Monthly Archives: August 2014

Badaga Panjayats…?!

In the olden days, Badagas lived a very simple but highly cohesive life. Evey village -hatti, consisted of one or two ‘families or Kudumbas’. Each kudumba, as the name indicates, consisted of brothers and they usually lived in the same street – ‘thara’. The ancestral home was given to the youngest son and, due to space constraints, the elder brothers moved out to build separate houses.
 
The youngest son  [when married] was expected to take care of the elderly parents. The sister(s) married off to other hattis were always welcome to the parents house and for the children of the these females, their parents house was a source of great safety and security and the brother’s house was a sacred house known as ‘GURU Manay’. Though the property was given ONLY to sons, the married daughters could come back to the parents house anytime in case of any matrimonial discord. The daughters were given all the respect and they never felt neglected. Mind you, this was a time when girls were married off at a very young age and in most of cases, not educated.

Every family lived a contented life with total cooperation. This, of course, was the time when the undivided Hindu family wealth and property was given to only sons in our Country.
 
But all that changed over time. Material lust took control over conventional matters. The daughters, more often than not, were not welcomed by the brothers (generally due to their wives pressure). This combined with lack of education and absent of other alternatives, forced many daughters to suffer in silence. If they had children and a wayward husband who indulged in wasteful life with drinking being an eternal curse, the life was not only miserable but unbearable. Like in all other communities in our great country, the girls were forced to live a condemned life.

This is the time visionaries and forward looking Badaga leaders like Rao bahadur Bellie Gowder and his son Rao Badahur Ari Gowder high lighted the impoetance of education, the former built the first school along with a hostel that provided free education to Badaga boys and the latter insisted that the girl child should be educated and equal rights and property be given as the boys among Badagas. Empowering women. Now, even the laws in our country has been amended wherein the boys and girls have equal rights on the property of the parents.
Sadly, even in this day and time, in many hattis, the property is recommended to be given ONLY to sons by the so called hatti ‘elders’ in what can be termed as ‘kapp’ panjayats to sort out property disputes. As you may be aware KAPP panjayats are popular male dominated forums in Hariyana and wester UP who had given the ‘OK’ for honour killings, acting as extra constitutional authorities and are in trouble as Supreme Court is looking into their actions.

The problem is, in olden days a complaint was made to the common wisdom of hatti elders when the disputes could not be solved within the family – Kudumba. The Badaga proverb – doddaru shloka – ‘manay ya maathaadi, mandaga hogu’ aptly describes this. Also, in olden days, the options of going to the court or seeking remedy through legal channels were not easy. Tthe ‘core committee’ of elders looking into complaints was made up of non partisan, experienced and where available educated people and their rulings were acceptable to all.
 
These days, in most of the hattis the ‘Gowda’ chosen is the one who does not have a permanent or regular job as he has to attend to a lot social functions both in his as well as in other hattis.  Other members of the ‘problem solving’ group are youngsters selected for collection of tax – wari and to organise temple festivals – habbas etc. By no stretch of imagination, they can can be considered as competent or qualified and least of all experience which is a must.

And, most importantly, when it comes to property allocation to daughters, how can these panjayats go against the law of the land? The feeble argument that only a son can be called a ‘WARISU’ is blatantly brutal, one sided, gender biased and ‘anti-female’ like many other social issues in our society.

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For a change – to relax on a weekend

Can you crack these codes and find out the ‘hidden messages’?

Yes, it is better to stand on your head and clear all DO(ub)TS ?!

 

 

Art in WORDS or Words in ART ? !

