Monthly Archives: September 2014

Creative Alliance for Nilgiris- CAN

The Creative Shop (Creative Alliance for Nilgiris- CAN)

DV Shop Dharmalingam Venugopal [Honorary Director, Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri, The Nilgiris, Cell #9444365360] writes : I have great pleasure in welcoming you to the opening of The Creative Shop at Kotagiri, The Nilgiris on Oct 1, 2014 A  note on what  The Creative Shop is all about follows. You are aware that Financial Inclusion is being implemented in the country with great vigor and vitality both by the previous Congress government and the present Modiji’s government. Mountainous regions of the country pose special challenges to inclusion because of their terrain, communication and transport difficulties and tribal or indigenous nature of their population. In 2012, while working as the Economist of Indian Overseas Bank, I suggested to my good and respected friend, the then Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Dr. K.C.Chakrabarty, who was spearheading the financial inclusion movement in the country, that I would try a pilot experiment in the Nilgiris among the Todas. He readily agreed and Dr. M.Narendra, the Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Overseas Bank was only too eager to join. Normally, the lead bank of the district, Canara Bank in the case of Nilgiris, should take the lead. But an exception was made in my case. When some reporters asked why restrict the project to just one tribe, Dr. Narendra promptly extended the project to all the Primitive Tribes of Nilgiris. When, later, Dr. Chakrabarty came to inaugurate the project, he was so impressed with the project that he announced an exclusive Rural Self Employment and Training Institute (Rseti) for the Primitive Tribes of Nilgiris to be set up at Kotagiri by Indian Overseas Bank. Normally, the Lead Bank of the district runs such institutes at the district headquarters, Ooty in this case. The Nilgiris is, perhaps, the only case where there are two such institutes. Under the Financial Inclusion of the Primitive Tribes of Nilgiris, more than Rs.4 crores loans have been given. Seven Banking Correspondents, mostly tribals, have been appointed. In the last two years, the  Kotagiri Rseti run by Indian Overseas Bank has trained a number of candidates in a variety of self-employment opportunities. Then, a question was asked. How will these trainees, mostly women, be able to market their products viably? We then came up with the idea of forming a Creative Alliance for Nilgiris (CAN) to impart confidence to the trainees that anybody ‘CAN’ do it. The Creative Shop is the first initiative under CAN. The Creative Shop will promote all kinds of local products and services. It will also bring creative products from all over India so that local producers can learn how creative products are made in other parts of country. To start with we have ordered all racks from the Lantana Furniture produced by the Eco-development and Sustainable Livelihood Society at Moyar. We hope to leverage the extensive network of the branches of Indian Overseas Bank through interested employees and retirees to identify creative products in different parts of the country. They will also be encouraged to launch similar Creative Shops so that eventually there can be network of such shops promoting the products produced by the trainees of Rsetis throughout the country. For  details contact or 9487071793

We appeal : To the Press and Media for extensive publicity to our endeavour. To the Corporates and Banks to consider supporting us through their Corporate Social Responsibility To the Government and administration to support us through any of the social development projects. To the IOBians, past and present, to support this sincere initiative.

VenugopalDharmalingam Venugopal is a great and committed Badaga who ‘looks beyond what you see’. His tireless efforts to make Nilgiri Documentation Centre a source of information have brought laurels from all over the globe and has become a ‘must see’ for the informed tourists. I take great pleasure in wishing him the very best in his new endevour and have no doubts that ‘CAN’ will be a great success. Yes, we CAN – Wg Cdr JP


Make Madison Square as MODIson square!

Update 3-10-14:- Prime Minister Modi’s USA visit was a grand success. At Madison square, the treatment he received was simply great. How many Badagas in USA attended the meeting…?

