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B's profile photo If we want to remove the restrictions levied by elders, convincing ourselves that they are outdated, then all the customs including blessing, karu haruchodhu, chanting, etc, may  also get removed as outdated.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]


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