Original works of ‘ Bellie Jayaprakash ‘ [No reproduction permitted]

 

~~~ A picture is worth… a thousand words ~~~

Photos by Bellie Jayaprakash ©2014

Dhoddaru Shloka – Badaga Proverbs

One of the fascinating and interesting aspects of Badaga [both people & language] is the free use of delightful but deep meaning proverbs called “DHODDARU SHLOKA”. When you engage an elderly Badaga into any conversation, you are sure to hear a lot of these proverbs thrown in to make / emphasise a point. Prof. Paul Hockings, probably the most authentic researcher on and of Badaga lists nearly two thousands Badaga proverbs, 1730 to be precise. He feels that 1730 could be a complete figure containing all the proverbs there are. See his book,’Counsel from the Ancients: Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses’. He has given the meaning in English as well as making it easy to understand, in a beautiful manner.

Though I find his collection extremely interesting and educative, I do not agree with some of the conclusions he draws on certain proverbs. For example, on the proverb, ‘Odhidhama Niddhana, Oddidhama Erandina’ Prof.Hockings interpretation is quite different to what I feel is the correct meaning. I think ‘a person who spends time learning and ponders (over a problem) is better than the one who runs away (in a hurry) and thus trips over. [Odhidhama – one who has learnt (spent time learning), Niddhana – stops to ponder over[think], Oddidhama – one who runs, Erandina – trips over]. We can hear mothers telling their young children ‘Oda beda , Erandire’ – Donot run, you will trip over (a stone or any obstruction). That is ‘ do not be in a hurry and take a hasty decision’.

Another one is ‘Michidhavaga Morande Kolu Bangara’. In my opinion . the lady who does not listen to any one (Michidha Hemmathi) is bound to land up as a widow (when ‘Morande Kolu – a small stick of morende tree – replaces her jewellery (bangara) during the Ole Kattuva ritual of husband’s death / funeral ceremony). Prof.Hockings feels Mechidhavaga (see the difference between michidhava – one who does not listen- and mechidhava – one who is appreciated by all – even a morende kolu is enough as jewellery. Is it a case of wordplay (pun) by our ancestors??

I have listed a few of the proverbs below and hope to add more in future.

[Sources : Interaction with Fellow Badagas, ‘Naakku Betta’ monthly (1979) –Edited by K H Madha Gowder, Achanakal, Ketti Post , ‘Naakku Seeme’ monthly – May 2006, Edited by K.M Nanjan, Kil Cowhatty Village, Muthorai Post,

Counsel from the Ancients: A Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses By Paul Hockings]

Continue reading

Echo of First World War in the Nilgiris

Dharmalingam Vengopal [Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri]

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As the centenary of the First World War is being solemnly observed world over, the beautiful BEM Neethi church on the slopes of splendid Kalhutti valley in the Nilgiris also silently observes its centenary as a victim of the global war.

The Basel Evangelical Mission (BEM) was established in Basel in Switzerland in 1815 by German and Swiss missionaries who worked in Africa, China, South East Asia and south India. Their work began in 1834 in the Malabar area and spread to Karnataka and south Maharashtra.

Basel Mission came to the Nilgiris in 1845 at the invitation of retired judge G.J.Casamajor who donated his entire property at Ketti to the mission. The first missionary to arrive was Michael Buhler, a gifted linguist, who was the first to document Badaga folklore including the Badaga forefather sayings and ballads. He was the first to put, ‘Badaga language and culture on the scholarly map’. Buhler died young at the age of 37. Several  Badagas attended his burial at St. Stephen’s church at Ooty where Judge Casamajor was  also buried.

‘Thanks to the missionaries, many Badaga villages have had primary schools for longer than thousands of comparable small communities in Canada, the United States, South Africa or Australia’ says Prof.Paul Hockings, an authority on Nilgiri studies.

Exactly one hundred years after the mission was founded its missionaries were unceremoniously sent out of India and their properties confiscated as ‘enemy property’ after the outbreak of First World War in 1914.

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The BEM Neethi Church stands a mute witness to the global war which had its echo as far as the peaceful Nilgiris.

Baduga or Badaga – which website ?

Baduga or Badaga …well both are the same!

While, http://www.baduga.co has more plugins that allow greater flexibility with animations and easier accessibility & ‘ad’ support [since it is based on wordpress.org], http://www.badaga.co [based on wordpress.com] is updated with the ‘latest’ on and of Badaga almost on a daily basis.

For a quick update and ‘faster glance’ visit www.baduga.co

