Rare Photos


Some of the rare photos of the Nilgiris – Nakku Betta.

We thank Dr. Vivek Raju, [son of Dr.K.M.Raju from Kerada – Ketti Kerkandy] presently at Durban, South Africa for forwarding these photos.

Since the original source is not known, we thank those pioneer photographers, mostly and probably British

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The Badaga Ladies have always been with a head scarf called Pattu. Since in the above pix the ladies are without pattu, wonder whether they were actually Badagas.

Oh Mother


Seventh Death Anniversary (13-7-2018)

Idyammal Bellie Gowder

You were everything for us in all those glorious 99 years and 10 months when you were ‘here’.

As we were preparing to celebrate the ‘century’, you chose to leave this earth just a couple of months earlier…seven years ago.

How time flies!

Elle idhale’yu engava harachu

[Bless us all from where ever 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]

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

“I know my mother looks much older than what she is but those wrinkles have the charm of their own. They indicate the signs of her great endurance; and the hard life she has to lead through to bring her children to lead a life that is respected and regarded by others” – JP 24-1-68

Dear Hands

[Grace Noll Crowell]

My mother’s hands were beautiful,
They are not always smooth and white
They were so busy making dull
And lusterless things clean and bright.

They reached so often to caress
A hurt child crying in the night
They moved as quick as fluttering birds
Among the cups and spoons at tea

They did a thousand lovely things
And did them all so graciously
There is no way to sum them up
The countless things she did for us.

[photo of Idy Hethe’s hand by her grandson Abhi Ari -2010]


Humble Thanks

Ari Gowder

On the solemn occasion of the 47th death anniversary of Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder, the Government of Tamil Nadu accepted and acknowledged the selfless service to the society by the great Badaga leader and to honour him appropriately in future.

The Collector of the Nilgiris Ms.Divya Innocent garlanded the statue of Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder at the NCMS complex, Ooty.

Badaga leaders like Prof.Kulla Gowder paid homage to Rao Bahadur Ari gowder.

The Nilgiri Cooperative Marketing Society was established by him in 1937 to help out the small farmers of the district from the clutches of middlemen and was considered the best in INDIA.  The 5.81 acres of land and buildings in Ooty donated to the society by Ari Gowder has to be a Rs.500 plus crores worth asset now.

On the occasion the family of Ari Gowder, his grand daughter Tara Jayaprakash and nephew Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash were honoured with shawls by the officials and staff of NCMS.

Manjai Mohan had taken great initiative and interest to make the solemn function a grand success.


As Ari Gowder family wishes to put on record, our deep gratitude and appreciation and thank all concerned.

Homage to H.B.Ari Gowder

We pay our humble and respectful homage to
Rao Bahadur H.B.Ari Gowder

Ari Gowder

The greatest leader of Badagas of the Blue Mountains !

See for more info -> https://badaga.co/all-about-ari-gowder/

Origin of Badagas

Badaga Origin

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



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).

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, who has done extensive research, before writing 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.


A Badaga Singer with golden voice

 Kerban Bella Gowder

Over a period of time, I have listened to a lot of Badaga singers [some were as good as professionals] but the best in my opinion is KERBEN BELLA GOWDER who had a golden voice. I met him for the first time all most three decades ago. He could play harmonium, ‘bull bull tara’ and ‘thambutte’ [drum] with equal ease and elan, His greatest ability was to compose and render songs on the spot, some times suitably changing the verses to suit the occasion.

He was a much sought after singer in any function, be it a wedding, savu or anniversary. Just with a couple of his colleagues accompanying on the thambutte [mathalam] and jalra [cymbals], he would sing while playing the harmonium. Sadly, no songs were recorded in any studio. His savu [sad] songs would bring tears streaming down even in the hardest of hearts.Another, great contribution of Bella Gowder is his rendering of many Badaga Ballads – the best being ” BERADA BELLIE “ I had the great fortune of recording [on a tape recorder] some of his songs when he had visited my home at Hubbathalai on a few occasions. Luckily I could trace them recently.

It is with a great sense of honour and as a tribute to this gifted singer I have uploaded some of his BERADA BELLIE as well as KAARA CHENNE and other songs on the net so that all of us can listen to his golden voice. The voice quality of some of these streaming songs may not be very good due to the original recording having been done on a tape recorder.


I bow my head in dedication to Kerben Bella Gowder who passed away a few years back.

Listen to the streaming music of “BERADHA BELLIE” and “KAARA CHENNE” ballads in the golden voice of Bella Gowder

Beradha Bellie Songs




BADAGA SCRIPT – BADAGA BARAE [படக பரே – எழுத்து ]

[படக மொழியை எப்படி எழுதலாம்?]

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

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

Three scripts come to mind straight away – Tamil, English and Kannada.Tamil – because a majority of us know how to speak and write due to the simple fact that we belong to Tamil Nadu, English – since most of us choose to learn as well as put our children in English medium schools and Kannada – due to the fact that Badaga is more akin to Kannada than any other language [though I firmly believe that Badaga is a separate language on its own merit and not a dialect of Kannada].

But when trying to choose a script for Badaga, Kannada script is ruled out for the basic reason that most of us do not know the language or familiar with the script and no scope to learn it in our schools in the Nilgiris. Hence the choice between Tamil and English. Badaga ,like many other Indian languages, has very definitive and distinctive sounds/words [I do not know the exact English equivalent] that distinguishes one word from another. Even a small change in pronunciation could result in an entirely different meaning in Badaga. For example, a subtle change in context of the word ‘BAE [bay]‘ could mean mouth, bangle, lentil, crop etc. Bella – பெல்ல [jaggery] or BeLLa – பெள்ள [ a male name] are two entirely different things. So are ‘kallu கல்லு – stone’ and ‘KaLLu கள்ளூ – a drink’. So, what could or should be the choice?

In Tamil script we cannot differentiate ‘K’ from ‘G’ or ‘T’ from ‘D’. This makes a  huge impact when Badaga words are written in Tamil script. ‘Gaasu – potato’ is totally different from ‘Kaasu – coin, remove’. Or ‘Ettu – eight’ and ‘Eddu – getup’. Another drawback could be the absence of ‘Ha’ in classical Tamil. On the other hand, in English, we cannot clearly bring out the difference of ‘na’ from ‘Na’ [anna – அன்ன food, aNNa – அண்ண elder brother] or ‘halli – ஹல்லி  lizard’ from ‘haLLi – ஹள்ளி name, village’. ‘Kalla கல்ல – a male name’ sounds the same as ‘ kaLLa கள்ள – a thief.

Yes, it is indeed a little tricky to choose between Tamil and English. But, taking into consideration the younger generation who are going to be the future hope and the irrefutable fact that they are all more familiar with English than Tamil, the choice is English. Keeping in mind the successful adaptation of English script for Malay language (Malaysia) I would plump in for English. With a few minor modifications to overcome the grey areas mentioned above, English script can be easily used in Badaga.

Remember Devanagiri (Hindi) is the script for Nepali. The ‘minor’ modifications that can be undertaken to overcome the drawbacks I referred above could be by using an extra ‘a’ – thus milk can be written as ‘haalu ஹாலு’; ‘dhadi தடி – stick’ can be different from ‘dhaadi தாடி – beard’. So on and so forth.

We may use ‘capital’ letters to differentiate between ‘bella and beLLa ’ as I have done above. What if a complete sentence is in capital letters ? – We may use ‘bold’ letters or underline the words to give the emphasis. Innovative use of – ‘ – [apostrophe] can bring out the difference between “soppu  ஸொப்பு – green ” and “so’ppu ஸோப்பு – soap” or “kodi கொடி – flag” and “ko’di கோடி – crore”. [I have used https://vengayam.net/translate/tamil.html for Tamil transliteration. Google Input Tools online https://www.google.com/intl/ta/inputtools/try/ is another great util for Tamil to English and vice versa]

It is said that Indians [read Badagas] will reject 50% of anything without even hearing it, another 50% without understanding it; and if ‘anything’ is left behind they reject it just for the sake of rejecting it. Like what is happening in many hattis with ‘young gowdas’ ruling the roost.



(first appeared in my blog http://badaga-script.blogspot.in/ )

Badagas at the Cross Roads

Badagas at the cross roads, need to change with changing times

Recently (on the 10th and 11th Feb 2018),  a seminar was organised by The Nelikolu Charitable Trust at Coimbatore. The seminar was called “Nangava Nanga Arivo – Let us know about ourselves”. This is to make a select group of scholars/youngsters to present their views on issues concerned/connected with Badaga, both the people and language.

This topic is most appropriate and needed focussed attention.

We Badagas stand at the cross roads, at a crucial time in history. Some of the urgent issues that we face today, if not corrected now, will result in reducing us to history.

I chose to speak on “Badagas at the cross roads, need to change with changing times

Some of the issues I touched upon are

1.Who are Badagas?
The similarity, differences or otherwise of the Badaga, Odaiya and Thoraiya groups,

2. What is Badaga origin?
The myth, mystery and mistakes of migration from Mysore theory.

3. Badaga language.
The decline of the purity of Badaga language due to inadequate knowledge of the present generation. The systematic omission of HA sound from the language and its impact. The influence of Tamil and English on Badaga in the day to day conversations.

4. Moray system
Is the Moray system playing a major role in the large number of marriages breaking up? Is it time to change the fundamentals?

5. Need to involve the women as equal partners
No elaboration is required about this issue when we consider ourselves as HETHE MAKKA

6. Music, Dance, Chant and keeping the traditions
The originality of our music and dance is lost in the present day blind copying of cinema ‘koothattam’ dances. Are we cutting short the important traditions/rituals like funerals due to paucity of time?

7.Way forward
What we should do?

8. Conclusion
What we know about Badagas is much less than what we do not know

I will elaborate on each of these issues soon – Wg.Cdr.JP

Nanga – WE


It is a simple message. Nanga – that means in Badaga – WE . 

A noble and laudable movement started by Maniganda (from Kodumudi) and a bunch of volunteers with the object of bringing the Badaga community together.


And by making vegetable and provisions available to the community at an affordable prices and delivery at door steps,

And by luring away the youth and elders from the deadly drinks,

And eliminate the villagers from the scourge of Kandu Vatti (borrowing money from ruthless money lenders at exorbitant interest rates),

And to see the Bagada Dance in all its glory like in the golden olden days instead of the street dance it has degenerated into,

And to encourage Badaga songs rendered like Kerban bella Gowder and Thangadu L Krishna Gowder,

And, to see a community that is prosperous without poverty.

Noble, laudable and lofty.

Doable, insists Maniganda who had come to invite me for the function NANGA _ HABBA (Our Festival) at Nattakkal on 26 Dec 2017.

(Will post a detailed discussion I had with him soon)

After 46 years of the Great Badaga leader  Hubbathalai Ari Gowder, have we found a selfless leader in Manigandan, who can bring the community together?



Badagas are Indigenous People of Nilgiris

Who is Keystone to say Badagas are not Indigenous People of Nilgiris ?

by D.Venugopal (Nilgiris Documentation Center)DV

This question should have been asked a long time ago. But no one did. But if this question is not raised now, the consequences for the Nilgiri society could be disastrous.

This is exactly the point I made last week in the UN Global Mountains Meeting at Rome. I said foreign funded projects in mountain areas in developing countries like India often, not always, cause more harm than good. The examples I gave:

  • Indo-German Project came in the 1970s to kill potato pests but it killed potatoes in the Nilgiris
  • One foreign fund funds planting of Eucalyptus under Social Forestry. Another foreign fund funds destruction of Eucalyptus because they are invasive!!


Hindu, Christian and Mohammedan charities have been doing yeomen service in the Nilgiris for hundreds of years in the field of education, old age care, handicapped care etc.

However, since the 1980s when Nilgiris began to face environmental, economic and demographic problems, outsiders from the district have set up so called Non –Governmental Organizations in the name of helping the poor and tribal populations.

Their credentials, competence and sincerity is unknown. Often they co-opt vulnerable local personalities just to build their local credibility. Some of them may be doing good work. But most of these NGOs have their own agendas which have proved to be detrimental to the welfare of the district.

These NGOs are answerable only to their donors who are mostly foreign funds . We cannot understand how they, with a few young girls from outside Nilgiris and India mostly for their staff, decided what is good for Nilgiris and its people. There have been widespread allegations that some of these NGOs corrupt district officials including the head of the district to push through their projects.

The most serious issue is the question of Indigenous People of Nilgiris. The Keystone NGO with its offices on a steep hill in Kotagiri has decided on its own that the Indigenous People Nilgiris are Kurumba, Irula, Kasava, Vettikadu Irula, Urali , Kota and Toda communities. The Badagas are excluded.

In the name of these ‘Indigenous Peoples’ they have been receiving lakhs and crores of funds from foreign sources with the pretentions of developing them.

We have no issues with NGOs like Keystone. We only ask them to show us what evidence they have that shows all other communities are indigenous and Badagas are not indigenous.

The Nilgiri Documentation Centre has been documenting the history, culture and economy of Nilgiris for over 30 years. We have found no evidence that suggests that Badagas are not an indigenous people.

According to Government of India’s current stand , the government has accepted the concept of Indigenous People as declared by the United Nations but the process of identifying the indigenous peoples are yet to begin. So who are Keystone to decide who is indigenous and who is not indigenous in the Nilgiris?

What is shocking about their audacity is that they have their offices in Kotagiri, which is the heartland of Badaga activism and have the temerity to indulge in such misleading propaganda just to earn quick and questionable money from misguided forging funders.

I have only touched the tip of the iceberg. I would like all the Nilgiri people to react to this and suggest what actions can be taken to stop such dangerous activities which are a threat to the Nilgiri society.

Anthropologists have recorded that the coexistence of the native people of Nilgiris is an exemption to the entire humanity. Others who have come up to the Nilgiris in the last two hundred years after British rule have also become part of that exceptional society.

Who are these petty NGOs like Keystone to break up this proverbial peace and harmony for the filthy lucre?

Every Nilgirian should write to the District Administration to investigate this scandal and set matters right before it is too late!!

We agree with the views of Venugopal fully – Wg.Cdr.JP

………But my conclusion from all this is that, even with such a sketchy history, we can conclude that the Badagas are indigenous to the Nilgiri Hills in precisely the same way the English are indigenous to Britain; and the length of time in their abode has no particular bearing on that indigeneity. The Badagas today have no cultural roots outside the District, which is also true of the Kotas and Todas, and it is in this sense that all three communities are indeed indigenous. – Prof: Paul Hockings in reply to Venugopal’s views


Tribute to a great Badaga Leader

Today is HB Ari Gowder’s 125th birth Anniversary

Ari Gowder2

Ari Gowder

He was an undisputed leader of Badagas. It is accepted, with a tinge of sadness that there is no Badaga who has taken his mantle in leading the community even after 47 yrs after his demise in 1971.

Today is HB Ari Gowder’s 125th birth Anniversary. He was the eldest son of Rao Bahadur [Hubbathalai Joghigowder] Bellie Gowder and [Jakkadha] Nanji in 1893.

Apart from being the first Badaga graduate and leading the Indian contingent for the world scouts jamboree in 1932 at Hungary, he brought many far reaching reforms in the Badaga community. He fore saw the importance of equality of women and the education of girl child. He encouraged Badaga girl students to go abroad in 1960s both on student exchange programmes and study tours.

Another great reform he was keen on was, equal share of property to both sons and daughters. This he ensured by setting a personal example and leaving behind a registered Will. His property was equally divided to his daughter in law, two grand daughters and a grand son, accordingly.


Ari Godwer’s family puts on record its deep appreciation and gratitude to NCMS President Mr.L.Kannapiran and other committee members for celebrating the 125th birth anniversary

[See the page on Ari Gowder here]



Wikipedia link


Badagas Can Do It…

A couple of actions taken by a group of volunteers for the past few months have proved that Badagas can be truly enterprising.

Lead by a group leader from Kodumudi and implemented by a husband wife team from Pudugamandu and volunteers from many hattis – villages have launched a successful cooperative movement. To make vegetables available to the  villagers at very much affordable prices that are much cheaper than in the market at their door step.