Indian Americans – Badaga Indians The surprising but highly satisfying fact is that out of 334,000 + visits to this website on and of Badagas, a large number is from USA. Next only to the number of visitors from India. Needless to say, a majority of them are YOUNG BADAGAS. Like many other  Indian American communities, these Badagas have done exceptionally well for themselves, to America (the country they have chosen to be citizens of) and to India (the country of their origin). One guesses that there are more than 300 hundred Badaga families spread around many states of USA. Some of them are settled there for decades and are more Americans than Indians. Sadly, a minuscule minority among this ABC (American Badaga Community) are ashamed to call themselves Indians let alone Badagas. These ‘doreys and dorasaanis’ do not speak Badaga nor follow any of our customs. They have, cut off their connections with the ‘roots’. But, lo and behold, whenever they pay a ‘royal’ visit to their hattis and families, they involve in petty politics and are more concerned with creating confusion and ill will among the relatives than bringing peace and unity. Being truly materialistic, their only motive is money. Fortunately, and one hopes feverishly, they form only a very small group. But the majority of  American Badagas are ‘proud Indians’ and ‘prouder Badagas’. They have made the rest of us, proud of them. Now a small appeal to all of ABC. Prime Minsiter of India Narendra Modi is visiting USA from 25th Sep 2014. He is there for five days. He is not another Indian PM visiting the USA. He is simply different. Have no doubts that he will change the perception of India. Specially to the Indians in America. Hopefully the American Badagas.

700,000 डॉलर में मोदी के लिए बुक मैडिसन स्‍क्‍वॉयर गार्डन

So, please be at Madison Square to attend Modi’s rally and make it a MODIson square. Meet, mingle and make merry with other Badagas. Exchange a few pleasantries in your mother tongue. If possible make ‘avare and koi udhakka in typical Badaga style ( see our page for these recipes).

 Eat, enjoy, dance and celebrate.

Make India proud! Make Badagas proud!!

Indian Prime Minister Modi’s Madison Square Garden Event Sold Out

Badaga Recipes

ErigittuErigittu with Thuppa, Avare Udhakka and Keere Soppu

Thuppadha hittu or Enne Hittu

Badagas usually grow vegetables in their small patch(es) of land called ‘HOLA’ (see photo) for their regular use apart from other commercial crops like potato, cabbage, carrot and cauliflower etc. These would also include many varities of beans, peas, greens, corn etc. Every variety of avere(bean) has a specific (sometimes unique) badaga name. No Badaga wedding meal is complete without ‘Avare & Gaasu udakka’ [beans & potato curry]. Incidentally, Badagas do not serve non-vegetarian (meat) dishes on the wedding day , main meal is called – ‘maduve hittu‘. Another great trait among these simple peasant people is called ‘nattu‘ – a sort of gift (again mainly the home grown vegetables & grains) given to relatives, friends and guests.

Tea >>Tea Leaves… the crop on which Badaga ‘economy’ depends so much..

The agricultural produce, food, dishes, eating habits and some interesting recipes of Badagas.
Apart from, I am thankful to N.Bellie, R.Ramachandran (Kekkatty) and others for their imputs. A lot of info is from Prof.Paul Hockings’s books.
I have tried to discuss and describe, not only of authentic recipes on Badaga dishes but also on their agricultural produce, known in Badaga language as BAE – like for example Badagas used to grow wheat, barley, millet – GHODUME, GANJE, ERAGI, BATHA –etc but have almost completely stopped now.

The food, eating habits, preparations of some dishes as well as the ingredients used are covered. along with the methods used in cooking (like in a mud pot known as MADAKE in traditional fire place – OLE)

It must be mentioned that though many masala powders are available in the market, the Badagas use a specially prepared curry powder known as ‘ BADAGARU MAASU HUDI’ in their preparations.

I remember my childhood days when the dried GANJE / GHODUME (barley/wheat) used to be spread in the fore court of the houses called KERI (street) , between two groups of Hatti HEMMAKKA (ladies) squatted opposite to each other with GANJE DHADIS (sticks of about four feet long and an inch thick) systematically & alternatively beating to remove the chaff. The rhythmic ‘tak tak’ noise would be accompanied by some folk lore Badaga songs. This is known as GANJE SACHODHU.

