Monthly Archives: July 2012


Exclusive Casteless Badagas by Dr. R.K.Haldorai Badagas were not under the influence of caste system in any part of their history. In caste system a person’s social status was determined by his occupation. Although caste depended upon a person’s occupation … Continue reading

Slow Dance

This is a poem written by a teenager with cancer. She wants to see how many people get her poem. This poem was written by a terminally ill young girl in a New York Hospital.

Badaga connection

A lot of Badagas have died due to the curse of cancer – including breast cancer. Many of them could have been saved had it been treated in the initial stages. Take care of your dear and near ones – Wg Cdr JP


Have you ever watched kids On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain  Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down. Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short. The music won’t last.

Do you run through each day  On the fly?
When you ask How are you?  Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done  Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores, Running through your head?

You’d better slow down.  Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short.  The music won’t last.

Ever told your child,  We’ll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,  Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,  Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time,  To call and say,’Hi’

You’d better slow down.Don’t dance so fast.
Time is short. The music won’t last..

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift. Thrown away.

Life is not a race. Do take it slower
Hear the music.  Before the song is over.


This poem is supposed to be from a special girl who will soon leave this world due to cancer. This young girl has 6 months left to live, and as her dying wish, she wanted to send a letter telling everyone to live their life to the fullest, since she never will. She’ll never make it to prom, graduate from high school,or get married and have a family of her own.

PS : From the net it is seen that this poem’s original author is David L Weatherford




by  Dr.R.K.Haldorai [exclusive article]

The innate philosophy of the life of ‘naaku betta’ (the people who live in the hilly region, Badagas) can best be understood from the tradition bound age old hatties (hamlets). The hatty (hamlet,village) is a group of persons as well as an aggregate of land holdings. The village life is highly characterized by various rites and rituals. The village life of Badagas had attracted the serious attention of the scholars even during the colonial administration of the British. Few indigenous scholars’ contribution in this regard is remarkable. The result of these studies have got significant role in reconstructing society’s lost glory and reviving cultural heritage.

The Badagas are an ethnic and linguistic minority tribal group with a distinct culture and heritage of their own. The socio-cultural life of Badaga village is largely influenced by customs and traditions with profound antiquated background. This can be explored and analysed through holistic approach of the regional condition based on certain universal thoughts and ideas as well as unified activities.

The history of a society is largely the history of the thoughts and deeds of masterminds. These men of mighty will, vision and wisdom impart new hopes, new life and new direction to a society. In fact the ancestor of Badagas imparted humanism and compassion to their society that was enmeshed in a complexity of rituals. For example, one can note how a salutation passes between two when they meet each other. The younger stands in front of the elder inclines his head slightly and says bandiya, ayya, mamma etc., (grandfather, uncle etc., you have come). The elder replies ‘badak, badak’ (blessing, blessing) and rests his right or both of his hands on the top of the younger. Though the word ‘badak’ usually means ‘live’ here it is used in the sense ‘flourish, prosper or live long’. Uttering these words the elder reveals his felicitation to younger without any prejudice. Whereas the younger shows his profound reverence to the elder. The elders took up with joy the task of shaping the future generation and discharged their duties in an exemplary manner. The elders of the village settled disputed arising among the village folk who were well acquainted with the norms. Justice was meted out at the very place where the dispute took place. It was inexpensive and immediate.

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Badaga Food Habits

Badagas usually grow vegetables in their small patch(es) of land called ‘HOLA’ (see photo) for their regular use apart from other commercial crops like potato, cabbage, carrot and cauliflower etc. These would also include many varities of beans, peas, greens, corn etc. Every variety of avere(bean) has a specific (sometimes unique) badaga name. No Badaga wedding meal is complete without ‘Avare & Gaasu udakka’ [beans & potato curry]. Incidentally, Badagas do not serve non-vegetarian (meat) dishes on the wedding day , main meal is called – ‘maduve hittu‘. Another great trait among these simple peasant people is called ‘nattu‘ – a sort of gift (again mainly the home grown vegetables & grains) given to relatives, friends and guests.

Tea Leaves… the crop on which Badaga ‘economy’ depends so much..

The agricultural produce, food, dishes, eating habits and some interesting recipes of Badagas.

Apart from, I am thankful to N.Bellie, R.Ramachandran (Kekkatty) and others for their imputs. A lot of info is from Prof.Paul Hockings’s books.

I have tried to discuss and describe, not only of authentic recipes on Badaga dishes but also on their agricultural produce, known in Badaga language as BAE – like for example Badagas used to grow wheat, barley, millet – GHODUME, GANJE, ERAGI, BATHA –etc but have almost completely stopped now.

The food, eating habits, preparations of some dishes as well as the ingredients used are covered. along with the methods used in cooking (like in a mud pot known as MADAKE in traditional fire place – OLE)


It must be mentioned that though many masala powders are available in the market, the Badagas use a specially prepared curry powder known as ‘ BADAGARU MAASU HUDI’ in their preparations.

I remember my childhood days when the dried GANJE / GHODUME (barley/wheat) used to be spread in the fore court of the houses called KERI (street) , between two groups of Hatti HEMMAKKA (ladies) squatted opposite to each other with GANJE DHADIS (sticks of about four feet long and an inch thick) systematically & alternatively beating to remove the chaff. The rhythmic ‘tak tak’ noise would be accompanied by some folk lore Badaga songs. This is known as GANJE SACHODHU.