These young volunteers, take their pickup vans and and buy fresh vegetables from Mysore in the north and and Karamadai in he south. They buy onions, tomatoes and potatoes along with curry leaves (benguvay, dhomba, gaasu and karambay soppu) in bulk and bring it to Nattakallu, near Kotagiri where the sorting out of the vegetables takes place. The people of Nattakallu, famous  for its Koottu Haada (meeting ground), have made their community hall available to the volunteers.

A number of volunteers both men and women, apart from sorting out, pack one kg each of these vegetables with curry leaves into an eco riendly cloth bag. Based on the request made, the men take these bags to villages and deliver them directly to the villages, some times through a volunteer who takes charge of distribution and collection of money.

Each bag (3 kgs plus Curry leaves) is given for a price of Rs.100 ( the same quantity costs around Rs.160 in the market these days).

This is done every day of the week.

Bravo Badagas, God helps those who help themselves.



Badaga Photo Journalist – Raghu Joghee

Raghu Joghee

It was a great pleasure to meet and get to know photo journalist Raghu Joghee (Yedapalli) who is with  the Tamil Daily Dinamalar.

His photos are treat to eyes. One of them has been selected and published by the National Geographic


The photo below of a 94 yrs old Singhi Hethe (grand old Badaga lady) from Ebbanadu Village is sheer pleasure to see. Fist time I am seeing a body tatoo. Also see the page about tatoo by Badaga women

Photo by Raghu Joghee

Proud of you Raghu

The Great Revival of these abandoned schools

In the Nilgiris, Nakkubetta to Badagas, many schools started many decades ago, even during the British period, are in the final stages of being closed down due to lack of students. They were/are Tamil medium schools.

Lack of students, in this age and time of substantial population explosion? Therein lies the sad story of how clueless politicians and through them the government insisted that Tamil and only Tamil would be given the status of medium and English was given the go by.

Apart from the lack of job opportunities, the inherent ego and prestige issues ensured that even comparatively poor families sent their children to English medium schools spread around the district ignoring the government run Tamil medium schools.

And hence, many of these Tamil medium schools located in the hattis have ten/twenty students and are in the verge of being closed.

One of the oldest schools, started by Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder in Hubbathalai has only around 30 students and may be closed soon.

But some Badagas who are old students of these schools did not want to see their alma mater going to seeds. People like Dr.Sundraradevan , the first and so far only IAS officer among Badagas, gave a serious thought to the problem and identified that the medium of teaching was the main source to this issue. They decided to take the issue hands on literally. Why not start teaching in English?

With consultation among the villages and taking personal interest, Dr.Sundaradevan succeeded in converting the school in Adhigaratty, started in 1832, to function again in full bloom with  highly qualified teachers being paid by the parents/ association.

Prakash (Heera Masi) of Godalatti informs me that they have also revived the school in his village being inspired by the Adhigaratty example.

We are very proud of these people whose interest is for the community, by the community!


Disaster Can Strike…D.Venugopal

Wake up call for Ooty Botanical Gardens
Dharmalingam Venugopal

The piece de resistance of Nilgiri tourism, the Government Botanical Gardens at the east end of Ooty town could be sidelined by the fast emerging new garden by the Karnataka government at the west end of the town if the GBG authorities do not wake up in time, the Nilgiri Documentation Centre has warned.

The widely acclaimed botanical gardens was created 170 year ago in 1848 by the expert hands of W.G. McIvor who converted a primitive jungle into a beautiful public garden. He turned the swamps into streams of water and ornamental ponds and wild growths into grassy slopes and beds of flowers. Nurseries of vegetable, fruit and ornamental trees were created. He started the famous annual Flower Shows at the gardens to encourage the public grow good varieties of vegetable and flowers with a competitive spirit. The agricultural and horticultural products of the botanical garden and farms were displayed in the Dasara Festival of Mysore.

In the past three decades or so, the gardens have not only been steadily losing their botanical importance but were replaced by unbecoming artificial trappings such as cement statues, garden benches and so on. The exotic trees and plants which were uprooted naturally were never replaced. The popular glass houses have been allowed to deteriorate into disuse. The buildings and foot paths inside present a picture of neglect and indifference. Public conveniences and food stalls are shabby and insufficient. The once immaculate entrance has became bizarre, filthy and an unregulated bazzar. The gardens have almost lost their botanical significance and become an amusement park.

The authorities seem to have taken the visitors for granted and bothered only about the gate collection. Ironically, the gate fee was imposed after great resistance for better upkeep of the gardens.

The new gardens coming up in an idyllic ambience away from the din and bustle of the town with ample parking and amenities could easily divert the cream of the tourist crowd leaving only the sundry to GBG.

The GBG badly needs another professional McIvor to reinvent itself.

‘Consider Badagas as the indigenous people of Nilgiris’

‘Consider Badagas as the indigenous people of Nilgiris’

From The Times of India| Aug 11, 2017 

The Nilgiri Documentation Centre (NDC) has appealed to society for managing the Tribal Cultural and Research Centre (TCRC) in Ooty to considerBadagas as indigenous people of the Nilgiris. It said that separating the Badagas from other indigenous people would not only violate the well-documented Nilgiri history and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), but will also harm the proverbial communal harmony of the hills
The appeal came even as an estimated 370 million indigenous people of the world celebrated the 10th anniversary of the UN declaration on Wednesday, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. Stating that the UNDRIP was adopted by the General Assembly on September 13, 2007, by a majority of 144 states, including India, Dharmalingam Venugopal, honorary president and founder of NDC, says, “Given the complexities in India, the government is yet to declare the list of indigenous communities in the country.”
Over 370 million indigenous people are estimated to be spread across 70 countries. Practising unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live, said the NDC letter.

The appeal also quotes the first Commissioner of Nilgiris, J.W.Breeks, who wrote the monumental work, ‘An Account of the Primitive Tribes and Monuments of the Nilgiris’ in 1873 that classified the Todas, Badagas, Kotas, Kurumbas and Irulas who inhabited the upper Nilgiris as ‘Hill tribes’. But he described the other tribes except the Badagas as ‘primitive tribes’ or ‘jungle race’ depending on their level of development.
However, while Todas, Kotas, Kurumbas and Irulas were included in the list of scheduled tribes in 1950, the Badagas were listed as backward class. In recent decades the government of Tamil Nadu had recommended inclusion of Badagas in the list of scheduled tribes.
Whatever be the economic classification of the five tribes it has been well established they were interlinked culturally for hundreds of years in an exceptional and exemplary manner and that the same relationship and harmony continues even to this day. And the Badagas need an ethnic status as an indigenous Nilgiri group, says Venugopal.

Gone but not forgotten


H.B.Ari Gowda

Gratefully remembering all the selfless service done to the society, Badagas and the family !

Ari Gowder

04 Dec 1883 – 28 Jun 1971

46th Death Anniversary !

Ottukudi – Bamboo Shoots

Badagas go gaga over tender bamboo shoots

More so, the edible bamboo is a veggie wonder during late summer or in the early southwest monsoon season in the Nilgiris.

View of edible tender Bamboo shoots, popularly known as "Ottakudi" in Badaga language in Nilgiris. (Photo: DC)

View of edible tender Bamboo shoots, popularly known as “Ottakudi” in Badaga language in Nilgiris.

By all accounts it is very hard to resist buying tender bamboo shoots, popularly known as “Ottakudi” in the local Badaga language. For this green, crunchy delicacy from the semi-wild areas is always a jungle vegetable to relish.

More so, the edible bamboo is a veggie wonder during late summer or in the early southwest monsoon season in the Nilgiris. Though this ancient jungle vegetable still brings the taste of the wild, its availability is becoming scarce now.

 The gravy of Ottakudu, called as “Ottakudi Udhaka” in the hills, is a
tempting delicacy with a taste of different kind and flavor that make
the bamboo shoots, which is also called as “bamboo sprout,” a much sought after vegetable of semi-wild origin during its annual season in the summer and early monsoon periods.

Ms. Bannari, a vegetable vendor, said that this year ‘bamboo shoot’ fetches around Rs 140 per Kg.  There is good demand for “Ottakudi” in the Badaga villages as every Badaga home generally shows interest in buying it at least once during its season.

Quite a few of them buy and gift them to their kith and kin living in  other places and other districts.  “Bamboo shoot was abundant in the hills, especially along the water sources in the jungle fringes in the hills in the past.

Now, its availability had become scarce and mostly confined to Pykara area,” she said, adding, that one needs to remove the outer dark-red coloured peel to extract the young bamboo shoots that is the edible part of the plant.

Though this annual semi-wild vegetable is known for its taste, the
fleshy and crunchy tender bamboo shoot is said to be good for keeping a good digestive health due to its good fibre content, besides helpful in tackling cold-related ailments during the monsoon, say gourmets here.

Mark this day and be present with all your like minded friends of Ooty
Date : June 15, 2017 (Thursday)
Time: 11-30am
Place: Birla House, Pudumandu ( below Birla Mandir)
Direction: Take Marliamund Road, adjacent to St.Stephens Church near the Collector’s Office.  About 3 kms.
Occasion: Centenary of the House Arrest of Dr. Annie Besant  during the Home Rule struggle. (see below for details)

Image result for annie besant

Centenary of Ooty’s link to Freedom Movement

Dharmalingam Venugopal

The demand for Home Rule or Self Rule  in 1917 was an important  milestone and a turning point in the struggle for Indian independence. The Home Rule movement was launched by the Irish activist Dr. Annie Besant  and Bal Gangadar Tilak.

Unable to silence Dr.Besant , the British rulers decided to arrest her on June 15, 1917. She and her two supporters G.S.Arundale and B.P.Wadia were kept in house arrest at Ooty.

Dr. Besant choose to stay at Gulistan at Pudumand which was built in 1890 by  H.S. Olcott, the founder president of the Theosophical Society as  his summer home.

The property now renamed Stokebridge Birla House is the property of Gwalior Rayons. A plaque commemorating the historic connection of the building to the historic event is displayed in front of the house.

Dr. Besant designed and unfurled a Home Rule Flag at Gulistan. She also started a local branch of the Home Rule League at Ooty.

Protests broke out across India and abroad condemning the arrest. All top leaders including  Gandhi and Jinnah joined the protest. Gandhi suggested a 350 km mass padayatra  from Madras to Ooty protest the arrest but the idea was given up due to practical difficulties.

Fearing the spread to the protest, the British declared in August 1917  its policy for  “increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration and the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progress of responsible government in India as an-integral part of the British Empire”.

Dr. Besant and her supporters were set free in September 1917 by which time Dr.Besant had moved to Coimbatore for health reasons.

The whole of India celebrated her freedom and success. Dr. Besant was made the President of the Indian Naitonal Congress session at Calcutta that year by Tagore.

Besant thundered from her Presidential Chair that, “India shall soon be seen, proud and self-reliant, strong and free, the radiant splendour of Asia, the light and blessing of the world”.

Her dream came true three decades later in 1947 although Dr. Besant  passed away in 1933.

It is a proud coincidence for Ooty that nearly a 100 years before Dr.Besant gave the call for Home Rule, a fellow Irishman, John Sullivan, the founder of Ootacamund, had given a similar call at the UK parliament 1832.

Marriages between hattis from the same SEEMAY

I’m from Horanally under Mekku Nadu. My doubt is according to the details, Pororai hatti also comes under Mekku Nadu. But people normally marry in between these two hatties . Please clear my doubt



a) A girl/boy cannot marry a boy/girl from the same hatti  to which they both belong to .

b) A girl/boy cannot marry a boy/girl from the same Ooru (a group of hattis) to which they both belong to.


What is Moray (relationship)?

In simple terms, Badagas, [being a very small community], have evolved, over the centuries, a system in which marriages are not ‘fixed’ – call it arranged if you want, between certain hattis (villages) since the ‘blood’ relationship  among them is considered to be very ‘close – anna thamma moray’.

How this could have happened is, like, in olden days, one brother deciding to move away from the hatti he was born in to establish a ‘new’ hatti for various reasons. For example, a brother from Hubbathalay could have moved to Eethoray. Hence, the male children of the elder bro X in Hubbathalay would/could not marry the female children of younger brother Y in Eethorai as they are considered brother and sister (being the children of two brothers).

Hence, Hubbathalay hatti has no moray for marriages with Eethoray.

This brings us to the grouping of various hattis into Ooru [communes] and Seemay.

So,where do we start to check about ‘Moray’?

Since, time immemorial, every Badaga belonged to a village, irrespective of his place of residence. For example, Kada [now, Srivasa Ramachandra] and Kangi [Lokeswari Renuka] are the son and daughter of Bhoja  and Laxmi , living in Ooty [this can be, Bangalore, London or Boston in USA]. Since Bhoja is the son of Rama Gowder of ‘Hannu Mora Hatti’ [ or Jakkadha, Dhavani or Ketchigatti for that matter], Kada and Kangi belong to HM Hatti for practical or rather, moray purposes. By the way, in olden days, all Badagas belonging to Gowda [group] were known as Bellie Gowder, Ari Gowder etc.

So all the youngsters of HM Hatti are brothers and sisters. Marrying among themselves is, thus prohibited.

Now, our ancestors, being wise men of yonder, grouped certain hattis into communes called OORU. These hattis need not be very close to each other. The number of hattis forming a ooru need not be of a specific number. The next grouping done by our forefathers is forming a SEEMAY. Hence, a Seemay contains a few Oorus [which in turn has many villages]. And our Muthe Muhappa [the first of the ancestors] divided the Nilgiris into Nakku Betta [Four Mountains/massifs] to where all the Badagas belong to. See the division of Seemays and hattis in my websites here – Hattis, Ooru & Seemay or here

To put simply, a cluster of closely built houses formed a street -thara, [the thatched and later country tiled houses have common walls).

A few tharas formed a hatti with well defined and demarcated areas like ‘Dhodda Manay’ [big house- literally], ‘suthu kallu’ [mostly with a bikka mora (olive tree), gudi [temple],hanay [grass ground] etc.

A few hattis to Ooru. A few oorus to Seemay.

Four seemays namely 1)Thodha Naadu 2)Porangaadu 3)Mekku Naadu 4) Kunde [Naadu],  to NAAKKUBETTA. see Hattis, Ooru & Seemay.

And now to specifics

As far as MORAY for marriages are concerned,

a) A girl/boy cannot marry a boy/girl from the same hatti  to which they both belong to .

b) A girl/boy cannot marry a boy/girl from the same Ooru to which they both belong to.


There is a wrong impression that you cannot marry from the same seemay.

My own example

My father, Bellie gowder, one of the few educated Badagas was born in 1896 in Bearhatti ( the real surprise is that my grandfather Kada Gowder decided to educate my father in St.Michael’s in Coimbatore. In those days, I understand, he had to be taken upto Mettupalayam in a Kattay Bandi [bullock cart]. He got a job in Cordite Factory, Aravankadu near Hubbathalai. He married my mother Kaade (Idy ammal), daughter of Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder and sister of Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder.

Bearhatti is one of the six hattis belonging to AARUOORU [six villages], Jakkadha [Jagathala] being the ‘head’ village. Hubbathalay is one of the hattis coming under HATHOMBATHU OORU [nineteen villages]. Both these villages belong to PORANGAADU.

After marriage, firstly for convenience as cordite factory is closer to Hubbathalai than Bearhatti and secondly being the youngest daughter of Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder who was the Naakku Betta Gowda (chief) at that time and as she was only 15 at the time of marriage in 1927, my parents decided to settle down in Hubbathalai.

But my mother being a fiercely ‘PROUD” lady insisted that she would stay only in a new house built a little away from the main Hubbathay hatti. Thus, was born my ‘home’ called ‘DHODDI’ in 1948.

For all practical puposes, we are Nattaru (Guests- literally) of Hubbathalay.

Story does not end here. Though, I was born and brought up in Hubbathalay, I am married to Tara, grand daughter of Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder of Hubbathalay. That is, my mother and wife are from the same hatti.

