Monthly Archives: May 2011

Badaga Proverbs – Doddharu Shloka

Badaga Proverbs – Doddharu SHLOKA

One of the fascinating and interesting aspects of Badaga [both people & language] is the free use of delightful but deep meaning proverbs called “ DODDARU SHLOKA”. When you engage an elderly Badaga into any conversation, you are sure to hear a lot of these proverbs thrown in to make / emphasis a point.

Prof. Paul Hockings, probably the most authentic researcher on and of Badaga lists more than a thousand Badaga proverbs, 1730 to be precise. May be he had extensively borrowed these from the unpublished manuscript of M.K.Bellie Gowder. He feels that 1730 could be a complete figure containing all the proverbs . See his book,’Counsel from the Ancients: Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses’. He has given the meaning in English as well thus making it easy to understand in a beautiful manner.

Though I find his collection extremely interesting and educative, I do not agree with some of the conclusions he draws on certain proverbs. For example, on the proverb, ‘Odhidhama Niddhana, Oddidhama Erandina’ [ஓதிதம நித்தன ஓடிதம எரிண்டின] .

Prof.Hockings interpretation is quite different to what I feel is the correct meaning. I think ‘a person who spends time learning and pondering (over a problem) is better than the one who runs away (in a hurry) and thus trips over. [Odhidhama – learned one , Niddhana – stops to ponder over[think] a problem, Oddidhama – one who runs away or is in a hurry, Erandina – trips over.

It is common practice for Badaga mothers to tell their young children ‘Oda beda , Erandiray’ – Donot run, you will trip over (a stone or any obstruction). That is ‘ do not be in a hurry and take a hasty decision’.

Another one is ‘Michidhavaga Morande Kolu Bangara’. The lady who does not listen to her husband /elders (Michidha Hemmathi) is bound to land up as a widow (when ‘Morande Kolu – a small stick of morende tree – replaces her jewellery (bangara) during the Ole Kattuva ritual of husband’s death / funeral ceremony). Prof.Hockings feels Mechidhavaga (see the difference between michidhava [மிச்சி தவ] – – one who does not listen and mechidhava [மெச்சிதவ] –  one who is appreciated by all – even a morende kolu is enough as jewellery.

Actual proverb could have been, ‘Michi Moranday kolu Bangara Beda, Mechi Morenday Kolu Bangara bay-kku’

Is it a case of beautiful wordplay (pun) by our ancestors??

I have listed a few of the proverbs here and hope to add more in future.


Badaga in English Script

Badaga in ENGLISH script till a separate and exclusive Badaga Script becomes acceptable and easy to use

Though some friends may feel odd about my adopting an existing Language – English- and adapting it to write in Badaga, for the time being, I will stick to English to express in Badaga (Script).

I have used the excellent [free download] ‘Azhagi’-  transliterate software which when installed, lets you to type in English to convert  the same into Tamil, to show my ‘Badaga in English- Script

The conventions used are;

  1. Capital letter brings out emphasis – like o is just o but O is OH –ஒ ஓ or no is  நொ but nO is நோ
  2. Extra ‘a’ is stretching the word – like kade is கடெ but  kaade is காடெ
  3. Letters which are not in English alphabet but available in Badaga (and Tamil) can be accessed by using the shift key(Capital) – like l is ல but L is ள , n is ந but  N is ண் . zh is ழ
  4. Capital S is ஸ, small s is ச (ch will also brings out ச)

Now some sentences typed in English and what they bring out in Tamil

  • enna heNNU enna kaNNU maakke – என்ன ஹெண்ணு என்ன கண்ணு மாக்கெ- My daughter is like my eyes
  • ELaya nOdi Edasa bE da – ஏளய நோடி ஏடச பேட – Donot ridicule the poor
  • Kalla maaththi kaLLa alla – கல்ல மாத்தி கள்ள அல்ல – Kalla’s son is not a thief.
  • Maadhi mammi madhi kettudhuve – மாதி மம்மி மதி கெட்டுதுவெ – Madhi aunty’s mind is gone
  • KaadE, sattana kadE – காடே , சட்டன கடே – Kaaday, get ready fast.
What do you think? 

Hearty Congratulations !

Update :Sadly he was removed from the cabinet after a couple of months

To Honourable Minister of Tourism

Budhi Chandiran

(Manikkal, Manjoor)

for having been appointed as a minister in the New Tamilnadu Government!

Will the green tea leaves, on whom Badaga economy depends, get a better price?

Hope, the concrete jungles in the Nakku Betta Nilgiris will be turned into planned eco friendly green forests!

We too can have a DREAM

(Repeated from an earlier article)

I have been ‘dreaming’ of a new but ideal BADAGA HATTI built exclusively BY US & FOR US with the thoughts of those Badagas, living away from their hatti homes but whose hearts are always longing to have some connection with their ROOTS.

There are many big tea estates with vast areas of land that are for sale in the Nilgiris these days. Many of them originally belonged to Badagas.

Some of these are priced in the range of 4 to 5 lacs of Rupees per acre. So, for an area of 500 acres, the cost would be 25 Crores. It needs JUST 100 Badagas  to join together and invest Rs.25 lacs each, that is 62,500 US Dollars, to buy one of these tea estates. Or 200 / 300 Badagas with proportionately reduced investment.

In that land, an ideal Badaga hatti can be built for a 2000 / 3000 families. Each dwelling, with all the modern facilities, but in a typical Badaga ‘Gode Mane’ ( Cluster of apartments) concept  could be built for Rs.10 lacs. That is Rs.100/200/300 crores.

The investors will have the choice of bringing in ten of their friends/relatives, apart from recovering their initial investment, when all the apartments are sold.Depending on the area and other factors, the ‘New Hatti’ could be made to accommodate more families.

With a 10% margin of ‘profit’, the  amount generated can be used for maintenance and upkeep of the NEW HATTI.

Every apartment owner would be a stock holder of this ‘Cooperative Concept’.

There will be only a HETHE GUDI (Suthu Kal). The ‘New Hatti’ will have its own school, play grounds, walking tracks and sports complex cum community hall. A nursing home that would be converted to a ‘super speciality hospital’ in future.

And of course, a shopping complex – preference being given to apartment owners to own the shops on a lease basis.

Importantly, it will have its own – ‘Duvay’ – grave yard and the departed would be given a funeral funded by the entire hatti (as it happens in every hatti now).

The remaining land would be used for cultivation of vegetables – ‘holas’ on a lease basis with enough area earmarked for an environment friendly forest.

A huge IT complex could be built with a tie up with a top IT company, thus providing jobs and security.

And…many more thoughts keep flooding my mind.

Martin Luther King’s famous words, ‘I too have a dream’ echos….Dr.APJ Kalam, ex- President of India said, ‘Unless we DREAM we can achieve nothing’

Calling all Badagas….WE TOO CAN DARE TO DREAM !!

Learn Badaga

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

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Baarivi, Nodivi, Odhivi & Oridivi ! [Come, See, Read and Listen !]

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