Monthly Archives: March 2011

Prof.Frank Heidemann of Akka Bakka fame

I was pleasantly surprised when his ‘student’ Jenus [now at Kotagiri] called up to say that Prof.Frank would like to meet me. Meet, we did, a couple of days back at our residence [Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder bungalow -‘Panorama’] in Mount Pleasant, Coonoor. It was indeed a pleasant and educative interaction. More about what we discussed on Akka Bakka and other issues later…

Read the complete story here


Who are Badagas ?

Surprised at the question?

They are an unique community belonging to one of the original and indigenous tribes – I repeat original and NOT migrated from Mysore area – living in the Nilgiris, a mountainous region in the Southern India with the famous hill station Ooty being its capital.

The original tribes of the Nilgiris, by the way, are Badagas, Todas, Kothas and Kurumas. They have been living in these hills for, for want of a better word, thousands of years. The origin of none of these tribes have been established conclusively. The WHITE lie that Badagas have migrated from Mysore plains deserves to be discarded into the [historical] dust bin. Though, unfortunately, many self appointed ‘native and foreign’ anthropologists and historians seem to believe in this ‘word of mouth’ distortion and blissfully spread this disinformation.

The Badagas  form the largest tribe in the Nilgiris and speak an unique language called ‘BADAGA or BADAGU‘. Again, the disinformation that Badaga is a dialect of Kannada [halia or old Kannada] only shows the disinclination of these so called ‘researchers’ to change their [deformed mental] mind set. Badaga is a rich and separate language with the only minus point of not having an unique script of its own.

There are many sub groups among the Badagas, the main ones being, Gowdas, Thorias and Odeyas and usually they do not marry from one group to another.

There are about 400 + villages [called hattis] belonging to these Badagas and they are spread around the beautiful Blue Mountains, fondly called ‘Nakku Betta’ by Badagas.

Though they form about 80 % of the population of the Badagas, the Gowdas are NOT the only ones referred as Badagas.

Clear now ?


Enna Allie Mutta Beda

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

……. Don’t touch me there! – Enna allie mutta beda! …...என்ன அல்லி முட்ட பேட!

Read the complete story here…

Gandhiji and Badagas

The more one digs into the ‘history and origin’ of Badagas, there are quite a few interesting and informative episodes. One such incident is when Mahatma Gandhiji spoke to and about Badagas during his historic visit to the Nilgiris in 1934 when he had come to this hill station – our Nakku Betta must have been really beautiful in those days – and stayed at ‘Ram Ashram’ which became Amirthanjan Guest House later [now a private property] Mount Pleasant, Coonoor [ next to Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder’s Bungalow ‘Panorama’ which came up in 1948].

Gandhiji in Coonoor 1934

Gandhiji in Coonoor 1934

[It is surprising that still many, including Badagas, are not able to accept the fact that Badagas are an original tribe of the Nilgiris]

Badaga Ringtone for your phone

Badaga Ringtone for your phone.

Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder road in Mambalam

Ms.Anushya Padmanabhan writes ;
I am from Ooty and I have been thru your portal on our culture you aer doing a great job. Now I need a favour from you, there is a road in Chennai West Mambalam named after great Ari gowder called arya gowda road… many people have mentioned that it’s named after him. 

However when I have posted it in Face book  few baduga friends needed proof. I dont know how to prove this as you have gathered many info on him, is it possible to get some information on this?

Thank you Anushya for your comments. Yes the road in front of Mambalam Railway Station is indeed named after Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder though the name is misspelt as ‘Arya Gowda’. See below as well as the page “All About Ari Gowder”. I have most of the land documents with me – Wg Cdr JP

Ari Gowder2Ari Gauda

From the book ” A BADAGA – ENGLISH DICTIONARY ” by Prof.Paul Hockings and Christiane Pilot-Raichoor

Rao Bahadur H.B.Ari Gowder, the first Badaga graduate, first Badaga M.L.C & M.L.A for a long time 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.Being a great philanthrophist he had done a lot for the betterment of Badagas. He was the one who established Nilgiri Co-Op Marketting Society at Ooty, to save the small farmers-especially Badagas- from the exploits of middlemen & traders at Mandis in Mettupalayam. He was the President of NCMS for more than 30 years, till his death and NCMS was considered one of the best co-op societies in India during his days. His statue has been erected in the NCMS compound in appreciation of his great work. He was the Nakku Betta leader till his death after his father Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder. In fact they were the ‘uncrowned kings’ of Nakku Betta for about 80 years continuously.

Since he donated the land, the road in front of Mambalam Railway Station in Chennai (Madras) is named after him (known as Arya Gowder Street). In fact Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder  had bought about 1.13 acres in that area [including the road now] in 1930 and about 80 cents were sold through Appaswamy realtor later.

Copy cats don’t care for copyright !
You sweat, struggle, lose sleep and then settle on a post, add an image and put it out on your website or blog with prominent display that the content is copyright and all rights reserved.

