Monthly Archives: March 2014

From the heart on Nanjanadu

KUMAR BELLIE [email id not made public] writes from his heart ;

Very sad to hear this news [of what happened  in Nanjanadu] in Badaga History. Go to other Badaga villages – there is big improvement. Unfortunately, Nanjanadu is still backward.

These prople do not want to comeup from their level.We do not have time to think. Everybody need money, money and money for the present. Those who are fighting in Nanjanadu like animals are not REAL BADAGAS.I want to appeal to them seriously. As per Court Orders, [Ooty] Mariamman temple poojari can advise them how to perform pooja. so, the [hatti] people are ready to listen to an ‘outsider’ but not ready to listen and come to an understanding with others in the village who have been living there for decades.

There was a time when Badagas would form groups to fight. But nowadays, there is no time to think even about our own lives.But, to perform pooja and for that to fight and kill is very shameful.When will these people grow up? They do not want to listen to any advice given by anybody. There are some 20 odd uneducated people behaving like goondas.For their illegal activities inside the village, nobody can ask them. If anybody does, he is attacked.

These 20 odd people must be strictly handled and made aware of what is life. And then, rest will come/take their way. I am so sad about the killing of the two who were like my brothers. May their souls rest in peace.I am ashamed to say that I am a Badaga after this incident [of killing]. But, I pray sincerely. People of Nanjanadu, please come up; life is different. Show you are all united. I worry about all those ‘minority’ people who have not returned back to theie homes. Understand and act accordingly.

I again request the people [to shun violence] ; what ever has happened , has happened. Let us ensure that nothing [ of this nature] will happen in future. In the world map, Badaga is a very small community but we have very appreciable [traditions and] habbits that should not be destroyed. Is there anybody who can make the Nanjanadu people aware about where the Badaga life is leading by this sort of incidents??

Wg Cdr JP adds :-

Part of judgement of the Honourable High Court of Madras dated 29.06.2011 in A.S.No.1268 of 2003 reads:

[para] 21.During the year 1987, the temple….was constructed by the entire village by contributing money, men power and by getting contribution from the public of entire Nilgiris District….Temple kumbabiskam was performed on 11.11.1987 by the general public of Nanjanadu village and persons have been appointed to perform poojas at the temple one from [each] side..During 1988..the Plaintiffs along with ‘A’ party people created problems and made the temple to be closed for nearly 7 to 8 years. During this period, Panchayats have been held and in every Panchyat having agreed and accepted to perform poojas by representatives of both parties and signed the memorandum of agreements, the Plaintiffs have gone back from the agreement and created problems because of the only reason that they have men and money power.

[para]133.Finally the two party people have the right to perform poojas …daily in the morning ..and in the evening.

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Appeal and advice to the people of Nanjanadu

By this time, probably, most of us have heard about the sad and shocking incidents that happened at Nanjanadu Village, the biggest Badaga hatti.

About a month back, on 15/16 Feb 2014 to be specific,  in a factional fight, two persons belonging to one group were brutally killed. In retaliation, the other group indulged in arson and set many houses of the minority group on fire and indulged in looting. As a result the minority group [of about 100 houses, out of the total 1000 odd houses in Nanjanadu], in fear for the safety of person and property, have abandoned their houses and fled from the hatti and yet to return to their homes and hearth.

To maintain law and order, the police have arrested, persons belonging to both the groups and have put them in prison. Some of these persons arrested, we understand, are not directly involved in the incidents but volunteered to be arrested. They are yet be granted bail.

The reason and trigger for these killings, arson and looting is, believe it or not, who should perform PUJA in the Shiva temple [see the pix].

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The sad truth is that both the groups are very closely related. The shock is that they have gone to the extreme extent of killing and looting. Unheard of traits that are never associated with the peace loving, ever hospitable Badagas.

In a laudable effort, the Nelikolu Trust has taken a great initiative and formed a Peace Committee consisting of many prominent Badagas with the sole purpose of not only uniting people of Nanjanadu and bringing peace and harmony but also to ensure that ‘the cancer of mistrust and jealousy’ is cut off once and for all among Badagas in the long term.

We hope and pray that the initiatives and efforts of Dr.Haldorai, Advocate R.Sivakumar  of Nelikolu Trust with the able advice and assistance of Dr.Sundaradevan, IAS, Thangadu Mohan and Annikorai A.M.Joghee Gowder (Retd -Headmaster) and other members of the peace committee will bring PEACE not only in Nanjanadu but in other Badaga Hattis as well.

