Monthly Archives: September 2013

Badaga Language

Badaga Bashay

Recently, I was travelling by a taxi from Coonoor to the plains owned and operated by a Badaga youngster. Badaga music – mostly dance numbers was part of the journey. But what shocked me is a number ín which the lyrics go like this – ‘nee jalli kattu kaaley [ ஜல்லி கட்டு காளை]  edhaga, thulli [துள்ளி] guththu bandarey….’Badaga or Tamil song ? Song writes and music directors, will you preserve the uniqueness of our great language? I feel strongly that we must start saying – BADAGA KADHEY instead of BADAGA PAATTU.


Can you spot the grass hopper?

Can you spot the grass hopper?

Click on the image for enlargement Misc 022

photo by JP

Congrats Vidya Vivek

Vidya Vivek writes :

I am a self-taught artist. Recently I had a concept in mind and for that I wanted authentic pictures of Baduga women in traditional jewellery. Your website came handy and I made my painting. I thank you and look up to you for all that you do for our community. …
I have attached my painting (RadhaKrishna in our traditional attire) along with this mail.
Badaga Painting 1

Painting by Vidya Vivek

Hello Vidya, Thank you very much for your email. I have seen your FB page as well as your website and must say that your paintings are very impressive. Painting being my hobby, though I have not done many in the recent past, I can understand the passion and pride in being a painter.

Wishing you the very best.

Wg.Cdr. JP

Badaga Chanting – ‘ÄTHIKKOVADHU’

The beauty about Badaga community is not only the unique customs specific to the community but the steadfast belief with which atleast some of them are followed by Badagas with fervour. One of them is the loud chanting of ‘Athikkodhu – LOUDLY saying of EAY AH HOW – on certain but specific occasions. It is said that in earlier days [hundred of years back], when the Badaga villages [hattis] were separated by thick jungle forests , ‘athikkindu Hoppadhu ‘ – traversing the forest with loud athikkodhu chant – kept the wild animals away.

Three occasions come to mind immediately,

1) During “Hethay Habba’ – both when from every village the devotees go to Hethay temples at Beragani and Peddhuva as well as when the Hethay deity is taken to ‘Madi Halla -river’ for change into new dress once a year [and also whenever a hatti temple deity is taken on procession during habbas in hattis],

2) During weddings when the bride and groom are brought to the ‘Madhuvay Mane – wedding house,and the newly weds are taken to the temple and

3) On funerals when the widow is brought for ‘olay Kattodhu’ and the ‘akki eththuva ‘ procession starts from the ‘dhodda Mane’ to ‘saavu hanay ‘ where the corpse/body is kept before being taken for burial.

This loud ‘chanting /cry’ is made from the bottom of the stomach by a few leading the procession and repeated by the rest following them.

I have given the ‘live’ recordings of this unique chanting (recorded during a wedding [the band playing in the background] at Thambatty


at a funeral at Kundhey Ketchigatty)

Badaga Blessings

badaga-blessing1sketch by JP
One of the wonderful and deeply meaningful customs of Badagas, is the seeking of the blessings of elders. That is, whenever any person meets/visits an elder, he or she seeks the blessings of the elderly person [elderly does not mean aged/old but only elder by age] by bowing the head and requesting “Harachu (bless me)”. If any headgear like cap/turban is worn, the same is removed.
The elder, placing his/her right hand [or both hands] on top of the head of the youngster would bless [broadly] with the following words – footwear [kevaru / mettu]as well as the headgear [cap/kovili or turban / mandare] would be removed before blessings are sought / offered.
The elderly person  blesses as ‘ Ondhu Nooru, Saavira Agili [let one become a hundred and then a thousand];  Somi, harachavu,sogavu kodili [may God give good health and happiness]; Hoppa eday, bappa eday ella ollithay barali [let only good things happen while going out or coming back]‘ This tradition not only ensures respect to elders but also shows the close bond. Incidentally, open palms -where the nerves end, is supposed to transmit positive vibrations. Thus, the open palms placed on the head, is the ultimate way of blessing.
If you are new to this custom, it may make us a bit uneasy [ashamed is a very strong word] but when you get used to it, this is pure bliss. Let us start seeking the blessings from the most neglected elders – our parents.
1. Ollithagi, ondhu saaviraagi, ko endu korasi, bo endu bokki, nooru thumbi, naadu jaradu, dheera p(b)oorana aagi, baddukki ba
 [Let everything become good, let one become a thousand(wealth), let ‘ko’ be the call, let it boil as ‘bo’, let 100 (years) be completed, visit all [over] nation(s), be a great and enlightened person & come back with all these.

2. Ollitha Aethi, Hollava Thalli, Olagodho Ellava Geddu Ba

[Leave all that is bad, take all that is good , come back winning all/everything in this world]

3. Enna maathi / hennu, , sangatta salippu elladhe ollenge iru, paddipperi mundhuga hesarethi baa, hoppa dhari, Bappa Dhari yo, edinjillu elladhe ollange agili, Nee olagava hedithu ba !