How can anyone forget the GANJE that would be HURUTHU fied (fried) in a HURI MADDAKKE (mud pot with a hole on its side) through which a HURI KOL (a short stick with cloth tied at one end as a ball) would be inserted and the contents stirred constantly for uniform frying?

Huri Maddakke >

The fried ganje called GANJIKKE would be taken with BELLA (jaggery) and THENKE (coconut). The taste of this would increase if hurutha keerai is added. Used to be a very common snack during the “kodai” season when no one can venture out on account of severe wind and rain.

This ganjikke would be powdered in a ‘ BEESA GALLU ‘ or ‘BEESARAN KALLU’ ( grinding stone ‘flour mill’) that was a permanent feature in the EDHA or NADU MANE and stored for furture use. People who go on long journeys (in olden days travel was by foot only) took this powder along with them, a very handy and healthy meal. This powder would be mixed with hot water to make a gruel. Salt and jaggery could be added to taste.


[Illustration by Bellie Jayaprakash]

Edha Mane (notice the Beesa Gallu (Grinding Stone-mill) at the right bottom corner. The corner is called GOTTU MOOLE)

(Buttermilk) MAJJIGE [ also known as – Pay’ray’] KADANJODHU or HAALU SORAKKODU( milk churning ) used to be a routine job and great fun for the children in trying their hands. The BENNE (butter) and THUPPA (ghee or clarified butter) are very healthy. When taken with ERAGI HITTU (wheat ball in the size of cricket/hockey ball), it is very tasty.

EEGAVE THIMBUDHUGA AASE BANDHARAVA ? (don’t you feel like eating now)?

POTHITTU (wheat dosai) has to be an all time favourite of Badagas. During SAKKALATHI HABBA (the last festival before HETHAI HABBA ) POTHITTU with THENKE NEERU (coconut water) is the main dish.

What about dishes like OTTU KUDI UDAKKA (bamboo shoot curry) which can put any BAADU UDAKKA (non veg curry) to shame?And KOONU (mushroom) preparations?

There are many side dishes like SOPPU, BARRATHA AVARE , GAASU SANDEGE Then the question of how to ERAGI HITTU HOKKUDU (make wheat ball?) or make HABBA (festival) specials like BADE (vadai) KAL KAL (sweets made out of maida) etc etc.

Talking about chutney – GAASU SANDEGE , when GAASU (potato) is cooked in KENDA (ember) – SUTTA GAASU – and mixed with UPPU & OLLIYA MAASU (salt & pepper) it really tastes great ……umm…really mouth watering.

Incidentally, a DODDARU SHULOKA (Badaga Proverb) goes like this ; GHANDA (GHANDU) ILLADHA MANE HOLLA, GAASU ILLADHA UDAKKA HOLLA” meaning : -” without a man(husband), house is bad ; without potato, curry is bad”

I was pleasantly surprised to know that Taj Garden Retreat hotel in Coonoor (in the Nilgiris) serves some exclusive Badaga specials like THUPPADITTU & OTTU KUDI curry.

“Since the British lived here for long, there was a mix of the English food with the local ingredients – mostly, the native Badaga food. Thuppathittu, is an example. That makes it different from the typical English food…..For vegetarians, … Ottakudi Gassu poriyal ( a typical Badaga food of potatoes, spices and bamboo shoots), …. Avarai Uthaka (traditional Badaga speciality), Khuni khichri (spice preparation) and Gassu Dhotti (boiled potato preparation)”

Rasam is called MAASU NEERU ( milagu thanni in Tamil that has found its way into dictionaries).BATHA HOKKUDHU was done by elephants in ancient period, and till a few decades ago, by 50 to 60 bulls and cows brought from the plains (mainly Avinashi near Coimbatore) to the villages and mostly done during night time. One of the methods/processes in storing/pruning our farm produce ERAGI (millet) is known as ” ERAGI METTODHU ” (Stamping).

This is done on the green ERAGI stems freshly harvested from the fields. A bunch of this is put indoors on the floor and squeezed by bare feet . This is done mainly in the night in the EDHA MANE (middle room) and stored in the DHARSAE PETTI / BALLA (storage basket) which is located on top of the HAGALAE (permanentally fixed long wooden plank from wall to wall that also served as a huge cot) in the EDA MANE . See the illustration above.

