Monthly Archives: May 2013

Greatly appreciated


I found the following information given by E.B.Hariharan very interesting and educative. The initiatives and efforts of Badaga Mahajana Sangha are greatly appreciated. 

This article/info raises some hitherto unknown facts. Was there a ‘reverse migration’ of Badagas from the Nilgiris to the plains [of Karnataka]? Apart from the four [Nilgiri Nakkubetta] Seemays known to us, Mel Seemay seems a completely new and geographically different one.

Of course, we have all heard of Hasanur but not much about Punajanur and other Badaga Hamlets in Chamrajnagara. The famous Badaga Proverb [Dhoddaru Shloka] – “Hasanuru haalu kudippudhuga, Neelagiria neera kudi (The water in the Nilgiris is better than the milk of Hasanur)”- Wg Cdr JP

Punajanur and Mel Seemey.

Punajanur is a Badaga Village, about 45-50 Kms from Chamrajnagar town, falling within Karnataka State, Chamrajnagar Taluk and District. It has got about 50 Badaga houses and about 15 Wodeya houses (Lingayat Clan). Some other castes like Nayaks and others live nearby as well.

All the Badagas in Punajanur trace their heritage to Ebbanad and Kookal villages in the Nilgiris, a few of them are from Kadanad and Kottanalli as well. 300-400 years ago they moved from the Nilgiris and settled there, in search of better pasture for their Buffalo herds. Life was good until the last 15-20 years, their main source of income was supplying milk to the Co-operative milk societies, mainly NANDINI in Karnataka. After Veerappan issue cropped up, the people were stopped from grazing their herds at HEMMATTIES (in Badugu meaning Buffalo Grazing Villages) and most of them were sold. Thus started their economic decline. Their overall socio-economic condition is in bad shape, education is at abysmal levels, health is an area of serious concern. In our view, they seem to be atleast 30-40 years behind mainland (Nilgiri) Badagas. Hence, we, a group of volunteers across varied age groups having genuine love towards the Community, decided to take up the challenge and work for the betterment of our own people in Punajanur.

Similar to Punajanur, there are 8 small villages in an area called as Mel Seemey which is about 40 Kms from Punajanur, but falling under Erode District, Sathyamangalam Taluk, Hasanur Panchayat of Tamilnadu. Mel Seemey has about 200 houses in total and our work is going there in full swing. We have successfully paved the way for upgrading the school in Kotada (The biggest village with 80 houses in Mel Seemey) upto High School level (10th Std) spending Rs.100000/- (One Lakh), helped change the bus timings for the school going children, created a pool of Rs.300000/- (Three Lakhs) towards agricultural funding at no interest. We paved the way for 3 young students to join an Engineering Degree with full fee waiver for all 4 years of their study. We successfully conducted a medical camp in both Punajanur and Mel Seemey on 28/04/13 for the benefit of our people residing there in association with KBGA Bangalore. Four prominent doctors conducted a marathon medical test for nearly 300 people in one single day.

There is much more to be done and we are moving one step at a time. Together, we believe we can do wonders……..



When I coined the slogan “Proud to be a Badaga”, I was acutely aware of the fact that there are many factors on which we should be ashamed of as well.

One such is the disunity (or rather the lack of interest to be united and) show the world that ALL BADAGAS SHARE COMMON VALUES & SPEAK IN ONE VOICE when it comes to many common issues.

Unfortunately, what our ancestors advised and hoped ‘Uri Hogi, Siri Barali – Let jealousy vanish and happiness prevail’ has not come true.

One such area where urgent action required is to have a ‘SUPREME BODY/ASSOCIATION’ representing but elected in a democratic way by all Badagas.

The recent reports in the news papers about the ‘heated arguments for election and possession’ of YBA – Young Badagas Association’ at Ooty. From what one gathers from various sources is that an ex-MLA  is refusing to ‘vacate’ his chair and not letting any fresh air to flow in. One wonders why this ex-MLA connected with a particular political party, is in a perpetual denial mode for fair and free elections that may help in the upliftment of the community, is a mystery.

The Hindu [ 24th May 2013]

The face-off between two groups over custody of the premises of the Young Badagas Association (YBA) here took an ugly turn on Thursday with members on either side breaking open locks put up by each other on the office door. It was followed by complaints being lodged against each other.

In order to prevent untoward incidents, a police team headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police G.S. Anita moved in.

YBADinamalar (24-5-2013)

Or, is money, power or fear of exposure that is holding back a CHANGE. Let not a miniscule of ‘self – interested’ men make us feel ASHAMED.

May I appeal, in the interest of all, to stand united and be PROUD of being Badagas – Indians.

Henry Marriott from Australia

It is always a pleasure to get emails from visitors to this website expressing their association with the Nilgiris and/or Badagas many many years ago. In their views and opinions, we learn a lot. If one such visitor is a person who is comparatively ‘young at heart’ and wise by age, then we are in for pleasant surprises.

