Badaga is an unique language…which still retains its old world charm. Unfortunately, the absence of a script has resulted in abuse of the language, what with ‘some learned and self proclaimed researchers’ claiming it to be a derivative of Tamil and others of Kannada.
It does not stop here, some ‘highly qualified/educated’ non – Badaga persons go as far as writing articles and books on Badaga language without understanding the basics or the fundamentals of this beautiful language. While we appreciate the interest and initiative shown by non Badagas to learn and write about Badaga, we feel angry when they give totally wrong information. Worse still, they have the audacity to ‘invite readers’ to ‘learn Badaga’. Shocking to say the least.
I came across a book in Tamil [courtesy – Saranavaraj] called “Arivom Badagar Mozhi’ அறிவோம் படகர் மொழி [ பழங்குடியினம் ] by Era.Jayalakshmi – published by Vijaya Pathippagam, Coimbatore.
It appears that Jayalakshmi’s only ‘qualification’ to write about Badaga is that she ‘found out’ in ” Badaga people’s spoken language, the greatness of old Tamil” [ தமிழ் ‘படுக’ மக்கள் பேச்சு வழக்கில் தமிழின் தொன்மையை கண்டறிந்தார் ] when she was serving in the Ooty Municipality.
She starts off on a wrong note. In her preface, she claims that all Dravidian Languages are derivatives of Ancient Tamil. “Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam are languages that came out of the ‘blood’ of Tamil – கன்னடமும் களித்தெலுங்கும் கவியின் மலையாளமும் உன் உதிரத்தே உதித்தெழுந்து ஒன்று பல ஆயிடினும்..” she quotes Caldwel.
She goes on to say that like many Dravidian Languages ” BADAHAA – படஹா ” is only a spoken language. Note’ she does not even know that Badaga and Badagu – படக & படுகு are never referred to as Badahaa. In her preface BADAHAA – “படஹா” is mentioned atleast eight times with quotation marks.
Here are some bloomers – deliberate or otherwise :-
In the book, what is your name [உன் பெயர் என்ன?] is given as: –
1.Enna eraru ena இன்ன எசரு என? – what is your name – உன் பெயர் என்ன? (This is the very first sentence in the book).
[It should have been :- Ninna hesaru yena – நின்ன ஹெசரு ஏன?]
2.uralvai esaru ena உறல்வை எசரு என? – what is mother’s name – அம்மாவின் பெயர் என்ன?
[should have been – Awwaiya hesaru yena – அவ்வைய ஹெசரு ஏன?]
3.Enaga paadi ariye – எனக பாடி அறியே – I donot know how to sing – எனக்கு பாட தெரியாது
[should have been – Na kadai hegi ariye – ந கதை ஹேகி அறியே]
There are too many mistakes, all most in every page, to elaborate . In one word this book is PATHETIC.
The author, it appears, has never heard of proof reading or the Badaga words in the book are either meaningless or distorted. The icing on the cake is that she dedicates her book to those ‘researchers of languages -மொழி ஆராய்ச்சி அறிஞர்கள் ‘.
It is high time, R.Lakshmi withdraws this book, consults a Badaga and do a proper proof reading and then dare to publish.
What do you do, laugh or cry??
[My request to Badaga Association in Coimbatore is, please contact/ visit the publishers Vijaya Pathippagam,20, Raja Street, Coimbatore -641001 phoen # 0422-2382614 / 2385614 [email -vijayapathippagam2007gmail.com], since the author’s email or address/contact numbers are not given, and ask them to take corrective steps].
Prabhakar [email ; firstname.lastname@example.org] comments :
While the article by the particular author/publication needs to be condemned, I do not quite agree with the contention that Badaga is not a derivative of Tamil or Kannada. Can the administrator of this website speak an entire sentence in Badagu without using a word of Kannada or Tamil??? It is high time that we realized that Badaga is indeed a derivative /mixture of Kannada and Tamil. Realization is enlightenment. Moroever there is no ‘shame’ involved in it. I am a proud Badaga who takes pride in his unique culture and tradition, but am equally aware that my language is a unique mix of two other languages. If someone were to deny it then it would mean that Badaga precedes these two languages. If it has indeed preceded these two languages than it would have definitely had a script. So let us stop romanticising the origins of our language and accept reality.
I am surprised and saddened by your conviction and contentions. I am not sure whether you have read my articles/posts/pages on our language. Well, I am convinced that Badaga is a separate language by itself – without a script [like so many other spoken languages]. While there is no denying the fact that Badaga and old (haliya) Kannada resemble a lot and of late there is great Tamil influence. This is probably, due to the fact, we belong to Tamil Nadu and many of us have studied in Tamil medium schools. Why Badaga, without a script, could not have preceded Kannada or Tamil, is not the question, but could it not have co- existed with Sen Tamizh – old Tamil and Haliya Kannada??
I did my schooling in Rao Bahadur Board High School, Hubbathalai where the medium of instruction was Tamil. I love Tamil and can boast, at the cost of modesty, that I was ranked sixth in the entire Tamil Nadu, Manavar Mandram examinations of 1963-64. Hence can read and write Tamil very well. I can’t say the same about Kannada.If you read my articles on Badaga Language, there is a lot of ref to Badaga in the Tamil Epics.
Incidentally Mrs.R.Jaylakshmi says in her book that Badaga is a ‘child’ of Tamil and goes on to quote that ‘Odhu -study’ is the same as in Sen Tamizh – Odhamal orunaalum irrukka vendaam -ஓதாமல் ஒருநாளும் இறுக்க வேண்டாம்’
By the way, in Badaga we say ‘bil kul’ for ‘definitely’ like “bilkul beda – definitely don’t want“. Bilkul is a Sanskrit word. Can we say that Badaga is a derivative of Sanskrit? Ungara and Majjige mean finger ring and butter milk in Telugu and Badaga. Is Badaga a derivative of Telugu?
Why are we still have the mind set to blindly accept what others have mentioned about our language or for that matter, even about our origin that we migrated from Mysore.
I notice that you have mentioned that you are a National award winning Journalist. Like to read your articles and if possible, reproduce them in my websites.
– Wg Cdr JP