BALLA or BALLA PETTI is a big cylindrical basket for storage and fixed to the wall/floor by cow dung. There would be hole at the bottom to take out the grain. The hole is sealed with cow dung and removed whenever required. Smaller storage basket is called KUKKE. Depending on the usage they are known as BENNE KUKKE (butter basket), HUYIGAL KUKKE (multi utility basket), DODDA KUKKE (big basket) with a handle to carry mud to clean the temples before puja in the olden days and of course, the GANJIKE KUKKE with smaller baskets attached to a central bigger one used in SAVU (funeral) rites. MAKKIRI was a larger basket used to carry food items to fields (HOLA) and on long journeys.

BESAKATTI is a large flat basket, used for drying grains, hung above the fire place/ hearth ( OLE ) in the inner room (OGE MANE) of a Badaga Home during earlier days.The basket is suspended from the beam with wire rods /ropes (KANNI).

There are a lot of DODDARU SHULOKAs on BALLA (storage container for grains). A couple of them are listed here :

Ballada hattale siri, Kukkeya hattale uri” ,

Baavava balla ethone getta, badava baathu satha

visit Badaga Recipes for more

Continue reading

Nilgiri poetry day

Dharmalingam Venugopal

[Nilgiri Documentation Centre, (Camp) Ahmedabad]

A Nilgiri poetry day will be celebrated as part of the Ootacamund Day on September 13 at the Book Club of Nilgiri Library jointly with the Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri. The day will mark the centenary of Nobel prize winning Mexican writer Octovia Paz who wrote a memorable poem on Ootacamund when he was the Ambassador of Mexico in India. The Blue Mountains have inspired poetries of several kinds for hundreds of years. The rich content and melodies of Toda, Kota and Badaga songs are living testimonies of this. The Nilgiri mountains have also inspired the  visitors to pen many memorable poetry. Lord Tennyson mentioned the sweet Nilgiri air in this poem , ‘Brook’. Lord Macaulay is said to have got his ideas for some of his epic poems while his sojourn in Ooty. Later Percy Macqueen, Collector of Nilgiris, collected many folk songs, and donated his manuscript to the Madras University Library. Tamil scholar Ki.Va.Ja. edited the collection, which was published by Saraswathi Mahal Library in 1958. Ki.Va.Ja gave the collection the title ‘Malaiaruvi’. Justifying the title, he compares folk songs to the untrammelled gushing of a waterfall. A folk song, he writes, is like a flower that blooms on an untended plant in a jungle, in contrast to the structured verses of poets, which can be compared to a carefully nurtured jasmine creeper. Macqueen also wrote published  a book Todaland, a collection of his  poems on Nilgiris. Hilton Brown was an ICS officer and Collector of Nilgiris in the 1940s, who wrote a history of Parry & Co, Parry’s of Madras, in 1954. A prolific writer between the 1930s and the 1950s, he wrote a dozen novels, including, Dictators LimitedSusannaLocust FoodThat State of Life and Asylum Island, two collections of short stories, Potter’s Clay and Maya, three collections of verse, including Both Sides of Suez and The Gold and the Grey, two critical biographies — of Rudyard Kipling and Robert Burns — and an anthology titled The Sahibs that he edited and a non-fiction memoir, The Civilian’s South India. Brown wrote several poems on Nilgiris. Beyond the Jungle, a Tale of South India which was published by the Edinburgh publishers William Blackwood  in 1968  was supposed to have been written by  a Sita Rathnamal  who was believed to be a Irula girl from Kil Kotagiri. It seems she was adopted and given  a English education and later she  became a nurse, marrying a Naval officer and wrote a competent autobiography in English which seems to have become a standard book for literature students all over India. She is said to have returned to her small village amidst the jungle and that there is no evidence whether she stepped out of the jungle after this return. Her identity is not still known.