Please note ; It is very common to see many marriages among boys and girls living in the same village. Living, I said and NOT BELONGING to the same village. But they are perfectly suited to each other and probably known to each other from childhood. May be their marriage is a LOVE marriage.


Incidentally, there are a few marriages solemnised  between the boys and girls belonging to the same Ooru. In one of the cases known to me, a boy from Eethoray is married to a girl from Hubbathalay – both belonging to Haththombathu Ooru. Though, it created some flutter in the beginning, it has been accepted now (due to the fact a rich and politically very influential person is involved??)

Do you know that Kodhumudi is one of the villages which is considered as two separate villages consisting of Mel Kodhumudi and Kiya Kodhumudi and marriages between them is normal?

When you refer to Kinnakorai, in fact it refers to six/seven hattis and marriages do take place among themselves as some hattis in them is consided to be completely made up of Nattarus??

More on Moray

So what happens when a boy belonging to Kavaratti of Thodha Naadu seemay wants to marry a girl from Yedapalli Village of Porangaadu Seemay ?

This appears to be a case of NO MORAY in the sense moray is neutral here and not prohibited. And, in my opinion, there should not be any problem.

Causes for confusion

Originally or rather in the earlier days, marriages took place only within the groups like Gowdas, Lingayats[Lingakattis],Haruvas, Odayas and Thorayas as they formed their own hattis. For example, Odhanatty near Jakkadha is a hatti of Thorayas and it does not come under Aaru Ooru [and hence Porangadu Seemay].

Without going into the details of the unfortunate vertical divide of Badagas, in the early 1900s, where one section was against the compulsory invitation of Kothas [to ‘harakkolu idippudhuga’ – playing music on payment in kind or cash, which ended in huge expenses and debts for the family of the deceased with devastating results. The funeral was not an oneday affair but went on for week and all the ‘guests’ who had come from far and wide, had to be looked after with food and drinks.  The expenses of funerals were not NOT borne by [all houses in] the hatti as is the practice now] for funerals and another insisting on inviting Kothas.

The section of Badagas who were against inviting Kothas was lead by Hubbathalai [Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder, who introduced many reforms like 1) the funeral expenses would be borne by the whole village 2) education for all Badagas etc] and the other section by Thangaadu.

Another cause for this division was the claim of  Thangaadu [Haruva Katchi] led group that when they attend the funeral of Gowda, they would only touch the head [saavu muttodhu], irrespective of the age of the deceased saying that they were the priets. Generally, when a Badaga attends a funeral, as a mark of paying respect to the deceased, the feet or the head is touched depending on whether the dead is elder or younger.

I am skipping many more details since this would distract from the topic MORAY which is under discussion.

But these days, marriages among these groups [Gowdas, Haruvas, Lingakattis] have become common. Hubbathalai has marriage relation with Thangaadu or the Lingakatti Hatti of Sakkalatti [Sogathorai] with Eethorai or Bearhatti.
[to be continued]

Sathish Krishnan commented on Marrying a person with no MORAY

‘Thanks for the detailed explanation. I belong to Balacola and I’ve heard elders saying that there is no moray for any marriages within Maekunadu seemay, and Kundey seemay is the best suit for us. But your blog says there is only restriction for marriages within a village or within a ooru (group of villages), and no restriction for marriages within a seemay. It is contradicting and please clarify the same. I will be looking forward for further updates to this blog’

Hello Sathish, Thanks for the comments. First for the contradiction part. I am saying that “no marriages within a hatti and Ooru but yes within a Seemay as long as the Oorus are different. Like 6 Ooru can tie nupital knots with 19 ooru – both being from Porangaadu“. As far as your Hatti Bakkola (Balacoloa?), Mekkunaadu Seemay are concerned, I am NOT in a position to clarify but as far as Kundey Seemay – yes I agree. More in updates soon – Wg Cdr JP

Ooty’s Coovam of despair

World Environment Day

 Ooty’s Coovam of despair

 Dharmalingam Venugopal

 The Kodappamund channel, equivalent of the Coovam canal of Chennai, has been at the core of Ooty’s environmental problems defying any solution.
The Kodappamund channel runs for a length of 5.5km of which 3.06 km is within the Ooty town.  It is the only source of water to the 20 ha Ooty lake. The channel is also the only storm water drainage in the town.

However, in reality the channel has become one of the largest dumping yard of the country carrying the waste of millions of tourists and locals.

The much abused channel has the potential for an unprecedented environmental disaster in terms of pollution and landslides. The channel could become the death knell of the ‘sweet half-English Neilgherry air’ as  eulogized by Poet Tennyson.

39 years ago, the channel was the cause of 1978 Ooty floods which altered the world famous face of Ooty forever.

Since then the channel has become the carrier of open sewage in the town gradually choking the Ooty lake. A government report concedes, ‘Earlier, under National Lake Conservation Plan, remediation of the Ooty lake was successfully done by the Public Works Department. But, due to the continued letting in of sewage water, the quality of water has deteriorated and is not up to the standards now’.

During the monsoon, the channel’s woes turn worst. According to another government report,‘The local body has provided Pucca Storm Water Drains (only 16% of road length) in some portions of the town. Other areas are drained through natural slopes. Increase in development activities in the town, over the past years, has resulting in reduced carrying capacity of the drains due to siltation, encroachments and solid waste dumping. The drains carry the wastewater disposal and in many places, the functions of storm water drains are choked with garbage, which creates environmental problems and need regular maintenance by the urban local body’.

Over the years several plans have been tried to cleanse the channel including increasing the sewage connections in the town, desilting and construction of check dams. But the problem has hardly been addressed.

Only  a strong public movement can halt the abuse of the vital Kodappamund channel.

A taste of the hills – keeping traditional Badaga food alive!

[Article and photos from The Hindu, dt 1 Jun 2017]

A taste of the hills – keeping traditional Badaga food alive!


As traditional Badaga food slowly begins to vanish, a few people are making an effort to keep the memories alive

For someone who is a foodie and a fitness freak, stumbling upon dishes that are both healthy and delicious is like hitting the jackpot. When I frantically scrolled through my Pinterest feed, looking for “healthy desserts”, I quite forgot that there was a satisfyingly delicious dessert that was made right at home. My favourite hatchike, a Badaga dessert made out of millets.

I remember when my hethai (grandmother) served us hatchike every other day. Now, living away from my hatti (village), it is a forgotten dish along with many other old favourites. Happily, all is not lost as there are people from the community who are striving to revive and preserve the fading traditions of the Badagas of the Nilgiris.

Harsha Bellie, 48, a Badaga from Coonoor, often invites people to visit or stay with her. She enjoys serving them a healthy and tasty Badaga hittu (meal). “Not many know what hatchike is,” she says and recounts, how earlier, her relatives sent ready-to-eat millet cereal. It is becoming a rarity now, she says.

Hatchike is made using little millet or samai, which is suitable for all age groups, says Bellie. It has several health benefits for both men and women. Preparing hatchike is a cumbersome process, she admits. It involves boiling, roasting and pounding the millet to de-husk it and, finally, winnowing to blow off the husk.

I still remember when my hethai would sit by the ole (fireplace) and roast grains in a madake (earthen pot) with a hole on the side, using a huri-kolu (a wooden stick with a cloth tied at the end to make a ball). Sadly, this now remains only in my memory. Hatchike is usually served with milk and grated coconut.

Bellie is keeping these memories alive by inviting tourists to sample Badaga fare. A group called Veg Voyages stops at her place every year as a part of its vegan tour. She introduces the tourists to some of the customs of community life, to a typical Badaga house where the grains are stored in the atulu (loft/attic), to Badaga music and dance and to enne hittu (a sweet dish of maida) that is dipped into black coffee and eaten. This is rounded off with an authentic Badaga meal, served in a ganguva (copper/brass plate) filled with kadimittu, eragi hittu, batha hittu, avare udaka, soppu, sandege and bathal. Of course, hatchike is the dessert. For vegans, instead of milk, Bellie serves it with coconut milk.

Eragi hittu — or ragi mudde in Kannada — is made of finger millets and is a healthy alternative to rice and wheat. A depression is made in the mudde and ghee poured into it. It is then eaten with soppu (greens) and avare udaka (beans curry). During the hethai habba (our biggest festival), it is a beautiful sight to see all Badagas wearing white, sitting in rows and eating avare udaka and kuu (rice) in the green hills.

Apart from millets, the earlier Badaga cultivated barley and wheat. It was common to see these grains spread out in the courtyards to dry under the sun. They would then be fried, and used to make a variety of dishes. With such practices disappearing, dishes like ganjike, the base of which is ganje (barley), have also become a rarity. The increase in tea cultivation led to the decline in the cultivation of millets and other grains in the Nilgiris.

Our ancestors consumed what they grew, made sure they replenished the soil and prepared almost everything from scratch. If they wanted butter, they would churn milk using a pot and plunger, a rope and bare hands. This process called haalu sorakodu has now been replaced by mixers and machines. Even the hati maasu hudi (masala used in the gravies) was home made but is now available readymade in shops. ). Since everything was hand milled, there was no adulteration and the food was extremely healthy. People stayed active and there was plenty of social interaction when relatives or neighbours lent a helping hand in grinding and pounding.

Bellie firmly believes that if more people followed older traditions, both the people and the earth would be healthier. She says that she would dearly love to grow more grains and encourage others to do the same in their hola (fields) for at least a few tasty meals every month.

For Badaga food habits and some mouth watering recipes, visit the pages in http://www.badaga.co – Wg.cdr.JP

More than 500,000 hits !

Image result for badaga.co


More than 500,000 hits !

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart – JP

The Day Nilgiris became a Hill Station

The Day Nilgiris became a Hill Station
Dharmalingam Venugopal [Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri]
Today is the day, 190 years ago,  Governor Sir Thomas Munro gave his stamp of approval to establish a Hill Station on the Nilgiris.
Though the Nilgiri mountains have been in the possession of the British since 1800, it was only  after Collector John Sullivan’s visit to the hills in 1819 that the idea of founding a station on the hills for revitalizing sick soldiers was formed.Sir_Thomas_Munro
A factor  that greatly helped this idea was the appointment of Sir Thomas Munro as Governor of Madras Presidency in 1820. Munro was a close friend of the Sullivans  and they were part of a progressive front to develop India.
From 1820 Sullivan made repeated requests to the Madras government to set up a hospital in the hills and did everything in his capacity to facilitate such a decision by building roads, houses and introducing English vegetables, trees and fruits.  Till that time sick soldiers and officials had to go to England or Mauritius or Capt Town for rest and recuperation.
However, the Board of Control in London was not convinced and turned down Sullivan’s proposal. They also rejected Sullivan’s plan to use Ooty lake waters to irrigate lands in Erode because the outlay of Rs.2000  estimated was too much !
The Board in London simply did not believe that so near to the Coimbatore plains was a cold and salubrious place which was the dream of every British languishing in the hot, disease ridden plains of India.
Munro finally visited the Nilgiris in 1826 and saw for himself what Sullivan had been eulogizing about for the past six years.
On May 28, 1827, Munro sent his recommendation to the Board stating that though the Nilgiris may not be suitable or viable for setting up a hospital, officers of the civil and military services should be encouraged to visit the hills on their own for recovery of their health. To facilitate that Munro proposed that the government could take on rent Sullivan’s  Stonehouse  which would  accommodate 8 to 10 officers.
To reinforce his proposal, Munro argued that a sum of Rs.170 lakhs had been spent in the previous three years on sending sick officers to England  and therefore “ If only a very small proportion of these Officers could be restored to health by a temporary residence on the Hills instead of a Voyage to Europe the charges incurred by Government would be amply repaid”.
Stating further that the healthfulness of the Nilgiris had not been correctly assessed by the young medical officers who had  spent only a short time on the hills, Munro recommended, “It would probably require a long continued course of medical and scientific observation conducted by a competent person with the assistance of an adequate establishment of servants and the proper meteorological apparatus to determine fully on the capabilities
of the climate of the Nielgherries”
“It seems therefore advisable that we should station permanently on the Hills a Medical Officer qualified to make the necessary observations on their climate. I propose that Mr. Haynes be selected for this purpose and be appointed to the medical charge of the Nielgherries with a salary of Rupees 350 and the usual Palenkeen allowance for servants and Medicine”, Munro added in his recommendation.
It was a tragic irony that Munro’s recommendations were accepted by the Board of Control at London on July 6, 1827, the day on which Sir Thomas Munro met his untimely death at  Pattikonda in Andhra Pradesh.
Very interesting and informative.  Thanks for sharing. – Raminder Chowdhary
I think that at some point Sullivan began to make daily weather observations to back up his case. – Paul Hockings

Food that Can Replace Pills

Fourteen Foods that Can Replace Pills

Whenever we start feeling ill, the first thing we do is reach for the medicine cabinet. The problem with taking pills is that even though they’ll probably help with your predicament, they’re also bound to have unwanted side effects. The best solution is to use these 14 natural remedies, which are just as efficient as drugs.

1. Bananas – Stress and anxiety

Next time you feel stressed, grab a banana! With an average of 105 calories and 14 grams of sugar, a banana will boost your blood-sugar levels and help combat hunger. Additionally, a banana contains 30% of your daily requirement of Vitamin B6, which helps your brain in the production of serotonin – a chemical that helps reduce stress.

2. Yogurt – Constipation and gas

One and a half cups of yogurt are packed full of probiotics that assist in digestion and improves the stomach’s ability to digest dairy and legumes – a major cause of gastric gasses.

3. Raisins – High blood pressure

A large handful of resins (approx. 60) contains over 200mg of potassium, as well as 1 gram of fiber. These are strongly recommended as part of a diet to help reduce blood pressure. Recent studies show that the polyphenols in grapes, raisins and wine, help maintain the circulatory system and reduce blood pressure.

4. Apricots – Kidney stones

4 dried apricots contain 2 grams of fiber, 235mg of potassium and just 3mg of sodium. This combination is highly effective at preventing minerals from getting trapped in your kidneys, which is the cause of the most common kidney stones.

5. Tuna – Foul mood

A can of tuna contains about 800mg of Omega-3, a fatty acid that is considered vital in the treatment of depression. Omega 3 is even an approved treatment for depression by the American Psychiatric Association.

6. Ginger tea – Nausea

A time-old proven treatment for nausea, ginger has also been scientifically proven to be helpful in dealing with nausea caused by motion sickness as well as morning sickness. It is as effective as anti-nausea medicine, but without the side effects (such as ‘cottonmouth’ and lethargy)

7. Basil – Indigestion

Studies suggest that the eugenol in basil is highly effective as a gastric painkiller, nausea reduction, cramping and diarrhea by eliminating bacteria Salmonella and Listeria. Basil is also effective at preventing halitosis.

8. Pears – High cholesterol

The average pear contains 5 grams of the dietary fiber Pectin, which helps clear the body of ‘bad cholesterol’ (LDL).

9. Cabbage – Stomach ulcers

In a research published by the John Hopkins Medical School, it was found that the sulforaphane in cabbage helps battle the helicobacter pylori bacteria (a main cause for ulcers). It is believed that sulforaphane may also help prevent gastric tumors.

10. Figs – Hemorrhoids

Dried figs are rich in dietary fiber, which in turn, produce softer feces and aiding in reducing hemorrhoids and the liness of developing them.

11. Potatoes – Headaches

Amedium-sized potato contains 37 carbohydrates, which help reduce headaches by increasing serotonin production in the brain.

12. Garlic – Yeast infection

Garlic contains many essential oils that help prevent the development of yeast infections.

13. Chamomile tea – Heartburn

A great treatment for gastric inflammation, cramping, heartburn and gas, is mixing 2 teaspoons of chamomile tea in a cup of boiling water and brewing it for about 20 minutes and then drinking it.

14. Orange juice – Lethargy

The fructose in orange juice is a natural and fast-working stimulant, and research has proven the ability of Vitamin C to reduce damage caused by free radicals and provide the body with energy. Vitamin C is also a key factor in maintaining iron levels in our blood, which keeps it oxygenated.

C S Chandramouli

Badaga Origin – the big mystery ?!