In this crucial juncture, we appeal to the people of Nanjanadu belonging to both the factions to fully cooperate with this Peace Committee. We are aware that a few rogue elements among you have been holding the entire hatti to ransom. May be a couple of ‘outsiders’ are interfering by giving ill advice.

But BEWARE, criminal offences like murder, arson and looting cannot be justified in the name of mob mentality and sooner or later the long arm of law will catch up.

May Hethe give us the strength to step forward!

Background Continue reading

Elections – 2014

Nilgiri constituency: Vote for Water

VenugopalDharmalingam Venugopal [Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri]

Since 1957, Nilgiris has been a separate constituency for the parliamentary elections. However, no election has put forth a Nilgiri agenda, except for an occasional mention about some local issue. The Nilgiris was taken for granted as a happy district with no need for parliamentary attention or intervention. The Nilgiris should not lose the forthcoming watershed elections also by default.

The regional, national and global significance of the Nilgiris as a major eco-system service provider is established beyond doubt now. The economic significance of the district as a major provider of tea, hydel power and tourism also cannot be disputed. Any party contesting for the Nilgiri constituency must put forth an exclusive Nilgiri agenda for the next five years.

Foremost is a long term solution to the water needs of the district. It is a travesty of natural justice that when Nilgiri waters are providing drinking water to Coimbatore and Tirupur nearly hundred kilometers away and irrigating 2.5 lakh hectares even farther in the plains below, the Nilgiri district has been facing acute water scarcity for decades and thousands of local farmers have abandoned cultivation for want of irrigation. With tourism and habitations expanding every day, water scarcity may reach a crisis point sooner than later.

Ooty, Coonoor, Gudalur and Kotagiri are no more Hill Stations catering for a seasonal population but are Mountain Cities serving a huge population round the year. Most of the villages are still dependent on local streams and community pipes. Younger generations are leaving the villages for want of piped water and toilets. The desperate and widespread rush for sinking wells is seriously jeopardizing the hydrology and geology of the district, according to experts.

Parties should announce a comprehensive water plan for the Nilgiris by diverting adequate waters from the existing hydel reservoirs to the towns and villages. Till then all new schemes in the plains below for utilizing the waters of Nilgiris from Pillor dam and Lower Bhavani Dam should be put on hold. The Nilgiri people have a right to their waters for domestic and farming purposes. More reservoirs should be constructed to meet the needs of the expanding habitations and remote villages. A massive programme to increase grass lands in the catchment and other areas should be undertaken to preserve ground water and increase flow into the reservoirs. Modern irrigation methods and rain water harvesting can be subsidized to economize and augment domestic water supply.

May the party which promises and commits itself to provide more water to the Nilgiris win the Nilgiri constituency.

Women’s Day

WomensDayAny society that can claim to be really developed, has be the one that has given WOMEN equal status in all walks of life.

If we are proud to be HEHTE AMMA MAKKA [children of Goddess Hethe], let us remember that SHE is a woman.

On this women’s day, let us pledge that IN THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN lies our WELFARE.

Hetheyawakka, awway, akka, ammay ella – engava harachivi {Grand mothers, mothers, elder and younger sisters – bless us]

Ariyalur and Badaga Pilgrims

Ariyalur and Badaga Pilgrims

by Dharmlingam Venugopal [Nilgiri Documentation Centre]

The moving story recalling the chilling experience of the Ariyalur train tragedy in the columns of the Hindu has rekindled varied memories connected with the incident.

Among the 142 ill fated victims of Ariyalur train accident on Nov 24, 1956 were 34 Badaga pilgrims from the Jakkanarai village of Kotagiri in the Nilgiri district. Members of the village  Pandarpur Bhajan Sabha, a group of  60 of them were returning from Pandarpur when they decided to extend their tour to Rameswaram.

An young lawyer from the same village who had then just finished law in Chennai  had pleaded with them to wait till the cyclonic rains abated. He had also had an ominous dream the previous night. The pilgrims consoled the young lawyer saying that a young one’s dream was harmless and proceeded towards their watery grave.

14 of them escaped with serious to mild injuries but some of them died soon after haunted by the nightmare of the ghastly memory, one man literally taking his gun out and shooting in the darkness for days.

The young lawyer later got all the victims compensation through a prolonged effort and they all together invested in an Ariyalur Tea Factory which ran for over twenty years.

The people of Jakkanarai village built a memorial near the spot of the accident with the names of the victims and for the next fifty years regularly offered prayers at the spot on the day of the tragedy. The memorial still stands covered by roadside bushes.  Since then they have built a replica of the memorial in their village itself for offering annual prayers.

Ariyalur[Click on the pix for enlargement]