Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder
Bowing our heads in silent reverence for all that he had done to our community…
so that we can hold our heads high !
[December 4, 1893 – June 28, 1971]
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 as alcoholism was playing havos with the tribals [as it is doing with the populace of the Nilgiris now].
Ari Gowder lead the Indian contingent (yes, “INDIAN CONTINGENT) to World Scouts Jumbore held in Europe in the 1930s.
Being a great philanthropist he had done a lot for the betterment of Badagas. He was the one who established Nilgiri Co-Op Marketing 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.
The bridge constructed in 1939 at Kakkanalla, Masinagudi linking Tamil Nadu state with Karnataka state was named Ari Gowder Bridge.
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).
Ari Gowder was held in great esteem and considered as the ‘ Uncrowned King – Nakku Bettaga Raja‘ by Badagas.
Badagas pay homage to Ari Gowder
He was instrumental in establishingNilgiris Cooperative Marketing Society
For many Badagas, all roads in this hill station led to the Nilgiris Cooperative Marketing Society (NCMS) off the Government Botanical Garden Road here on Thursday.
The beeline was made to garland a bust of H.B. Ari Gowder which adorns the threshold of the multi-purpose hall of the society.
The occasion was the death anniversary of Gowder. Adverted to as the uncrowned king of the Badagas, Gowder was born on 4th December 1893. He died on June 28 1971.
Speaking to The Hindu, senior members of the community recalled that he was a well-known philanthropist, who walked tall not only among the Badagas but also others. He was instrumental in the NCMS coming into being in the 1930s to keep at bay middlemen and unscrupulous traders in the plains.
For over three decades, he was its president and for long it was considered as one of the best of its kind. In recognition of his significant contribution, his bust was unveiled on May 25, 1987.
Gowder, who hailed from Hubbathalai village, near Aruvankadu, was a widely acknowledged leader of the community who had done a lot to lift the Badagas socially and economically.
While a bridge constructed in 1939 linking the Nilgiris with Karnataka is named after Gowder, a road near the Mambalam railway station in Chennai also bears his name.
As the first Badaga graduate, MLC and MLA, Gowder had introduced a number of reforms among the people, including abstention from alcohol. Among those who paid homage to the late leader were representatives of various Badaga associations, political leaders and employees of the NCMS.
H. B. Ari Gowder
Rao Bahadur Hubbatale Bellie Ari Gowder (December 4, 1893 – June 28, 1971) was a Badaga leader and the first member of the Badaga community to be elected to the Madras Legislative Council.
Birth and early life
Ari Gowder was born to Rao Bahadur H. J. Bellie Gowder at Hubbatale on December 4, 1893. Bellie Gowder was an engineering contractor from the Badaga tribe of Nilgiris who constructed the Nilgiri Mountain Railway.
Politics and public life
Ari Gowder was educated at the Madras Christian College before entering politics. He became the first Badaga to be elected to the Madras Legislative Council. He served as a member of the Madras Legislative Council from 1923 to 1926 and from 1930 to 1934 and was a member of the Legislative Assembly of Madras state in the 1940s and 1950s. He was also a President of the Backward Classes League. He also served a President of the Nilgiris District Board. When prohibition was introduced in 1937, Ari Gowder was instrumental in enforcing prohibition in the Nilgiris district. He led the Indian contingent to the World Scouts Jumboree in Hungary in 1930.
Ari Gowder established the Nilgiris Co-operative Marketing Society in Mettupalayam in 1941 and served as its President until his death in 1971. The main purpose of the Nilgiris Co-operative Marketing Society was to guarantee the rights of cultivators from being exploited by middlemen.
Death and legacy
Ari Gowder died on June 28, 1971. He is highly regarded by members of the Badaga community who regard him as their patriarch. A bridge constructed in 1939 at Masinagudi linking the then Madras Presidency with the kingdom of Mysore was named Ari Gowder Bridge.
The portion of West Mambalam, Chennai which adjoins the Mambalam railway station was gifted to the Government of Tamil Nadu by Ari Gowder and the road which runs parallel to the railway line is named Arya Gowder Road in his honor.