The origin of Badagas is a big mystery.

What is the origin and how old is the history of Badagas?

How long have they been in the Nilgiris – the hills known to Badagas as Naakku Betta [though literally Naakku Betta means four mountains it actually refers to many surrounding mountains]? When researchers and anthropologists on a scholarship [or funded by universities] in the west can stoutly claim that tribes like Todas and Kothas [Thodhamaru and Kotharu to Badagas] are original inhabitants of the Nilgiris and termed as PTGs [ Primitive Tribal Groups], why are they hesitant to offer the same classification to Badagas whose language, customs, traditions, rites and rituals are unique, is a big mystery!?


[ the link to above – http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/photocoll/t/019pho0000974s1u00001000.html ]

Because, apart from some explorers, especially Europeans and ‘trained’ anthropologists along with some local ‘well informed'[ should it not be ill informed?] Indians including Badagas have come to the conclusion that since the predominant meaning of Badaga is northerner and hence they have migrated from the north – Mysore plains. Yes, just based on the name Badaga and it its meaning.

Even if the theory of migration is to be accepted [with not a pinch but a handful of salt], the ‘so called researchers’ seem to overlook the fact that north of the Nilgiris does not end at Mysore plains but stretches much beyond. One researcher, to whom I have plenty of respect, goes to the extent that Badagas, themselves, had told about this migration in 1603 to  Finicio.

How clever, can one get? Badagas are divided into many groups. One such group, Lingyats who still have matrimonial connections with other Lingyats in the Mysore plains, may have migrated. Only of late, they have started marrying into other groups like Gowdas . That does not mean that all Badagas are migrants. In 1603, people in any remote village surrounded by thick forests and jungles and generally cut off from rest of the world, couldnot be expected to give correct answers about their ancestry to wandering missionaries

In early 1603, Giacomo Finicio, a Jesuit priest in the service of the Roman Catholic church in Malabar, was assigned to undertake a journey to Todamala (as the Nilgiris was known then) with a mission to bring the long-lapsed Christians (mistakenly believed to be Todas) back to the Christian fold










[The Badagas are the only ones with turbans – called mandarey]

The information given above by British Library – does it not convey a big ‘fact’

[More to follow..]

Mother Tongue – Avvaiya Maathu – அவ்வெய மாத்து

Avvaiya Maathu – Mother Tongue


Hethey Eeramaasi aadi bhandha erakkadha maathu
Beraganni Ayya aadi bandha bettadha maathu
Kaadey hethe aadi bandha gavadha maathu
Hethappa aadi bandha haaluna maathu
Muthappa aadi bandha muthuna maathu
Ayyanavakka aadi bappa kullana maathu
Hetheyavakka aadi bappa hesayadha maathu
Appanavakka aadi bappa Aaseyadha maathu
Avvaiyavakka aadi bappa alleya gavadha maathu
Aaduvamaga aasaga ollithadha aata kadhey maathu
Oruduvamaga ojey koottuva ollangadha maathu
Maney maney ella nudiba makkadha maathu
Mandha ella nudiba naayadha maathu
Seemay ella  aadi bappa jenuna maathu
Bettadha makka ella aadi bappa belladha maathu
Hatti haney ella aadi bappa harachadha maathu

Kannuga kaanadhey hora emba
Kiviga booyadhey hora emba
Adhu alimaana dhaariya hogindu hadadhey emba!

Kootta kudumba ella Badugu maathu  Aadiley
Makka mari ella Badugu maathu aadiley,
Maney mandhu ella Badugu maatha kullu maadiley
Avvaiya Maathu alimaana aagadhey hattara!!

[அவ்வெய மாத்து (Mother Tongue) டாக்டர் இரா.கு.ஆல்துரை]
ஹெத்தெ ஈரமாசி ஆடி பந்த எரக்கத மாத்து
பேரகணி அய்ய ஆடி பந்த பெட்டத மாத்து
காடெ ஹெத்தெ ஆடி பந்த கவத மாத்து
ஹெத்தப்ப ஆடி பந்த ஹாலுந மாத்து

முத்தப்ப ஆடி பந்த முத்துந மாத்து
அய்யநவக்க ஆடி பப்ப குல்லாத மாத்து
ஹெத்தெயவக்க ஆடி பப்ப எசெயாத மாத்து
அப்பநவக்க ஆடி பப்ப ஆசெயாந மாத்து
அவ்வெயவக்க ஆடி பப்ப அள்ளெய கவத மாத்து

ஆடுவமக ஆசக ஒள்ளித்தாத ஆட்ட கதெ மாத்து
ஓருடுவமக ஓஜெ கூட்டுவ ஓலங்கத மாத்து
மநெ மநெ எல்லா நுடிப மக்கந மாத்து
மந்த எல்லா நுடிப நாயத மாத்து

சீமெ எல்லா ஆடி பப்ப ஜேநுந மாத்து
பெட்டத மக்க எல்லா ஆடி பப்ப பெல்லத மாத்து
ஹட்டி அணெ எல்லா ஆடி பப்ப ஹரசத மாத்து
மாமூலெ எந்த மூதந்திர கோட தொட்டி பந்த மாத்து

கண்ணுக காணாதெ ஓர எம்ப
கிவிக பூயாதெ ஓர எம்ப
அது அளிமாந தோரியோ ஓகீண்டு அடதெ எம்ப

கூட்ட குடும்ப எல்லா படகு மாத்த ஆடிலெ
மக்கமரி எல்லா படகு மாத்த ஆடிலெ
மநெ மந்தி ஆ எல்லா படகு மாத்த குல்லு மாடிலெ
அவ்வெய மாத்து அளிமாந ஆகாதெ அட்டர

Badaga Language is very rich and beautiful when woven into classical poems. Here are some samples. [We thank Dr.R.K.Haldorai for sending these beautiful Badaga poems]– Wg. Cdr.JP

Badaga Poems

Hannikoray R. Chandram  ஹண்ணிக்கொரெ ஆர். சந்திரன்

Bannadha Baaney

Bannadha Baanay… Hannuna Mannay Kichchey Neeray Hachchaya giduvay Hakkiya bakkiyey harabha jaathiyey Onnara maadi manasuna bhaala nodu Gadhdhu Kodhdhu soththu seththidha Kallana Gawda endhara Kamma elladhey geedhu hoththu Thimbhamana badava endhara Dhoddamana Kunnama Endhara Dhoddiththu maaththa hegiraara – Bannadha Pattu paradhu bhaddhukkiley soga bhandhdhadhu elli endhara Kettu muridhu Kulidhalay Kedu yena endhara Kolu kodi hegirara Kusala maaththa nudidhara – Banna

பண்ணத பாநே … ஹண்ணுந மண்ணே கிச்சே நீரே ஹச்செய கிடுவே ஹக்கியே பக்கியே ஹரப ஜாத்தியே ஒந்நார மாடி மநுசந பாள நோடி கத்து கொத்து சொத்து சேத்தித கள்ளந கவட எந்தார கம்ம இல்லாதெ கீது ஹொத்து திம்பமந படவ எந்தார தொட்டம குந்நம எந்தார தொட்டித்து மாத்த ஹேகியார – பண்ணத பட்டு பரது பதுக்கிலே சொக பந்தது எல்லி எந்தார கெட்டு முருது குளிதலே கேடு ஏந எந்தார கோளு கோடி ஏகியார குசல மாத்த நுடிதார – பண்ண ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thaayee … Bhuma Devi

Thaayee … Bhuma Devi Olagadha ebba sagala jaaththiya Karuththu maadi saakki saliviya – thaayee kallu morayna .. kaambhbhadhu ellava Gill’ena negadhu thaangiya thayee Hachchey hasila annaga thandhu Harabbha neera thaaguga thandhu Hechchatholliya sinna belliya Singara maadhendhu nangaga thappa – thaayee Olliththendhu konnadhey Holla endhu thlladhey Kalla bella ellava malluno beeththidhavay Saththodha endhu huttu nattu Eththi dhoovaga ettamaneyu Mannenbha thanna mayyo muchchi marray maadhuva mandhira kaahthi – thaayee Haradhoppa hoo endha Aaney paatti jaaththigella Metti thanna nadabhaneyu Bhattu haayee thaangidhavey Eththidha kai maaththadey – nanga keththu keththu agabhaneyu Hagey maadhadhey negeymoga nibhbha Porumay ulla dharuma kaaththi – thaayee

தாயி … பூமா தேவி .. ஒலகதோ இப்ப சகல ஜாத்தியா .. கருத்து மாடி சாக்கி சலிவியா – தாயி கல்லுமொரேந .. காம்பதெல்லாவ கில்லெந நெகது தாங்கிய தாயி ஹச்செ ஹசில அந்நக தந்து ஹரப நீர தாவுக தந்து ஹெச்சாதொள்ளிய சிந்ந பெள்ளிய சிங்கரமாடெந்து நங்கக தப்ப .. தாயி ஒள்ளித்தெந்து கொண்ணாதெ ஹொல்ல எந்து தள்ளாதெ கள்ள பெள்ள எல்லாவ மள்ளுநொ பீத்திதவெ சத்தோத எந்து ஹுட்டு நட்டு எத்தி தூவெக இட்டமநெயு மண்ணெம்ப தந்ந மய்யோ முச்சி மர்ரெ மாடுவ மந்திர காத்தி – தாயி ஹரதோப்ப ஹூ எந்த ஆநெ பாட்டி ஜாத்திகெல்லா மெட்டிதந்ந நடபநெயு பட்டு தாயி தாங்கிதவே எத்தித கய் மாத்தாதெ – நங்க கேத்து கேத்து அகபநெயு ஹகெ மாடாதெ நெகெமொகநிப்ப பொருமெ உள்ள தரும காத்தி – தாயி


Hutti bhappaney obba

Hutti bhappaney obba Hooththuga hoppaney nee obba Huttu nattu nera aaravo – usirodha melay Ketta endhu bhappa dhaaravo Aasay ulla hendharu’vu bhappadhu hattaney getta Aththu bhappa henga makka meerilay dhoove getta Peridha huttu nattu hittu soppu thimbaney getta Saththu nera bhappadhu endhu paa’dhena avakkaga hatta – Hutti Bala ulla bhattukaara’naa bhudhdhi ulla getti kaara naa Sivilodha chitti jaamana sidi naaththa embha hena Heththu thaththi muththikkidha avvay appa aagiloyu Eththi mannuga haakkiyara – thindhu eindhey thekkiyara – Hutti

ஹுட்டி பப்பநெ ஒப்ப ஹுத்துக ஹோப்பநெ நீ ஒப்ப ஹுட்டு நட்டு நெர ஆரவோ – உசிரோத மேலெ கெட்ட எந்து பப்ப தாரவோ ஆசெ உள்ள ஹெண்டரவ பப்பது ஹட்டணெ கெட்ட அத்து பப்ப ஹெங்க மக்க மீரிலெ தூவெ கெட்ட பிரியத ஹுட்டு நட்டு ஹிட்டு சொப்பு திம்பநெ கெட்ட சத்து நெர பப்பது எந்து பாடேந அவக்ககட்டா – ஹுட்டி பல உள்ள பட்டுகார நா புத்தியுள்ள கட்டிகார நா சிவிலோத சிட்டி ஜாமக சிடி நாத்த எப்ப ஹெண ஹெத்து தத்தி முத்திக்கித அவ்வெ அப்ப ஆகோலெயு எத்தி மண்ணுகாக்கியார – திந்து இந்தெ தேக்கியார – ஹுட்டி

Bless us, oh mother !

This site is dedicated to my mother, Idyammal Bellie Gowder

Born into the richest family of the Badagas in 1912, forced to marry at the age of fifteen, to a poor but educated man who was eighteen years elder, just to honour and the keep the words of your father Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowda, from a sick bed,  you suffered in silence and bravely accepted all the short comings of life.

Though you were the youngest among five brothers, you were not given any share of your father’s property of nearly 950 acres of land and many houses spread around the Nilgiris, Nakku Betta, because you were a girl child.

But, your eldest brother, the great Ari Gowda, the undisputed leader of Badagas for many years – till his death in 1971, was a constant help and support inspite of opposition from the next generation of male members.

Idyammal in 1927

Ida – Kaday (Idyammal) in 1927

Though you were the unifying force of Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder family of Hubbathalai, you ignored the ridicule and became a role model of determination showing exceptional leadership qualities.

The suffering and hardship did not deter you to educate each and every child, both boys and girls numbering eight, sending all to colleges [including one to a medical and another to engineering].

Your 99 years and ten months of life, was full of wisdom and a source of inspiration to children,  grand children and great grand children living all around the world.


Ide Hethe (Idyammal) in 2010

Oh mother, I touch your feet and seek your blessings wherever you are!


More than 462,000 hits!

This website http://www.badaga.co has crossed another milestone of 450,000 hits a few months back and now stands at 462,000+. A big thank you to all.

If this site has helped in knowing about the Badagas of the Blue Mountains, an indigenous tribe of the Nilgiris, a little better, we would have achieved some of our objectives.

But there are a lots more to learn and do for the betterment of the community, thus making it an example of a model & modern society of our great nation.

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


Badagas – an indigenous Community of the Nilgiris

I have absolutely no doubt that Badagas are one of the original indigenous communities of  NAKKU BETTA, The Nilgiris – the Blue Mountains in Southern India.  See the page on ‘Badaga Origin’  for Info – Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash

The Nilgiris

A Pleasant Indigenous Puzzle

Dharmalingam Venugopal

E 140

repfal-pla32badagas.jpgphoto -The five indigenous communities of Nilgiris in 1875 from the book by J.W. Breeks, the first Commissioner of Nilgiris

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed every year on August 9 to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.

Indigenous peoples, or Natives, are ethnic groups who are native to a land or region, sharing a cultural identity that has been shaped by their geographical region.

Indigenous peoples globally are concerned that their  cultures are being lost from discrimination and pressure to assimilate into their surrounding societies.

It has been well documented that the Todas, Kotas, Badagas, Kurumbas and Irulas are the established indigenous communities of the Nilgiri uplands and their unique ways of life and interdependence have been one of the most documented subjects in Asia.

photo – Wg Cdr JP

Of late, however, there is a tendency to doubt the status of the Badagas as an indigenous community. According to a view Badagas were immigrants fleeing from Muslim persecution in Mysore in the past. There is absolutely not a shred of evidence, either documentary or oral, substantiating it. In fact, there has never been any persecution of any Nilgiri communities by Muslims on record.

Some even believe the Badaga migration took place during the reign of Tippu Sultan.   The first written documentation of the Nilgiris dates to 1602 while Tippu was defeated in 1799. Though Nilgiris was under Tippu for many years, he had nothing to do with the place or the people except for putting up two look out posts on the hills. There is no evidence of his ever visited the hills.

cropped-koottu-edited-for-header-12.jpgphoto – Wg.Cdr. JP

The five indigenous communities of Nilgiris in 1875 from the book by J.W. Breeks, the first Commissioner of NilgirisThe 1602 document left behind by the scholarly Father Finicio who came with a large entourage from Calicut speaks of the upland communities including the Badagas in clear terms. Badagas numbered about 500 then while other communities were much less.

Some research scholars speculate that the Badagas could have moved to the hills gradually in batches starting from around the middle of 1500. Such conclusions are drawn based on the evidence of paid local informants to the European writers after Nilgiris was opened up by the British.

Such research are at best for academic purpose and have no relevance for Nilgiris or its people. When around the middle of 1500 America, Europe, UK and most other nations and our own country and states had not been born, the need to locate where the Badagas or other tribes of  Nilgiris came from or when is absurd.

The elaborate documentation of Nilgiris over the past two centuries shows only how the five communities had lived in harmony, without any violence marked by a unique system of barter and interdependence while maintaining their respective identities and cultures.

As an anthropologist described it, “To the assertion that war is an inalienable feature of all human life, the Nilgiris case presents one refutation. There was no knowledge of the Scriptures to bolster it; no Brahmins to legitimize it; no Kashtriyas to rule over it: yet the social order functioned well for centuries”.

