Monthly Archives: January 2015

Badagaru Hittu

A taste of the hills – K. JESHI [The Hindu – ]

There is unusual fare at The Taj Vivanta as its Badaga Chef prepares a traditional Badaga feast for you The Badaga platter Wholeseome and packed with nutrients Photo: S. Siva Saravanan

The Badaga platter Wholeseome and packed with nutrients  (Photo: S.Siva Saravanan – The Hindu)

It’s a combo of bathalu, sandege, and uppukorai that introduces us to the traditional Badaga fare at Vivanta by Taj Surya. Bathalu is crispy sun dried potatoes, sandege is the tangy onion and garlic chutney that we dip into, and uppukorai is steamed and salted beans. That’s starters for you and they score high on taste. It gets better with a cup of hot rasam or maasu neeru, as the Badagas call it. The Badaga farmers are known for their mixed farming of millets, barley, wheat, and commercial vegetables including potato, carrots and cabbage, and hence the food they eat often uses seasonal and locally grown vegetables.

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Badagas at the cross roads

Three main factors were high lighted in the last post – Badagas at the cross roads, about the need to change with changing times. One of them is the problem of ‘outside’ marriages and the root causes. ‘Moray’ being one of them.

 Our friend Sivakumar.B (Muckimalai) writes:Sivakumar B's profile photo If we want to remove the restrictions levied by elders, convincing ourselves that they are outdated, then all the customs including blessing, karu haruchodhu, chanting, etc, may  also get removed as outdated.   I think customs and systems are the sovereignty of a community. These are NOT Regulations/Constitution/Law which we can amend from time to time at our will and wish.

Within `Seemay’ means brotherhood (one blood).So, marriage within the `Seemay” will lead to lot of complications. Removal of `moray’ will not be the solution for ‘outside’ marriages. Running to outside is Sick/Crazy and I think it will continue even if `moray’ is removed.

திருடனாய் பார்த்து  திருந்தாவிட்டால்  திருட்டை  ஒழிக்க முடியாது.

Though, I can understand the strong feelings of Sivakumar, some clarifications are called for. Moray, in my opinion, is a very scientifically significant restriction brought in by our Muthappas/Hethappas. This restriction has avoided a lot of health problems associated with ‘in breeding’ and may be one of the reasons for a better health prevailing among Badagas as compared to other native tribes of the Nilgiris.

But, it is mistaken by many that marriages do not take place among people belonging to the same ‘seemay’. Let us elaborate.

A typical Badaga Village [hatti] consists of houses of brothers [both blood brothers and cousins]. Their chiildren are ‘anna thammaru and akka thangairu – brothers and sisters’. So, the ‘moray’ restriction is very much required as otherwise, one will land up in literally marrying a ‘sister’. Many hattis, not necessarily congruent or geographically adjacent, form a OORU. Many Oorus form the Seemay. The number of villages/hattis in one ooru to another differs. Marriages between OORUS within the same Seemay is very much possible and is in vogue. Like for example,  in Porangaadu Seemay which has many oorus, HATHTHOMBATTU OORU [19 villages] and AARU OORU [6 villages] have marriage relationship. See the page on Hattis for more information.

[to be continued]

At the cross roads?

Are we, the Badaga Community, at the cross roads?

With drastic changes that have engulfed every thing around us, how long can we stay and live unaffected?

With farming, especially growing vegetables [potato in particular] becoming a nightmare with monkey menace and green leaf tea prices on a free fall [mind you, still the tea leaf agents, tea factories, tea brokers are all making money when the actual small tea growers are feeling the pinch of  low price that has fallen below Rs.10/- per kg], agriculture that has always associated with Badagas has become an alien word.

With more and more people being forced to leave their villages/Hatties, both for economic and unimaginable reasons [like what happened in Nanjanaadu], following centuries old customs and traditions are becoming difficult.

Added to this is the growing ‘fashion’ among the young and eligible adults to marry ‘outsiders’ that is driving a society to the brink.

Last but the most disturbing is the conversion to ‘another religion’ that has not shown any decline.

Will there be a Badaga Society that is so proud of its unique history, origin, culture, customs, rituals, language and lifestyle, fifty years down the line?


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Great news. We crossed 350,000 hits to this website on 6-1-2015!

We have great pleasure to proudly say that this website crossed the 350,000 visitors mark on 06-01-2015.

Remember we hit the mark of 300,000 hits exactly one year back.

50,000 visitors in one year!

