Barki

Ooty ‘varkey’ may be a local innovation
Dharmalingm Venugopal

[Nilgiri Documentation Centre,Kotagiri]

The Ooty ‘varkey’ due for Geographical Indication,  appears to have been an innovation of a local baker, quite likely from Kerala. There is no mention about ‘varkies’ in the British period.  The Blue Mountain Bakery advertises as late as 1916 about so many items of  breads, biscuits, cakes and pastries but no ‘varkies’. In any case, this  humble, semi-sweet, coarse pastry would hardly have appealed to the English palate.

Barki

photo: jp

The ‘varkey’ may be an innovation which was necessitated during the World Wars when maida and other ingredients were in terribly short supply. World War II is more likely the period as that is when the local Badagas started replacing the departing English population in the towns.  Since then the Badagas have been hooked to ‘varkies’ which has given an almost ritual status.

As for the name  goes, it could simply refer to one Varkey who invented or innovated it as a Stanes’ alumni recalls, ‘The baker Varkey, from The Nilgiri Modern Bakery would come around 7 am… I always wondered if the snack, saada and Naii varkey was named after our baker! ‘

Varkey recipes today include varkey payasam and paratha varkey. However the ubiquitous varkey is eaten best deep dipped (ajjudhu, in Badaga) in tea or coffee.

[People who have tasted ‘barki’ – varkey is barki in Badaga, always get hooked to this Nilgiri special pastry. Whenever I go to Bengaluru, the only item my friends tell me to bring is this delicacy. Many prefer Kunna Barki – smaller variety of varkey. I recently read in the Hindu that ‘Ooty varkey is 100% vegetarian and no animal fat is added‘. But some disagree – Wg Cdr JP]

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Sustaining Small Family Farming in the Nilgiri Mountains

Dharmalingam Venugopal

Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri

International Mountain Day (IMD) is being celebrated on Dec 11 since 2002 to raise awareness about the importance of mountains, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build partnerships that will bring positive change to world’s mountain areas.

This year the theme of IMD is ‘Farming in Mountains, farming for families’ to focus on valuable contribution of mountain family farming to livelihoods. Family farming in mountain regions is undergoing rapid transformation due to world population growth, economic globalization, urbanization and migration. At the same time recent trends present opportunities for local development in diverse activities.

The objective is to reposition family farming at the centre of agricultural, environmental and social policies in the national agendas by identifying gaps and opportunities to promote a shift towards a more equal and balanced development. How to increase awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by smallholders and help identify efficient ways to support family farmers?

Sustaining Small Tea Growers

To celebrate IMD 2014, Nilgiri Documentation Centre will  organise a One Day Workshop on ‘Sustaining Small Family Tea Growers in the Nilgiris’ on Dec 11, 2014. The workshop will seek to identify and  profile small family growers and seek answers for questions like  Are they viable? Are there any alternatives? Can they go back to vegetables, partly or wholly? How can they supplement their income? Can they add value to their product like promoting a niche market? What is the way forward? How to synergize the working of development institutions like Tea Board, Indcoserve? Can Small Family Growers and Bought Leaf Factories live together on mutual goodwill and benefit?

Nilgiri Conservation Award 2014

On the occasion, NDC will present the Nilgiris Conservation Award 2014 to the Hill Area Development Programme in recognition of its role in the development and conservation of Nilgiris in the last four decades.  As the HADP is poised to enter its 40th year, its future has turned into a question mark with the abolition of the Planning Commission.  Whatever may be the new Avatar of the HADP, its contribution to development and conservation in the Nilgiris needs to be acknowledged. It has touched all corners, all aspects and all sections of the Nilgiri society in the past four decades.

[Being a farming community & a large number being small tea growers, the Badagas have a big stake in the issues high lighted by D.Venugopal. They must attend the workshop to be held on 11-12-14 and make it a success. I can only recall the words of Thangadu Krishna Gowder [rendered in his golden voice in a song] ” elay hattalay belay elle dho “. The steep fall in the price of green leaf tea and the terrible menace of monkeys and other so called ‘protected wild life’ in the cultivation of farm produce, have made us desperate and dejected. Resulting in sometimes ‘desperate sale’ of our small holdings (tea estate – thotta). We have been taken for a ride by the green leaf  agents who cheat us in weight and price, unscrupulous tea factory owners who have no qualms in producing adulterated tea as well as the corrupt and cunning tea brokers. Not double damakka but triple damakka – Wg Cdr JP]

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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‘Touch the Sky with Glory’

After graduating as a Mechanical Engineer, (Madras University – GCT, Coimbatore), I joined Indian Air Force (IAF) as a permanent commissioned officer in 1972  and took voluntary retirement after 20 years when I was a Wing Commander. My ‘bond’ [job agreement] was for a minimum of 20 years [guaranteed pension].

I gave my youth to IAF and in turn IAF gave me everything. Full of pleasures and some pains, but what an experience. Forever I am PROUD to have been associated with a great institution of the Defence Services that is involved in keeping the integrity and independence of our nation.

Probably, I am the first Badaga to have joined IAF as an officer (and there are many officers now – both serving and retired)

I am delighted to urge our youngsters (both men and women) to join

IAFwhose motto is

‘Touch the sky with Glory’

Defence Services offer you a great career!

Register between 6th December 2014 and 3rd Jan 2015.

Complete details in http://www.careerairforce.nic.in

Remember, as an Engineer, you can either join the FLYING branch (pilot) or Aeronautical Engineering Branch (Ground Engineer and can become a Flight Engineer in Transport/Helicopter streams later on)!!