badugaDOTco~~~~~~~~

You can easily access the websites that is

‘ALL ABOUT THE BADAGAS OF THE BLUE MOUNTAINS’

in your smart phones and read/see the posts/pix !

In excerpts that can be expanded !!

Take a look !!!

The websites www.badaga.co and www.baduga.co are  ‘mobile friendly’ !

Join In the Nation Building

One of Prime Minister Modi’s initiatives ‘MyGov’ is to make the citizens to be a ‘part’ of Nation Building’.

Let us Join In to make this country the best

MyGov –  ‘The citizen-centric platform empowers people to connect with the Government & contribute towards good governance’.

Click here

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Independence and Freedom!

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Independence day

by Bellie Jayaprakash

August fifteenth.
Independence day.
Freedom from occupation of the land
by aliens. Celebrations.

But what about freedom
from exploitation of gender and hunger
from fights over caste and religion
from inequality based on creed and region
India, my great land of legends
when are you going to be really FREE?

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Freedom Struggle in the Nilgiris

Dharmalingam Venugopal

Notwithstanding its remoteness and the influence of the British, the Nilgiris played its due role in the freedom movement. Mahatma Gandhi’s visit to the hills from Jan 31 to Feb 4, 1934 stoked the freedom call. Gandhians like Rev.C.F.Andrews and Marjorie Sykes further encouraged the movement among the locals. The house arrest of Sarat Chandra Bose, brother of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose in 1942 in Coonoor and his address in public meetings influenced many inhabitants of all classes.

Mrs.Anne Besant, George Arundale and B.P.Wadia were interred in Col.Olcott’s house in Ooty from June to September 1917 for their role in Indian Home Rule movement.

The freedom struggle not only touched the most numerous Badagas, it also equally influenced the small community of Todas on the hills, who composed  a remarkable  song to welcome Gandhi to the hills.

O wise man!
The like of you has been neither made nor born!
Who is was that acquired learning first? Mahatma.
Who it was that acquired wisdom first? Mahatma.
Who it was that behaved like a father to all? Mahatma.
Who it was that released all men from fetters? Mahatma.
Who it was that fought with the tiger? Mahatma.
Who  it was that did what he considered right? Mahatma.

Toda songs have both a lyrical component as well as a melodic component. The songs consists of several lines. The essential component of each line is a ‘konh’ which comes from the memory of the senior Todas describing various significant events on the hills.

Need for All Nilgiri Badagas Union (ANBU)

Dharmalingam Venugopal

[Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri]

The Nilgiri district administration’s open mind to consider the positive winds of change among the feuding factions of the Badaga community is praise worthy. However, a lasting solution to the recurring problem and a competent body to take over the YBA Building should take into to account representations from across the Badaga community.

Badagas have always been socially conscious and have been forming various associations and advocacy groups to spread social, cultural, economic and ecological awareness among the community. A federation of all such groups will be the best representative body of the Badagas to manage common community assets like the YBA building and to make representation to  district, state and central administrations on the problems and welfare of the Badaga community.

All registered social, cultural and economic welfare associations including bajan and music groups and modern groups based on websites and social media as well  as documentation centres can form an umbrella organization which may be called All Nilgiris Badagas Union (ANBU ) or GAVA, the equivalent of the word  love in Badaga.

Only such a federation would reflect the glorious traditions of the Badagas together with the high achievements and aspirations of the community spread world over. Such a body will be capable of bringing all the two lakh odd Badagas under its active fold, mobilize enough funds and undertake necessary welfare and developmental activities.

The management can be of two tiers. The traditional leaders or the Parpathis and can be the patrons of the Union whose functioning can be managed by an Executive council  with due representations to the four Nadus and the various eligible associations.  A management consultant can be engaged to frame the criteria of eligibility, functions, laws and bylaws. The Union should be the sole voice to represent the Badaga view to the administration and  mediate in  local issues and disputes.

One third of the Executive Members should be necessarily women.

