Monthly Archives: May 2014

Changing Times…

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 [BangladeshBhutanIndia,MaldivesNepalPakistan, 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

For header

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.



yeh dil monge more…

Though we live in rather secluded hattis in a place called the Nilgiris , surrounded on all sides by blue mountains, what happens in Delhi and Chennai,[I am talking about the POLITICAL CHURNING after the general elections 2014], affects us directly.

Our wish of Narendra Modi becoming the PM of the country has come true.

Now, we wish, the following  comes true in the central cabinet formation :

  • General VK Singh – Defence Minister,
  • Arun Jaitley – Home Minister,
  • Arun Shourie – Finance Minister,
  • Ravi Shanker Prasad – Law minister,
  • Meenakshi Lekhi and Smriti Irani – important portfolios

Yeh Dil Monge more…

Dharmalingam Venugopal

has sent this interesting info [19-05-2014]

Modi’s Nilgiri Connection

Shri. Kuniyil Kailashnathan, popularly known as KK, who was a trusted aide of Prime Minister designate Shri. Narendra Modi for nearly a decade and now widely expected to play a key role in the new Prime Minister’s Office is a proud son of the Nilgiris’ soil.

Son of a Post Master who served in the Nilgiris for many years, KK had his schooling and graduation in Ooty. KK also married from the Nilgilris and educated his children in the district. He is a batch mate of another son of the soil, Dr. N. Sundaradevan, former Additional Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu.

One of the architects of the ‘Gujarat model’ of rapid and inclusive economic development, Shri.Kailashnathan held a number of key infrastructure positions in the government of Gujarat that impressed Shri. Modi. As the chief executive officer of Gujarat Maritime Board, Kailashnathan was instrumental in privatisation of ports. He served as Ahmedabad’s municipal commissioner and also principal secretary in the Gujarat Urban Development department. Shri.  Kailashnathan  played a key role in setting up the drinking water pipeline grid in Gujarat which Shri. Modi showcased in his political rallies.

Privileged to always fly with Shri. Modi to his meetings,  Shri. Kailashnathan is one of Shri. Modi’s powerful speech writing team. After his retirement as Additional Chief Secretary of Gujarat, Shri.Kailashnathan has been functioning as the Principal Secretary to Chief Minister   Shri. Modi.

We hope the Nilgiris will get due attention, care and development under the formidable ‘Modi-Jaya’ regime.




Update: 17-05-14

The General Election results have been announced : Indeed there was a sunaMO – TsunaMO ?- and Narendra Modi has indeed, single handedly, swept the elections in BJP and NDA favour.

Latest : BJP – 282  NDA – 336

It is 10.59a.m. 16-05-14

Let us leave the NakkuBetta and take a ‘trip’ around this great country called India for a change.

Election trends and results are coming out thick and fast.
As I was hoping, there is a sunami or, rather,

sunaMO, – a sunami in favour of MODI.

In him we will have a great PM. Yes, NM will be PM very soon. For a change, we have voted the right man in.

I predict BJP to get 275 and NDA – 330.

Let us see.

Badaga Day

Today, 15th May, is Badaga Day ! A day for celebration !!


May 15th is also celebrated as Ari Gowder Day due to the selfless work done by Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder for the community. Many reforms were introduced by him and developments carried out due to his efforts.

Ari Gowder2

Ari Gowder

Ari Gowder

Ari Gowder

The hard truth is that , ever since his demise in 1971, we do not have a great Badaga leader like Ari Gowder who can unite and lead our community.

Nanjanadu Crisis – an open appeal


Nanjanadu crisis that resulted in clashes [in Feb 2014] where two persons lost their lives and large scale arson and looting took place, is a classic example of how a minor spark [ in the garb of who should/should not conduct pooja in the common village temple] can result in a major fire in a peace loving community. The biggest fallout is the loss of trust among close relatives. If bitterness can be smelt and felt, all one has to do is talk to anyone from Nanjanadu /connected with Nanjanadu.

While, we have mentioned the way forward in many posts, a permanent solution is possible, only with the help of the highest authority in the state, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

With her reputation of being a tough administrator, accepted by all as a friend and well wisher of Badagas and most importantly having her ‘second’ home in the Nilgiris [the ONLY native place of Badagas], it should take less than day to solve the problem if the matter is brought to her personal attention.

We appeal to the Honourable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, to

1. Order the police to conduct an immediate and fair enquiry and bring the guilty to book.

2. Issue strict instructions for easy and free movements of the minority group and other PEACE lovers, to their damaged houses, tea estates and fields so that day to day life can take place without any hinderance or threat.