‘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….

ms-onbadaga.jpg

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Limerick on Badaga

[found on the net]

screenshot.jpg

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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
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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’

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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

Badaga In English Script – Qwerty key pad

Badaga In English Script – Qwerty key pad

It is fantastic that a lot of efforts are being made to develop a Badaga script by Kadasoley Yogesh, Anandha Raju, Saravana Kumar Raju and others. Each has a different script to offer.

Meanwhile, I feel, it may be possible to use English alphabet and special characters that are available in a standard ‘QWERTY key pad’ to ‘write Badagu’.

The special characters are used since we do not have equivalent English letters for some letters like La – ள, Na – ண ,  etc.

Special character like [colon] : is used to avoid writing ‘a’ twice in many words like ‘baalu – tail’.

See the examples below :-

a:du – ஆடு, Dance, sheep/Goat
[a:tta a:duva b:a – ஆட்ட ஆடுவ பா  – come, let us dance],

[kappu a:du dh:aradhu? -கப்பு ஆடு தாரது  whose black sheep is that?]

idhu adhu – இது அது – this and that

k:angi – காங்கி [Female] Name
[K:angi yu Gangi yu hola gelachcha ga hogi d:arey – காங்கி யு கங்கி யு ஹோல  கெல்ச்ச க ஹோகி தாரெ – Kaangi and Gangi have gone to work in the field]

g:ai – காய் -Wind
[baniyanu ikku, g:ai beesira – பனியனு இக்கு காய் பீசிர – wear (woolen) sweater, it is windy]

bal’l’ey – பள்ளே – flat footed woman
[ah bal’l’eya kan’n’u holla – அ பள்ளே ய கண்ணு ஹொல்ல – That flat footed woman’s eyes are full of evil]

k^oi – கோய் -chicken
[k^oi udhakka – கோய் உதக்க – chicken curry]

kodu –   கொடு -give
[S^omi, ee koosuga budhiya kodu – சோமி , ஈ கூசுக புத்தி ய கொடு – God, give this boy some wisdom]

k^odu – கோடு – line
[k^oda th:anda beda – கோட தாண்ட பேட – don’t cross the line]

ban’n’a – பண்ண – colour
[ban’n’a battey baekku – பண்ண  பட்டே பேக்கு – need colourful cloth]

hen’n’u – ஹெண்ணு – girl
[ah hen’n’u s^okka idhdhavey – அ ஹெண்ணு சோக்க இத்தவெ – that girl looks beautiful]

kan’n’u – கண்ணு – eye
k:an’u – காணு see
[kan’n’a tharadhu k:an’u  endhu haegu – கண்ண தரது காணு எந்து ஹேகு – ask (him/her) to open the eyes and see]

hal’l’a – ஹள்ள – river
[hal’l’adha neeru kammi – ஹள்ள த நீரு கம்மி – less water in the river]

halla – ஹல்ல – man with big teeth
[hallajja na namba koodadhu – ஹல்லஜ்ஜன நம்ப கூடாது – don’t believe that ‘toothy’ man]

a:lu – ஆலு – anger
[appa a:l endhundu edhdhaney – அப்ப ஆல் எந்துண்டு இத்தனெ – Father is very angry]

h:al’u – ஹாளு – cursed
[h:aluvadha h:alu k:arana innu k:an’ey – ஹாளுவாத ஹாலு காரன இன்னு காணே – that cursed milkman is not seen still]

bella – பெல்ல – jagiri [black sugar]
Bel’l’a – பெள்ள – male name
[Bel’l’a na m:aththu bella m:akkey – பெள்ளன மாத்து பெல்ல மாக்கே – Bella’s words are sweet like black sugar]

Bel’l’ie – பெள்ளி – silver, Male name
[Bel’l’ie j^odi bel’l’i ungara ikki dhaney – பெள்ளி ஜோடி பெள்ளி உங்கர இக்கிதனெ – Bellie is wearing a pair of silver rings]

[Bel’l’anu Bel’l’ie yu appara nattu k:araru – பெள்ளனு பெள்ளியு  அப்பர நட்டு காரரு – Bella and Bellie are very friendly]

What are your views? Please send them as comments.

                 Script for Badaga      by   Dr.R.K.Haldorai

  “We can easily invent a completely new script for any language in a couple of days” (THE HINDU, May 25, 2013)

       Badaga language has to get a script. Few Badaga enthusiasts tried for that. Over the years few scripts were postulated. But one thing is sure that popularise any new script seems impossible in the present social scenario.

      A language can potentially be written in any script of the world with some minor changes. Badaga language is studied by well known scholars. These linguistic scholars employed other languages’ scripts, especially Tamil and Roman (English) for Badaga language. They followed the internationally adopted methods. When we follow these things we are spared from two great hurdles. Tamil and English letters are known to the present educated Badagas. So, comparatively it is very easy to popularise the required letters. Next it will be in consonance with the international studies. In this background Linguists always favour to adopt the vernacular known scripts for unlettered languages.

    It is to be remembered that the Kodagu language is written in Kannada script. In the same way another south Indian Dravidian language Tulu adopted Kannada script long ago. It is not new that more than one language adopted a common script. It is a worldwide scenario. In India Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathy, and Nepali are written in Deva Nagari script. Of late Kongany which elevated to the eight schedule of our constitution too, adopted Deva Nagari. An unlettered Naaga language of the north east state adopted Roman letters.

     To make Badaga a lettered language, Tamil and Roman scripts are at our hand.