For details of the Poetry Day, pl contact Mrs. Kamala (9442322218)

Badaga Poetry by Wg Cdr JP [Reproduced]

One of the enchanting aspects of Badaga Language is its disarming simplicity. But though the sentences are swathed in sweetness of simple words, it can contain deep expressions of emotions conveyed in the proper usage of rhymes [holla – alla] or pair words [huttu – nattu] apart from other attributes. When the sweetness of this language is combined to carry the human expressions in the form of a poetry, it is a great pleasure to indulge oneself in a world of sheer bliss.
When I came across the following poem, my first reaction was, ‘how beautifully the love of a mother has been brought out’. That set me thinking that there may be many other ‘unsung’ poets among ourselves. How nice if their poems in BADAGA could find a wider audience? I am not talking about some KAVITHAI in Tamil or a poetry in English. BUT ONLY BADAGA POEMS. By the way what is the word in Badaga for poem & poetry? I am sure it is not kavithai or kavi . Cannot be kadhe (song) too. Then……..??
This poem titled ‘My Mother’ by Mohan (hope he reads this and sends more of his creations) beautifully describes the filial bond and eternal love a mother has for her son even in very adverse, trying and difficult situations. She could not find any fault nor found anything demeaning, in the one whom she had brought into this world,nurtured, carried on her hips, cared for and brought up even when the rest of world rejected and rediculed him. I have attempted an English translation and hope I have captured the essence of the deep feelings expressed in the poem.The author has really ‘ played’ with the rhyming Badaga words and forcefully brought out not only the sadness and silent suffering of a son but also the uncompromised love of a mother.
Enna Awai by B.Mohan [of Kunna Bikkatti]
(From ‘Mandhadha Maathu’ – Published by Badaga Welfare Association, Madras, issue dated 1-4-93 (Hannu 3,- Hoo 10)

Kettu Muridhu Naa Kerio Kulibaneyu Huttu Nattu Enna Hollandhu Hegoneyu Hethu Thathi Saakidha Awai Enna Hollandhu Hegule Maathi Allandhu thallule Goonu bhuddu Naa Cooli Geevaneyu Huttu Kettu Naa Maasi Kulibaneyu Pattu Beetha Batte Ekkoneyu Kettandhu Hegule Awai Enna Mattandhu Thallule Kottage Huggi Naa Geria Baakoneyu Araya Kulidu Naa Danava Mesoneyu Horia Thookki Naa Hotte Kaibeneyu Kore Ondhu Hegule Awai Ondhu Ariandhu Nudivile

English Translation of the above poem by Bellie Jayaprakash
My Mother
Even when I was down with poverty and sat at the front court yard, Even when the near and dear ones despised and deserted, My mother who cared for and carried me as a baby, Did not blame me as bad and did not reject me,
Even when I toiled as a Cooli with a bent back, Even when I sat down with my looks dulled and dirty Even when I wore patched up old clothes My mother never gave up nor rejected me as gone !
Even when I swept the stables to clean the droppings, Even when I sat on the rock to tender the cows, Even when I lifted loads so as to suppress the hunger with the earning, My mother never found any fault ; never scolded me as ignorant.

Nilgiri Mountain Railway and Badaga connection

Do you know that there are two Badagas who were very closely involved in the construction and maintenance of the unique Nilgiri Mountain Railways from Mettupalayam to Ooty – Rao Bahadur Hubbathalai J.Bellie Gowder and his son Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder?

In the picture below,Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder with British Engineers and workers at Bridge No.33 between Coonoor & Mettupalayam. Bellie Gowder was involved in laying the Nilgiri Mountain Raiway, now WORLD HERITAGE, a hundred years ago. He was conferred with the title RAO BAHADUR for carrying out the excellent but challenging contract work of building this unique railway system in inhospitable forest area that also involved in cutting tunnels through rocky hills as well as building many bridges with sheer guts. He employed human power to lift the racks & rails and remove the rocks and boulders. Many of his workers were BADAGAS who addressed Bellie Gowder as BELLIE MAISTRY.