3. Last but not the least, give  monetary help from the CM’s funds to the families of the deceased and badly affected persons whose houses are destroyed.

When normalcy is established, let the Hatti People decide, whether they want  GOD to unite them  by conducting common Poojas.


Ex-Hav Sivakumar, Muckimalai writes :
As we know, jealousy and revenge mentality  are basic nature of the human beings…….
My earnest request to  “Aiyyanavakka, Annanavakka” of A Party, loss of two lives cannot be compensated by any means and by anybody. Whole community feels very sad for the incident. But revenge is not a permanent solution.  Please realise that SOME people who are away from village are innocent and also very close and blood relation with you.


Nanjanadu – the way forward

There were some strong emails, especially from [supporters of] the larger group expressing dismay and distress that while the expressions of the minority group have found place in the public domains, the real causes and deep rooted  reasons for distrust have not been high lighted.

The truth is that the minority group has expressed their feelings and frustrations openly and publicly whereas the majority group, staying in the hatti, is not forth coming with their views. I understand that some of them did not permit the Peace Committee to see and seek the truth for themselves when they visited Nanjanadu on 12thMay 2014.

The brutal killing of two on 16th Feb 2014 night cannot be condoned and brushed aside. The police, I am sure, are investigating the incident and the guilty will be brought to book. The law will take its own course. The sad fact is that the two lives cannot be brought back. Our hearts go  to the bereaved families.

Similarly, the arson and looting in the aftermath, also should be investigated and the guilty punished.

It is high time, to dig deeper and find out the truth behind the ill feelings that have been allowed to linger on. This may help in resolving the basic but fundamental problems that are affecting not only Nanjanadu but the Badaga Society at large.

A village that was peaceful till 1987 [when a temple was built] was permitted to destroy itself. Was it due to the EGO hassles of a few, from both the parties, who wanted to treat some as second class citizens or resented being treated as unwanted? Or, due to selfish motives of some who in the guise of serving the society, permitted the embers of URI – jealousy-  to keep glowing?

I would like to quote the words of ‘the soon to be Prime Minister’ NarendraModi

This is the right time to look ahead. It is a time to connect with each other. Lets place people over politics, hope over despair, healing over hurting, inclusion over exclusion and development over divisiveness. It is natural for the spirit of bi-partisanship to get temporarily lost in the midst of  emotions but now is the time to move forward ….

Nanjanadu Crisis – an update

There was a meeting at YBA, Ooty on 10 -05 – 2014 called by the Nanjanadu Peace Committee, where one of the affected parties [called B Party – minority] came in full strength – [gratifying to see  ladies participating]. By the way, it is really  a sad reflection that we have to address people from the same hatti as A and B parties.

11514 011

These  families of about 500 persons from about 120 houses  who had to abandon their houses in the aftermath of violent incidents on the night 16th Feb 2014 are yet to return to their homes and are living like refugees in rented houses and with relatives. REFUGEES IN THEIR OWN LAND- called NAKKU BETTA. What an irony in this age and time!

When I questioned one gentleman, why has he not returned home, he shot back, ” home, where is our home now – the one we owned and lived for hundreds of years has been destroyed by arson; the roof broken and dismantled, all the belongings including utensils have been looted, even the floor tiles have been broken with crow bars…”. His eyes welled up with tears.

When these ‘distraught, displaced and deeply saddened’ people were requested to describe their plight, what came out ‘straight from their hearts’ are indeed stories that should shock all Badagas.

‘We are not getting any posts and  pension’ said an old and retired headmaster who listed a lot of grievances from a petition. ‘All our records like ration cards and revenue records have been destroyed’ he added.

‘Do we have to live like slaves and second class citizens forever just because we are in a minority [Nattas]’ lamented one,

‘The police who took us away in the night, saying that they were protecting us, instead put us in prisons’ alleged  another,

‘No cases have been made against the four men who have been arrested under ‘goondas’ act and not released still’,

‘The district administration has not listened and responded to our requests and petitions and we are  treated badly and made to run from pillar to post by the concerned authorities’

‘The education of our children have been badly affected and what will do when school session starts soon?’ he added

‘I am an unmarried woman, where can I go now?’ cried another soul,

‘Have you heard of Badaga women being put behind bars when we tried to protect our properties and inform the police?’ said a young mother,

‘The monsoon is approaching fast, what will happen to our houses that have no roofs [burnt down by mobs earlier]’

‘My aged mother was dragged out of the house and driven away from the house and hatti’

‘The workers are not permitted to pluck tea leaves from our estates and whatever they had already plucked was snatched and thrown down. The outsiders who have taken our ‘thotta’ – tea fields are being forced to abandon and threatened to leave denying us of any income.’