Badaga Origin

This article is reproduced due to readers request

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Many mistakenly claim that Badaga Origin is nothing but Badaga migration from Mysore  [now in Karnataka state] during Tipu’s time only because of  the name Badaga (meaning northerner). It is very debatable. Unfortunately many Badagas have believed it in the absence of any convincing and conclusive evidence to the contrary. But the latest revelations and links about the language, especially from the epics and writings during the Tamil Sangam period tell a totally different story (see below).

Portrait of Tipu Sultan once owned by Richard ...

I am firmly of the view that our history is much older- may be a thousand years or more older – and my initial ‘research’ confirms that. There is a lot written about the migration from Mysore theory by many anthropologists, researchers and others. For obvious reasons, most of them are/were ‘outsiders’ – like the early European missionaries and British. The one person who has done a lot to highlight about Badagas, in 1960s, Prof.Paul Hockings has chosen to go along with his predecessors in concluding that since Badaga means north[ner], they have migrated from southern  Mysore  during Tipu Sultan’s rule over Mysore to avoid being forcibly converted to Islam. Also sited in support of migration is the resemblance/similarity of Badaga (language) to Haleya [old] Kannada.

But, B.Balasubramaniam, a highly educated Badaga, in his book“ Paamé ” – The history and culture of the Badagas of the Nilgiris, feels that Badagas migrated from Southern Karnataka [then Mysore State] about 700 years back, much before Tipu’s time, around 1311 AD during the plundering raid of Malik Kafir.

  I am, also, firmly of the view that it is possible that Badagas have lived in the Nilgiris for thousand of years like the Thodas [Thodhamaru ] or Kothas [Kotharu] and migration theory is an attempt by historians and anthropologists to explain away a ‘historical puzzle’.  The mystery of migration needs to be solved once and for all.

What we DO NOT know about Badagas is more than what we know about them. Such is the mystery of Badaga Origin. Read the complete article here

A letter from Prof.Paul Hockings

As I have mentioned elsewhere, Prof.Paul Hockings should be credited for doing a lot of research on Badagas [and Nilgiris]. He has published many books on both. Though priced on the higher side, his book ‘ A Badaga – English Dictionary’ written along with Raichoor is a must read for all Badagas.

badengdic.jpg

(See the page on Research for more)

So, it was a pleasant surprise to receive an email from him informing about his new books.

paul2.jpg
Dear Wing-Commander,
I have just finished writing a new book on the Badagas, “So Long a Saga“, which is a 400-page book on the social history of the Badagas from 1565 to 2012. ….[the book may take some time to be published and released- Wg Cdr JP]
I also attach a notice about my other recent book, “Encyclopaedia of the Nilgiri Hills“.
With best wishes,
Paul Hockings
PHnew

The NEGLECTED half

Pedhdhuva 012

The NEGLECTED half [part -1]

 

 

We may be proud of many of our Traditions – note the capital T – that we have followed for thousand of years. I repeat thousand of years though some so called foreign researchers along with many ‘yours truly types’ among us, would give only a few hundred years to Badaga history.

One such tradition, call it a custom if you want, that needs immediate attention is how we treat our WOMEN.

I am a staunch devotee of Hethe(y) Amma and very proud about the fact that Hethe(y) Habba is the ‘mother’ of all festivals for Badagas. But, let us face it. We call ourselves ‘Hethe(y) Makka’ – the children of Goddess Hethe(y).  And we very fiercely follow the strict customs associated with Hethe(y) Habba.

But alas, at the same time, our women are side lined and given only a secondary position in many of the rituals associated with this great and grand festival.

I have discussed about this aspect with many Badagas, including some from Beraganni and Pedhuva – “when we are so devotional to a deity that is personified in the purest female form called HETHE(Y), why are we NOT allowing our womenfolk who form half our population to participate in some of the rituals of Hethe(y) Habba?”

There are no clear answers. We cannot live in isolation.

Traditions need not be changed for the sake of change but surely, by involving the other half of our population in a much more ‘inclusive’ way instead of ‘rash restrictions’, will we not enhance our name and fame as a community that is forward looking?

If we do not change with times and be part of the larger society that encompasses the entire country, then, we will be condemned to face the serious and severe consequences.

May Hethe(y) bless us with the wisdom.

[To be continued …in ‘Part- 2′ we will see the injustice done to our women]

Set your mood to these songs…

Set your mood to these songs…

Badagas have made singing and dancing an integral part of their lives.

A happy occasion like a habba [festival] or marriage….there you go….to the foot tapping ATTA – Dance songs like ‘Meley Keriyoge – On the top street‘….even a non dancer will get the inspiration to let the hair loose and join the crowd….
A sad situation….like the demise of a departed dear one…..the sad ‘saavu – death’ songs of Kerban Bella Gowder or Thangadu Krishna Gowder like ‘Ganjikke Kukkeya...’ will make tears roll down the cheeks as they remind you of some one who is no more…
The ever green…Hethe Songs…..
Melodies with a message like ‘Manesella Nondhara – ‘
Or, the melodious modern Badaga songs where the instrumental music has been given more importance…
Or, listen to the powerful ‘Badaga Funeral Prayer – Karu Harachodhu [Blessing the calf]…the famous group rendering of ‘AATHIKKODHU

Listen to some of these ‘best of the best songs and sounds’ chosen by me by clicking on the links or ON SOUNDCLOUD given below…
Must see the website on Badaga Songs

Image

Kootu [Meeting] at Hubbathalai

Kootu [Meeting] at Hubbathalai

Click on the pix to see Rare Photos of Badagas

Badaga – is a separate language by itself

Badaga – is a separate language by itself

I have been steadfastly claiming that Badaga is an unique language by itself and not a derivative of any other Dravidian Language – I WILL WRITE MORE ON THE FOLLOWING SOON – Wg Cdr JP

Badaga language not a dialect of Kannada, claims French linguistic scholar

Shanta Thiagarajan, [Times of India] Dec 4, 2012,

UDHAGAMANDALAM: “The Badaga language, widely believed to be a dialect of Kannada, was the language of communication of ancient South Dravidians and shares similarities with the local Alu Kurumba tongue,” said Christiane Pilot-Raichoor, a linguistic French scholar from LACITO, a scientific research centre in Paris. She was in town recently to do some research work.