[ Oh my son/daughter, let you live well without any disease or discomfort, let you become famous and may education take you forward, wherever you go, let there be no interruptions or hindrances and  may you come back safely. May you rule [lead] the nation (with your wisdom)]!

Full text :

ondhu, ompaththu aagali, ondhu, saavira aagali,

harachchava kodali, sogava kodali, baNda hechchali, badhukku hechchali, bE hechchali, haalu hechchali, haNNu hechchali,

manE katti, maaru kattili, ondhu manE, saavira manE aagali,

beNNE bettu aagali, thuppa theppa aagali, hulla muttilE hoo aagali, kalla muttilE kaai aagali, honna muttilE sinna aagali,

bettadhudhu bandhalEyu, beraluga adangali, attudhadhu bandhalEyu, aangai adangali,

Kattidhadhu karEyali, biththidhadhu bEyali,

aanaiya balava kodali, ariyaa siriyaa    kodali, budhdhi bevarava kodali,

uri hOgi, siri barali, siri sippaaththi agali,

HOppa edE, bappa edE ellaa, oLLiththE barali,

nooru thumbi, naadu jaradhu, dheera pooraNa aagi, OLLiththa Eththi, Hollava ThaLLi, olagodho ellaava Gedhdhu, sangatta salippu illaadhe, hoppa dhaari, Bappa Dhaari yo, edinjilu iLLaadhe, padippEri mundhuga hesareththi,

kumbE kudi haradha engE, angaalu muLLu muriyaadhE, kO endhu korachchi, bO endhu bokki, ManE thumba makka hutti, gOttu thumba sosE kondu,

paava pariya nOdi, olagadha hesaru eththi badhukki baa

ஒந்து, ஒம்பத்து ஆகலி, ஒந்து, சாவிர ஆகலி,ஹரச்சவ கொடலி, சொகவ கொடலி, பண்ட ஹெச்சலி, பதுக்கு ஹெச்சலி, பே ஹெச்சலி, ஹாலு ஹெச்சலி, ஹண்ணு ஹெச்சலி,

மனே கட்டி, மாரு கட்டிலி, ஒந்து மனே, சாவிர மனே ஆகலி,

பெண்ணே பெட்டு ஆகலி, துப்ப தெப்ப ஆகலி, ஹுல்ல முட்டிலே ஹூ ஆகலி, கல்ல முட்டிலே காய் ஆகலி, ஹொன்ன முட்டிலே சின்ன ஆகலி,

பெட்டதுது பந்தலேயு, பெரலுக அடங்கலி, அட்டுதது பந்தலேயு, ஆங்கை அடங்கலி,

கட்டிதது கரேயலி, பித்திதது பேயலி,

ஆனைய பலவ கொடலி, அரியா சிரியா கொடலி, புத்தி பெவரவ கொடலி,

உரி ஹோகி, சிரி பரலி, சிரி சிப்பாத்தி அகலி,

ஹோப்ப எடே, பப்ப எடே எல்லா, ஒள்ளித்தே பரலி,

நூரு தும்பி, நாடு ஜரது, தீர பூரண ஆகி, ஓள்ளித்த ஏத்தி, ஹொல்லவ தள்ளி, ஒலகொதொ எல்லாவ கெத்து, சங்கட்ட சலிப்பு இல்லாதெ, ஹொப்ப தாரி, பப்ப தாரி யொ, எடிஞ்சிலு இல்லாதெ, படிப்பேரி முந்துக ஹெசரெத்தி,

கும்பே குடி ஹரத எங்கே, அங்காலு முள்ளு முரியாதே, கோ எந்து கொரச்சி, போ எந்து பொக்கி, மனே தும்ப மக்க ஹுட்டி, கோட்டு தும்ப சொசே கொண்டு,

பாவ பரிய நோடி, ஒலகத ஹெசரு எத்தி பதுக்கி பா

English Translation

Let  prosperity/good deeds increase nine folds, [ondhu – one, ombaththu – nine, aagali – happen] Let a prosperity increase a thousand times, [saavira – thousand]

Let good helath and happiness be bestowed [haracha – health, soga – happiness, kodali – given] Let the cattle wealth / livestock (number of buffalows and cows) increase [banda – cattle] Let wealth  increase [badhukku – wealth] Let the (sown) crops increase [bay – crops) Let the milk (yield) inncrease [haalu – milk] Let the fruits increase [hannu – fruits]

May you build (your own) a house [manay – house, katti – build] May you get married [maaru katti – marriage] Let one house become a thousand [may your family increase]

Let the butter [yield] grow to a mountain, [bennay – butter, bettu – mountain] Let ghei (clarified butter) made become large like a well [thuppa – ghei, theppa – well] Let grass turn to flowers and stones to fruits when touched [Hullu – grass,muttilay – touched, hoo – flower, kallu – stone , kaai – unripe fruit] Let iron turn to gold [Honna – iron, sinna – gold] Even if trouble comes in huge amount like a mountain, let it be contained in a finger [betta – mountain, bandalay – coming, beralu – finger, adangali – contained] Even if trouble comes like a deep valley, let it be contained in the palm (fist)