Ari Gowder was also  honoured with the title Rao Bahadur and was given the railway contracts after his father, from 1935 till his death in1971.


This short video is a tribute to them.





MRS.R.RAJAMMAL,B.Sc, MA.M.Ed. (Kehtorai Rajma)

A President’s award winning teacher (KV2, AFS, Tambaram) whose name has been recommended for PADMA SHRI


Salutations to the teachers of our glorious nation

“ The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward

The concept of being a teacher in the Indian context is predominantly divine and socially a source of inspiration. Even from the ancient times, the significance of a teacher has been approved by the vedic order. That’s why we say, “Matha, Pitha, Guru, Devo Maheshwaraha.” Teacher, the guru, is given a place superior to God, the creator Himself. The role of a teacher in Indian society has been recorded and regarded as the custodian of culture, tradition and heritage. Teacher stands as the embodiment of virtue, repository of immaculate kindness and the fountainhead of gentility and generosity. In fact, in no other social system of the world, teachers have been treated with utmost dignity, stupendous esteem and marvelous identity.
A teacher in the school plays a multi-faceted role – responsible mentor, a second parent, a good friend a philosopher, a guide and a true counselor. In this electronic era where the students become ultimately restless due to various pressures of life, a teacher becomes the compendium of colossal endurance. A student is like a shapeless raw clay handed over to the teacher with hopes of being beautifully moulded. A good teacher is like a candle who burns to illuminate the way for others. An earnest teacher guides the students their way, but does not escort them to their destination.
Teachers’ Day is celebrated as a tribute to the valuable contribution made by the teachers to the society by imparting knowledge and the enlightening and shaping the carrier of students. Every year on 5th September, we gratefully remember the great educationist Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, whose dream was that “Teachers should be the best minds in the country.” Teachers play an influential role in the life of every student. They are like the beacons of light, guiding student’s right from the formative years of their lives. Teachers mould them and in the process of their future, what they learn from their teachers remains with them forever. Teaching gives self satisfaction for the teacher. The entire teaching community should render their services for the upliftment of the student community.
If the triangular bond among the Students, Teachers and Parents is strong and meaningful, then the nation’s future is secured.



Badaga Inspiration

I love watching the Badaga dance in Coimabatore. Two years back when Amma last was here, and again during Amma’s 53rd birthday celebrations in Amritapuri, they also enchanted the crowd – inspiring westerners, students, and Ashramites to join in . The same happened again this year. Young and old, men and women. Their rhythmic movements, graceful flowing hands and bodies, the beating of drums and call and response voices calls to the dancer inside us. It’s so primal, so natural, and so beautiful. 

One wonders how long these people have been dancing like this – how far back in time? How wonderful that India has been able to preserve these
timeless traditions.

For a while, I was content just taking photos, or watching from the sidelines – focusing on their movements. But I found my inner self wanting to join in. I stood there – conflicted – trying to overcome my inhibitions – people would look at me – a westerner in white awkwardly throwing his body around. But then some westerners did join in, the Badaga happy to show them the movements even as they were ‘throwing a wrench’ into the coordinated movements of those already dancing.

Still, I stood by the sidelines. Then, at the end of the first night, as Darshan ended, and the Badaga still playing, Amma Herself stood up to leave the stage – and made a full circle – turning round with the beat, no inhibition, no concerns. Just dancing…..

The next day, I knew the Badaga would be there again. Would I join in?

Around 2am, they were singing and dancing again. Again, I stood by the sidelines, thinking about how Amma was so natural, innocent when She danced. I recalled how Amma says it’s just not enough to stand at the shore of the ocean and just get your feet wet. You have to dive in. I recalled how I overcame my fears when I used to go firewalking (walking on hot coals) – I would stand there trying to convince myself that it would be fine. It just takes a leap of faith…

In a moment of surrender, I joined the line. I found myself behind a Badaga man who was more than happy to call out the movements and changes as we made our way around the circle. I loved it. At times, it was awkward, but once I got the jist of it, it seemed so natural, so beautiful. When we were in synch -hands, legs, arms, – it was so nice – like a huge drum circle when they reach that magical moment when all the drummers are connected and the music just flows. So did our bodies-around and around, faster and faster.