“Today, it is recognized as a separate language,” said Pilot-Raichoor, who has been working on the linguistic heritage of the Badaga language for the past two decades. According to her, there are too many important differences in the phonology and the grammar, differences in gender system, case system, verb classes, to claim a genetic relationship between Kannada and Badaga languages.

“Once our minds are freed from the idea that Badaga is a dialect of Kannada, it may become possible to consider more objectively the Alu Kurumba-Badaga linguistic relationship,” she said. Alu Kurumba shares most of the characteristic Nilgiri features including verb peculiarities of Badaga language. “Whatever resemblance it has to Kannada points to early medieval and older forms of the language. The core grammar in the Badaga language converges with other Nilgiris languages which can be traced to early south Dravidian features,” she explained. Continue reading

Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder

To day, 4-12-2012, is the 120th birthday anniversary of one of the greatest sons of Badaga Community,

Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder.

For all that he has done for the community, let us remember him with respect and gratitude !

My sincere salutations to the great and reputed man of Badaga community.
 
“To be born as a gentleman is an accident..
To live as one is an achievement…”
 
He has lived and achieved. Every badaga should feel proud of him.
He will be living eternally in the hearts of  all of us.
 
Regards,
kethorai rajma

 

Badaga leader’s birth anniversary celebrated

The Hindu – Udhagamandalam, December 5, 2012

Badagas celebrated the 119th birth anniversary of H.B. Ari Gowder at the Nilgiris Cooperative Marketing Society (NCMS), off the Government Botanical Garden Road, here, on Tuesday.

Long considered as the uncrowned king of the Badagas, Mr. Gowder was born on December 4, 1893 and died on June 28, 1971. He hailed from Hubbathalai village near Aruvankadu

The head of the Thodhanadu Seemai Badaga Welfare Association T.M. Kulla Gowder recalled that Mr. Ari Gowder was a well known philanthropist, who was respected by not only the Badagas but also others. He was instrumental in the NCMS coming into being in the 1930s to protect farmers from middlemen and unscrupulous traders in the plains.

For over three decades he was its president and for long it was considered as one of the best of its kind.

By way of acknowledging his significant contribution his bust was unveiled on May 25, 1987, in the multi-purpose hall of the NCMS.

The ‘Warisu’ card …..

It is unfortunate but true. There are still a lot of ‘greedy’ Badagas who feel that ‘all  property’ should go ONLY to a son / sons and and not to the daughter/daughters. These people, many of them- ‘educated idiots’ of both genders, would justify their claim and contention by saying only a son CAN be warisu or heir. Needless to say, they are living in an ancient  world [when, in a  Badaga Family], girls were NOT treated as EQUALS  and like in any other Indian Community, they were sort of discriminated.

This flawed thinking is very much against the rule of the land. The Indian constitution and present rules and regulations ensure that GIRLS GET EQUAL SHARE of the properties of their parents and ancestors [as BOYS]. Any discrimination in this respect is a criminal offence punishable under law.

But still many ‘self appointed’ and hapless  Badaga kap leaders and Gowdas, live under a false notion that all property is for males only. This cancerous notion which is destroying the  harmonious Badaga family system needs to be cut and CUT NOW. Unfortunately, the people mainly responsible for this ‘cancer’, you guessed it, are females – wives,mothers and grand mothers with ulterior motives.

It is high time we start treating this cancer of Warisu with all the contempt it deserves and cut it off before it destroys the very fabric that is  uniting the community.

More, with many examples, will follow….

Pa – Ha [ப-ஹ] change in Badaga

Pa -> – Ha [ப – ஹ] change in Badaga

Exclusive from Dr.R.K.Haldorai

The initial ha- ஹ - sound of the Badaga words confused its speakers many a time. Of course, there is a phonological point to be noted.

The present Badaga has a tendency to drop the initial ha- ஹ  -sound altogether. Due to this, the words once pronounced with h – sound are without that now. Hence those words which had initial ha- sound are now vowel initial sounds. ha sound is totally foreign to Dravidian languages. Therefore its use is equivalent to dropping the initial consonants altogether (Father Henry Heras 1936).
Example

  • hallu – allu -ஹல்லு – அல்லு  tooth
    haalu – aalu – ஹாலு – ஆலு milk
    hiTTu – iTTu – ஹிட்டு இட்டு – food
    hiiru – iiru – ஹிரு இரு-  to split
    hullu – ullu – ஹல்லு உல்லு grass
    huuyi – uuyi – ஹுய் ஊய் – tamarind
  • heTTe – eTTe – ஹெட்டே எட்டே – hen
    heegu – eegu – ஹேகு ஏகு -to tell
  • hoge – oge – ஹொகே ஒகெ – smoke
  • Hogu – Ogu – ஹோகு ஓகு – to go

As a special feature among Dravidian Languages Kannada language attested p – > h- change; a change which occurred quite early (Kulli 1976:304). This change is found in Badaga language too. This aspect has been adduced as an argument for settling Badaga language’s relationship with Kannada and even for deeming it a dialect of Kannada.
Since pa -> ha – change is common to Kannada and Badaga, scholars tried to fix the date of separation of Badaga language. On the basis that Badaga diverged from Kannada only after the old Kannada initial pa – , changed to middle and modern Kannada initial h – (Emeneau 1965 :18,19). They ignored the fact that in spite of attested p -> h – change , Badaga still has many words in use with initial p – ,many in basic in nature.