The Nilgiris and its indigenous communities continue to remain a Pleasant Puzzle. It is best to leave them like that. [also see – The Hindu ]

Hats off to D.Venugopal’s views. My conviction that what we do not know about Badagas, their traditions,customs and culture, is much more than what we know. One of the most absurd and unconvincing argument is that Badagas are not native to the Nilgiris but migrants from Mysore area. An untruth that was hammered down our throats by ill informed historians/researchers from the west. Unfortunately, there are quite a few ‘desi’ scholars who seem to believe that lie about Badaga Origin. – Wg Cdr JP


Is our Moray system outdated?

A young Badaga, calling herself  Shalini Sudhakar, has raised a serious question about our MORAY system. Unfortunately, her following comments in sms language with a fake email id –   Shalinisudhakar@gmail.com are not very clear. I was not able to contact her(?) for more info.
Thnk u for all ua info sir.. I just want to know one thing that why should we marry only with
morai.When they are going to cancel all this morai.? If possible just break it soon Please.. Just take some actions about morai as soon as possible. Please i humbly request you to break these useless rules nd help them… Not only me.. Many people in our community facing problems with morai So just break it nd make our yonger generation feel free.. By bein in same village nd with in those surrounding village oly many of thm falling in love because they oly roaming with in those villages.. Thn far knwin tht thy dont have morai thy endin up with breakup.. by family situation they ll marry anothr nd ll end up with divorce like me.. Many facin this prblms.. Dont make other girl/boy to lose their lyf fa love.. Please help them.. Just ban this morai system..
Nonetheless, I feel that our Moray system needs an urgent look in.
But, then, where do we start??
I will elaborate on this soon.

Beautiful letter written by a father to his daughter

Following is a letter to his daughter from a renowned Hong Kong TV Broadcaster and Child Psychologist.

The words are actually applicable to all of us, young or old, children or parents! This applies to all sons too. All parents can use this in their teachings to their children.

Dear daughter,
I am writing this to you because of 3 reasons…
1. Life, fortune and mishaps are unpredictable, nobody knows how long he lives.
2. I am your father, and if I don’t tell you these, no one else will.
3. Whatever written is my own personal bitter experiences that perhaps could save you a lot of unnecessary heartaches.

Remember the following as you go through life
1. Do not bear grudge towards those who are not good to you. No one has the responsibility of treating you well, except your mother and I.
To those who are good to you, you have to treasure it and be thankful, and ALSO you have to be cautious, because, everyone has a motive for every move. When a person is good to you, it does not mean he really will be good to you. You have to be careful, don’t hastily regard him as a real friend.
2. No one is indispensable, nothing is in the world that you must possess.
Once you understand this idea, it would be easier for you to go through life when people around you don’t want you anymore, or when you lose what you wanted the most.
3. Life is short. When you waste your life today, tomorrow you would find that life is leaving you. The earlier you treasure your life, the better you enjoy life.
4. Love is nothing but a transient feeling, and this feeling would fade with time and with one’s mood. If your so called loved one leaves you, be patient, time will wash away your aches and sadness.
Don’t over exaggerate the beauty and sweetness of love, and don’t over exaggerate the sadness of falling out of love.
5. A lot of successful people did not receive a good education, that does not mean that you can be successful by not studying hard! Whatever knowledge you gain is your weapon in life.
One can go from rags to riches, but one has to start from some rags!
6. I do not expect you to financially support me when I am old, neither would I financially support your whole life. My responsibility as a supporter ends when you are grown up. After that, you decide whether you want to travel in a public transport or in your limousine, whether rich or poor.
7. You honour your words, but don’t expect others to be so. You can be good to people, but don’t expect people to be good to you. If you don’t understand this, you would end up with unnecessary troubles.
8. I have bought lotteries for umpteen years , but could never strike any prize. That shows if you want to be rich, you have to work hard! There is no free lunch!
9. No matter how much time I have with you, let’s treasure the time we have together. We do not know if we would meet again in our next life.

[recd as a fwd email]

How education came to the Badagas 160 years ago !

How education came to the Badagas 160 years ago !

Dharmalingam Venugopal
[Nilgiris Documentation Centre, Kotagiri]

160 years ago an enthusiastic Tahsildar took the initiative to educate the Badagas. He recommended four schools in different villages of  the Nilgiris as the Badaga children could not  travel to Ooty to join school. The then Government of the Madras Presidency made a special recommendation as such a proposal was outside the prevailing educational policy of the country. The Government of India made an exception to its general educational policy to sanction four schools. The decision which had to travel over a distance of more than 250 kms from Ooty to Madras to Delhi and back was made within 6 months !!!.

25th April, 1856 : Mr. M. Soondra Moodelly, Tahsildar of Neilgherry Talook writes to Mr.E.B.Thomas, Collector of Coimbatore rcommending starting of schools in Tuneri, Adhikarati and Kaligherry(?).

The monigars and respectable inhabitants of the various villages of Todanad, Parungnad and Maiknad report to me that their children are illiterate and ignorant from want of schools to teach them in their villages….It appears to me that the want of any schools in the Burgher villages in the chief cause of the ignorance of the Burgher monigars and of the children of the all the Burghers in general; and it is therefore highly desirable that such charitable institutions should be established on these hills and three efficient teachers appointed on a pay of about 7 to 10 rupees each. The Burghers are now ignorant of any written characters and are unable to speak anything but ‘Canarese’. They are desirous of learning Tamil, the vernacular language of the whole district and I hope that by imparting to them Tamil language they will improve themselves. I request that the application for the establishment of schools may be sanctioned. Continue reading

For Ex- Servicemen


A very useful website for Air Veterans [retired Air Force Personnel] as well as for all Ex- fauji to sort out your pension problems


The Directorate of Air Veterans has recently re-launched its website, http://www.iafpensioners.gov.in to resolve pension related queries/ grievances  and timely finalisation of NE benefits.

All Air Veterans are requested to log in to this website and update their personal information like Mob No, residential address and e-mail address.

If you are not able to access the website then please send an e-mail to <dav@iaf.nic.in> cc <afaheadoffice@gmail.com>

Badagas of the Blue Mountains

Welcome to this site which is all about the

Badagas of the Blue Mountains

‘Baarivi, Odhivi, Nodivi & Ohridivi’ in Badaga means ‘Come, Read, See & Listen’

1.Badaga Origin [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]

2.Badaga Language [“It appears that there are none who know ‘PURE’ Badaga. This is not due to lack of words in Badaga. Lot of Badaga words have been forgotten [due to the influence of Tamil and English] and hence become extinct”.]

3.Badaga Names [What is in a name, a rose smells the same by any other name” so said a great poet. But is it so ? In the context of preserving the culture of a community, the names given to both persons and places can play a very crucial part.]

4.Badaga Songs [Music and Badagas are inseparable. Be it the ever green dance (aatta) numbers, the sad savu (funeral) songs or the beautiful ballads…sky is the limit. For some nice Badaga songs click here

5. Badaga Villages – Hattis [Badagas, generally, refer to their village or hamlet as ‘ HATTI ‘ spread around ‘Nakku Betta’ (the Nigiris). Nakku Betta literaly means four (Nakku) Mountains (betta) though there are many hills around which the villages are located]

6. Hethay Amma History [Hethay Amma is the deity of all Badagas. Hethai Habba is always on the first MONDAY (SOVARA), the most sacred day of Badagas, after the full moon (paurnami – HUNNAWAY ) that falls in (Tamil) Margazhi month, that is the 9th day after eight days of ‘Kolu’]

7.Badaga Jewellery [The main ornaments are the nose ring called ‘ MOOKUTHI ‘ and the ear ring known as ‘CHINNA’ . Chinna , literaly means gold but usually refers to ear rings. The type shown above is worn both by men and women. Of course, the ‘ BELLI UNGARA ‘ [silver finger ring] has a special place in Badaga tradition and considered to have medicinal / health benefits]

8.Badaga Wedding [Badaga customs and traditions are known for their simplicity, adaptibility and practicality. In this respect a Badaga wedding follows a set of simple rules that has been almost the same over the centuries. But for a minor change here and there, it has been almost the same in all the villages spread across the Nakku Betta or the Nilgiri Hills]

9.Badaga Funeral [Ever since I became aware of the verses of ‘Karu Harachodhu’, I felt how nice it would be if these beautiful words could be given in English [ both in script and as translation] so that the present day youngsters could understand one of the most important and significant part (prayer) of Badaga funeral rites]

10.All about Ari Gowder [Rao Bahadur H.B.Ari Gowder, the first Badaga graduate, first Badaga M.L.C & M.L.A for a long time who had 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 Jumboree held in Europe in the 1930s]

11.First Badaga It will be very interesting [I hope as well as informative & motivating] to list all those BADAGAS who were / are the ’FIRST’in any field.Where I am not sure, I have put a question mark, so that someone may supply the correct or corrected info

12. Rare Photos [..The title says it all ..]

13. Badaga Day [May 15th is celebrated as Badaga day, every year. Many may not be aware that this has been done from 1993 onwards. The Porangadu Seeme (Mainly Kotagiri Area) has been celebrating this day as ‘Ari Gowder Day’ also, in honour of Rao Bahadur H B Ari Gowder…]

14.Badaga Poems [One of the enchanting aspects of Badaga Language is its disarming simplicity. But though the sentences are swathed in sweetness of simple words, it can contain deep expressions of emotions conveyed in the proper usage of rhymes [holla – alla] or pair words [huttu – nattu] apart from other attributes]

15.Badaga Elders [There are a few elderly Badagas spread among our Hattis and Cities who are so well informed about us. May be due to their age or the personal interest and individual atrributes, they know about our origin, customs, culture or anything connected and concerning Badagas. It is a shear blessing to meet them.]

16. Badaga Recipes [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]

17.Badaga Proverbs [One of the fascinating and interesting aspect 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]

18.Badaga Calendar [Badaga month should start on the 10th of an English month as far as possible and also to ensure that the number of days in a month is either 30 or 31 days. Since Badagas consider ‘Sovara’ (Monday) as the most auspicious and ‘holy’ day, they have attached a lot of importance to that day]

19.Badaga Script It has always been felt that for a language to survive, it should have its own script. It cannot remain only as a spoken language for long. But of course, the script need not be peculiar and specific one pertaining to that particular language. So too is the necessity of a script for Badaga. Many have attempted to achieve this objective with various degrees of success. But unfortunately, to my knowledge, no records exist. I am no expert on phonetics or languages or much less innovating an unique script. But the urge to have a separate script has convinced me that it is very much possible to ‘ADOPT’ an existing script and ‘ADAPT’ it to Badaga language.

20. Badaga Poetry

21. General



Badaga Names

[Reproduced and edited]

“What is in a name, a rose smells the same by any other name” so said a great poet. But is it so ? In the context of preserving the culture of a community, the names given to both persons and places can play a very crucial part.

In our history of many thousand years, naming of places was generally and literally linked to NATURE. Be it on names given to villages like ‘Bikka Mora Hatti [Olive Tree Village]’ or ‘Hubbathale [Chinese Pagoda tree/grass]’ or ‘Osa Hatti [New Village]’.

Badagas had [ I am very sad to use ‘past tense’ here] a great tradition of naming their children after their ancestors, usually a deceased grand parent. By this they not only ensured that the dead are constantly remembered but also to differentiate Badaga as an unique entity as a tribe with their own traditions and customs.

Jayaprakash, Sabbarish, Yudhister, Abhishek, Parmesh, Ramesh, Satish, Vivek, Vinodh Bhuvanesh or Shalini, Shakila, Sudhalini, Nivideta, Kaushalya etc are, hold your breadth, some of the names of the so called modern(?) Badaga men and women. If you have to identify persons only from the names, then the above mentioned could be from any part of our country.

Contrast these with names like Bellie, Jogi, Kada, Hala, Sevana, Jevana, Moracha, Nandhi, Ari, Boja, Bella, Ajja, Madha or Kangi, Nanji, Madhi, Kade, Masi, Dhali. Straight away, these names not only point to Badagas but also remind us of our great ancestors.

I have always wondered, why being from a ‘STAUNCH BADAGA’fied family I was named Jayaprakash. My mom who is 96 years old now, tells me that when I was to be named in 1948, a much elder cousin who was both a bully and the first of his generation, insisted on this name because he was a follower of Jayaprakash Narain. Of course, the consolation is that in our generation (one earlier to the present one) everybody was compulsorily given a Badaga name also. For example, my Badaga name is JEVANA. Unfortunately, while registering the name for joining the school, the Badaga name was not included and hence Jayaprakash -and the short form of JP -got stuck. In one of those ironies of fate, when I had to give the [initials expanded] name to join the Indian Air Force as a commissioned officer, my father’s name Bellie became my first name and since we do not have a family name common to all brothers and sisters, Bellie is how I am known  these days and yes, I am quite happy about it.

If we continue to name our children as we do now by following the blind and bad advise of some ‘IYER’ who advises that the name has to start with X or Y, we can surely and sadly bury one of our best traditions of NAMING our children only with Badaga names and thus preserving and protecting our culture and KULA (clan).

The least we can do is, while naming the new born babies, ensure that a Badaga name is also given and that Badaga name is definitely included in the school records as well as for other important requirements like voter ID, passport etc .

[On a personal note, on our part we (my wife & I) have ensured that our children’s names include Badaga names ARI & NANJI [Rao Bahadur Ari Gowda was great grandfather to my son and Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowda’s wife Nanji was great great grandmother to my daughter] along with their other so called names.

As a first step, may I request the readers to list out all the old, original and exclusive Badaga names (both male and female) and give a serious thought to this serious problem. 

Some Badaga names that come to my mind :

Male names :

  • Ari, Ajja, B(h)oja, Bellie, Bela(Mada), Bella, B(h)eema, Bidia, Bulla, Dona, Gedda, Gujja, Hala, Hiriya, Jevana, Jogi, Kada, Kariabetta, Kakkamalla, Kalla, Kari, Kulla, Linga, Madha, Madiya, Moracha, Nandi, Nanja, Pada, Pokka, Raju, Ranga, Sevana, Sele, Thatha, Thippa.

Female names :

  • Beeki, Bulli, Chenne, Chinna, Doni, D(h)ali, Gange, Gangamma, Gauri, Giriji, Hali, Hallamma, Hui, Jevani, Kade, Kangi, Lingi, Madi, Malle, Masi, Nanji, Panne, Paru, Rukki, Sevani, Sing(a)ri.

JP adds (17  Dec 07) found this in the special issue of Kovai Badagar Sangam [1982]by M.Parvathi and B. Ramamurthy

Popular Badaga Names

Male :

  • Ajja, Andi, Appi, Ari, Bella, Bellie, Bemma, B(h)oja, B(h)ola,  Bijja, Bulla, Chevana, Dhona, Dhooma, Dhunda, Dolla, Gedda, Gejje, Gilla, Gowda, Gujja, Hala, Halli, Hiriya, Hucha, Huchi, Joghee, Jogha, Kada, Kakkamalla, Kala, Kali, Kalla, Kari, Komb, Konga, Krishna, Kunda, Linga, Macha, Madha, Madia, Malla, Malli, Matha, Morcha, Nanja, Nandi, Pamba, Peela, Rama, Ranga, Sakkarai, Sakkolai, Selai, Senna, Setti, Sevana, Singri, Sirangi, Thippa

Female :

  • Akkama, Beeki, Bijji, Chevani, Chinnamma, Devi, Dhundi, Gangi, Gavari, Haalamma, Haali, Honni, Jevani, Kade, Kali, Keppi, Lingi, Madhi, Mallai, Maanikka, Mallajji, Maasi, Michi, Nanji, Peeri, Rangi, Rani, Rukki, Sennai , Sirigi, Thippi


We have been known by the seemai to which we belong, to start a new relationship.For example I do not Know whether I call you (Bellie Jayaprakash) Mamma or Anna.If you belong to Merkunad to which I belong, I will call you Anna/Appa/Ayya.I you are from Thodhanad Seemai straight away I can address you as Mamma.This unique identity has to be preserved for posterity.

