Marrying a person with no MORAY

dharshani raj  ( asks

‘I want to know if it is wrong in marrying a person with no moray’ 

This question, though appears to be simple, is an important one since many of us, including the self – appointed GOWDAS in every village or for that matter, many ‘old people like me’ are not clear and sure about this aspect.

There seems to be a ‘raging‘ discussion going on in  FB Badagas Group.

Let me answer dharshani’s question to the best of my knowledge.

What is Moray (relationship)?

In simple terms, Badagas, [being a very small community], have evolved, over the centuries, a system in which marriages are not ‘fixed’ – call it arranged if you want, between certain hattis (villages) since the ‘blood’ relationship  among them is considered to be very ‘close – anna thamma moray’.

How this could have happened is, like, in olden days, one brother deciding to move away from the hatti he was born in to establish a ‘new’ hatti for various reasons. For example, a brother from Hubbathalay could have moved to Eethoray. Hence, the male children of the elder bro X in Hubbathalay would/could not marry the female children of younger brother Y in Eethorai as they are considered brother and sister (being the children of two brothers).

Hence, Hubbathalay hatti has no moray for marriages with Eethoray.

This brings us to the grouping of various hattis into Ooru [communes] and Seemay.

So,where do we start to check about ‘Moray’?

Since, time immemorial, every Badaga belonged to a village, irrespective of his place of residence. For example, Kada [now, Srivasa Ramachandra] and Kangi [Lokeswari Renuka] are the son and daughter of Bhoja  and Laxmi , living in Ooty [this can be, Bangalore, London or Boston in USA]. Since Bhoja is the son of Rama Gowder of ‘Hannu Mora Hatti’ [ or Jakkadha, Dhavani or Ketchigatti for that matter], Kada and Kangi belong to HM Hatti for practical or rather, moray purposes. By the way, in olden days, all Badagas belonging to Gowda [group] were known as Bellie Gowder, Ari Gowder etc.

So all the youngsters of HM Hatti are brothers and sisters. Marrying among themselves is, thus prohibited.

Now, our ancestors, being wise men of yonder, grouped certain hattis into communes called OORU. These hattis need not be very close to each other. The number of hattis forming a ooru need not be of a specific number. The next grouping done by our forefathers is forming a SEEMAY. Hence, a Seemay contains a few Oorus [which in turn has many villages]. And our Muthe Muhappa [the first of the ancestors] divided the Nilgiris into Nakku Betta [Four Mountains/massifs] to where all the Badagas belong to. See the division of Seemays and hattis in my websites here – Hattis, Ooru & Seemay or here

To put simply, a cluster of closely built houses formed a street -thara, [the thatched and later country tiled houses have common walls).

A few tharas formed a hatti with well defined and demarcated areas like ‘Dhodda Manay’ [big house- literally], ‘suthu kallu’ [mostly with a bikka mora (olive tree), gudi [temple],hanay [grass ground] etc.

A few hattis to Ooru. A few oorus to Seemay.

Four seemays namely 1)Thodha Naadu 2)Porangaadu 3)Mekku Naadu 4) Kunde [Naadu],  to NAAKKUBETTA. see Hattis, Ooru & Seemay.

And now to specifics

As far as MORAY for marriages are concerned,

a) A girl/boy cannot marry a boy/girl from the same hatti  to which they both belong to .

b) A girl/boy cannot marry a boy/girl from the same Ooru to which they both belong to.


There is a wrong impression that you cannot marry from the same seemay.

My own example

My father, Bellie gowder, one of the few educated Badagas was born in 1896 in Bearhatti ( the real surprise is that my grandfather Kada Gowder decided to educate my father in St.Michael’s in Coimbatore. In those days, I understand, he had to be taken upto Mettupalayam in a Kattay Bandi [bullock cart]. He got a job in Cordite Factory, Aravankadu near Hubbathalai. He married my mother Kaade (Idy ammal), daughter of Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder and sister of Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder.

Bearhatti is one of the six hattis belonging to AARUOORU [six villages], Jakkadha [Jagathala] being the ‘head’ village. Hubbathalay is one of the hattis coming under HATHOMBATHU OORU [nineteen villages]. Both these villages belong to PORANGAADU.

After marriage, firstly for convenience as cordite factory is closer to Hubbathalai than Bearhatti and secondly being the youngest daughter of Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder who was the Naakku Betta Gowda (chief) at that time and as she was only 15 at the time of marriage in 1927, my parents decided to settle down in Hubbathalai.

But my mother being a fiercely ‘PROUD” lady insisted that she would stay only in a new house built a little away from the main Hubbathay hatti. Thus, was born my ‘home’ called ‘DHODDI’ in 1948.

For all practical puposes, we are Nattaru (Guests- literally) of Hubbathalay.