The YBA building can be managed professionally by a paid Manager and a Accountant, preferably non-Badagas,  to the satisfaction of all groups.

A library and a cultural gallery depicting the history and culture of the Badaga community should be the top priority of the new management.

 

Mahendra commented on Need for All Nilgiri Badagas Union (ANBU)

Sir, there is no doubt, our community needs a bonding body which can interact with every village. I hope all the seniors and experience elders like you can take up this task by approaching every village. As you have mentioned that Badagas have always been socially conscious and if every house becomes a member for the association then the bargaining power may increase. Badaga words for abbreviation only may give emotional touch for naming the association. beyond this with my limited knowledge, to get social identity, I humbly wish to suggest a celebration every year on a great personality who worked for the up lift meant of our community. District administration may be approached for the celebration and have a statue of such a personality at Coonoor or Ooty. Through my grand father I came to know about one of the great personalities Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder, the great man who lit the light of education to our community. Like him other great personalities might be there in our community and those personalities can be remembered. Finally we must respect our community ladies for their hard work which helped our community’s development along with education.

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Bellie N commented on Need for All Nilgiri Badagas Union (ANBU)

Dear Mr Venugopal, Your article seem very good and productive. If it is implemented our community will be united in alll aspects, and will get good knowledge about our culture and all. But unfortunately there was a Federation of all of our community Associations. The first hurdle started at that stage only. The ego and power fight between the Federation and YBA started and some unnecessary difficulties started there. At one stage all the leaders of Federation and YBA decided to stop the functioning of Federation. OK past is past.

I humbly suggest all our leaders to prefer YBA as our Apex Body for all the Badaga Organizations throught the Nation and Abroad. Any Association started at any place in India and abroad should be affiliated with YBA, and its name should be the same YBA followed by their respective area, like YBA, Coimbatore, YBA, Chennai and so on. As YBA is situated in our Native Nilgiris head Quarters, and all the Naakku Betta people are the members of YBA,, it is obviously the sole Association for our whole community. Of course all the other Associations, out of Nilgiris should be given representation in the Governing committee, and office. i hope it will be a welcome suggestion, I hope.

I welcome other opinion, to get a wide discussion in this matter.

The positive initiative of Prongadu Seemay to solve the YBA problem

The Porangadu Seemay leaders, lead by Seemay Gowda, Bheema Gowder have taken the initiative to end the unwanted and unnecessary embroglio and to solve the problem of running of Young Badaga Association [YBA] at Ooty.

They have correctly pointed out to the fact that YBA belongs to the whole community of Badagas. A few individuals cannot hold the entire community to ransom for their selfish motives and personal gains by forcibly occupying the premises under one pretext or another.

They have called for a Nakkubetta Kootu, at the traditional meeting place at Nattakallu, near Kerban, Kotagiri to sort out the issues on 16-8-2014.

Our best wishes  and hope the YBA will once again regain its past glory.

Gayatri Mantra and Hethey Prayer

Gayatri Mantra, the most important prayer, inspires wisdom and is also a prayer to the “giver of light and life” – the sun (savitur), ‘Hothu’ in Badaga.
If you analyse the prayer to  Goddess Hethey [by listening to many Hethey songs], you will find striking similarities with Gayatri Mantra!
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Gayatri Mantra

OM BHOOR BHUWAH SWAHA,
TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM |

BHARGO DEVASAYA DHEEMAHI,

DHIYO YO NAHA PRACHODAYAT ||

ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेन्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।

ஓம் பூர் புவ ஸவ |
தத் ஸவிதூர் வரேண்யம் |
பர்கோ தேவச்ய தீமஹி |
தியோ யோன பிரசோதயத் ||
[Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life, Remover of pain and sorrow, The Bestower of happiness, Oh! Creator of the Universe, May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light, May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction]
To listen to Gayatri Mantra go here
Most of the information has been taken from the net and may Goddess Gayatri bless all those authors who have put so much info on the net so that they are freely available to any one.
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