( E.g. paTTu -பட்டு  towel , payilu -பயிலு sprout, paTTe – பட்டேbark, paame – பாமே  story, payere – பேரே buttermilk, paaTTa koDe – பாட்டே கொடே umbrella of palmyra leaves)
The Kannada Encyclopaedia (KE) analyses this Badaga feature in brief and points out that all initial p – words are not changed into initial h – words in Badaga. Many initial p – words are in daily use in Badaga.

In Kannada p – > h – change began after 10th century. Hence Badaga might have diverged from Kannada prior to 10th century A.D.

The Kannada Encyclopaedia [KE] therefore assigns Badaga the status of an autonomous language (Nayak 1983 :412). Differing from Emeneau and others KE holds that Badaga might have diverged from Kannada even earlier than 10th century.

Kannada dictionary (Butcher 1983) recorded many initial p – and h – words, including some which are mere variants of the same words. Among these, Badaga language retained initial p – instead of initial h -.

Example

Kannada> puccu – huccu [puchchu huchchu] – புச்சு ஹுச்சு  (foolishness) : Badaga. puccu [puchchu]
Ka. paLi, haLi – பளி ஹளி (blame,rebuke ) : Ba. paLi
Ka. pusi, husi புசி ஹுசி (falsehood,lie ) : Ba. poy, puyyi -பொய்
Ka. pooTe, hooTe போட்டே ஹோட்டே (hollow of a tree) : Ba. pooTe  போட்டே(hollow)
Ka. pisuku, hisuku பிசுக்கு ஹிசுக்கு (to squeeze ) :Ba. பிசுக்கு -pisuku

In some cases Badaga substitutes s – for the h – found in Kannada words.

E.g. Ka. heDe (the expanded hood of a snake ) : Ba. seDe
Ka. huLi (sour ) : Ba. suLLe
Ka. hiju (to rend ) : Ba. suli
Ka. hore (neighbourhood, vicinity ) : Ba. saare

In few words PDr.(Proto Dravidian) p – changes into b – in Badaga.

E.g. Ka. pakkaLe (a kind of vessel) : Ba. baggare
Ka. paNi (stick, bat) : Ba. baNe
Ta. pambaram (top) : Ba. bombare
Ta. pakkam (shelter) : Ba. bakka

In a few places the initial p – and h – forms of the same word are use in Badaga but with
different meaning.

E.g. pace (green) : hacce (half-boiled, unripe, tender etc.,)
piri (to separate ) : hiri (to demolish)
piccu (to scatter) : hiccu ( to squirt )
poru (to endure ) : hour (to bear, carry or the head)
poTTu (simpleton ) : hoTTu (chaff, husk)

p – > h – is a share innovation found in Kannada and Badaga languages but with the following special features in Badaga.
1. Many initial p – words are in use in Badaga language and they are basic in nature
2. Unlike Kannada, all initial p- words are not changed into initial h – words in Badaga.
3. In a few places s – replaces h – in Badaga.
4. In a few places p – and h – form the same words are in different meanings in Badaga.

It is not correct, therefore to hold p – > h – change as a major criterion in settling the relationship of the Badaga language with Kannada.

Sutta Gassu Sandage…Badaga Recipes…

Gourmets’ worry over vanishing traditional foods, tastes

Article by Arun P Mathew, Times Of India | Nov 3, 2012

COIMBATORE: Ever heard of Sutta Gassu Sandage? It is one of the vanishing food items of badaga community of the Nilgiris. Taking part in a national seminar on ‘Heritage Foods of India’ at AJK College of Arts and Science here, senior chef H N Vijivan of Taj Vivanta Hotel in Coimbatore said the delicious badaga food item is made out of potato. Potatoes with skin are cooked over live charcoal, cleaned and salt and spices applied on it to make sutta gassu sandage.

According to him, there are over 20 exceptional varieties of food items of badagas and they need to be introduced to the gourmets across the world. Mouth-watering delicacies include ganjikke (boiled wheat pearls in an earthenware pot mixed with jaggery and coconut), eragi hittu (finger-millet balls made out of raggi flour, hot water and salt), badagaru koi uthakka (badaga chicken curry) and belle boungue sandage (roasted garlic chutney). Read the complete article here

Seen below on the left is ‘Thuppadittu – Ennayhittu’ and on the right is Eragi Hittu with Avaray Udakka and soppu’

Have you visited the page on Badaga Recipes ?

Badaga Songs…some of my favourites..

In a mood to listen to some fab Badaga Songs [‘My Choice’] as you browse the posts…click on the pix and choose the song in the new window that opens up…

Badaga Songs

RAJMA, the great ‘GURU’

I have never had the fortune of meeting her so far. Only, the media reports about her receiving an award from the President of India, made me proud being a native of the Nilgiris & a Badaga. And take notice.

If you sit back and think of ONE teacher of our school  whose teachings & advise has made us what we are today, we feel so happy and grateful to have studied under her/him. This ‘guru’s’ teachings touch our lives in many ways.

When I wrote about her in my websites, the response from her students and others was huge and I realised ‘HOW ONE PERSON CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN SO MANY LIVES’.

That great person is Mrs.Rajamma from Kethorai Village, Rajma Mam to her students.