Story does not end here. Though, I was born and brought up in Hubbathalay, I am married to Tara, grand daughter of Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder of Hubbathalay. That is, my mother and wife are from the same hatti.

Please note ; It is very common to see many marriages among boys and girls living in the same village. Living, I said and NOT BELONGING to the same village. But they are perfectly suited to each other and probably known to each other from childhood. May be their marriage is a LOVE marriage.


Incidentally, there are a few marriages solemnised  between the boys and girls belonging to the same Ooru. In one of the cases known to me, a boy from Eethoray is married to a girl from Hubbathalay – both belonging to Haththombathu Ooru. Though, it created some flutter in the beginning, it has been accepted now (due to the fact a rich and politically very influential person is involved??)

Do you know that Kodhumudi is one of the villages which is considered as two separate villages consisting of Mel Kodhumudi and Kiya Kodhumudi and marriages between them is normal?

When you refer to Kinnakorai, in fact it refers to six/seven hattis and marriages do take place among themselves as some hattis in them is consided to be completely made up of Nattarus??

More on Moray

So what happens when a boy belonging to Kavaratti of Thodha Naadu seemay wants to marry a girl from Yedapalli Village of Porangaadu Seemay ?

This appears to be a case of NO MORAY in the sense moray is neutral here and not prohibited. And, in my opinion, there should not be any problem.

Causes for confusion

Originally or rather in the earlier days, marriages took place only within the groups like Gowdas, Lingayats[Lingakattis],Haruvas, Odayas and Thorayas as they formed their own hattis. For example, Odhanatty near Jakkadha is a hatti of Thorayas and it does not come under Aaru Ooru [and hence Porangadu Seemay].

Without going into the details of the unfortunate vertical divide of Badagas, in the early 1900s, where one section was against the compulsory invitation of Kothas [to ‘harakkolu idippudhuga’ – playing music on payment in kind or cash, which ended in huge expenses and debts for the family of the deceased with devastating results. The funeral was not an oneday affair but went on for week and all the ‘guests’ who had come from far and wide, had to be looked after with food and drinks.  The expenses of funerals were not NOT borne by [all houses in] the hatti as is the practice now] for funerals and another insisting on inviting Kothas.

The section of Badagas who were against inviting Kothas was lead by Hubbathalai [Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder, who introduced many reforms like 1) the funeral expenses would be borne by the whole village 2) education for all Badagas etc] and the other section by Thangaadu.

Another cause for this division was the claim of  Thangaadu [Haruva Katchi] led group that when they attend the funeral of Gowda, they would only touch the head [saavu muttodhu], irrespective of the age of the deceased saying that they were the priets. Generally, when a Badaga attends a funeral, as a mark of paying respect to the deceased, the feet or the head is touched depending on whether the dead is elder or younger.

I am skipping many more details since this would distract from the topic MORAY which is under discussion.

But these days, marriages among these groups [Gowdas, Haruvas, Lingakattis] have become common. Hubbathalai has marriage relation with Thangaadu or the Lingakatti Hatti of Sakkalatti [Sogathorai] with Eethorai or Bearhatti.
[to be continued]

Sathish Krishnan commented on Marrying a person with no MORAY
‘Thanks for the detailed explanation. I belong to Balacola and I’ve heard elders saying that there is no moray for any marriages within Maekunadu seemay, and Kundey seemay is the best suit for us. But your blog says there is only restriction for marriages within a village or within a ooru (group of villages), and no restriction for marriages within a seemay. It is contradicting and please clarify the same. I will be looking forward for further updates to this blog’

Hello Sathish, Thanks for the comments. First for the contradiction part. I am saying that “no marriages within a hatti and Ooru but yes within a Seemay as long as the Oorus are different. Like 6 Ooru can tie nupital knots with 19 ooru – both being from Porangaadu“. As far as your Hatti Bakkola (Balacoloa?), Mekkunaadu Seemay are concerned, I am NOT in a position to clarify but as far as Kundey Seemay – yes I agree. More in updates soon – Wg Cdr JP

[to be continued]

20 responses to “Marrying a person with no MORAY

  1. Hello!! I am from Koderi. Can I marry a girl from Kattery Naduhatty? Coz its belongs to same semae.

    Yes, I understand that, already a Kodery boy has married a Kattery girl. Belonging to the same Seemar is no problem. – Wg CDR JP


  2. Can a girl from Ketti (Halada) marry a boy from Kotagiri (Kerben)?


  3. sharanyagowda

    Hello my name is Sharanya . And I’m Kannada Gowda. I’m in love with Badaga boy. Will they accept our love ?

