Monthly Archives: April 2010

The [picturesque] Nilgiris

‘Wow, the Nilgiris’

Here are some pix taken by me

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The surreal

Photos by Wg Cdr Bellie Jayaprakash
click on the pictures for enlargement

Mudumalai Forest

Mudumalai

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

Read the full ‘story’ here  The Nilgiris – Neela [Blue] Giris [Hills] – literally ‘The blue mountains’ is popularly known to Badagas as ‘Naakku Betta’ –

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Letters

One of the real pleasures of having this website  is the unexpected but highly interesting letters received from visitors. If that letter happens to be from a non Badaga [of 16 yrs of age studying in the 12th standard]  appreciating our language and Hethay, joy knows no bounds.

He feels that it is due to Hethay that he has come in contact with Badaga. He says his only entertainment is listening to Badaga songs.

And the most wonderful thing is that Vignessh, the author of the letter, wants to serve Badagas by qualifying as a doctor

Surely it makes our day.

A Wonderful letter  from Vignessh.A [16yrs]

Hai JP Uncle,

Ningaga enna namaskara ….naa ondhu badaga illay, aana enaga ninga basheya maathu adodhgau apaara ishta. Ninga website-una nodithey, enaga apaara santosha

I’ve never been to the Nilgiris butI really love the Badaga culture, customs, language, songs ,dance and habba, especially “HETHAI AMMA”. I have read Hethai history fully. I have developed a strong faith in Hethai .

I feel  my hairs standing on hearing the bugiri sound in videos on the net. I was having all these in my heart and I could not express them to any one, then atlast I found you [website].

I hope to serve the Badagas by any means. Incidentally, I dream of becoming a doctor and serve the Badaga hattis and I’m studying hard to achieve this dream.

My only entertainment is listening to Badaga songs.

enna history ya nodinadhugaa apaara nanri…

I wish to have Hethe’s showers of blessings to be with me all the time.

Thank you very much, now my heart feels light and it might become lighter on seeing your reply..

Awaiting your reply………………your’s.. Vignessh.A

Dear Vignessh Venky,

What a pleasure to get and read your email. Extremely happy to know that you are able to understand Badaga.

And my great appreciation and thanks for the sentiments expressed.

I am sure Hethai Amma’s blessings are, surely and always, with you.

Yours is one of the ‘sweetest’ letters I have received and thank you once again.

Hethaya Haracha ninaga endhendhu hadadhay.

JP Uncle

Letter from Dr.B.S.Krishnamoorthy

Gavadha JP Sir Avakaga,

Really great effort to save each and every piece of the greatness of our community.

While surfing I found the following article published in a well known journal, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 92, No. 2 (Apr. – Jun., 1972), pp. 276-279 (article consists of 4 pages)

“Nouns of the Badaga Language”  by S. Agesthialingom © 1972 American Oriental Society.

May God bless you with full of strength and freshness to continue this great work.

Gavatha,

Dr. Bellie Sundaram Krishnamoorthy

JP adds : Thank  you Dr.BSK for your kind words. In the above quoted article, S. Agesthialingom says, “Badaga, one of the South Dravidian Languages is spoken in the Nilgiri District of Tamilnadu,… there are many distinct features (in Badaga) which may lead one to claim it as a separate language ….[http://www.jstor.org/pss/600655]”

Deepak Shanmugam, 15yrs old, writes….

Hello Uncle,

I am a 15 years old guy . My father’s name is N.SHANMUGAM [ARMY] and my mother’s name is S.CHITRAMALA . We belong to Nanjanad village . Tell you what, I AM REALLY PROUD TO  B E A BADAGA…..

….I am studying in 10th in ARMY SCHOOL AHMEDNAGAR, MAHARASHTRA. My father is posted here only .
Uncle, I want to tell you some thing very interesting, actually your site was the first site I opened on my newly bought laptop with wireless broadband connection. And you know, the first thing I typed in google search engine was BADAGA and after that I got your site.
I was extremely happy after reading about us . I got the information that even my parents don’t know.

Uncle I want to know more about you .

Hello Deepak, so sweet of you to send this info. I am thrilled. I am sending you a separate email telling about me. With love and happy surfing – JP Uncle

The ‘Maha’ Census of 2011, will the Badagas be there?

