I had heard from by late brother Nanja about 50 years back, about ‘ a group of Badagas living in Chamarajnagar in a few “hattis” around Hasanoor, my curiosity to learn more about them kept growing. He had mentioned about the the Badagas there selling their milk products through the bus drivers/conductors.
That is the time I realised the true meaning of the proverb ‘Hasanoor haala gudippadhuna, Neelagiria neera gudiipadhu mel – Better to drink the water in Nilgiris than the milk in Hasaroor’. [The different interpretations of this proverb will be discussed in a future post]
Since, we travel to Bangalore from Nilgiris quite often till a couple of years back, we decided that we must take the Sathyamangalam – Nanjangud – Mysore- Bangalore route just to visit Hasanoor to learn first hand about the Badagas of Hasanoor and other nearby villages- hattis. So we undertook the journey a few years back in my ‘ever faithful’ Maruti van but could not reach Hasanoor as the road was under major repairs and it was too risky in my 1986 model van.
However, we did meet one Dhona, a Badaga at the junction of Hasanoor junction and I had written a post on that.
Though there was bits and pieces of information about these Badagas, as part and at the same time different from the main stream ‘Badagas of the Blue Mountains – Nakku Betta, it was only after reading Emerald Bhojan Hari’s detailed narratives mainly in ‘Badaga Mahajan Sangha’ and other forums, I learnt a great deal about these ‘forgotten’ kith and kin of ours. The wealth of information about these ‘countrycousins’ in MEL SEEMAY posted in Badaga Mahajana Sangha FB page is quite a lot. There are plenty of beautiful pictures posted by Raghu Joghee and others.
BMS has not just stopped with sharing the information but have taken the initiative of educating some of those deserving girls and boys belonging to Mel Seemay hattis; Hari and his friends in BMS, have donated liberally and adopted these villages. The great strides taken by this bunch of youngsters and their truly laudable initiatives and efforts are indeed both motivating and ‘educative’.
BMS – Badaga Mahajana Sangha – has not stopped with mere words, but shown what true Badaga Hospitality really means.
For all those who form the backbone of BMS, we are proud of you.