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