Recently when I received the following  email from her, appreciating the work on these websites, I felt humbled. I can feel how powerful her words and teachings would have been.

I take the liberty of publishing her letter to put on record my deep gratitude and I am sure she will remain a powerful influence in many more lives.

Dear JP,
 
Greetings. Hope my mail finds you in good health and cheers. Nice to read a lot of issues about our community in your web site.
 

“A lot of things go unquestioned..
Several questions go unanswered…
Many words go unsaid..
A number of words go unheard..
Some dreams are buried alive…”
 
WE CALL IT LIFE.
 
WHAT LIFE HAS  IN STORE FOR US TOMORROW , NO ONE KNOWS.

In this mysterious life , a very few people like you leave an ever lasting mark for their life time. You are doing a wonderful job. Keep it up.
 
Take care. My best wishes for you will remain always.
 
With regards,
 Rajma

http://www.thehindu.com/multimedia/dynamic/00162/15dcmypr_woman_powe_162738e.jpg?%20w=100

[photo courtesy – The Hindu]

JP adds :

It is said that, “If you educate a boy, you educate an individual but if you educate a girl, you educate an entire family.

Indeed, GIRL POWER IS GREAT POWER

BADAGA WORDS AND WRITINGS

BADAGA WORDS AND WRITINGS

Exclusive article by Dr. R.K.Haldorai

Family of languages is known as cognate languages, which means languages descended from common ancestor (origin). Because of the family relation, most of the words are formed in similar construction in cognate languages. Similarity is seen in grammar too.

The renowned Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, compiled by T.Burrow and M.B.Emeneau (available in internet too) gives the similar (cognate) words of Dravidian languages in one group. If we go through that we can notice the similarities of words within the family of languages. On etymological basis it grouped Dravidian words into 4572 entries. In that dictionary, to our dismay only thirteen Badaga words are included. Some twenty years back, I brought this to the notice of one of the editors, M.B.Emeneau. It is apparent that Badaga words are available for most of these entries. It is our ardent duty to collect words for these entries and make available with them. By this way one can find out the common origin of Badaga words. So, linguistically it is correct to uphold the common origin. The innovations and borrowings are to be dealt separately. Innovations are special features and in Badaga’s case the distinct language status is marked with its many such things. Usually language borrows vocabularies, mostly nouns; grammatical borrowing is near nil; verbs are borrowed very rarely.

The influence of neighboring languages on Badaga is to be seen with this background. And it is not right to conclude that a word or feature belongs to a dominant language when it is common in minor and dominant languages.

Basically language is spoken. Written language is nothing but the reflection of speech. Out of seven thousand languages spoken throughout the world only few hundred have scripts. On other hand, we cannot say that all the speakers of a language know its letters, which has written character. Among Dravidian languages only four are having their own scripts and Tulu and Kodagu adopted Kannada scripts. Anyhow script was vogue in Dravidian languages in their proto stage. That letter is called braami or tamizhi, from which letters of Indian languages, including Tamil and Kannada are derived. When we say Badaga is descended from Proto – Dravidian or Proto – South Dravidian, it is obvious that once it had letters. But because of long isolation in the Nilgiri plateau that had forgotten. Anyhow the words like bare (to write, letter, written document), baregaara (writer),  bareyagaara  (writer of our fate, god) , haNayal bare, nettiya bare (fate, written on ones fore – head), baretoDe (literacy), oodu (read), kallu (to study), ooleyakaara (messenger who brings documents written on palmyra leaf),etc., imply that writing was known to Badagas. Above all Badaga word muniya signifies as noble teacher and this is attested in one of the Badaga ballads. So, it is understood that teaching activities were also there and the word kallusu (make one to study, teach) makes known it.

( I must put on record my deep appreciation and gratitude to Dr.Haldorai for sending articles for publication in our websites. He is one of the original NATIVE researchers of our language and culture. Dr.Haldorai is being very proficient in Tamil also, some times I find some bias in his articles in favour of Tamil when he discusses certain issues. The difference between the articles of Dr.Haldorai and other ‘outsiders’ like Prof.Paul Hockings or M.B.Emeneau is that there is a definite authority and acceptance in what Haldorai says because he is a Badaga and obviously knows what he says. – Wg Cdr JP)

What a shame ?!

Badaga is an unique language…which still retains its old world charm. Unfortunately, the absence of a script has resulted in abuse of the language, what with ‘some learned and self proclaimed researchers’ claiming it to be a derivative of Tamil and others of Kannada.

It does not stop here, some ‘highly qualified/educated’ non – Badaga persons go as far as writing articles and books on Badaga language without understanding the basics or the fundamentals of this beautiful language. While we appreciate the interest and initiative shown by non Badagas to learn and write about Badaga, we feel angry when they give totally wrong information. Worse still, they have the audacity to ‘invite readers’ to ‘learn Badaga’. Shocking to say the least.

I came across a book in Tamil [courtesy – Saranavaraj] called “Arivom Badagar Mozhi’ அறிவோம் படகர் மொழி [ பழங்குடியினம் ] by Era.Jayalakshmi – published by Vijaya Pathippagam, Coimbatore.
It appears that Jayalakshmi’s only ‘qualification’ to write about Badaga is that she ‘found out’ in ” Badaga people’s spoken language, the greatness of old Tamil”  [ தமிழ் ‘படுக’ மக்கள் பேச்சு வழக்கில் தமிழின்  தொன்மையை கண்டறிந்தார் ] when she was serving  in the Ooty Municipality.
She starts off on a wrong note. In her preface, she claims that all Dravidian Languages are derivatives of Ancient Tamil. “Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam are languages that came out of the ‘blood’ of Tamil – கன்னடமும் களித்தெலுங்கும் கவியின் மலையாளமும் உன் உதிரத்தே உதித்தெழுந்து ஒன்று பல ஆயிடினும்..” she quotes Caldwel.