I can’t wait till the next time..

Sri Pati, USA
Coimbatore, 23 January 2007

Enna Alli Mutta Beda…

A couple of days back I received the following email  from David McCreedy :

I’m looking for translations for four sentences in Badaga to add to my web site:

Currently the site lists over 500 languages in their own writing systems, everything from Afrikaans to Zulu, ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics to Braille.

I realize this request is rather odd…  Please let me give you some background:  My best friend from college has, since graduation, traveled extensively for her employer.  So much in fact that she JOKES she only needs to know four phrases in the local language to get by:

1)  Where is my room?
2)  Where is the beach?
3)  Where is the bar?
4)  Don’t touch me there!
I am hoping that you can provide me with translations preferably using the native/normal writing system for the language as well as the Latin alphabet.
I will appreciate any effort you can make. Thank you,

And here is my reply :

Your email to me. Quite interesting. Here are the Badaga – equivalents –
1)  Where is my room? – Enna Roomu ellie? என்ன ரூமு எல்லி?
2)  Where is the beach? – Beechu ellie hadadhey? பீச்சு எல்லி ஹடதெ?
3)  Where is the bar? – Baaru ellie hadadhey? பாரு எல்லி ஹடதெ?
4)  Don’t touch me there! – Enna allie mutta beda! என்ன அல்லி முட்ட பேட!

You can ‘see’ the Four Essential Travel Phrases at



Microsoft on Badaga Language….



Limerick on Badaga

[found on the net]



This must be the first book(let) published in 1925 about a very pressing and serious problem that split the Badagas vertically

[Original Cover page in Tamil ]



[English translation interposed]


I came across this interesting article while searching about Badaga music that goes with the unique dance form,

[H]ethai amma in Kovai [by Sakshi]

Seventy kilometers north of Coimbatore, in the Nilgiris hill town of Ooty, resides a community of people known as the Badaga. The Badaga trace their ancestry back to Ethai Amman, a pious woman from Mysore who fled the city when a Muslim king wanted her as his prize. Theirs is a somewhat cloistered community, stretching across some 500 villages in the Nilgiri Hills, which make the border of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The Badaga have their own customs, codes, traditions and language. Dharma, faith, compassion and service—these are the hallmarks of the Badaga. They will proudly tell you that one will not find a single beggar among their “brothers and sisters” and rarely are any of their children born handicapped. (They attribute both of these to their culture, which nurtures service-mindedness.)……

…..A central element of Badaga culture is music and dance. When inspired, the Badaga will spontaneously begin improvising melodies and lyrics. “It is our way of expressing our fondness for someone,” explains Smt. Sivagami, [a Badaga teacher].

Their often-ecstatic music comes in the form of call-and-response, and some say the Badaga even have a form of telepathy, which enables them to improvise cohesively. The words and melodies are ever new, but the dance steps remain the same, regardless of the occasion. The Badaga sing and dance at weddings, births, funerals and nearly all other occasions……..

The music was an onslaught of drums and cymbals. It was an earthy, powerful and glorious ruckus to which the Badaga’s synchronized slow-motion dance served as a stirring and poignant counterpoint……

Read the complete article here




by James George Frazer – 1918

The Badagas, a tribe of the Neilgherry Hills in Southern India, belieive in a deity named Gangamma, “who is supposed to be present at every stream, and especially so at the Koonde and Pykare rivers, into which it was formerly the practice for every owner of cattle, which had to cross them at their height, to throw a quarter of a rupee, because their cattle used frequently to be carried away by the current and destroyed. It is enumerated amongst the great sins of every deceased Badaga, at his funeral, that he had crossed a stream without paying due adoration to Gangamma.