One such person is Henry Marriott from Australia. Henry is 80 years young.

I am fascinated about the suggestion he makes about ‘the statement a Seemay Gowda can make about Badaga ancestors in any function like what the aborigines do in Australia.

I thank him for permitting his emails to be published. – Wg Cdr JP

Henry Marriott writes :-I have been studying some articles on the Badaga peoples, who I am convinced are of European or Aryan descent as they belong to the R1a1 haplogroup (but it is necessary to assign the correct clade to these people as confirmation). It is thought that as Badaga means “people of the north” they are from Karnataka, and their language is a form of ancient Kannada. In fact it is believed they migrated from there in the fourteen hundreds, but now it is also believed that this could have been a second migration.

But there is also the belief that they are the indigenous people of the Nilgiris (or Nakku Betta to the Badagas). If this is the case, then as in In Australia at any function in Ketti (a hatti in the seemay of Mekkunaadu) the MC should commence proceedings with a statement in a form such as this:

“I would like to acknowledge the Badaga people who are the traditional custodians of Mekkunaadu and I would also like to pay respect to the elders past and present of the Badaga nation and extend that respect to other Aboriginal people present.”

I was educated in Ketti in the 1940s, and still have contact with St Georges School.

I was born in Sri Lanka and was educated at St Georges from 1940 to 1950. I then did further studies at MCC Tambaram . I then went to England where after National Service I qualified as a Chartered Accountant. I have now retired and live in Melbourne.

During my time in Ketti I had no contact with Badagas in school apart from school servants and the women who worked in the surrounding fields. We also attended at the Shantoor Temple to observe the Hubba and fire walking, which coincided with the Christian Palm Sunday (a week before Easter). I am now 80 years old.


Badaga Proverb – Dhoddaru SHLOKA


One of the fascinating and interesting aspect of Badaga [both people & language] is the free use of delightful but deep meaning proverbs called “DHODDARU SHLOKA”. Also we can call it – “DHODDAVAKKA HEGIDHADHU [What the Elders said] or “MUTHAPPANA MAATHU [Ancestors Words].When you engage an elderly Badaga into any conversation, you are sure to hear a lot of these proverbs thrown in to make / emphasis a point.

Prof. Paul Hockings, probably the most authentic researcher on and of Badaga lists more than a thousand Badaga proverbs, 1730 to be precise. He feels that 1730 could be a complete figure containing all the proverbs there are. See his book,’Counsel from the Ancients: Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses’. He has given the meaning in English as well as making it easy to understand, in a beautiful manner.

Though I find his collection extremely interesting and educative, I do not agree with some of the conclusions he draws on certain proverbs. For example, on the proverb, ‘Odhidhama Niddhana, Oddidhama Erandina’ Prof.Hockings interpretation is quite different to what I feel is the correct meaning. I think ‘a person who spends time learning and ponders (over a problem) is better than the one who runs away (in a hurry) and thus trips over. [Odhidhama – one who has learnt (spent time learning), Niddhana – stops to ponder over[think], Oddidhama – one who runs, Erandina – trips over]. We can hear mothers telling their young children ‘Oda beda , Erandire’ – Donot run, you will trip over (a stone or any obstruction). That is ‘ do not be in a hurry and take a hasty decision’.

Another one is ‘Michidhavaga Morande Kolu Bangara’. In my opinion . the lady who does not listen to any one (Michidha Hemmathi) is bound to land up as a widow (when ‘Morande Kolu – a small stick of morende tree – replaces her jewellery (bangara) during the Ole Kattuva ritual of husband’s death / funeral ceremony). Prof.Hockings feels Mechidhavaga (see the difference between michidhava – one who does not listen- and mechidhava – one who is appreciated by all – even a morende kolu is enough as jewellery. Is it a case of wordplay (pun) by our ancestors??

Visit the website Badaga Proverbs for more interesting information

Deepak from Nanjanaadu writes …

Deepak from Nanjanaadu

Sir, I used to mail you 4 to 5 years back. My father is in Army[Subedar Major].I wanted to ask you is there any translation of the book – “History of Hethey Amman“, either in English or if possible in Hindi.

Then sir, I am really happy to see your interest towards our community.Really it  feels good to see such an interest and effort.Hope this effort will try to reveal the feelings that we teens have towards our community. Visiting the site after so many years it feels as if it is your obsession.Please don’t let this obsession get dormant.We youngsters actually need someone to tell our identity and tell us who we are.

Hello Deepak, I am very glad and feel thrilled to see your email. Unfortunately, there is no translation of the booklet on Hethey in English or Hindi.

I feel extremely happy that this website and its contents make youngsters like you to learn about us, ‘tell our identity and tell us who we are‘ as you have beautifully put it. As I keep repeating, ‘there is plenty to learn and know about ‘Badagas, the beautiful people of the Blue Mountains‘.

My motivation to keep going with this website is due to the encouraging words like yours. Thank you very much. – Wg Cdr JP

Badaga Culture (in Tamil) by Dr.Haldorai

BADAGAR PANPAADU (Badaga Culture) Dr.HaldoraiBadagarPanpaadu

[The following gist about the book was sent by the author]

‘Culture may be defined as behaviour peculiar to Homo-sapiens, together with material objects used as an integral part of this behaviour. Specifically culture consists of language, ideas, beliefs, customs, codes, institutions, tools, techniques, works of art, rituals, ceremonies and so on’ (Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Badaga culture evolved from the background of ancient Dravidian culture and in the isolation Nilgiri environment. This book tries to elucidate the Badaga culture with its three broader chapters and many subtitles.

The first chapter ‘LIFESTYLE’ consists of twenty five subtitles. They are: profession, barley, new tax money, commune, extended family, marriage, marriage rituals, ladies, delivery, ornaments, puberty, food habits, amaranthus, milk, tender bamboo shoot, hospitality, cleanliness, dress code, fire, house warming, structure of the house, bravery, pastoral pipe and insignia.

The second chapter ‘BELIEF’ consists of thirteen subtitles. They are: Dravidian, place of worship, water, water jar, totemism, clan deity, spirit, ancestral worship, salt giving festival, religion, ritual purity and auspicious day.

The third chapter ‘TRADITION’ consists of fourteen subtitles. They are: culture, tribal culture, tribe, symbol, place of residence, upper land, immigration, individual respect, egalitarianism, language, grandson, lineage, kinship, and family respect. Besides these there are four appendix chapters. They are: colour, knowledge of time-reckoning, proper names and kinship terms. With these chapters and subtitles the book tries to cover the entire culture spectrum of Badagas briefly.

Total Pages : 230 ;  Price : Rs. 130/

Contact.No. 9442369506   R.Dharuman, Kekkatty

[This book “BADAGAR PANPAADU – [Tamil]” by Dr.Haldorai  was  released on 9th May 2013 at Ooty by Justice[retd] Chandru]

Badaga – leaderless and ruddderless??

A visitor to this site writes :

I wanted to ask you regarding the various scripts that are being developed for Badaga language. What is the relevance and which one is the right one ?  Who is the one who says this or that is right ? 

… so what is your thought on this. How are we going to learn it ? 
This has been bothering me the last few days. If you find some time, please clarify.

Well, Sumathi’s sentiments are expressed by many. Who really decides what is relevant or the right Badaga Script. Frankly speaking, I do not know.

The curse with our community is that while we boost of so many good people trying to do something for the society, there are equal numbers to disagree or disregard each and everything. There are so many self appointed ‘Gowdas/Leaders’ and associations who claim to represent all Badagas. The truth is, after Rao Bahadur Ari Gowda, there is not a single leader who can really ‘lead’  the complete community. Sad but true.

We keep hearing about the four  ‘Seemay’ Gowdas but it appears that their influence is confined to their own seemay or group. We hear about the Nakku Betta Gowda, but we do not really know his exact status and his views about the community.

Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowda and his son Ari Gowda were considered to be ‘the uncrowned kings of the Nilgiris – Nakku Betta Raja’ during their life time because of their service to the community and others.

There is supposed to be a federation of Badagas representing many associations spread around the country but these elected representatives are not acceptable to ‘some’ politically’ connected individuals who are not willing to ‘leave’ their ‘posts’. The less said about these individuals, the better.

Coming to the Badaga Script….while I welcome an easily understandable script, the million dollar question is, “what is easily understandable?’

The disturbing news is that a group based at Coimbatore is focused on promoting one particular script and discouraging others from developing better alternatives.

See below the post about Badaga in English Script and about Badaga Barae – Script here

More to follow soon….

Badaga In English Script – Qwerty key pad

Badaga In English Script – Qwerty key pad

It is fantastic that a lot of efforts are being made to develop a Badaga script by Kadasoley Yogesh, Anandha Raju, Saravana Kumar Raju and others. Each has a different script to offer.

Meanwhile, I feel, it may be possible to use English alphabet and special characters that are available in a standard ‘QWERTY key pad’ to ‘write Badagu’.

The special characters are used since we do not have equivalent English letters for some letters like La – ள, Na – ண ,  etc.

Special character like [colon] : is used to avoid writing ‘a’ twice in many words like ‘baalu – tail’.

See the examples below :-

a:du – ஆடு, Dance, sheep/Goat
[a:tta a:duva b:a – ஆட்ட ஆடுவ பா  – come, let us dance],

[kappu a:du dh:aradhu? -கப்பு ஆடு தாரது  whose black sheep is that?]

idhu adhu – இது அது – this and that

k:angi – காங்கி [Female] Name
[K:angi yu Gangi yu hola gelachcha ga hogi d:arey – காங்கி யு கங்கி யு ஹோல  கெல்ச்ச க ஹோகி தாரெ – Kaangi and Gangi have gone to work in the field]

g:ai – காய் -Wind
[baniyanu ikku, g:ai beesira – பனியனு இக்கு காய் பீசிர – wear (woolen) sweater, it is windy]

bal’l’ey – பள்ளே – flat footed woman
[ah bal’l’eya kan’n’u holla – அ பள்ளே ய கண்ணு ஹொல்ல – That flat footed woman’s eyes are full of evil]

k^oi – கோய் -chicken
[k^oi udhakka – கோய் உதக்க – chicken curry]

kodu –   கொடு -give
[S^omi, ee koosuga budhiya kodu – சோமி , ஈ கூசுக புத்தி ய கொடு – God, give this boy some wisdom]

k^odu – கோடு – line
[k^oda th:anda beda – கோட தாண்ட பேட – don’t cross the line]

ban’n’a – பண்ண – colour
[ban’n’a battey baekku – பண்ண  பட்டே பேக்கு – need colourful cloth]

hen’n’u – ஹெண்ணு – girl
[ah hen’n’u s^okka idhdhavey – அ ஹெண்ணு சோக்க இத்தவெ – that girl looks beautiful]

kan’n’u – கண்ணு – eye
k:an’u – காணு see
[kan’n’a tharadhu k:an’u  endhu haegu – கண்ண தரது காணு எந்து ஹேகு – ask (him/her) to open the eyes and see]

hal’l’a – ஹள்ள – river
[hal’l’adha neeru kammi – ஹள்ள த நீரு கம்மி – less water in the river]

halla – ஹல்ல – man with big teeth
[hallajja na namba koodadhu – ஹல்லஜ்ஜன நம்ப கூடாது – don’t believe that ‘toothy’ man]

a:lu – ஆலு – anger
[appa a:l endhundu edhdhaney – அப்ப ஆல் எந்துண்டு இத்தனெ – Father is very angry]

h:al’u – ஹாளு – cursed
[h:aluvadha h:alu k:arana innu k:an’ey – ஹாளுவாத ஹாலு காரன இன்னு காணே – that cursed milkman is not seen still]

bella – பெல்ல – jagiri [black sugar]
Bel’l’a – பெள்ள – male name
[Bel’l’a na m:aththu bella m:akkey – பெள்ளன மாத்து பெல்ல மாக்கே – Bella’s words are sweet like black sugar]

Bel’l’ie – பெள்ளி – silver, Male name
[Bel’l’ie j^odi bel’l’i ungara ikki dhaney – பெள்ளி ஜோடி பெள்ளி உங்கர இக்கிதனெ – Bellie is wearing a pair of silver rings]

[Bel’l’anu Bel’l’ie yu appara nattu k:araru – பெள்ளனு பெள்ளியு  அப்பர நட்டு காரரு – Bella and Bellie are very friendly]

What are your views? Please send them as comments.

                 Script for Badaga      by   Dr.R.K.Haldorai

  “We can easily invent a completely new script for any language in a couple of days” (THE HINDU, May 25, 2013)

       Badaga language has to get a script. Few Badaga enthusiasts tried for that. Over the years few scripts were postulated. But one thing is sure that popularise any new script seems impossible in the present social scenario.

      A language can potentially be written in any script of the world with some minor changes. Badaga language is studied by well known scholars. These linguistic scholars employed other languages’ scripts, especially Tamil and Roman (English) for Badaga language. They followed the internationally adopted methods. When we follow these things we are spared from two great hurdles. Tamil and English letters are known to the present educated Badagas. So, comparatively it is very easy to popularise the required letters. Next it will be in consonance with the international studies. In this background Linguists always favour to adopt the vernacular known scripts for unlettered languages.

    It is to be remembered that the Kodagu language is written in Kannada script. In the same way another south Indian Dravidian language Tulu adopted Kannada script long ago. It is not new that more than one language adopted a common script. It is a worldwide scenario. In India Sanskrit, Hindi, Marathy, and Nepali are written in Deva Nagari script. Of late Kongany which elevated to the eight schedule of our constitution too, adopted Deva Nagari. An unlettered Naaga language of the north east state adopted Roman letters.

     To make Badaga a lettered language, Tamil and Roman scripts are at our hand.

Nelikolu Charitable Trust

An invitation from Dr.R.K.Haldorai whose book “BADAGAR PANPAADU – படகர் பண்பாடு ” is being released on 9-5-13 at YBA, Ooty.


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