This is a time of change. Or, changing times. For, the nation. For a community like Badagas.
The first sign of change has come in the form of the 2014 election results. A clear mandate for Modi. As head of the government, I am sure, there are going to be many changes. The way, this country is going to be governed, will be the first major change.
This will start with the new cabinet that is going to be announced tomorrow. Or, rather, the change has already started with the decision of Modi, who has invited the heads of SAARC Countries [Bangladesh, Bhutan, India,Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka]. Out of box thinking that has been termed as ‘small but smart step’.
Similarly, it is high time, the Badaga community accepts the hard reality of changing times.
We cannot afford to keep the eyes closed and hope that nothing has changed.
The sad commentary of what happened in Nanjanadu, where fathers turned against daughters, murders and looting occurred with immunity; or, the sorry state of affairs of YBA [Young Badaga Association] which, instead of being a forum for ALL BADAGAS has become a personal fiefdom of some individuals for selfish motives and benefits. Just look at the Kerala Samaj, bang opposite YBA in Ooty. You can FEEL the difference.
We cannot live in a time wrap. Bogged down with antiquated ideas of treating women not as equals and not involving them in important decision making. In this age and time, we are not able to invite them for our KOOTUS [community meetings] where matters of vital importance affecting individual /hatti life are taken. There is absolutely, no official representation for women in any one of our Seemays or in the so called apex body NAKKU BETTA.
Time, we defined the MOREY [marriage/matrimonial arrangements for alignments] in a logical manner by which many ‘outside’ marriages can be avoided.
Learn to treat Nattaru as equals and not as second class citizens.
Instead of putting all our efforts and money in building more temples, time we ensure that every house has a toilet in all our villages. Where it not practicable, every hatti should have community toilets. Simply ensure that open defecation becomes a thing of the past.
Festivals are occasions to ‘meet, mingle and celebrate’. But do not make them, as time to spend more in comparison to other villages.
Badaga dancing is all about grace and poise. Do not mix them with vulgar ‘tappa kuthus’ in movie style.
Times are changing. Let us accept it. If we do not change with changing times, the great Badaga community will become history.
Let there be change, change for the better.
Here is a poem dedictated to my mother
The Power to Change
Give me the power to dare
to reach the heights with no fear,
Instead of meekly stand and stare.
Give me the courage to defend
the innocent from injustice of any kind,
Instead of simply sit back and pretend.
Give me the strength to protect
the unique and wild to keep them intact,
Instead of finding excuses to destruct.
Give me the heart to offer
whatever is left in the coffer,
Instead of walking past those who suffer.
Give me the chance to dream
Give me the courage to dare
Give me the conviction to do.
GIVE ME THE POWER TO CHANGE,
THE POWER TO CHANGE MYSELF,
TO CHANGE MYSELF FOR THE BETTER.