Greatly appreciated. Deeply humbled.

What started as a hobby is now an obsession. To do something for the society that has given everything.

Thank you once again for all your encouragement.

Happy New Year!

Wing Commander JP

2014 in review of this website prepared by

The stats has prepared a 2014 annual report for this website.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 50,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 19 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.



Classical Badaga song and Dance

Very pleasantly surprised to see a classical dance by two Badaga sisters K.Niveditha and K.Kavyaa in the following youtube video [uploaded by Krishnamurthy Hallan] to a very classical song in Badaga.

What a fantastic performance both by the sisters and the singer. Can somebody give more information about them?


Happy Hethe Habba

The Hethe Habba – Festival

starts from today 5th Jan 2015

in Porangadu Seemay.

The main Habba is on monday, the 12th Jan 2015.

May Hethe’s blessings be showered on all!

Here is a thought from the heart of  Jeeva, Ooty []

Dhaari budu Dhaari budu dhodda Hethae bandhaiya…..

Eda budu eda budu kunna hethae eragiya

Kodaiya kaiya ethi Hethaiya namava hegi….

Halukeru haadana haluna poojaiyu nerathara….

Neri mora meduna neravanaiyu nerathara

Alli Hethae bappa saddha ketharae …

Gandhadha gamulu hoothara…

Dhaari budu dhaari budu dhodda Hethae bandhaiya…..

Eda budu eda budu kunna Hethae eragiya

Betthuna thadiyavu ethi bellaiya mundavu suthi

Beraganiya haadatho bettatha jenavu nodithae…

Pethuvana hadana baggi baggi hadili…

Alli aathi ikuva sadha kethara …..

Hethae bappa gaaiyu besira…….

Dhaari budu Dhaari budu dhodda Hethae bandhaiya…..

Eda budu eda budu kunna Hethae eragiya……….


 Sirithumbili..  HEATHAI THA NERA

Click the Blue Button to listen to Hethe Song

Betta Naakka

or go here


Click to know more about Hethe Habba or Hethe Amma History


Centenary of a Badaga journalist

DLBirth centenary  of late Mr.A.Dharmalingam

I am happy to announce that the birth centenary of my father late A. Dharmalingam, Journalist, will be celebrated from January 11, 2015 to January 11, 2016. We plan to have activities within our resources which will be beneficial to the Nilgiris and to our community, the two subjects which were always dear to my father.

We are celebrating his centenary not because he was a famous or a rich man. He was neither. He was a good human being- a good Badaga, a good Indian and a good global citizen. He did not leave behind money or wealth. He left behind certain values and principles.

The most remarkable thing about my father was that he was able to rise above the three major weaknesses of Badagas – superstition, prejudice and jealousy. He never saw any differences in religion, caste, colour or creed. He respected tradition but adapted to modernization. He was never jealous of anybody’s wealth, status or popularity. He did not make a virtue of his honesty or integrity. He never cared for money. He was fearless but never showed disrespect or ill will towards anybody.

He was born into one of the leading families of Badagas whose fortunes turned when he was young. But he never showed bitterness or complained. Through sheer hard work he made a name and brought up the family. He helped thousands to get education which was denied to him. He helped hundreds to get jobs which earned them more salary than he ever earned.

My father knew more of our community members than any Badaga at any time. He had their welfare always in his heart though he never hesitated to condemn their unbecoming conducts.

Thanks to the legacy of his values I have been able to serve our district and our community through Save Nilgiris Campaign and later Nilgiri Documentation Centre for over three decades despite ever so many challenges.

I request our community to join us in celebrating my father’s centenary by fighting our three persisting weaknesses – superstition, prejudice and jealousy- at a time when every single Badaga family and many villages are being torn asunder by these evils

Swami Chithbhavananda’s ‘Daily Prayer’ has been my guide for the last forty years. Under the head ‘Monkey’ he says that an unrestrained mind is like a monkey. When it drinks the wine of desire it becomes uncontrollable. Then if the scorpion of jealousy bites it, its suffering is indescribable. The message should be clear to all of us.

Tomorrow, 5-1-2015, the Hette Habba for this year starts in Porangadu Seeme. Hette is a symbol of sacrifice and giving in, the two characteristics which have enabled the Badagas to survive and thrive for centuries. These qualities remain the best antidote for the evils of superstition, prejudice and jealousy which threaten our community today.

VenugopalDharmalingam Venugopal

[Honorary Director, Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri]