Monthly Archives: January 2012

A great Badaga Writer

There is a great Badaga writer whose articles and poems have appeared in many magazines and newspapers all over the world. Her dramas/plays have been aired on BBC. She has written a couple of novels. Unfortunately, in my opinion, her talents and true caliber have not been fully understood and appreciated.

Indu K Mallah
(Photo by bellie jayaprakash)

Ms.Indu K Mallah’s poem ‘Song of the Hill People ‘ written many years ago, reflects the agony of these ‘betta’ people even today…

(((((O)))))

 
calf
[photo from the net]

:::::::::::::::::::

SCAPE GOAT
Yesterday, you were a care-free calf
Tugging teasingly at your mother’s teats.
And gamboling gaily
In an abandon of joy.
Today, you are weighted with garlands, mantras, and the
collective sins of the community.
The pujari extols the benefits of ‘karu puja’.
He compares your eyes to Surya and Chandra.Your ears to Usha and Pratyusha,
Your body to the abode of Mahalakshmi, Saraswati and Raudri,
Your horns to Sri Devi and Bhu Devi,’
Your nose to Vaishnavi,
Your forehead to Maheswari,Your feet to the four Vedas
And your teats to Dharmam, Jnanam, Aishwaryam and Vairagyam
(Righteousness, Knowledge, Auspiciousness and Detachment)

But…………..no one notices the tears in your eyes.They feed you with rice and sambar, deceit and betrayal,

And wonder that you turn your head away distastefully.
They smear you with kum-kum and manjal,
Chandan and ceremony,
They pay obeisance and lip-service,
They offer incense and incantations,
Oblations and silver coins;
They tie an angavastram, a length of silk
Or noose?
Around your innocent neck;
They deify you and prostrate themselves
In front of your bewildered body.
No one notices your head heavily touching the ground,
Under all these trappings.
What can I do to ease your burden?
I reach out, and try to wipe out that hunted look in your eyes,
And you tremble at my touch.
The puja over,
They rush to restaurants;
Serving their favourite dishes.
The atmosphere rife with irony
And orders for chilled beer and brandy
Mutton biriyani and chilli chicken,
Interspersed with sounds of
“Punya puja and prayaschittam.”
They gorge themselves with food, drink, and self-delusion,
Until they are bloated with complacency and self-righteousness
Before they return to their old ways of
Slothfulness, and sinfulness,
Superstition and self-indulgence, Until the time comes around
To find another scape-goat.

||||||||||||||||||||||||||

A WOMAN’S TEARS(Hengada Kannaneeru)

A daughter’s tears will water the fields,

And wither all the crops,
And cause a famine in the land,
Or so the legend goes. A sister’s sobs will swell the stream
And turn it into a river of blood,
Which will wipe the entire village out,
Or so the folk-tale says.A mother’s heart-break will pace the road
That leads to the ancestral home,
With splinters of her broken heart,
And the men who tread on them
Will be turned to stone,
Or so the elders say.A woman’s curse will turn cows to snakes
And blight the prosperity of the place,
For when the ‘Lakshmi’ of a place is destroyed,
What else can survive?
`
Daughter, sister, mother, woman,
Hurt her he who dares.
“Hennogiri mannogiri” *
The spirit of Hethai still reigns supreme in this land,
And the wheel of Sathyam will turn
Full circle.* – A Badaga woman’s curse will cause the soil to become barren (Since the Badagas have mainly been an agricultural people, this is the worst curse that can befall them).Hethai is the most important deity of the Badagas.

:::::::::::::::::::

SONG OF THE HILL-PEOPLE

What myth informs you
That your god is greater than ours?
Which fairy tale tells you
That your god is the only one?
Which god gave you the right to brain-wash our vulnerable, guileless people
With a brush dipped in guilt?
And who gave you the right to maul our culture?
You justify your self and say
That religion is different from culture,
But one is the warp, and the other, the weft of the fabric of our credo,
Which has the texture of the trees,
The flow of the mountain – stream
The scent of the earth,
The melody of bird-song,
And is in tune with the music of the cosmos.
It is the age-old story of exploitation,
And it will take ages for us to recover from the wounds
You have inflicted on our souls
In the name of saving them.
But you have reckoned without
Our God of Satyam
We will wait——
Tomorrow is time enough for your expiatation.

  [In the ‘Song Of The Hill People‘, Ms.Indu K Mallah has beautifully brought out the mindless and meaningless (religious) conversion of hill people especially, Badagas. What used to be an unforgivable act a couple of decades ago, has become a routine affair now.

I am yet to meet a ‘converted’ Badaga who could give me atleast one convincing reason for the change. I know of many Badagas who say ‘I am a proud HINDU and have no problems in praying/ keeping pictures of other religious deities also in my puja room’. Hats off to them!! Badagas have been a very closely knit community. Let not”religion” divide them.]

[The  poems of Indu K Mallah are from the net.]

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In UNITY lies our STRENGTH

The following have been taken [cut and pasted from – Facebook – Badaga Group] and reproduced below as I consider the ‘conversion game’ played by the  ‘newly converted Christian Clan’ needs to be analysed and nipped in the ‘bud’ as the situation after what happened in B.Manihatti is very serious.

Bellie Jayaprakash         6:57pm Jan 11
Our hearts bleed for the ‘brave hearts’ of B.Manihatti people.The first conversion of Badagas to Christianity took place in 1854 when some German missionaries mislead a couple of Badagas in Ketti (Santhoor) with the lure of monetary compensation and false promise of ‘education’ for the children. The seeds of disharmony among these peace loving and innocent people who believed in unity and community living (all the hatti people acted as one) were sown.

Unfortunately, the biggest curse of our people is the disunity combined with jealousy, that is all pervasive. The so called leaders of the community found shelter in politics and corruption with the active support of ‘self appointed Gowdas’ who could be ‘purchased’. The saddest point is that we do not have a selfless Nakku Betta leader after Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder [who passed away in 1971] who can galvanise our people with true leadership qualities.

This is Hethe Habba time. The ALL Mighty Mother Goddess Hethe has saved us from many a disaster. SHE will save us this time also.

Let us be united. In UNITY lies our STRENGTH.

Sathish Krishnan            7:02pm Jan 11
IN UNITY LIES OUR STRENGTH !!! I second you Sir.
Padmanabhan Ramachandran
Padmanabhan Ramachandran        7:50pm Jan 11

It is fair to say, there were excellent community leaders till the 1970s. Along with the father-son duo Bellie Gowder and Ari Gowder, there were also stalwarts like Bygamund Haika-mathi Joghee Gowder, Achanakal M Malka Gowder, and much before all of them there was Thuneri headman Padharaja III. Later there were several leaders who were freedom-fighters and selfless servants of Badaga Community.

Unfortunately, although unintentional, all the reforms that the early leaders carried out for the Badagas, resulted in Badagas abandoning their age-old occupation of agriculture and cattle and pursuing greener pastures in urban and faraway places. Resulting in a dearth of leaders amongst our community in our homeland. What we are left with is a bunch of selfish crooks in the garb of leaders.

Education certainly was essential but education should have been only complementary and for the enhancement of our own way of life. Like how Shiv Khera says, ‘successful people dont do different things, they do things differently’.

Nagulan Joghee        8:02pm Jan 11
We feel and share your concern JP.. The leadership vacuum is a very big issue.. there is politics everywhere and in everything.. fuelled by unmatched egotism… still hope some good sense prevail and unity will emerge.. let us all try for that.. I heard that the arrested people were released today on conditional bail ( they must stay in Ooty) and they are all staying in ooty ( in one rented place) and plan to continue till the next hearing with hopes.. Collective voice is the need of the hour…

To add to @[1485064168:2048:Bellie...Prawin RamBhojan       8:19pm Jan 12

To add to Bellie Jayaprakash from the archives of TOI

Christian missionary efforts at conversion under the guise of social work do not take place in places, say, like the Brahmin-dominated ward of Mylapore in Chennai. They are conducted in poor, illiterate and innocent tribal areas and in remote jungles far from the prying eyes of authority. Now a reaction seems to have set in. Writing in The Statesman (March 12, 1999), Mr B P Saha made the point that “growing enlightenment has been provoking them (tribals) to dislike conversion and look askance at the foreign missionaries, the so-called benefactors”.