The ‘Maha’ census of 2011 that may bring in the ambitious Unique Identification Number to every citizen of our country has started from 1st April, 2010.

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 ? 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 , 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 ‘RULING” party leadership ? Why can’t they initiate some action and show the same enthusiasm like when they ‘fleece’ the public for money in the name of donation for the party [but lining their own pockets]?

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 the Nilgiris.

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 presently 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.”

As mentioned earlier, 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.

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”.

dodda-kuppacha.jpg

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). The folder he presented to the British Governor, on the occasion of his vist to Hubbathalai [on the invitation of Rao Sahib [ later he was bestowed with the higher title of Rao Bahadur] Bellie Gowder containg some rare photos of all the tribes of Nilgiris INCLUDING BADAGAS

Badagas as a Hill Tribe

Let us wake up atleast now

See below what David Mandelbaum had to say in 1941

Read the complete article here > http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0zj0w51k

Thenuga Sivaraj Chandrashekar (USA)

There are times, when you wake up, and settle down to a ‘routine’ day, a surprise visitor or an email arrives to cheer and change your day. Today is one of them. As usual, as I sit in front of the system to see the emails, with a cup of coffee served at the pc table by my ‘never cribbing’ better half, I saw this email from Mrs.Thenuga Sivaraj Chandrashekar that reads :

Dear Bellie Uncle,

How are you? It feels like I’ve known you for few years 🙂 I have read your postings in badaga.org. I have also visited your website badaga.in many times. I have never taken the time to write to you. Your website has tons or information. Thanks for all your effort !!
My name is Thenuga. I am from Kekkatty village. I am married to Chandrashekar (Billicombai). We are in US. We’ve been here for the past 10 years. My husband and I have helped few students in our community by sponsoring for their education. We were actively doing this 3-4 years ago with our relatives help. But now few of them have moved out of town and others have new responsibilites…. . Through some student organizations in Coimbatore, I am also helping some orphanage kids. I am now planning to organize a cancer awareness and screening programs in our hatties. I will need a lot of volunteer help from our community….. Can you please send me your phone number so we can discuss about this.

As being the habit, I replied immediately to Thenuga, [the name of a RAGA in Telugu, I gather] with my phone numbers, and guess what, she was on line within minutes. When Thenuga explained that she and her husband Chandrashekar, have helped in the education of many, by sending one of them to Madras Christian College and others to an orphanage school, on the Mettupalayam Road, Coimbatore.

Having lost her mother to Cancer, like most of the Badagas who have lost atleast one member to some form of cancer [ in my case I lost my sister, a few years back] she wants to spread awareness about this disease, which can be cured if detected early,among our hattis (villages) with the help of youngsters. They can also sponsor ‘differently abled / mentally challenged’ Badaga children in the School for Handicapped ‘ if the children can be identified.

I know of Badagas who live in the USA for decades and claim that they have oceans of money but do nothing for the community, there are people like Thenuga and Chandrashekar who are keen on doing something for the society. My heart is filled with joy and pride to learn about these Badagas who live thousands of miles away but have remained to remember their roots. Truly ‘Proud to be Badagas’.

If you can volunteer, your expenses will be taken care of, please contact bjaypee@gmail.com. I, Wg.Cdr. JP, will be in Coonoor in the next couple of days and can schedule some meetings.

Every society is judged by how it treats its least fortunate amongst them.Let us resolve to join Thenugu & Chandrasheker and do something to the society, here and now.

Thenuga adds on 07 Apr 2010 about her plans :

Instead of conducting one huge camp, I am planning to organize few small camps covering 15-20 hattis at a time. The first camp will be in Kannerimukku village. Most probably in the government school. The way I would like to spread this word is through Magalir Sangam. I know each hatty has one. I am not aware on what they do. But anyways, I am planning to contact them and they will be responsible for spreading the word in their hatty and also to get people enrolled for this checkup. Once after we have the number of people enrolled, we will be sorting them based on their household income. The ones who have less income will be given priority.
Depending upon the responses and support for this camp, we can decide if we want to move to the next region. We will welcome anyone who is willing to sponsor for the camp conducted in their region. We’ll be advertising their name, company. etc.

By the way, we welcome any committed doctor who can lead in this noble attempt.Please contact me at bjaypee@gmail.com or call [0] 9486631864 – JP