But some smart alec ‘COPYCAT‘ could not careless.

You are mortified to see your ‘baby’ appearing in the ruthless web world as somebody else’s.

Gasu Dhotti – Potato Bread, a Badaga delicacy

[Excerpt from] A garden party – K. JESHI in the Hindu [March 10,2011]

…….At Hotel GAD (Gateway All Day -THE GATEWAY HOTEL, UPPER COONOOR) you can choose between a buffet and a la carte from Indian, Chinese and Continental cuisines. There is the super-soft gass dhotti (rotis), made of maida, mashed potatoes and butter, a regional Badaga speciality. It is melt-in the mouth and goes well with the Nilgiri kaai curry, a traditional preparation of boiled vegetables in a mint and coriander sauce. Other local delights are avarai uthaka, made from locally-available fresh beans, and chicken ball curry (minced chicken dumplings in coconut milk)……

The breaking marriages….

A sacred institution that is meant to be for life is not even lasting for a few months. I heard the shocking story, recently, that the girl returned home the same evening of the wedding not for ‘marumanay’ [part of a wedding rituals among Badagas where the bride or rather the newly married daughter returns to her parental home for the first time after marriage] but for good. She was forced by her parents and those of the groom’s to go through the wedding ceremony when she refused to get married in the ‘first place’ that a lot was at stake including the ‘pride and honour’ of both the families. Really sad ! What are the reasons?

One is surprised to see so many nice looking, educated and employed boys and girls among Badagas ready for marriage but hesitate to tie the knots since they are not sure for how long the sacred marriage would last?

Is it the ‘old mind set’ of the boys and their parents that the ‘wife – hendaru or daughter in law – sosay’ is expected to be only a second class citizen bringing water, cleaning the house, cooking and bearing children even if she is educated and can be gainfully employed?

Shockingly, it appears, the BPO driven ‘night shift’ non-performing boys, cannot carryout the fundamental principal of a marriage [that proclaims that a marriage is nothing but a public announcement of a private affair] and suffer from erectile dysfunctions and sexual deficiencies and thus cannot face their partners. Then they blame it all on the girl when they are grilled by his parents and relatives with the typical but crude Badaga sense of outrage, ‘ Ennu basaru aapillay’ya? – has she not become pregnant yet??’

Are the educated and employed girls not ready to share and enjoy life but live in a false world that they are ‘more’ than equal in most respects and forget the adage that the fundamental requirement for a successful marriage is nothing but ‘adjustment’? Do they feel being single is better than being singled out for failures??

Seeking a non – Badaga partner seems to be a fashion and passion without differentiating between love and infatuation.

Where is the problem, really?

Are we, the elders, with blinkers firmly in place, not seeing the truth in a broader perspective?

Is the insistence on ‘MORAY’ – that you cannot marry from certain villages as the boys and girls become brother- sister [relationship] – becoming the biggest stumbling block ? While one can understand and appreciate this moray system which was adopted by our ancestors due to medical and ethical reasons when there were few hattis established by brothers in the olden days, what is the ‘true’ picture now??

Are we contributing to the cause in a negative way and condemning our great community to a curse??

Have you visited these badaga websites

here or  here?


Dr. Prakash Krishnan from KURUTHUKULLI writes…

Dear Mr. Jayaprakash, First of all I would like to thank you for gifting such a wonderful and informative BADAGA website on the Internet. I really appreciate your efforts and interest in the era when everybody busy with their own machinery life. The site provides many useful information which is need of the hour. The Badaga culture will be remain in the heart of the young ones when not may elders now convey the message at this juncture. I really thank your efforts to put in all together for the betterment and future of the Baduga community.

…… The purpose of this mail was to thank you and also to tell you that there is a tremendous potential in the agricultural crops, especially the one which our Baduga people work on. I wanted to tell you that I have worked on a few plants (Rubiaceae and Violaceae) collected from my home village, Kuruthukulli. The purpose was to check the potential of the collected plants for its pharmaceutical and other biological activities. What I found and observed was amazing, the plant(s) I collected from crops of Kuruthukulli village got a remarkable bio-control and pharmaceutical property. This I published in various INTERNATIONAL/NATIONAL Journals which is now available over the Internet. I am sending you the article/research papers as well for your glance. This I want to inform you that we baduga people are dealing with the Gold back there in our crops.

My efforts are to go ahead and explore more plants from all the baduga villages and extract the potentiality of the plants.

I hope you find my mail and articles published relevant in any manner. You may consider my mail as an information of what we are having in our crops.

Thanking you once again.

Truly yours,
Dr. Prakash Krishnan.
[29 years, working as a Senior Research Fellow in North Maharashtra University]
Dept. of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, North Maharashtra University,
Po.B No.80, Jalgaon, Maharashtra-425 001
[ Phone:- 09823 109 109]

Dr.Prakash, thanks a ton for your kind words about this website and the info on crops. Hope, many of our friends will find it interesting and informative apart from educative. I will be in touch with you – Wg Cdr JP