She goes on to say that like many Dravidian Languages ” BADAHAA – படஹா ” is only a spoken language. Note’ she does not even know that Badaga and Badagu – படக &  படுகு are never referred to as Badahaa. In her preface BADAHAA – “படஹா” is mentioned atleast eight times with quotation marks.

Here are some bloomers – deliberate or otherwise :-

In the book, what is your name [உன் பெயர் என்ன?] is given as: -
1.Enna eraru ena  இன்ன எசரு என? –  what is your name – உன் பெயர் என்ன? (This is the very first sentence in the book).
[It should have been :- Ninna hesaru yena – நின்ன ஹெசரு ஏன?]
2.uralvai esaru ena உறல்வை எசரு என? – what is mother’s name – அம்மாவின் பெயர் என்ன?
[should have been – Awwaiya hesaru yena – அவ்வைய ஹெசரு ஏன?]
3.Enaga paadi ariye – எனக பாடி அறியே –  I donot know how to sing – எனக்கு பாட தெரியாது
[should have been – Na kadai hegi ariye – ந கதை ஹேகி அறியே]

There are too many mistakes, all most in every page, to elaborate . In one word this book is PATHETIC.

The author, it appears, has never heard of proof reading or the Badaga words in the book are either meaningless or distorted. The icing on the cake is that she dedicates her book to those ‘researchers of languages -மொழி ஆராய்ச்சி  அறிஞர்கள் ‘.

It is high time, R.Lakshmi withdraws this book, consults a Badaga and do a proper proof reading and then dare to publish.

What do you do, laugh or cry??

[My request to Badaga Association in Coimbatore is, please contact/ visit the publishers Vijaya Pathippagam,20, Raja Street, Coimbatore -641001 phoen # 0422-2382614 / 2385614 [email -vijayapathippagam2007gmail.com], since the author’s email or address/contact numbers are not given, and ask them to take corrective steps].

****************

Prabhakar [email ; writerprabhakar@gmail.com] comments :

While the article by the particular author/publication needs to be condemned, I do not quite agree with the contention that Badaga is not a derivative of Tamil or Kannada. Can the administrator of this website speak an entire sentence in Badagu without using a word of Kannada or Tamil??? It is high time that we realized that Badaga is indeed a derivative /mixture of Kannada and Tamil. Realization is enlightenment. Moroever there is no ‘shame’ involved in it. I am a proud Badaga who takes pride in his unique culture and tradition, but am equally aware that my language is a unique mix of two other languages. If someone were to deny it then it would mean that Badaga precedes these two languages. If it has indeed preceded these two languages than it would have definitely had a script. So let us stop romanticising the origins of our language and accept reality.

Hello Prabhakar,

I am surprised and saddened by your conviction and contentions. I am not sure whether you have read my articles/posts/pages on our language. Well, I am convinced that Badaga is a separate language by itself – without a script [like so many other spoken languages]. While there is no denying the fact that Badaga and old (haliya) Kannada resemble a lot and of late there is great Tamil influence. This is probably, due to the fact, we belong to Tamil Nadu and many of us have studied in Tamil medium schools. Why Badaga, without a script, could not have preceded Kannada or Tamil, is not the question, but could it not have co- existed with Sen Tamizh – old Tamil and Haliya Kannada??

I did my schooling in Rao Bahadur Board High School, Hubbathalai where the medium of instruction was Tamil. I love Tamil and can boast, at the cost of modesty, that I was ranked sixth in the entire Tamil Nadu, Manavar Mandram examinations of 1963-64. Hence can read and write Tamil very well. I can’t say the same about Kannada.If you read my articles on Badaga Language, there is a lot of ref to Badaga in the Tamil Epics.

Incidentally Mrs.R.Jaylakshmi says in her book that Badaga is a ‘child’ of Tamil and goes on to quote that ‘Odhu -study’ is the same as in Sen Tamizh – Odhamal orunaalum irrukka vendaam -ஓதாமல் ஒருநாளும் இறுக்க வேண்டாம்’

By the way, in Badaga we say ‘bil kul’ for ‘definitely’ like “bilkul beda – definitely don’t want“. Bilkul is a Sanskrit word. Can we say that Badaga is a derivative of Sanskrit? Ungara and Majjige mean finger ring and butter milk in Telugu and Badaga. Is Badaga a derivative of Telugu?

Why are we still have the mind set to blindly accept what others have mentioned about our language or for that matter, even about our origin that we migrated from Mysore.

I notice that you have mentioned that you are a National award winning Journalist. Like to read your articles and if possible, reproduce them in my websites.

- Wg Cdr JP

Badaganadu

Senthil [semthil.jrk@gmail.com]
comments on Badaganadu
This community people are different from Badagas of Nilgiris.  They speak Kannada not Badaga language. So please don’t confuse Badagas of Nilgiris with these people.

I am in total agreement with Senthil. The idea of the post is that there are others associated with just the name BADAGA and not BADAGAS – JP

The following information is from badaganadusangha website

The Badaganadu are a Brahmin community that mainly resides in Karnataka, and now due to the advent of globalization they are spread throughout the world. Badaganadu Community is one of the three main streams of adherents to the Advaita Vedanta propounded by Sri Shankaracharya and are followers of the Smarta tradition (known as Smartism). Smarta is derived from ‘Smrithi’ a Sanskrit word with the meaning of one who “remembers or reveres their teacher/Guru”.