    Though all Badagas are Gowdas, in a way, but when it comes to marriage from outside of Badaga community, it is left to the boy & girl and their parents. Wished I could be of more help. Best wishes. Wg.Cdr.JP

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Is it possible for a man and woman to marry who are belonging to same seemay but different ooru. Please answer this question sir

    Sorry for the delay in replying. Yes it is very much possible to marry within a Seemay. Seemay is divided into Oorus and every Ooru has hattis within. Cannot marry from the hattis belonging to same Ooru.

    For example, Porangadu Seemay has many Oorus like Haththombattu (19) Ooru and Aaru Ooru(6). A boy, say from Hubbathali belonging to 19 Ooru, can marry a girl from Bearatty, from 6 Ooru.


  5. Hello sir, Iam in need of knowing a details about morray.. Does Ebbanad village of Thodhanadu semmea boy can marry a girl with kotanalli village of Porangadu semmea?? Please reply me soon if u have any answer for my question.


  6. Hi Bro/Sis, Anyone there to help me…? Kindly help me to clarify few doubts related to Morai..?
    Hi Sir, My doubt is I am from Kodamalai(Porangadu Seemay), I knew a girl from my child wood, she is from KadaKambatty(same porangadu seemay), whether we have morai to marry eachother…? Please help me out of this issue…If there is morai between us, kindly reply me a perfect example…Waiting for your reply sir…!


  7. Sir, I am a tamil brahmin girl and married a Lingayat boy 20years ago. Both our parents agreed and we had both the customs followed during our marriage. My in laws took permission from the village elders and all their relatives came for our marriage. We visited the village once or twice every year and we were welcomed into all our relatives houses. My father in law passed away 5 days ago and though my husband was the elder son he was not allowed to enter the village or perform the last rites. I would like to know if these customs exist and are they followed presently.


  8. Why is there a difference and discrimination among sub sects among the same Badaga community .


  9. Sir, can a boy from Kethi marry a girl from Kundha Semmae? Why do they oppose when they are not belonging to same semmae? It seems to be really hurting and life taking rules. Life is getting harder everyday due to morray problem. Many youngsters are facing their death at early age due to failure in love. I keep my fingers crossed for your reply. Please do consider this matter as life of 2 persons not a reply just for sake. Waiting for your kind reply.

    Hello Riya, I understand the agony and pain. I am surprised hat you have mentioned ‘Why do they oppose when they are not belonging to same Seemay?’. Well, Badagas first choice would be marriage between different Seemays. Since you mentioned just Ketti, I assume that your hatti is Ketti Village and not any surrounding hatti. Under Kundhay Seemay, there are many villages. Pl specify the exact villge so that I can check up with some knowledgeable person. If yoy want the information to be private, pl send the mail to – Wg.Cdr.JP


  10. Sir can you please tell me is there a morray to marry between dhoddanni and bygamandu. Please sir waiting for your valuable reply.


  11. thank you fo the details.And i want to know one thing that why should we marry only with morai.When they are going to cancel all this morai.Please take some actions about morai as soon as possible within this one year.Please i humbly request you…


  12. Sir,can we get married from Kundhae semae to Ketti.Both are entirely different semmae and its so strange about this restriction. Please can I know more about this?


    • I belong to kundae semae and I am in love with a boy from ketti.We love each other sincerely and only after 4months we came to know that we don’t have moray.But I can’t marry anyone other than him,I love him lot.Now its nearly 2 years we are in love.Please can you explain why can’t we marry from kundae to ketti.Both are two different semmae then why is it so.


  13. is there any marriage restrictions between kodari and kambatty ???? please answer tis question….


  14. Hi Sir, is there moray for marriage between thodha nadu seemae, kadanadu and kattery? Has any one married so far?


  15. janani selvaraj

    Sir…I would like to know that do Kakkuchi hatty and Muttinadu hatty have moray to marry…pls could you answer my question……all mentioned that there is moray to marry; even Muttinadu hatty Gowda told that there is moray…I just want to conform it…

    Yes, Janani, Kaguchi and Muttinaadu have moray for marriage, we even know of a lady from Muttinaadu who is married to gentleman from Kaguchi – Wg Cdr JP


  16. dharshani raj

    i want to know if such marriage will be accepted in our community


  17. mlle_sumathi

    Thanks for the explanation. I wonder if all this about ” moray ” will still remain the same in a few years time from now. Many of our people are in various parts of the world and they do not know what is right or wrong. I could be wrong though !


  18. sathish krishnan

    Thanks for the detailed explanation. I belong to Balacola and I’ve heard elders saying that there is no moray for any marriages within Maekunadu seemay, and Kundey seemay is the best suit for us. But your blog says there is only restriction for marriages within a village or within a ooru (group of villages), and no restriction for marriages within a seemay. It is contradicting and please clarify the same. I will be looking forward for further updates to this blog.


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