I am firmly of the view that our history viz Badaga Origin is much older- may be thousands of years – than what many scholars including Badagas consider and my initial ‘research’ confirms that. The general belief, over a period of time thrust down our throats, is that we migrated from Mysore area mainly due to the simple fact that Badaga means from the north. Ridiculous, it sounds.
In “ Paamé ” – The history and culture of the Badagas of the Nilgiris by B.Balasubramaniam, a highly educated Badaga, 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.
Though I am in agreement with Bala that ‘some‘ Badaga migration, if at all, took place much earlier then Tipu’s time [ late 1700s], I am firmly of the view that “It is possible that Badagas have lived in the Nilgiris for thousand of years like the Thodas [Thodhamaru ] or Kothas [Kotharu] and migration theory is an attempt by historians and anthropologists to explain away a ‘historical puzzle“.
Only based on the name ‘Badaga’ or on the so called local legends that are open to many interpretations or on the basis of similarity of Badaga [language] with haliya /mid Kannada, can we conclude that Badagas migrated from Southern Mysore? When there is no definite evidence about the origin of Todhas or Kothas, how can we presume that they predated Badagas as natives of the Nilgiris??
I am sure the mystery of migration is far from over. If you look at the issue as of ‘definitive migration’ then you try to guess about the dates but what happens if we believe that Badagas have always been there in the Nilgiris much before or along with Todhas or Kothas? Uncomfortable questions that are very interesting and worth digging deeper into.
Given the diversity but highly commendable unity and uniformity with minor changes in their customs, it appears that Badaga Migration could have taken place even within the Nilgiris Hills [reverently called ‘Naakku Betta’ by the Badagas].
What we DO NOT know about Badagas is more than what we know about them. Such is the mystery of Badaga Origin.
D.Rajesh writes :
I visited Nilgiris recently and was starting to wonder about Badagas and Thodas.
Having seen your website about Badagas, here are my thoughts on their origin.
To start with and to be frank I did not know much about Badaga culture except for the fact that they are unlike general “hill people” that one could see. That is, I was aware that Badagas were much more advanced in culture and civilization (should not misunderstand that hill people are of less culture; I am just trying to contrast two different things and hence nothing is inferior here) than normal tribal population. Now that I am trying to understand the origins of Badagas, my theory will be as below……….
[Read the complete article here]