Origins
Literally, Badaganadu means the northern land, probably originating from badaga (north). Referred to the community, it might mean people from the northern parts, who were brought to perform pujas in Sanskrit language. The mother tongue of Badaganadu community has been Kannada, and are largely spread around the northern parts of Karnataka, Bellary and Anantapur districts, Bangalore, Shivamogga, Chikkamagaluru, Davanagere, Chitradurga, Holenarasipura, Madhugiri, Tumkur and other parts of Karnataka.
Badaganadu Community emphasises a strong education, thus most of the community members are well educated and are Engineers, doctors, Officers etc.

The main deity of some of the Badaganadus is Lord Venkateshwara and for some it is Lord Mylaralingeshwara or Lord Malatesha of Devaragudda or Mailara near Ranebennur in Haveri District, the last three located in Norther parts of Karnataka. Badaganadu’s celebrate most of the South Indian Festivals like Ugadi, Navaratri, Deepavali and Gowri Ganesha festivals.

There are many Badaganadu organizations spread all over Karnataka, like The Badaganadu sangha in Bangalore, Badaganadu Balaga in Mysore etc.

Culture
One can find Badagandu people hailing from around Mysore, Mandya and even Coimbatore. Though Badaganadu people adhere to AdiShankara’s teachings and are advaitins. They celebrate almost all festivals and vrathas be it pertaining to please Shiva or Krishna or Rama or Narasimha or Ganesha or any other deity/God. Truly cosmopolitan Hindu outlook is shown by this community. Though most of the Badagandu community are Smarthas, there is a large Badaganadu sect amongst Madhwas; some say that Madhwas were originally advaitins but chose to profess Madhwacharya’s Dwaita teachings due to reasons of losing in religious debate or were overcome by the influence of the new thought. Whatever it might be, this community truly blends well without any show off of ego or fanfare. Nanajanagoodu shrikanteshwara is the main deity for most of the Badaganaadu Brahmins.

[This interesting piece of information was sent by ARI JOGHIE ]

First ever portrait of a Badaga woman?

Displaying 1844 Badaga woman.JPG
First ever portrait of a Badaga woman
Dharmalingam Venugopal (Nilgiri Documentation Centre,Kotagiri)

Dr. James Cowles Prichard, an English Physician and Ethnologist wrote two books. ‘Researches into the Physical History of Man in 1813 and ‘The Natural History of Man: Comprising Inquiries into the Modifying Influence of Physical and Moral Agencies on the Different Tribes of the Human Family’ in 1843.
For the later he had commissioned the pictures of a Toda man and woman. Obviously, there was a mistake and the pictures sent from here were of a Badaga woman.
This print of a hand-colored aquatint engraving of an obvious Badaga woman was published in 1844. This could probably be the first ever picture of a Badaga woman.
An original of the engraving has been obtained by Nilgiri Documentation Centre thanks to the support of Mr. Colin Sullivan, the great grandson of John Sullivan, who visited the Nilgiris recently.

While thanking Venugopal for sending this information, couple of doubts creep into mind. Earlier days, Badaga Jewellery worn by women has distinct designs – the Ear rings – Kivi Chinna, Nose ring – Mookkuthi, and neck chocker – Saradu. In the painting above they are different.

 Badaga women also had very different type of tattoo on their foreheads. Not the Pottu – Bindu[dot].  So is the head cover – Pattu.

Update :- Venugopal feels that “it is 170 years ago and it is a painting and therefore interpretation of the artist. It is certainly not a Toda”. I agree.

– Wg Cdr.JP

Prof.Paul Hockings

I tend to agree with Wg Cdr JP that this might not actually have been a Badaga lady. The earring is not unusual for Badagas then, and is illustrated by Feodor Jagor from his expedition around 1873 (1914: Fig. 70). But the puttu is more of a problem. Jagor also illustrates (Fig. 60) several typical brow tattoos of Badaga ladies, which must have been pretty-well universal at that time, and rather rule out sticking a puttu on top of them. It is certainly not a Toda; but could it be an Irula? That seems most likely to me.

Badaga Script [Barey]

Badaga, now considered to be one of the ORIGINAL and old dravidian languages, is not a derivative of Kannada or Tamil, but  unique in its concept, construction, pronunciation and grammar. One of the regrets of many Badaga enthusiasts like me is that our language does not have a script of its own.

Recently I received an email from

Richard Parry <appleaccess@icloud.com>
Hello WC Jayaprakash,

I’m currently looking at the languages of India and the similarities between the various scripts.
I’m interested in adding Badaga into the mix, but currently have no way of entering the letters into the document.

Earlier Microsoft considered to include Badaga as a possible Indian Language in its OS developments.

Though some serious attempts have been made by RAJUS, Ananda, Kadasolai and Saravana [not related to each other but a sheer coincidence that Raju is in their names], still their scripts have not been fully accepted and adopted.

Saravana Raju, from Karimora hatti, is a gifted youngster with lots of original and ‘out of box’ ideas in developing a Badaga Script. He has just released his concept in the form of a booklet.

SaravanaWhen he called on me to present the book, his passion and dedication came out clearly. What is highly satisfying is the fact that some very young children of his hatti are able to read and write in his Badaga script

He has listed 12 letters as ‘AYYA Bare(y)’ and 27 letters as ‘ Heththe Bare(y)’ and combined them to call it ‘Mammakka Bare(y).

100_9113100_9114100_9115

Wishing Saravana Raju the very best and hope his contribution will find an unique place in Badaga !