Crossword in The Hindu about BADAGA

In ‘The Hindu’ newspaper of June 17,2008, crossword No.9252 carries the following clue for a six letter word for 5 Across:….. ” SHEEP’s CRY CAPTURES GADABOUT, A TRIBAL (6)”….. Yes. your guess is correct. Sheep’s cry is ‘BA’….. [Of course, as usual the answer to the crossword 9252 was given the next day June 18, 2008 in crossword no.9253]. Info Courtesy – my wife who is more fond of crosswords and sudoku than me – sob sob !! ….. See the crossword here !

No articles, images and other material in this website can be reproduced without the written permission of
Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash B.E.(GCT,Madras Univ).,M.B.A (FMS, Delhi Univ)
Contact :


Happy Birthday, Hethey [Grandma]!

2nd September,2014

Idyammal Bellie Gowder

Mom, you would have been 104 years today and we would have celebrated your birthday in style.

Your children and grand children would have called from all over the world to wish you Happy Birthday – a daughter from Kundey Kettchigatti, another daughter from Chennai/Madras, grand son from South Africa,  a grand daughter from Ooty, a grandson from Bangalore, a grand daughter from Australia, another grand daughter from New Delhi….. and from many other places

Your sons and daughters in law would have celebrated the day with you along with a Birthday Cake brought in by another grand daughter from Coonoor and her son/your great grandson would have bowed his head and said,’Somee hethey, harachu’. You would hold him and blessed him as you would have blessed us all, ‘Somee, harachava kottu, sogava kottu , hoppa edey bappa edey ella olliththay aagali’ / Oh Almighty, give them health and happiness and , let there be only good things wherever they go‘.

You would have in typical style said with a smile ” ennu aesu kalaththa ebbadhu – how long you want me to live?

And, suddenly one night, you chose to leave us WITHOUT REALLY SAYING ‘Hoyittu Bannu – good bye!’

You were everything for us in all those glorious 99 years and 10 months when you were ‘here’. Your blessings still guard and guide us in all our endevours.

We miss you , Mom / Hethey

Elle idhale’yu engava harachu

[Bless us all from wherever you are]

MOM 5.jpg
Idyammal Bellie Gowder
Born September 02, 1912
Hubbathalai, The Nilgiris
Died July 13, 2011 (aged 99 years 10 months)
Parents Rao Bahadue HJ Bellie Gowder and Nanji Hethe
Sister of Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder
Spouse B.K.Bellie Gowder [Bearhatti]

[A pencil sketch of Mom by  son JP in 1968 while she was reading an issue of Femina]


p style=”text-align:left;”>~~~~


|[President’s award winning KV Teacher]| comments :-
Memories of this great and royal lady will remain eternally in the hearts of all who have known her. Happy Birth Day Hethey. Brilliant eyes and flawless smile. She looks stunning in photograph.Blessed are her children ,grand and great grand children who live around the world..

Badaga Chant – “Eay, Ah How” – [ ‘Athikkodhu’]

“Eay, Ah How” – Badaga ‘Athikkodhu’

The beauty about Badaga community is not only the unique customs specific to the community but the steadfast belief with which atleast some of them are followed by Badagas with fervour. one of them is the loud chanting of ‘Athikkodhu – saaying of EAY AH HOW – on certain but specific occasions.

Three occasions come to mind immediately,

1)During “hethay Habba’ – both when from every village the devotees go to Hethay temples at Beragani and Peddhuva as well as when the Hethay deity is taken to ‘Madi Halla -river’ for change into new dress once a year [and also whenever is a temple deity is taken on procession during habbas in hattis],

2)during weddings when the bride and groom are brought to the ‘Madhuvay Mane – wedding house,and the newly weds are taken to the temple and

3)on funerals when the widow is brought for ‘olay Kattodhu’ and the ‘akki eththuva ‘ procession starts from the ‘dhodda Mane’ to ‘saavu hanay ‘ where the corpse/body is kept before being taken for burial.

This loud ‘cry’ is made from the bottom of the stomach by a few leading the procession and repeated by the rest following them.

Listen to ‘Saavu Aathikkodhu’ recorded live in Ketchigatti here

Listen to ‘Maduvay Aathikkodhu’ recorded live in Thambatty here

Badaga Songs on the web