‘The root cause for all the trouble is one individual who is a politician’ told many.

‘Can all these things happen to us when the Honourable Chief Minister, who is known to be sympathetic to the suffering and strict with law breakers, is staying just a stone throw away in Kodanadu?’ cried a woman unconsolably ??

The ‘crowning glory of this very sad story is that the MILITARY medals of the soft spoken Doctor, who was a COLONEL with the Indian Army, have been detached from the display case, stolen and destroyed.

Shocking – yes. Beyond words. We all should hang our heads in shame.

[Meanwhile the peace committee is planning to visit Nanjanadu to initiate a dialogue with the majority – A party on monday 12th, May.

I sincerely hope and pray that the peace committee will not fall pray to a few publicity seekers who have the potential to derail the peace process].

Jeyasankar Matha

This is the saddest story about our community I am reading so far in my lifetime. Really feeling very sad for all those affected people. Hope the team will find a good solution soon.


Lessons from Nanjanadu Crisis – 4

Badaga community is high on many social factors. Take, DOWRY – the cursed custom in many communities in our country where a bride has to pay a HUGE [beyond the means] amount , both in cash and kind, before marriage. Apart from the monetary burden this puts on the girl’s family, the consequences of this custom goes much deeper. So deep that many communities consider the birth of a girl as a curse.

Fortunately, this dowry system is generally absent among Badagas. Hence, the birth of a girl is accepted as normal. Education to girl child is given importance.

But the sad part is that in DECISION MAKING, be it in the village [hatti] level, seemay  or Nakku Betta levels, the fairer sex is completely neglected. They are NOT part of any KOOTU [panjayats/gatherings] where important matters are discussed and decided affecting the COMPLETE community. So far, no lady is part of the Nanjanadu Peace Committee also; though they are directly and actively involved in the unfortunate happenings.

Unfair to the fairer sex. Keeping away half of a community in any decision making is unacceptable and a blot on our society. When we accept and pray to GODDESS HETHE as our deity and benefactor and seek HER blessings, this custom of keeping away ladies, appears strange.

High time, we learn to accept, allow and ‘APPOINT’  FEMALES in every field.

Lesson – 4 from Nanjanadu crisis is – in our dealings and decision making, include and involve the fairer sex in a FAIR measure and manner. To put it simply – EMPOWER WOMEN

Ex-Hav , (Presently Sub Post Master, Chamraj Estate PO),Muckimalai

writes on Lessons from Nanjanadu Crisis – 4

Right lesson to be learned. It may be due to giving high respect to Girls (Henga & Makka). In most of the villages where two parties exist, girls (Heng & Makka) are always welcome by whole village during FuneralCremation.
However, the point of participation of girls in KOOTU will be the Renaissance of our community and should be taken with an immediate effect, right now from this Nanjanadu Conflict (Not in due course).
Going through the website & all posts, we can understand that the Nanjanadu case is the continuation of problem (Uri) from the previous generation ( for more than decades).
Now-a-days, the young generation of our community is going ahead in the field of education with great enthusiasm, irrespective of gender [including Engineering, Communication and IT Fields]. Many are often flying to abroad.
We should not allow the conflict to our next innocent and enthusiastic generation who are having capability and may proceed to other planets also with the blessing of HETHAY AMMA in forthcoming days.
My humble request on behalf of whole community is to solve the problem at once and don’t allow this to extent further till future generation.
Moreover, as we know, not only in Nanjanadu, the mentality of `Uri’ (Jealousy) is prevailing in almost all hatties and even with Badagas who are settled outside, to a considerable extent. This `Uri’ should not be allowed to extend its octopus hands resulting in another `Nanjanadu incident’.
So, my earnest request is the `Nanjanadu Peace Committee’ may be re-named as `Badagas Peace Committee‘ and members of the committee may please extend their noble service to all hatties [and whole community] to eliminate `Uri’ among all, instead of being only in the case of Nanjanadu.
Dear Sivakumar, thanks for your kind and encouraging words. Your sentiments will be put forward in the forth coming NPC meeting – Wg Cdr JP

Jeyasankar Matha comments on Lessons from Nanjanadu Crisis – 4

Very well said and a very important point taken for discussion. Thank you very much for taking up such a simple but important point. Hope all will encourage this.