Hence my suggestion is to have names like


The generation next wants an identity. My younger son calls himself Sevana Yashwant (Sevana is my great grandpa’s name)..

So let us start this movement.Great movements have started with small steps …….

Yes, I agree with Sathu about addressing other Badagas properly (Morapadi Koruchodhu). Since I belong to Poragangadu Seeme, it is in order that we address each other (depending on the age of course) as MAMMA [Uncle].

The disgusting thing these days is youngsters addressing any Badaga elder simply as ANNA or AKKA[elder brother & elder sister]. Even the general term AYYA or HETHE [grandpa & grandma] is so much more respectful.

Though the suggestion to include the SEEME before the Village name carries a lot of merit, there are a couple of catches.

You see, every SEEME (consisting of a large group of villages) is divided into communes known as OORUs (consisting of a particular number of villages in one group).

That is, NAKKU BETTA [of the BADAGA COMMUNITY] consists of Four SEEMES -> divided into many OORUs -> subdivided into individual Hattis [villages]. In a Village, everybody is a brother/sister and hence marriage among themselves is taboo.

For example, under PORGANGADU SEEME, ‘HATHOMBATHU [19] OORU’ and ‘AARU[6] OORU’ are two of the many communes.

All males, say, in AARU OORU are ANNA THAMMARU [brothers] and hence cannot marry from families within these six villages. But a boy from AARU OORU can marry a girl from HATHOMBATHU OORU. Or vice versa. Example, I am from AARU OORU (Beratty) and my wife is from 19 OORU (Hubbathalai).

That simply means for people of AARU OORU the people of HATHOMBATHU OORU are MAMMA & MAMMI and hence ‘madhuve maaduva MORAE hadadhe’ (The relation to marry exists).

The beauty of the system is that boys from both Beratty & Hubbathalai [villages belonging to Porangadu Seeme] can marry girls from the same village belonging to a different SEEME [say girls from Ketchigatty of KUNDHE SEEME]. Conversly, a boy from Ketchigatti can marry a girl of his choice either from Hubbathalai or Beratty. Or for that matter, he can marry a girl from within his (Kundhe) Seeme but NOT from the same village or OORU.

I am reminded of an exception though. In the village KODHUMUDI hatti, there are two groups belonging to MELA HATTI and KIYA HATTI (roughly, upper and lower streets) and a person from one group can marry from the other group. Probably, one of the few exceptions of marriage taking place from within  the same hatti (village).

Yes, this topic is not only very interesting but very important. Hope it gets the attention it deserves.

Also see here or here


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

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



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


Badaga Bangara – Appra Singara !

Badaga Jewellery

Badagas, especially the women, have some exotic and unique jewellery that they wear on their person.

It was a chance but a wonderful meeting with Mrs.Gangamma, aged 78 years, daughter of Karibajja Kari Gowder of Pedduva Kallatti who was associated with Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder (‘Ari Gowda koottuda maathu adile, Koodi ebba ella bae muchindu unnippa ortara endu appa hegina’, she remembered] and wife of late Kari Gowder of Kerben Village (Kotagiri) who passed away about 40 years back, at Mettupalayam in Feb,2007.

She was wearing traditional Badaga Jewllery – ‘Mookkuthi [nose ring & Chinna [ear ring]’ which made me ponder and wonder about Badaga Jewellery.

click here to see plenty of photos and read the complete article about the wonderful ‘world’ of BADAGA Bangara – Jewellery

About Badagas


Badagas 1

A lot of research has been done on BADAGA, both the people and the language. One of the early westerners whose research on Badaga is very authentic, interesting and educative, is Edgar Thurston. His article about Badaga Tribe in ‘Castes and Tribes of Southern India (Vol.!)‘ published in 1909 with a lot of photos, is a must read.

Castes and Tribes of Southern India is a seven-volume encyclopedia of social groups of Madras Presidency and the princely states of Travancore, Mysore, Coorg and Pudukkottai published by British museologist Edgar Thurston and K. Rangachari in 1909. [Wikipedia]’

The ebook, as part of Project Gutengerg, produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at www.pgdp.net/ is freely avai0lable.

“This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. http://www.gutenberg.org

Dr.R.K.Haldorai has done an excellent translation on the info on Badagas into Tamil.

I have great pleasure in including the same with the original in the New Page About Badagas.

 – Wing Commande JP


At the cross roads and in a catch 22 situation

There was a time when every Badaga household got their FRESH vegetables from their own holas [vegetable gardens next to their houses or a little away from the hatti [village].

2-8-15 008

Be it Avare [beans], gaasu [potatos] or kadaley [peas] or the healthy Keerey Soppu. They were part of the daily menu. Ganji Godhumay [wheat] and baththa  were grown, harvested and made into flour so that Eragittu, Pothittu and baththa hittu could be made very often if not daily. There was no dearth of haalu [milk], majjigay [butter milk], mosaru [curd] and thuppa [clarified butter].

But now, all these seem to be a dream. The basic reason  could be the INVASION of the koda and kaadu emme [monkeys and bisons] which would not spare any thing green. The strict laws related to wild life and their implementation had become a big deterrent in growing vegetables. A family’s wealth was based on the Banda [cattle -number of buffalos and cows] owned. Tho and kottagay [large and individual cattle sheds] were part and parcel of a hatti.

Every Badaga family had atleast a small patch of thotta [tea estate] that would give an assured income. The steep fall in green leaf tea prices and steeper labour wages have made owning and maintaining the estate more of a burden and headache.

Now, everything is uncertain. Health and wealth have become big casualties.

Life in the Naakku Betta [the Nilgiris, the blue mountains] has really become very difficult. Badagas are at the cross roads and in a catch 22 situation.

Future is a big question mark now?? What can we do about it???

Open Letter on OROP

Open Letter to Prime minister Modi on OROP (One Rank One pension)

Dear Prime Minister,

I feel deeply feel pained and betrayed. By your action, rather your inaction, on the OROP issue. For the First Time, I have started having doubts on your ability to solve the issues facing this great Country and its people.

I have been an unabashed supporter of you even before you became the Prime Minister. Never doubted your ability to solve the problems of this country. Definitely, never doubted your words or promises. I was under the impression that before you promised and  said anything, plenty of thought and preparation went into it.

The dillydallying and delaying tactics of announcing the One Pay One Pension has deeply hurt me. How can the IAS lobby, through the Finance Minister Arun Jaitly, convince you to backtrack and betray the Ex-Servicemen, the fauji that fought for this country without fear by giving up their youth, the best years of life?

Do you realise that you are losing an enormous amount of Good Will ? Do you understand the repercussions and the rippling effects that will have on the ‘serving’ Defence Forces when the ex-fauji is neglected and OROP issue relegated and reneged?

Sir, I feel totally betrayed and deeply pained.

Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash  [an ex-fauji]

World Photography Day


On the day of World Photography [19-08-2015], here is a  candid shot of Kannerimukku village [a Badaga Hamlet] at 6-30pm, the first ever settlement of the British Raj in any hill areas of India. The concept of a Hill Station began here. Welcome to the Nilgiris !!!

Dharmalingam Venugopal

Burning Issues

[This article/page was published a few years back. But, most of the issues touched upon have a great relevance even today – Wg.Cdr.JP]


Many Badagas are under the mistaken impression that if they are brought under the “Scheduled Tribe”, it is a degrading step. I do not think so. Badagas are one of the ‘ORIGINAL’ tribes of the Nilgiris along with Todas, Kothas and Kurumas.

The enormous improvements achieved by Badagas in all social factors, in spite of many impediments, should make us feel proud. This success is attributed to one SINGLE factor. Education. For that we must remember with gratitude the pioneer, visionary and philanthropist Rao Bahadur [Hubbathalai Jogi Gowder] Bellie Gowder who built the first School for Badagas – along with free hostel accommodation for Badaga students in Hubbathalai and his son Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder who fore saw that in educating a girl, indeed we are educating a family and society, insisted on education for girls and encouraged it fully.

Now, the good news is that, one of the major political parties – AIADMK – has publically announced that ST status would  be recommended for Badagas if they are elected to govern the Tamil Nadu state for which elections are being held on the 13th April, 2011.


‘Scheduled Tribe’ status for Badagas ?!

March, 2008 : Why the latest Tamil Nadu website, http://www.nilgiris.tn.gov.in/
on the Nilgiris is getting on my ‘goat’ is the fact that till recently Badagas were shown as a tribe along with Todas, Kothas, Kurumbas and others. In fact, the following photograph displayed in my website www.badaga.in [ see the page https://badaga.wordpress.com/badaga-dance/ ] was taken from that portal.
But the same has been removed from http://www.nilgiris.tn.gov.in/ now.
Mind you, calling Badagas as a separate tribe and included with others,does not automaticaly give the status of a schedule tribe. And hence, the champions among ourselves who are opposed to ST status, need not feel small
The above website of TN govt is accessed by many tourists mainly foreigners and they are agast not to find anything on or about Badagas.

Many readers may not know that Badagas were listed as a separate entity in the CENSUS till 1981 but after, that courtesy some idiots, Badaga are grouped under Kannada (speaking people). What this has done is the huge loss of information of knowing how many Badagas are there [along with all other details like literacy rate, gender wise population etc]. That, SIMPLY MEANS BADAGAS DO NOT EXIST.

What is highly hurting is the fact we have many Badagas including a minister, MLA, many ex-MPs & ex-MLAs who seem to do nothing. Can they not, ATLEAST, shoot out letters to all concerned ? Or, have they forgotten the fact that they are getting a fat pension because of us? I know of an EX-MP who writes to the local police station every now and then emphasising the EX-FACTOR when it comes to grabbing others land for her own kith, but does nothing about the community welfare.
What about the many self appointed leaders of Badaga community, including ex-MLAs, who claim that they are very close to the DMK party leadership ? Why can’t they initiate some action and show the same enthusiasm when they ‘fleece’ the public for money in the name of donation for the party [but lining their own pockets]?
What about many senior government officers, including the only IAS officer who can influence the party in power to take some action ? Firstly, the IAS officer should correct his mother tongue being Badaga and NOT as Tamil as is given in the government official info { a fact I have mentioned in FIRST BADAGA also}.
It is a well known fact that late Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder would seek an immediate appointment, to highlight the problems concerning Badagas, with the Collector as well as the State ministers of his time including the great Rajaji who was the CM. Do you know that Rajaji had to apologise to Ari Gowder when he (Rajaji) was delayed for an appointment and Ari Gowder, as MLA, threatened to walk out. I believe, many Collectors of the Nilgiris, would not only address Ari Gowder’s concern expressed over the phone but would consult him on any issue on Badagas.
The local correspondent [for the Nilgiris] of one of the most widely read national news papers of India, ‘THE HINDU’ is a Badaga. Can we request him to highlight this issue in his columns?
Why are we keeping quiet ? Why are we behaving like ‘HEBBATHES’ – cockroaches- running away from light and hiding ourselves in darkness??

Badagas under Schedule Tribes ???

I have very strong views on this subject. Before I elaborate on them, I feel that we should first of all be identified as BADAGAS which is not the case as SANTHOSH has rightly mentioned in www://badaga.com “. . our community’s name is not in the list of communities under the BC category. In fact, it is not mentioned under any of the categories.”

I also agree with the views of ‘bhojvija’ who feels that ST tag for Badagas is humiliating…
“…Badagas living in cities and doing/completed education in cities and are upper middle class family and for them it’s not at all a matter if Badagas are non ST. But we have to talk about our entire badaga community. For example an SC/ST guy simply getting govt job if he passed just degree. And government providing more facilities like scholarship, free hostel, books, notebooks etc… In our community so many have stopped their education due to lack of economical support and their entire life style also has been changed as they have to work just as ordinary labourers…. “.

Most of us feel that getting ST status is demeaning and meant mainly for getting admissions to educational institutions and getting jobs easily. The truth could be entirely different.

Even in our own district of the Nilgirs, do you know that we are not taken as a separate community as BADAGAS but are clubbed with other non tribals??? That is one of the reasons why the exact number of Badags is not available? When census is taken Badags are clubbed under Kannadigas / others.

I am afraid ,if this sad state of affair continues, after a few years, we will come under the “extinct” community.

Being from an above average Badaga family – economically [God’s grace], having done my professional studies of engineering and business administration etc and having served in the defence services and having mostly lived in big cities like Delhi, Bangalore & Madras for the past forty odd years or educating my children in the elitist schools, colleges and now abroad, I had no occasion to seek the tag of BC.

BUT.. yes this is a big ‘but’ [no pun intended]…


  1. First, we should be identified as a separate group as BADAGAS like Todas, Kothas,Kurumas etc when the people(tribes) of the Nilgiris are referred to.
  2. For the larger good of the community, Badagas should get the ST status for the benefits available are too many to go into detail.

Nearly eighty years back, Nakku Betta Leader, Rao Bahadur (Rao Sahib then) Bellie Gowder on whose invitation the Governor of then Madras Province visited Hubbathalai Village was presented a memorandum on the Hill Tribes of Nilgiris which included Badagas, Todas & Kothas. In a grand cultural show organised on that eve Badaga dance was presented [by school boys] in their ‘DODDA KUPPACHA”.


Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder, incidentally, was not only the leader of Badagas but represented as leader of all the tribes of Nilgiris (a relatively remote hilly & jungle area and unexplored at that time in early 1900s). The folder he presented to the British Governor, on the occassion of his vist to Hubbathalai [on the invitation of Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder] containg some rare photos of all the tribes of Nilgiris INCLUDING BADAGAS

Badagas as a Hill Tribe

What do you think?


Let us be FAIR to the fair gender

As I sit down to ponder over the ‘burning issues’ that are bothering the Badaga Community, three issues pop up as very important. The FIRST one is the inequality with which we seem to be treating our women today. Though, this malaise is affecting all the communities in our country, I am concerned that the Badagas who treated their women folk with so much respect and love in the olden days, are slowly but surely pushing them into the second class citizens category.

In earlier days, the girls were married off at a much younger age [Kannu Hoottadha Henga] but with the firm understanding that they [the girls] could seek divorce at any time if there was matrimonial disharmony and that they would be accepted back into the society without any blame and reservation. Getting married again was no big issue. She, always, had the backing of her parents and her brothers as ‘guru mane’ gave unflinching support in all respects mainly financial. This was probably the main reason that the girl children were not given any share in the property.

Being brought up in an atmosphere where complaining and cribbing were not considered as routine, the Badaga women accepted life as it came and were always ready to sacrifice their own comforts. But then, the Badaga men, at least a majority of them, were, also, simple and hard working. Then came the curse of ‘drinking’. And with that, the problems and troubles of Badaga woman increased many fold and took a dramatic turn for the worse. The men folk took full advantage of the vulnerable nature of the women who had the additional burden of bringing up the children. Here, it must be mentioned that a Badaga girl was expected to be pregnant within a few months of marriage and invariably, there was a child to ‘celebrate’ the first wedding anniversary. Followed, of course, with many more children. “Mane thumba Makka” – House full of children – was part of the ‘blessing – Harakkay’.

This put the women in a very disadvantageous position. With many children, divorce was not a choice. Thus, they accepted suffering without complaints.

Education changed the fundamental thinking of girls. Though still faced with the compulsion of early marriage, many girls accepted ‘two children per family’ norm as the best option. But, there was and is still discrimination when it came to giving them share of property. The present law of the land is clear. Girls should get EQUAL share of the property.

The Badaga thinking, mainly mandated and manipulated by men, has found the clumsy excuse of not giving share of the property to the girl children by quoting outdated traditions. This is the problem.

I am convinced that one of the most important and burning issues facing us today is GIVING EQUAL SHARE TO THE GIRLS AS THE BOYS. I am firmly of the view that we have to resolve that we will give equal share to the girls if we have to save our community from falling into disgrace. Let us take that resolution, HERE and NOW.

No articles, images and other material in this website can be reproduced without the permission of
Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash B.E.(GCT,Madras Univ).,M.B.A(FMS,Delhi Univ)


Contact : bjaypee@gmail.com


Badaga Names

Badaga Names

“What is in a name, a rose smells the same by any other name” so said a great poet. But is it so ? In the context of preserving the culture of a community, the names given to both persons and places can play a very crucial part.

