this age of information, technology and ‘internet’. The great Indian male psyche is filled with unexplainable inadequacies. Women are looked at as objects and commercial commodities in the same society where they are venerated as Goddess – Kali, Kamakki, Parvathi, Sarasvathi, Lakshmi or Hethe.

On this day, my mind also goes to that brave heart commonly called Nirbhaya – the fearless one, whose life and ‘light’ was so brutally extinguished by the lust of a group of depraved and demented men in December 2012 in our Capital. I have lived in Delhi for more than twenty years and the place where the horrific rape took place is familiar to me. And, I saw the documentary that has been made on her.

Seeing the short film, filled my eyes with tears for her brave parents, especially the mother who can’t understand why the ‘Ujala – light’ has been permanently taken away and wonders why girls are held guilty for going out and not boys. The father has no issues in disclosing Nirbhaya’s real name – in fact her photo is available on the net. When he says, ‘I had to set the funeral pyre with my hands that held her so dearly’, the agony is beyond words. Their only demand is early justice.

What happened to Nirbhaya is happening to many girls and women in our society due to the sick minds of many. May be, the degree of brutality differs. But the outcome is the same -rape.

Because, the boys are brought up as superior to girls.It is prevalent even in forward looking communities like Badagas where a lot of attention is given to educating girls. Is the education given more for early/better marriage prospects than to empower women, one wonders.

We claim that the mindset of society has to change but forget that we are part of the very same ‘sick’ society. If we want a change, let us be part of that change. You and I can make a difference.

Let us join the women’s day celebrations by showing our respect to all ‘Indian Daughters’ and by declaring that HER life and honour are as  important as HIS.




First Badaga

Update to the page on FIRST BADAGA
It will be very interesting,  informative and educative to list all those BADAGAS who were/are the ‘FIRST’ in any field. Where I am not sure about some details, I have put a question mark, so that some reader may supply the correct information.

The following list, by no stretch of imagination, is exhaustive or exclusive. I am sure that there are many more Badagas, both men and women, who deserve to be called ‘FIRST BADAGA’ for their pioneering work in many fields.

If some have not been included, it is due to the problem of not getting ‘correct/authentic’ information. My request to all Badagas or those who know about Badagas is, please forward the deails/names of individuals [if possible with photos] whom you think should be featured in this page. It will be a great pleasure and honour to include them in this list. After all, the idea behind this topic of FIRST BADAGA is to serve as an inspiration and motivation to young Badagas. – Wg Cdr JP

Rao Bahadur HJ Bellie Gowder
[Hubbathalai > married Nanji Ammal from Jakkadha, 18?? – 1935]

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-First Badaga to be honoured by the British with ‘ Rao Sahib & Rao Bahadur’ titles ( late 1920s)

  • [probably] First to speak and write in Eleven Languages including Badaga, Toda, Kotha, Kuruma, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam,Telugu, English, Hindi & Spanish WITHOUT ANY FORMAL EDUCATION (his mother stopped him from attending a make shift school run by a Badaga in his verandah – thenay as she was scared that the teacher would punish Bellie Gowda because as a child, he was a prankster).
  • First to open a school at Hubbathalai (later named as Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder Board High School) basically to cater to Badaga students [a hostel was also built for them].
  • Credited with building tracks for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway from Mettupalayam to Ooty in early 1900s. A railway bridge near Lovedale station is named after him.
  • Brought many path breaking reforms in the Badaga Community.
  • He was the undisputed ‘King [Naakku Betta Leader]’ of the Nilgiris during his life time. A musical gramophone record was brought out by HMV titled ‘Bahadur Bellie Gowda, Naakku Bettaga Raja’. The singer was from Jakkadha.
  • It was said, ‘Bellie Gowda Ayyana mane kitchu, kedodhe illey – The fire in the hearth/kitchen in Bellie gowda’s house was always burning’ meaning there was a constant stream of visitors to his house. His wife Nanji Hethe, a stickler for cleanliness, would personally fetch fresh water from a stream at a considerable distance from Hubbathalai Hatti though there plenty of servants.
  • He would present a gold block semi conical shaped like a jaggery – bella piece to any hubbathalai girl who was getting married.
  • He was one of the very few who had a phone connection in the Nilgiris in early 1900s. His phone number was in two digits and less than 20. The phone he had was the old classical two piece type – separate ear piece and hand held mouth piece.

Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder
[Hubbathalai > married Gauri Ammal from Jakkadha, 4-12-1893 – 26-6-1971)
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- First Badaga Graduate, Presidency College , Madras (1920?)

  • First Badaga to tour the world (1930)
  • First Badaga to lead an Indian Delagation (World Scout Jumboree in Hungary)(1930)
  • First Badaga MLA & MLC (1940)
  • First son (after his father Rao Bahadur HJ Bellie Gowder) also to be honoured with Rao Bahadur title.

N.Lingan
[Thangadu >13 Nov 1908 – 1964]

- Fist Badaga Lawyer
- First President of the local Bar Association
- First Chairman of the Udhagamandalam Municipal Council (UMC) after Independence
- He was trustee of institutions like the Assembly Rooms and the Lawley Institute.
When the Nilgiri district was in dire need of a higher education facility, Mr.Lingan became a member of a 14-member committee headed by Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder, which was instrumental in the Government Arts College coming into being here during 1955. [ Info courtesy – Devaraj Rangan, Porore]

KM Sevannah Gowder
[Bearhatty > married Sarojini Madhan from Hulikal, 1915 – 1999, Mrs.Akkama Devi’s elder brother]

- First Engineer [B.E (Mech) – Madras University]

  • First Professor (?) Engineering College Guindy & GCT, Coimbatore,

Mrs. Akkama Devi
[Bearatty – married > HB Joghee Gowder [HB Ari Gowder’s brother] from Hubbathalai, 1917 -2012 ]
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photo from The Hindu

- First Badaga woman graduate

- First Badaga woman MP

Continue reading

Paul Hockings books on Badaga(s)

I had written earlier that:

Prof.Paul Hockings has been the most authentic scholar/researcher whose studies on Badagas may be considered to be very comprehensive. May not agree with some of his findings especially about the Badaga origin [that Badagas migrated from the Mysore plains] but the wealth of information that he has exposed in his books is greatly appreciated. If I have to choose a single book out of many of his works, without hesitation I would go for Counsel from the Ancients: A Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses‘. Unfortunately, this book is very expensive but you can access most of the pages online.

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Prof. Paul Hockings in his email [3/3/2015] writes :

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Dear J.P.,

It was really very generous of you to devote so much space to my work in your Badaga website. I do appreciate it.

I noticed that you again mentioned the high price of my two large books on the Badaga language. While the price has no doubt always been high, there is a reason for it, and it is not my profiteering. Linguistic texts like these are very difficult to get published by the most reputable publishers, because they see the market for such books as a very small group of linguistic specialists. I was thus very fortunate to be able to get the world’s top linguistic publisher, Mouton, to bring out both books. The problem however is a straightforward one: because the books were printed in Berlin, the printers had to be paid German printers’ union wages; and these are extremely high. On the positive side, the Dictionary is held y 125 research libraries worldwide, which means that data is available on the Badaga language in very many countries..

Thank you Paul for the email. Since I feel that your books, particularly, Counsel from the Ancients: A Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses‘ must find a place in every Badaga home, I wished that it was easily available and affordable. Thanking you once again for making Badagas known to the world.- Wg Cdr JP

Let us unite to get better price for green leaf TEA

An appeal sent by Dr.Haldorai on behalf of Nellikolu Trust

Tea