There are many important lessons that Badagas should learn from Nanjanadu crisis due to which a great hatti has been divided vertically. These lessons will help us to avoid such situations in future.
The Badaga society was a close knit tribal group with many far advanced social factors. To name, just a few, we can proudly claim that 1) the evil of dowry has not permeated very deep, 2) divorce and remarriage are permitted thus saving a lot of young girls from total ruin and 3) many festivals and funerals are a village affair, not individual, thus uniting the complete village.
In the ancient and early days, as the houses in any hatti are in a row, called THARA in Badaga, and there was no scope for expansion, the house was left to the youngest son so that he would take care of aging parents. The elder brothers, usually built their own houses. The married sisters were treated with love and respect and they could walk into their parents house at any time. While the property of the parents, specially father’s, excepting the house, was partitioned among only the brothers, it was an unwritten law that the brothers would not DESERT their sisters. The brothers would stand by their sisters through thick and thin.
But, like in many societies in India, the girls were not treated as equals among Badagas. Their education was restricted, mainly due to early marriages and they had to undertake the complete burden of running the house holds in those houses to which they were married to. With widely prevalent drinking, the men would fritter away whatever they earned on drinks. The daughter in law, SOSE in Badaga, was mostly treated differently and many times, degradingly.
Badaga leaders like ARI GOWDA, realised the double ‘damakka’ of drinking among men and exploitation of women. He was probably the first INDIAN in the British Raj, to successfully bring in prohibition in the Nilgiris much before independence and insisted on compulsory education of girl child.
In Badaga society, education among the girls, is slowly but surely, bringing a change.
The Indian Law Makers have made both education and equal rights in property to girls into laws. EQUAL share in property to girls is LAW. We cannot bypass this LAW by claiming that Badaga traditions meant the opposite.
In Nanjanadu, there are many daughters of the majority group married to men from the minority faction. But, unfortunately, these daughters are not treated fairly and equally by the very same parents who gave them in marriage to the ‘other side’. Which, as of now, is against law.
The lesson we have to learn is – TREAT DAUGHTERS AND SONS AS EQUALS.
A well recognised KV Teacher and President’s medal winner RAJMA writes : –
Well said. Nanjanadu Crisis has taught us enough of lessons. The most important one is respect to womenfolk and their education. A woman is the epitome of tenderness, care and wisdom. She is the real architect of the society. She is strong, beautiful, compassionate , tolerant , amazing and much more than words could say. But who realizes this.? The responsibilities held and the sufferings faced by our Badaga women are endless. The younger generation should bring positive changes..! Let us hope…”TREAT DAUGHTERS AND SONS AS EQUALS ” Will it be a reality or a distant dream…?