Let the tied cow give milk, [kattidhadhu – tied, karayali -milking] Let whatever is sown ,grow well [biththidhadhu – sown, bayyali – grow well]

Let the strengh of Elephant be bestowed (on you) [Aanay – elephant, bala – strengh] Let a lot of happiness be given, [siri – happiness] May you become intelligent and wise [budhdi – intelligence, bevara – wisdom]

Let jealousy vanish and happiness prevail [uri – jealousy /envy] Let happiness increase manyfold [sippathi – manyfold]

Let only good things happen wherever you go and come [Hoppa – going, bappa – coming, eday – place, olliththu – goodness]

Let you live to be a full  hundred  with lots of wisdom so as to make others wonder(envious) [nooru – hundred, thumbi – full/filled, naadu – nation/others, jaradu – envious, Deera – wisdom, poorana – complete /lots, aagi – become] Take only the good and leave behind the bad [olliththu – good,eththi – take, holla’va – bad, thalli – leave behind] May you win all in this world [olaga – world, ellava – all, geddhu – win] without any worries and problems, [sangatta – worries, salippu – problems/hesitation] Let there be no hinderance on your ways [dhaari – path /way, edinjallu – hinderance] Let you come up in life with wisdom given by education [paddippu – education, mundhuga – coming forward]

Like a pumpkin plant that grows and spreads [kumba kudi – pumpkin plant, haradu – spread] Let not thorns stop your steps [Aangaal – foot, mullu – thorn, muriyadhay – embed (in the sole)

Let your name and fame spread wide and far and called by all and overflow [korachi – calling, bokki – overflow] Let your home be filled with children [makka – children, hutti – born] and let there be many daughters in law [gottu – corner, thumba – full,sosay – daughter in law]

May you look after your dear and near ones [pava paria – near and dear ones] Earn a great name in this world [hesaru – name, eththi – earn]

And  live with PROSPERITY

(sources :My mother  B.Idyammal , Appukodu Lakshmi Ammal, Balasubramaiam’s ‘Paame’, Sivaji Raman’s ‘Badaga Samudhaayam’ and  my own interaction with  Badaga  elders)


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Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash B.E.(GCT,Madras Univ).,M.B.A (FMS, Delhi Univ)
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Badaga Jewellery

Badaga Jewellery

[click here to see plenty of photos and read the complete article]

Badagas, especially the women, have some exotic and unique jewellery that they wear on their person.

It was a chance but a wonderful meeting with Mrs.Gangamma, aged 78 years, daughter of Karibajja Kari Gowder of Pedduva Kallatti who was associated with Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder (‘Ari Gowda koottuda maathu adile, Koodi ebba ella bae muchindu unnippa ortara endu appa hegina’, she remembers ] and wife of late Kari Gowder of Kerben Village (Kotagiri) who passed away about 40 years back, at Mettupalayam in Feb,2007.

She was wearing traditional Badaga Jewllery – ‘Mookkuthi [nose ring] & Chinna [ear ring]’ which made me ponder and wonder about Badaga Jewellery and offered me the opportunity to take her snaps with these unique ornaments.

[PS: Deeply regret to record that Mrs.Gangamma Hethe passed away recently-JP]

click here to see plenty of photos and read the complete article about the wonderful ‘world’ of BADAGA Bangara – Jewellery

Happy Birthday Mom, on this 102nd BIRTHDAY, we miss you!

2nd September,2013

Idyammal Bellie Gowder

Mom, you would have been 102 years today and we would have celebrated your birthday in style.

Your children and grand children would have called from all over the world to wish you Happy Birthday – a daughter from Kundey Kettchigatti, another daughter from Chennai/Madras, grand son from South Africa, a grand daughter from England, another grandson from Bangalore, another grand daughter from New Delhi….. and from many other places

Your sons and daughters in law would be celebrating the day with you along with a Birthday Cake brought in by another grand daughter from Coonoor and her son/your great grandson would have bowed his head and said,’Somee hethey, harachu’. You would hold him and blessed him as you would have blessed us all, ‘Somee, harachava kottu, sogava kottu , hoppa edey bappa edey ella olliththay aagali’ / Oh Almighty, give them health and happiness and , let there be only good things wherever they go‘.

You would have in typical style said with a smile ” ennu aesu kalaththa ebbadhu – how long you want me to live?

And, suddenly one night, you chose to leave us WITHOUT REALLY SAYING ‘Hoyittu Bannu – good bye!’

You were everything for us in all those glorious 99 years and 10 months when you were ‘here’. Your blessings still guard and guide  us in all our endevours.

We miss you , Mom

Elle idhale’yu engava harachu

[Bless us all from wherever you are]

MOM 5.jpg
Idyammal Bellie Gowder
Born September 02, 1912
Hubbathalai, The Nilgiris
Died July 13, 2011 (aged 99 years 10 months)
Parents Rao Bahadue HJ Bellie Gowder and Nanji Hethe
Sister of Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder
Spouse B.K.Bellie Gowder [Bearhatti]

[A pencil sketch of Mom by JP in 1968 while she was reading an issue of Femina ]