In our history of many thousand years, naming of places was generally and literally linked to NATURE. Be it on names given to villages like ‘Bikka Mora Hatti [Olive Tree Village]’ or ‘Hubbathale [Chinese Pagoda tree/grass]’ or ‘Osa Hatti [New Village]’.

Badagas had [ I am very sad to use ‘past tense’ here] a great tradition of naming their children after their ancestors, usually a deceased grand parent. By this they not only ensured that the dead are constantly remembered but also to differentiate Badaga as an unique entity as a tribe with their own traditions and customs.

Jayaprakash, Sabbarish, Yudhister, Abhishek, Parmesh, Ramesh, Satish, Vivek, Vinodh Bhuvanesh or Shalini, Shakila, Sudhalini, Nivideta, Kaushalya etc are, hold your breadth, some of the names of the so called modern(?) Badaga men and women. If you have to identify persons only from the names, then the above mentioned could be from any part of our country.

Contrast these with names like Bellie, Jogi, Kada, Hala, Sevana, Jevana, Moracha, Nandhi, Ari, Boja, Bella, Ajja, Madha or Kangi, Nanji, Madhi, Kade, Masi, Dhali. Straight away, these names not only point to Badagas but also remind us of our great ancestors.

I have always wondered, why being from a ‘STAUNCH BADAGA’fied family I was named Jayaprakash. My mom told me that when I was to be named in 1948, a much elder cousin who was both a bully and the first of his generation, insisted on this name because he was a follower of Jayaprakash Narain. Of course, the consolation is that in our generation (one earlier to the present one) everybody was compulsorily given a Badaga name also. For example, my Badaga name is JEVANA. Unfortunately, while registering the name for joining the school, the Badaga name was not included and hence Jayaprakash -and the short form of JP -got stuck. In one of those ironies of fate, when I had to give the [initials expanded] name to join the Indian Air Force as a commissioned officer, my father’s name Bellie became my first name [and since we do not have a family name common to all brothers and sisters], Bellie is how I am known these days and yes, I am quite happy about it.

If we continue to name our children as we do now by following the blind and bad advise of some ‘IYER’ who advises that the name has to start with X or Y, we can surely and sadly bury one of our best traditions of NAMING our children only with Badaga names and thus preserving and protecting our culture and KULA (clan).

The least we can do is, while naming the new born babies, ensure that a Badaga name is also given and that Badaga name is definitely included in the school records as well as for other important requirements like voter ID, passport etc.

[On a personal note, on our part we (my wife & I) have ensured that our children’s names include Badaga names ARI & NANJI [Rao Bahadur Ari Gowda was great grandfather to my son from my wife’s side and Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowda’s wife Nanji was great grandmother to my daughter from my side] along with their other names which were chosen by the ‘modernists’ in which I had no say (sob sob)]

As a first step, may I request the readers to list out all the old, original and exclusive Badaga names (both male and female) and give a serious thought to this serious problem. The names of all GODS/GODDESS is not considered original / traditional.

Some names that come to my mind :

Male names :

◾Ari, Ajja, B(h)oja, Bellie, Bela(Mada), Bella, B(h)eema, Bidia, Bulla, Dona, Gedda, Gujja, Hala, Hiriya, Jevana, Jogi, Kada, Kariabetta, Kakkamalla, Kalla, Kari, Kulla, Linga, Madha, Madiya, Moracha, Nandi, Nanja, Pada, Pokka, Raju, Ranga, Sevana, Sele, Thatha, Thippa.

Female names :
◾Beeki, Bulli, Chenne, Chinna, Doni, D(h)ali, Gange, Gangamma, Gauri, Giriji, Hali, Hallamma, Hui, Jevani, Kade, Kangi, Lingi, Madi, Malle, Masi, Nanji, Panne, Paru, Rukki, Sevani, Sing(a)ri.

Found this info in the special issue of Kovai Badagar Sangam [1982] – by M.Parvathi and B.Ramamurthy

Popular Badaga Names

Male :
◾Ajja, Andi, Appi, Ari, Bella, Bellie, Bemma, B(h)oja, B(h)ola, Bijja, Bulla, Chevana, Dhona, Dhooma, Dhunda, Dolla, Gedda, Gejje, Gilla, Gowda, Gujja, Hala, Halli, Hiriya, Hucha, Huchi, Joghee, Jogha, Kada, Kakkamalla, Kala, Kali, Kalla, Kari, Komb, Konga, Krishna, Kunda, Linga, Macha, Madha, Madia, Malla, Malli, Matha, Morcha, Nanja, Nandi, Pamba, Peela, Rama, Ranga, Sakkarai, Sakkolai, Selai, Senna, Setti, Sevana, Singri, Sirangi, Thippa

Female :
◾Akkama, Beeki, Bijji, Chevani, Chinnamma, Devi, Dhundi, Gangi, Gavari, Haalamma, Haali, Honni, Jevani, Kade, Kali, Keppi, Lingi, Madhi, Mallai, Maanikka, Mallajji, Maasi, Michi, Nanji, Peeri, Rangi, Rani, Rukki, Sennai , Sirigi, Thippi

[please also read the page BADAGA NAMES ]

You are an inspiration in life and death

Death anniversary of Mrs.Idyammal Bellie Gowder

mom-6a_edited-lb.jpg02-10-1912  — 13-07-2011

You gave everything to us when you were alive – the greatest of them all being EDUCATION. You ensured that all your eight children, including three girls, got both school and college education even when the times were difficult and hard. Your elder brother Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder was a solid support to our family.

In life, You were an inspiration. In death, you are a greater inspiration.

Mom and Hethe, we miss you. We bow our heads in respect and seek your blessings – wherever You are!

Taking life for granted

Please spend a few minutes to read this – it may make a HUGE difference in life (after death}

Letter written by a wife after her husband’s death in an accident

“Few things I learnt after my husband’s death:-

We always believe we will live forever. Bad things always happen to others.

Only when things hit us bang on your head you realise… Life is so unpredictable….

My husband was an IT guy, All technical. And I am a chartered accountant. Awesome combination you may think.

Techie guy so everything is on his laptop. His to do list. His e-bill and his bank statements in his email. He even maintained a folder which said IMPWDS wherein he stored all login id and passwords for all his online accounts. And even his laptop had a password. Techie guy so all the passwords were alpha-numeric with a special character not an easy one to crack. Office policy said passwords needed to be changed every 30 days. So every time I accessed his laptop I would realize it’s a new password again. I would simply opt for asking him ‘What’s the latest password instead of taking the strain to memorize it.

You may think me being a Chartered Accountant would means everything is documented and filed properly. Alas many of my chartered accountant friends would agree that the precision we follow with our office documents and papers do not flow in to day to day home life. At office you have be epitome of Reliability / Competent / Diligent etc but. At home front there is always a tomorrow.

One fine morning my hubby expired in a bike accident on his way home from office.. He was just 33. His laptop with all his data crashed. Everything on his hard disk wiped off. No folder of IMPWDS to refer back to. His mobile with all the numbers on it was smashed. But that was just the beginning. I realised I had lot to learn.

9 years married to one of the best human beings with no kids just the two of us to fall back on but now I stood all alone and lost.

Being chartered accountant helped in more ways than one but it was not enough. I needed help. His saving bank accounts, his salary bank accounts had no nominee. On his insurance his mom was the nominee and it was almost 2 years back she had expired. But this was just a start. I didn’t know the password to his email account where all his e-bill came. I didn’t know which expenses he paid by standing instructions.

His office front too was not easy. His department had changed recently. I didn’t know his reporting boss name to start with when had he last claimed his shift allowance, his mobile reimbursement.

The house we bought with all the excitement on a loan thought with our joint salary we could afford the EMI. when the home loans guys suggested insurance on the loan, we decided the instead of paying the premium the difference in the EMI on account of the insurance could be used pay towards prepayment of the loan and get the tenure down. We never thought what we would do if we have to live on a single salary. So now there was huge EMI to look into .

I realised I was in for a long haul.

Road accident case. So everywhere I needed a Death certificate, FIR report, Post Mortem report. For everything there were forms running into pages indemnity bonds, notary, surety to stand up for you. No objections certificates from your co-heirs.

I learnt other than your house, your land, Your car, your bike are also your property. So what if you are the joint owner of the flat you don’t become the owner just because your hubby is no more. So what if your hubby expired in the bike accident and you are the nominee but if the bike is in a repairable condition .you have to get the bike transferred in your name to claim the insurance. And that was again not easy. The bike or car cannot be transferred in your name without going through a set of legal documents. Getting a Succession Certificate is another battle all together.

Then came the time you realise now you have to start changing all the bills, assets in your name. Your gas connection, electricity meter, your own house, your car, your investments and all sundries. And then change all the nominations where your own investments are concerned. And again a start of a new set of paperwork.

To say I was shaken my whole life had just turned upside down was an understatement. You realise you don’t have time to morn and grieve for the person with whom you spend the best years of your life. Because you are busy sorting all the paper work.

I realised then how much I took life for granted. I thought being a chartered accountant I am undergoing so many difficulties, what would have happened to someone who was house maker who wouldn’t understand this legal hotchpotch.

A sweet friend then told me dear this was not an end, you have no kids, your assets will be for all who stand to claim. After my hubby’s sudden death. I realised it was time I took life more seriously. I now needed to make a Will. I would have laughed if a few months back if he had asked me to make one. But now life had taken a twist.

Lessons learnt this hard way were meant to be shared. After all why should the people whom we love the most suffer after we are no more. Sorting some paperwork before we go will at least ease some of their grief.

1. Check all your nominations.
It’s a usual practice to put a name (i.e in the first place if you have mentioned it) and royally forget about it. Most of us have named our parent as a nominee for investments, bank accounts opened before marriage. We have not changed the same even years after they are no longer there with us. Even your salary account usually has no nomination.. Kindly check all your Nominations.
– Bank Accounts
– Fixed Deposits, NSC
– Bank Lockers
– Demat Accounts
– Insurance (Life, Bike or Car or Property)
– Investments
– PF Pension Forms

2. Passwords.
We have passwords for practically everything. Email accounts, Bank accounts, even for the laptop you use. What happens when your next in kin cannot access any of these simply because they do not know your password… Put it down on a paper.

3. Investments.
Every year for tax purpose we do investments. Do we maintain a excel sheet about it. If so is it on the same laptop of which the password you had not shared. Where are those physical investments hard copy.

4. Will.
Make a Will. I know you will smile even I would had I not gone through all what I did. It would have made my life lot easier a lot less paperwork. I wouldn’t had to provide an indemnity bond, get it notarised, ask surety to stand up, no objections certificates from others…

5. Liabilities.
When you take a loan say for your house or car. Check out on all the what if, what if I am not there tomorrow, what if I loose my job. Will the EMI still be within my range. If not get an insurance on the loan. The people left behind will not have to worry on something as basic as their own house.

My battles have just begun… But let us at least try and make few changes so that our loved ones would not suffer after we go. We do not know what will happen in the future. But as the Scout motto goes: Be prepared ”


[recd as fwd email]

Ari Gowda – the great Badaga Leader

Ari Gowder

Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder from Hubbathalai remains to be one of the greatest leaders of not only Badagas for for the entire district of the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu. His services to the community and his philanthropic deeds are still spoken about, though he passed away in 1971. One of his most important achievements was the establishment of NCMS – Nilgiris Cooperative Marketing Society at Ooty that helped a large number of small farmers by releasing them out of the clutches of middlemen. NCMS was considered as the best Co-Op Society in India. Read more about Ari Gowder here.

On the 45th anniversary of his death on 28 June 2015, a function was held at NCMS, Ooty to remember and pay respects to Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder.

DMalar AG[Above report from Dinamalar 29-06-2015]

On behalf of Ari Gowder family, we put on record our deep gratitude and appreciation to the organisers of the above function.

Come let us do YOGA – Baarivi YOGA maaduvoe

The recent post on International Yoga Day (see below) has brought a lot of positive feed back. YOGA is not an one day ‘affair’ but must remain as a life long practice that should become a daily routine, I take great pleasure in choosing some of the best (out of the hundred of videos available on the net) and presenting it here.

Chosen for ease of explanation and follow up.

Pran Oorja – Anulom Vilom Pranayam

Pawan Muktasana

Your health is in your hands and feet, in a manner of speaking. Take it now for a healthier and happier life.




Today is International Yoga Day that is being celebrated all over the globe.

Join with your friends if possible, otherwise, do a few YOGA exercises including systematic breathing in your home. Relax. Spend atleast 30 minutes on Yoga.

It is for your health and happiness.

Do it everyday just like brushing your teeth and make it a habit.

See and feel the difference in a month!

Go here to know What is YOGA ?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi performing an asana at Rajpath on Sunday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi performing an asana at Rajpath on Sunday. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

Photo: The Hindu

Yoga to reduce weight




Health and Badagas

Badagas of the Blue Mountain in the Nilgiris [Southern India], in earlier days, have given great importance to health. This was amply reflected in their life style. Walking was part of life. Be it going to the fields, hola or thotta, or going to the forests for gathering firewood or long trekking to gather honey and fruits [hannu koovadhu]. Since, festivals, weddings or funerals were essentially social gatherings, relatives would walk long distances to reach the destination usually a hatti/villages located far away.

Known of boys coming all the way from Edapalli & Eethorai to study in Hubbathalai School, located a few kilometres away, in the 1960s. In those days, one had to walk a considerable distance to catch a bus to go to Ooty or Coonoor. Unfortunately, laziness came along with introduction of mini buses connecting the hattis with towns in the Naakku Betta Nilgiris.. Even to go to a shop located a few hundred yards away, mini bus was awaited. Thus, a major source of exercise/good health viz walking became a casualty.

Anyway, here are the benefits of walking. Walking for health and happiness.

  • The human body is made to walk.  
  • Walking 30 minutes a day cuts the rate of people becoming diabetic by more than half and it cuts the risk of people over 60 becoming diabetic by almost 70 percent.  
  • Walking cuts the risk of stroke by more than 25 percent. 
  • Walking reduces hypertension. The body has over 100,000 miles of blood vessels. Those blood vessels are more supple and healthier when we walk.
  • Walking cuts the risk of cancer as well as diabetes and stroke.  
  • Women who walk have a 20 percent lower likelihood of getting breast cancer and a 31 percent lower risk of getting colon cancer.  
  • Women with breast cancer who walk regularly can reduce their recurrence rate and their mortality rate by over 50 percent.  
  • The human body works better when we walk. The body resists diseases better when we walk, and the body heals faster when we walk.  
  • We don’t have to walk a lot. Thirty minutes a day has a huge impact on our health.
  • Men who walk thirty minutes a day have a significantly lower level of prostate cancer. Men who walk regularly have a 60 percent lower risk of colon cancer.  
  • For men with prostate cancer, studies have shown that walkers have a 46 percent lower mortality rate.  
  • Walking also helps prevent depression, and people who walk regularly are more likely to see improvements in their depression.  
  • In one study, people who walked and took medication scored twice as well in 30 days as the women who only took the medication. Another study showed that depressed people who walked regularly had a significantly higher level of not being depressed in a year compared to depressed people who did not walk. The body generates endorphins when we walk. Endorphins help us feel good.  
  • Walking strengthens the heart. Walking strengthens bones. 
  • Walking improves the circulatory system.  
  • Walking generates positive neurochemicals. Healthy eating is important but dieting can trigger negative neurochemicals and can be hard to do.  
  • Walking generates positive neurochemicals. People look forward to walking and enjoy walking.  
  • And research shows that fit beats fat for many people. Walking half an hour a day has health benefits that exceed the benefits of losing 20 pounds.  
  • When we walk every day, our bodies are healthier and stronger. A single 30 minute walk can reduce blood pressure by five points for over 20 hours.  
  • Walking reduces the risk of blood clots in your legs.  
  • People who walk regularly have much lower risk of deep vein thrombosis.  
  • People who walk are less likely to catch colds, and when people get colds, walkers have a 46 percent shorter symptom time from their colds.  
  • Walking improves the health of our blood, as well. Walking is a good boost of high density cholesterol and people with high levels of HDL are less likely to have heart attacks and stroke.  
  • Walking significantly diminishes the risk of hip fracture and the need for gallstone surgery is 20 to 31 percent lower for walkers.  
  • Walking is the right thing to do. The best news is that the 30 minutes doesn’t have to be done in one lump of time. Two 15 minute walks achieve the same goals. Three 10 minute walks achieve most of those goals.  
  • We can walk 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night and achieve our walking goals.  
  • Walking feels good. It helps the body heal. It keeps the body healthy. It improves our biological health, our physical health, our psychosocial health, and helps with our emotional health. Walking can literally add years entire years to your life.
[recd as a fwd email]

Learn Badaga

[Reproduced from the page Learn Badaga – ]

Badaga Language

A couple of days back, I received the following email from a young mother [name withheld] who wrote to say :

Dear Sir,   It gave immense pleasure for me to visit your website. I was always amazed to know about the community and the culture.