Attempts at conversion should be considered a mortal assault on local cultures and should be totally banned. Conversions are forbidden by law in China. Here we take a lenient view of conversion and Christian bodies have been taking advantage of the Hindu sense of tolerance. According to Mr Jon Stock, New Delhi correspondent of the British paper The Daily Telegraph, “put simply, the Indian subcontinent has become the principal target for a wide range of western Christian missions which are determined to spread the gospel to India’s ‘unreached’ people before the year 2000”.

Writing in The Spectator, Mr Stock says: “There is little doubt that the current communal tension in India would not be serious if foreign-funded missionaries had been content with giving Indians the choice of Christianity and left it at that.”

According to Mr Stock, “hundreds of thousands of dollars are being channelled into India through well-organised, America-based evangelical missions”, the meticulously researched ethnographic data they are compiling on the region ensuring that funds are being directed “with military precision to the right area, even to specific pin codes in remote tribal districts”.

Mr Stock quoted a statement from a Colorado-based Group of World- wide Christian Missions calling itself AD 2000 and Beyond as saying: ” ‘Flashes of light’ seen all around the North India-Hindu belt, particularly among the tribal groups, are encouraging us to believe that the Sum of Righteousness is indeed ready to rise upon these unreached peoples.”

Our hearts bleed for the ‘brave hearts’ of B.Manihatti .

The first conversion of Badagas to Christianity took place in 1854 when some German missionaries mislead a couple of Badagas in Ketti (Santhoor) with the lure of monetary compensation and false promise of ‘education’ for the children. The seeds of disharmony among these peace loving and innocent people who believed in unity and community living (all the hatti people acted as one) were sown.

Unfortunately, the biggest curse of our people is the disunity combined with jealousy, that is all pervasive. The so called leaders of the community found shelter in politics and corruption with the active support of ‘self appointed Gowdas’ who could be ‘purchased’.

The saddest point is that we do not have a selfless Nakku Betta leader after Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder [who passed away in 1971] who can galvanise our people with true leadership qualities.

This is Hethe Habba time. The ALL Mighty Mother Goddess Hethe has saved us from many a disaster. SHE will save us this time also. Let us be united.

In UNITY lies our STRENGTH.

Mani.B writes : Welcome to my village ( BERAGANI )  HETHAI HABBA

MSK writes : Welcome to my village ( NUNTHALA ) HETHAI HABBA

Where are we heading to?

Badagas taking out a procession in Ooty on Saturday. Photo:M . Sathyamoorthy  – Badagas taking out a procession in Ooty on Saturday. Photo:M.Sathyamoorthy [The Hindu]

“Rally Against Govt Employee’s ‘Conversion Bid’  [News report in outlookindia.com – Jan 08, 2012]
About 2,000 people today took out a procession here today demanding action against a government polytechnic lecturer accusing him of attempting to convert the locals to Christianity.

The people of B Manihatty village and surrounding localities dominated by Badaga community, a tribal community of the Nilgiris District, submitted a memorandum to the District Collector demanding action against lecturer Moorthy, who had recently converted to Christianity, police said.The villagers had yesterday ransacked the house and burnt the belongings of Moorthy protesting against his plans to build a prayer hall after obtaining permission for constructing a residential premises. More than 100 villagers were arrested in connection with the violence.

The memorandum also demanded a departmental inquiry and transfer of the district Superintendent of Police, accusing him of ‘functioning’ against the villagers.

More than 500 police personnel have been deployed in the town as a precautionary measure in view of the rally taken out today.”

This is a classical example of how one person can vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of a Badaga Village. Is this the fault of the individual who has turned a ‘betrayer’ of the community he was born in or the general trend in every hatti where there is no cooperation and unity among the villagers who are constantly at each other’s throat – like what we have witnessed in Nanjanadu recently?

A thought

Sofia Joghee [Singapore]
Few reasons discussed behind breaking marriages in the previous post, could be because of having no Children.
There are lot of children without parents and parents without children. We would like to know how does our community support in adopting children who are needy. Do we have discrimination on adoption as well as we have for marriages out of caste?

Do we welcome such children as part of our community? Kindly let us know your opinion.

The  thought of Sofiajohee has left me dumbfounded. I cannot think of a  non Badaga child having been adopted by any one known to me, though I am aware  of some ‘sondha kaararu [relatives] kunavay [children] being saakkodu [adopted]’. Where do we stand ?…..hmmm…a thought that is truly THOUGHT PROVOKING – Wg Cdr JP

Happy New Year! 2011 in review.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 44,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 16 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.