How can anyone forget the GANJE that would be HURUTHU – fied (fried) in a HURI MADDAKKE (mud pot with a hole on its side) through which a HURI KOL (a short stick with cloth tied at one end as a ball) would be inserted and the contents stirred constantly for uniform frying?

Huri Maddakke

The fried ganje called GANJIKKE would be taken with BELLA (jaggery) and THENKE (coconut). The taste of this would increase if hurutha keerai is added. Used to be a very common snack during the “kodai” season when no one can venture out on account of severe wind and rain.

This ganjikke would be powdered in a ‘ BEESA GALLU ‘ or ‘BEESARAN KALLU’ ( grinding stone ‘flour mill’) that was a permanent feature in the EDHA or NADU MANE and stored for furture use. People who go on long journeys (in olden days travel was by foot only) took this powder along with them, a very handy and healthy meal. This powder would be mixed with hot water to make a gruel. Salt and jaggery could be added to taste.

 [Reproduced. Read more ]

Gone but not forgotten

You were everything for us for all those glorious 99 years and 10 months.

When we were preparing to celebrate the ‘century’, you chose to leave this earth just a couple of months earlier ….. to bless us all from the heaven far above.

Elle idhale’yu engava harachu

[Bless us all from where ever you are]

First Death Anniversary (13-7-2012)

Idyammal Bellie Gowder
Born September 05, 1912
Hubbathalai, The Nilgiris
Died July 13, 2011 (aged 99)
Parents Rao Bahadue HJ Bellie Gowder and Nanji Hethe
Sister of Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder
Spouse B.K.Bellie Gowder [Bearhatti]

MOM 5.jpg

[Autographed pencil sketch of Mom by JP in 1964 while she was reading Femina ]

“I know my mother looks much older than what she is but those wrinkles have the charm of their own. They indicate the signs of her great endurance; and the hard life she has to lead through to bring her children to lead a life that is respected and regarded by others” – JP 24-1-68

Dear Hands

[Grace Noll Crowell]

My mother’s hands were beautiful,
They are not always smooth and white
They were so busy making dull
And lusterless things clean and bright.

They reached so often to caress
A hurt child crying in the night
They moved as quick as fluttering birds
Among the cups and spoons at tea

They did a thousand lovely things
And did them all so graciously
There is no way to sum them up
The countless things she did for us.

[photo of  Idy Hethe’s hand by her grandson Abhi Ari -2010]

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Burning Issues

Kumar’s []  comments in the page

First regarding Karthick, I wil better say go ahead with your idea. Compatibility is a big issue with all the communities. If you are sure that you have good understanding with the girl, nothing should bother you. Marriage is the biggest burning issue in badagas. As youngsters are well educated and have more exposure, its common to fall in love with another community person. 10 to 20 is the growth period and 20 to 30 is the fertile period in a human life. But today there are lot of 30 plus badaga girls and boys yet to get married. Just think what will happen to all in another 5 to 10 years?.. Marriage is an important aspect in a person’s life, without marriage life never gets fulfilled, but at the same time it should not happen for namesake and run around for divorce. I am not against our culture, it has to be preserved, but not at the cost of our life. As someone quoted, did we forget badaga after learning english??

To our respected elders and the chairpersons of YBA, its time for you people to think hard and do some reforms in our society regarding marriages and functionality in our community. India is reeling under recession in financial terms and our community is reeling under marriage recession. Politics has intruded all the villages and has affected us badly, forget about who rules the country and think about how to solve the issues in our community. I dont know how many of you know about the arrest of 200 plus people from our community in Tirupur, I dont want to discuss in detail. Elders please think in a practical manner, LIVE AND LET OTHERS LIVE.


Its good to see many from our community work in IT and R&D fields, but for the people in our villages, mother nature has given us abundance of opportunities in our own place. Cost of labor, fertilizer price, and el nino has affected agriculture and tea farming very badly. Let us be smart, try alternate crops like jatropha curcus or croton, these are cash crops used to extract biodiesel. i learnt that an acre can produce 3000 ltrs of biodiesel per year and cost of 1 liter is 34. It is grown extensively in Nagaland and Burma, so i think it should adapt our climate condition (any agri experts, pls share your thought). Dairy farming is another option for us. Than working in places like Tirupur and get lured by others for money, its better to try some alternative crops in our own place.

Badagas who make us proud

The World at Your Feet is a celebration of the richness and variety of  [U.K] Plymouth’s history and its role in relation to migration to other parts of the world.

“An interview with Vinitha Rajkumar the owner and founder of Rhythm Indian school of dance, Giving us information about her migration story and the part she plays in The World At Your Feet project here in Plymouth”.

Wg.Cdr JP adds :Vinitha Rajkumar, a Badaga, is married to Dr.Rajkumar Krishnan (Naihatty), daughter of (late) Mrs.Menaka (Hubbathalai) and Dr.K.M.Raju (Kerkandi,Kekkatti) and grand daughter of Mrs.Idyammal Bellie Gowder, sister of Dr.Vivek Raju (South Africa) and Vinod Raju (Coonoor) and also my niece.

We are proud of you Vinitha!