I am a Non Badaga and married last Dec to a Badaga from ………..

And Recently on the ….. of this month I gave birth to a baby. My husband and my in laws want me to learn Badaga  as I have to talk to the baby in Badaga for her to pick up the language.

Please help me learn the language by sending me some day to day conversations .

Thanks in Advance. Best Regards.

My reply :-
Thanks a lot for your email. I am delighted to learn that you find my website[s] interesting and informative.
I have given a few ‘lessons’ about LEARN BADAGA in my websites/blogs. ….
When you meet any elder, especially your in-laws and hubby’s grand parents, bow your head and say, ‘Kumbidichivi – meaning bless me. They are expected to touch your head and say, “Badhukku” – long live. You will find that any elder Badaga will be thrilled with this gesture as many do not follow this wonderful custom anymore.
sketch by JP
As a new mother, for about 40 days after delivering a baby, you are a ‘baththya hemmathi’ with some diet and other restrictions.
 “Hosa koosuga, ondhu muthu kodu’ – give the new born baby a kiss.


The following sentences are meant to address elders with respect.

[Like in Tamil – instead of Nee it is Neengal, or in Hindi – Thum and Aap when we talk to an elder. In Badaga – Nee and Ninga]

1.How are You – Ollenge [ஒள்ளெங்கெ] idhara?2.How is your health? – Ninga Sogava idhara / odambu ollenge hadadhaiya?

3.How is the weather? – Seemey ethey hadadhey?

4.what did you eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner. – Orakkadhu [morning] / Hagalu [afternoon] / santhu [evening], aena hittu thindhi?

5.Would you like to have some tea? – Josee Tea kudithaariya ?

6. (Girl/Boy) Baby is doing good. –  [kandu/hennu] Koosu ollenge idharey

7.(Girl/Boy) Baby is naughty. – [Kandu/Hennu] Koosu appara kurumbu

8.We are coming tomorrow. – Enga naayiga banna’ne’yo

The following have been taken from my earlier posts.

Let us learn Badaga

” Ollenge iddiya ? – How are you?”

‘Suddi saddha ella olliththa ? – (Roughly) ‘How is everything?‘

1. Are you a Badaga ? – Nee ondu Badagana?

2. Yes, I am a Badaga – Ha, Na ondu Badaga

3. What is your name ? – Ninna hesaru aena?

4. My name is Bhoja – Enna hesaru Bhoja

5. Which is your village ? – Ninna Hatti edu?

[5a. Amme / Thamma, nee ai hatti ? – Girl/ Boy, which is your village?]

6. My village is Bearhatti – Enna Hatti bandu Bearhatti

7. Whose son/daughter are you ? – Nee dara maathi / hennu?

8. I am Mela thara (top street) Joghi Gowder’s son / daughter – Na Mela thara Joghi gowdaru maathi / hennu


Numbers in Badugu /Badaga

1. Ondu (One) 11. Hannondu (Eleven)

2. Eradu (Two) 12. Hanneradu (Twelve)

3. Mooru (Three) 13. Hadimooru (Thirteen)

4. Naakku (Four) 14. Hadanaakku (Fourteen)

5. Iidu (Five) 15. Hadanaidu (Fifteen)

6. Aaru (Six) 16. Hadanaaru (Sixteen)

7. eizhu (Seven) 17. Hadarizhu (Seventeen)

8. Eattu (Eight) 18. Hadarettu (Eighteen)

9. Ombathu ( Nine) 19. Hathombathu (Nineteen)

10. Hathu (Ten) 20. Eipathu (Twenty)

30. Moovathu (Thirty) 40. Nalavathu (Forty)

50. Iivathu (Fifty) 60. Aravathu (Sixty)

70. Elavathu (Seventy) 80. Embathu ( Eighty)

90. Thombathu (Ninrty) 100. Nooru (Hundred)

Days In Badugu/Badaga

1. Aadivaara (Sunday)

2. Sovaara (Monday)

3. Mangavaara ( Tuesday)

4. Bodavaara (Wednesday)

5. Chikkavaara (Thursday)

6. Bellie (Friday)

7. Sani (Saturday)

Months In Badugu/Badaga

It is said that Badaga month usually, starts on every 10th of the English month. Like for example the first Badaga month Koodalu  starts on 10th January.

1. Koodalu (Jan)

2. Aalaani (Feb)

3. Nallaani (Mar)

4. Aani ( Apr)

5. Aadire (May)

6.Aadi (Peraadi) (Jun)

7.Aavaani (Jul)

8.Perattadi (Aug)

9. Dodda Deevige (Sep)

10. Kiru Deevige (Oct)

11. Thai (Nov)

12. Hemmaatti (Dec)

Pleasantly surprised to hear all the Badaga Months being mentioned in this song called ‘Kappu Huttileyu’ . See the widget on the right and click to listen to this great dance number


Hindu-Arabic numeral Badaga and pronunciation
1 ஒந்து   (Ondu)
2 எரடு (Eradu)
3 மூறு (Mooru)
4 நாக்கு  (Naaakkuu)
5 ஐது (aidhu)
6 ஆறு (aaru))
7 எழ்ழு (ézhu)
8 எட்டு (ettu)
9 ஒம்பத்து  (Ompathu)

Certain peculiarities of Badaga .

Haalu [haa – as in hospital and lu – as in Zulu] means milk

Hallu [ ha- as hurt and llu – as in loo] means tooth [teeth]. note – there is no plural term.
Haasu – spread [the bedding], Haasike – bedding
Hasu – hunger

Maana – Pride, Mana – heart

Kaanu – see, Kannu – eye[s] (example – Doctor-a Kaanu, kanna pathi hegina – See the Doctor, he will tell about the eyes]


Peculiar Words

There are some words in Badaga that are truly peculiar. for example:

1. GIJI GIJI ( as in Give & Jinx) – Confusion , mess up / disorderly

GIJI GIJI maada beda – Don’t create confusion

Room aekka ethe GIJI GIJI (ya) hadadhe ? – Why is this room in such a mess?

2. MURUKKU(LU) (Mu ru ku) – Foul mood / mild anger

Amme Ekka maathaduvadu elle ? – Why is sister not talking?

Ava murukkindu endhave – She is in a foul mood

3. BADAYI (Ba daa ee ) – Show Off (proud)

Appara badayee maadiya – She shows off a lot


Birds (Hakkilu)

  1. Haddu (Eagle)
  2. Kakke (Crow)
  3. Soray (Dove)
  4. Kili (Parrot)
  5. Emme Hakkilu
  6. Bikkola
  7. Karia(n)chitta (Black bird)
  8. Gubbachi (Sparrow)
  9. Mayilu (Peacock)
  10. Koi (Poultry hen/cock)
  11. Kaadu Koi (Wild hen)
  12. Baathu(koi) – Duck

Mari (chic) –{Koi Mari – chic(ken)}

Also for calf [for eg) Nei mari – puppy dog]


  1. Aanay (Elephant)
  2. Kaade -Kaadu Emme – (Bison)
  3. Ottaga (Camel)
  4. Kudire (Horse)
  5. Kaththe (Donkey)
  6. Dana (Cow)
  7. Emme (Buffalo)
  8. Yethu (Bull)
  9. Karu (Calf)
  10. Huli (Tiger)
  11. Singa (Lion)
  12. Siruthe (Panther)
  13. Karadi (Bear)
  14. Maanu (Deer)
  15. Pulli Maanu (Spotted Dear)
  16. Kadamay (Sambar)
  17. Handi (Black Pig)
  18. Kaadandi – kaadu handi – (Wild Pig)
  19. Mullandi – Mullu Handi – (Porcupine)
  20. Seeme Handi (White Pig)
  21. Koda, Korangu (Monkey)
  22. Mola (Rabbit)
  23. Nari (Fox)
  24. Nei (Dog)
  25. Koththi (Cat)
  26. Eli (Rat)
  27. Aame (Turtle)
  28. Nalli (Crab)
  29. Halli (
  30. Haavu (Snake)
  31. Kappe (Frog)
  32. Meenu (Fish)


  1. Hoo (general for insect)
  2. Nona (Fly)
  3. Selandhi (Spider)
  4. Kunni (Bee)
  5. Eruppu (Ant)
  6. Kosu (Mosquito)
  7. Bendu (Moth/Butterfly)


  1. Mande (Head) – also refers to Hair though there is specific word – Orama
  2. Heddakku (Back of the skull) – usually Badagas have a long heddakku as they donot use cradles. The reason for not using cradles for babies is a story by itself. It is due to the fact that when they left Mysore to escape from the King (Thipu Sultan ?) in the night in a hurry, they had forgotten the baby which was sleeping in the cradle,each thinking that the other person wiould pick up the child.
  3. Moole (Brain)
  4. Nethi (Forehead)
  5. Kenni (Cheeks)
  6. Kannu [eye(s)]
  7. Kivi (Ear)
  8. Mookku (Nose)
  9. Bae (Mouth)
  10. Thudi (lip)
  11. Hallu (Teeth)
  12. Naalenge (Tongue)
  13. Dhaade ( Chin)
  14. Thonde (Throat)
  15. Gaththu (Neck)
  16. Maaru – Nenju – (chest)
  17. Mole (Breast)
  18. Hiththalu – Bennu – (Shoulder)
  19. Kai (Hands)
  20. Mutti (Elbow – also for knee)
  21. Beralu (Fingers)
  22. Hebbatte – Katte (beralu) – [Thumb]
  23. Ugilu (Nails)
  24. Hotte (Stomach)
  25. Mollu Kudi (Naval)
  26. Nadu (Hip)
  27. Pitti (Buttocks)
  28. Thode (Thigh)
  29. Monakkaalu (Knee)
  30. Kaalu (Leg)
  31. Midi (Heel)
  32. Angalu (Foot)


  • 1.Kappu – Black
  • 2.BeLLay – White
  • 3. Keppu (Kechay) – Red
  • 4. Pachchay – Green
  • 5. Neela – Blue
  • 6. Arichina (Manja) – Yellow

Also see http://badaga-language.blogspot.in/

Badaga Day 15th May 2018

Badaga Day 2018

[Thanks to the great initiative and efforts of Dharmalingam Venugopal]

Badaga Day will be celebrated in a grand manner at the

Young Badaga Association Hall

on Wenlock Road on May 15, 2018 (Tuesday), 

as part of the ongoing Nilgiri Summer Festival,

The celebrations will provide an opportunity for the tourists and the local people to learn about the unique 

 Badaga culture and history apart from enjoying the distinctive Badaga cuisine.

Badaga Food Festival will offer nearly 20 different healthy delicacies prepared in with traditional ingredients. According to writers, “Badaga cookery displays the widest range of techniques among the various ethnic groups of Nilgiris. Their method of food preparation include frying, roasting in a pot, roasting on fire and baking”.

The delicacies offered will include Tuppadittu, Soppu, Avare Udakka, Hachchiike, Sandege, Keerettu, Ubbittu, Gangi Koo, Haalu Koo, Mudthittu, Batha Koo, Gasu Bathal and Bella Koo.

There will be also an exhibition on Badaga history and culture showcasing photographs, books and traditional arte facts.

A painting exhibition by a leading Badaga artist will also be on display.

The Badaga Cultural Show which will follow the exhibitions will feature a wide variety of original songs and dances.

The celebration which will be open from 11-00am to 5-pm is open to all.

The Badagas are requested to attend in their traditional dress of ‘Thundu and Mundu’.

For Contact : Organsing Volunteers,YBA 9751435777

[for more info on ‘Badaga Day’ see —->  badaga.co/badaga-day-15th-may ]



A Shame and Challenge to Badagas

A Shame and Challenge to Badagas !

 This year is the 200th year of modern Nilgiris. The idea was proposed my  me (a Badaga). The administration has magnanimously accepted the idea and dedicated this Summer Festival to Bicentenary Celebrations.

A number of Committees have been formed to conduct the festival. The Badagas have been given due representation. I was also offered a membership but I had to excuse myself for some reasons.

Mr. T.Gundan (a Badaga) has been put in the Bicentenary Committee. It is indeed a due recognition of the contribution of  the  Badagas to the Nilgiris.

At the same time, I made a proposal to the YBA to conduct a 10-Day Badaga Summer Festival to showcase our history, culture, hospitality, products, talents and entertainments  in which thousands of our women, children and aged people could participate.

Because May is a lean month for marriages, the YBA Hall could be made easily available for the festival which can make every Badaga proud.

But the proposal has been rejected.  Mr. Gundan should be very much aware of this.

When we are so particular about our personal ego, publicity and name , should we not care a bit at least for the name and fame of our community and the happiness of our people?

How can these Badagas bask in the glory of  being  in the official committees and deny  our own people an opportunity to participate in the festival.

This is outright hypocrisy and betrayal of the Badagas.

Badagas have no shortage of  talent, goodwill and funds. It will be a permanent shame if the Badagas fail to make their presence felt during this Summer Festival.

How many Badaga  youth, men and women will take up this challenge? I offer my cooperation and good wishes.

Dharmalingam Venugopal (9444365360)

Kannerimukku Village

The Nilgiris District – 150 years old

 The Nilgiris District will be 150 years on August 18

Dharmalingam Venugopal  Nilgiri Documentation Centre

Amidst the excitement of the current summer season and the bicentenary celebrations of modern Nilgiris, a most significant milestone of the district has almost been forgotten. August 18th of this year will mark the 150th year of the birth of Nilgiris as a separate district.

Under Madras Act I of 1868, the Neilgherry Hills were separated from the district of Coimbatore on the 18th August 1868 and placed under a Commissioner.  The  Neilgherry Act received the assent of the Governor General on 6th June . The new district contained about 1000 square miles with a population of 88,142,  of whom 2616 were Europeans. The extent of land under plantations was 13,372 acres.

According to the reasons given for the creation of the  new district, “the arrangement, under which Neilgherry Hills were formerly treated for revenue and administrative purposes as a taluk or sub-division of the Collectorate of Coimbatore was found to work unsatisfactorily; that under this arrangement adequate provision was not made for the administrative requirements of the hills and that the Collector of Coimbatore had ample work on the lowlands of his district to occupy the whole of his time”.

At the same time, the duties of the Civil and Sessions Judge on the Neilgherries, which for judicial purposes formed a separate Zillah, were found to be extremely light.  The Act, therefore abolished the appointment of Civil and Sessions Judge and Special Assistant Collector and provided  for the creation of the office of the Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner , assigning to these officials the whole of the duties, administrative as well as judicial.

The first Commissioner was James Wilkinson Breeks.   Breeks who  was the author of ‘An Account of the Primitive Tribes and Monuments in the Nilagiris,’ entered the Madras Civil Service in 1849. He was appointed private secretary to Sir William Denison, governor of Madras, in 1861.  In  1864,  owing to ill-health, he left India and joined a mercantile firm in London, with the intention of retiring from the public service. But he returned to Madras in  1867, and was shortly afterwards appointed to the newly constituted office of commissioner of the Nilgiris.