First Badaga

Update to the page on FIRST BADAGA
It will be very interesting,  informative and educative to list all those BADAGAS who were/are the ‘FIRST’ in any field. Where I am not sure about some details, I have put a question mark, so that some reader may supply the correct information.

The following list, by no stretch of imagination, is exhaustive or exclusive. I am sure that there are many more Badagas, both men and women, who deserve to be called ‘FIRST BADAGA’ for their pioneering work in many fields.

If some have not been included, it is due to the problem of not getting ‘correct/authentic’ information. My request to all Badagas or those who know about Badagas is, please forward the deails/names of individuals [if possible with photos] whom you think should be featured in this page. It will be a great pleasure and honour to include them in this list. After all, the idea behind this topic of FIRST BADAGA is to serve as an inspiration and motivation to young Badagas. – Wg Cdr JP

Rao Bahadur HJ Bellie Gowder
[Hubbathalai > married Nanji Ammal from Jakkadha, 18?? – 1935]


-First Badaga to be honoured by the British with ‘ Rao Sahib & Rao Bahadur’ titles ( late 1920s)

  • [probably] First to speak and write in Eleven Languages including Badaga, Toda, Kotha, Kuruma, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam,Telugu, English, Hindi & Spanish WITHOUT ANY FORMAL EDUCATION (his mother stopped him from attending a make shift school run by a Badaga in his verandah – thenay as she was scared that the teacher would punish Bellie Gowda because as a child, he was a prankster).
  • First to open a school at Hubbathalai (later named as Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder Board High School) basically to cater to Badaga students [a hostel was also built for them].
  • Credited with building tracks for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway from Mettupalayam to Ooty in early 1900s. A railway bridge near Lovedale station is named after him.
  • Brought many path breaking reforms in the Badaga Community.
  • He was the undisputed ‘King [Naakku Betta Leader]’ of the Nilgiris during his life time. A musical gramophone record was brought out by HMV titled ‘Bahadur Bellie Gowda, Naakku Bettaga Raja’. The singer was from Jakkadha.
  • It was said, ‘Bellie Gowda Ayyana mane kitchu, kedodhe illey – The fire in the hearth/kitchen in Bellie gowda’s house was always burning’ meaning there was a constant stream of visitors to his house. His wife Nanji Hethe, a stickler for cleanliness, would personally fetch fresh water from a stream at a considerable distance from Hubbathalai Hatti though there plenty of servants.
  • He would present a gold block semi conical shaped like a jaggery – bella piece to any hubbathalai girl who was getting married.
  • He was one of the very few who had a phone connection in the Nilgiris in early 1900s. His phone number was in two digits and less than 20. The phone he had was the old classical two piece type – separate ear piece and hand held mouth piece.

Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder
[Hubbathalai > married Gauri Ammal from Jakkadha, 4-12-1893 – 26-6-1971)

– First Badaga Graduate, Presidency College , Madras (1920?)

  • First Badaga to tour the world (1930)
  • First Badaga to lead an Indian Delagation (World Scout Jumboree in Hungary)(1930)
  • First Badaga MLA & MLC (1940)
  • First son (after his father Rao Bahadur HJ Bellie Gowder) also to be honoured with Rao Bahadur title.

[Thangadu >13 Nov 1908 – 1964]

– Fist Badaga Lawyer
– First President of the local Bar Association
– First Chairman of the Udhagamandalam Municipal Council (UMC) after Independence
He was trustee of institutions like the Assembly Rooms and the Lawley Institute.
When the Nilgiri district was in dire need of a higher education facility, Mr.Lingan became a member of a 14-member committee headed by Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder, which was instrumental in the Government Arts College coming into being here during 1955. [ Info courtesy – Devaraj Rangan, Porore]

KM Sevannah Gowder
[Bearhatty > married Sarojini Madhan from Hulikal, 1915 – 1999, Mrs.Akkama Devi’s elder brother]

– First Engineer [B.E (Mech) – Madras University]

  • First Professor (?) Engineering College Guindy & GCT, Coimbatore,

Mrs. Akkama Devi
[Bearatty – married > HB Joghee Gowder [HB Ari Gowder’s brother] from Hubbathalai, 1917 -2012 ]
photo from The Hindu

– First Badaga woman graduate

– First Badaga woman MP


[Yedapalli > married from ? > 19??- 19??]
– First Badaga M.B.B.S doctor

Dr. Krishnan
[Thangadu >married > Michi Ammal from Kiya Kundhe, Birth & death years ??]

First LMP Doctor

ANDI GOWDER Dharmalingam (Kannerimukku > Married to N.Thangamma from Dhimhatty )

First Journalist –  He was a reporter for the ‘Madras Mail’ and later for ‘The Hindu’ from the late 1940’s until 1973. After his retirement from ‘The Hindu’, he continued to work as a journalist for the news agency, UNI (United News of India) till his death.

During his illustrious career he rubbed shoulders with personalities such as K.Kamaraj and M.Bhaktavatsalam (former Chief Minister of the State).He also had the privilege of meeting and interacting with leaders of colonial India like Lord Mountbatten and also our first Prime Minister Nehru and Indira Gandhi. Through such interesting anecdotes from his life, his legacy as a journalist still lives on, inspiring generations of writers in his family.( info courtesy – Ms.Maanasi Sridhar)

M.K. Bhat – Full name – Mr. Muthiah Kariabettan,

(Muttinadu, Married to Mrs.Devaki from Mel Hosatty,1912-1969)

First State Officer who retired as Joint Registrar of Co-op Society (info courtesy Kariabettan Sugumar)

Dr. Haliah
[Muttinaadu > married to Parvathi [Karuppi] from Ketchigatti, B & D yrs…? ]

– First Ph.D

  • First Dean [Karnataka]

HA Bhojraj
[Hubbathalai > married to Rukmani from Ketchigatti, 1923-1997, HB Ari Gowder’s son]

Sketch by grandson Abhimanyu

HA Bhojraj Sketch by grandson Abhimanyu

– First South India Golf Champion (Won many tournaments in Golf)

Justice EJ Bellie
[Eethorai > married to  Vimala , 193? – ]

– First High Court (Madras) Judge

Indu K.Mallah
[Hubbathalai > married to Kakkamallah from Ketchigatti 1939 – ]

– First Badaga woman to go abroad (on a study tour)
– First to have published a novel in English – ‘Shadows In Dream-time’-, which, inter alia has been compared to James Joyce’ “Finnegan’s Wake “.

Her plays have been aired on BBC Radio. An articulate social activist whose articles and book reviews regularly appear in many News Papers.

Colonel J Nandhi
[born Kerkandi > married to Indrani from Mullimalai, 194? -]

– First [engineer] Colonel in the Army
Also played in Madras University Football Team

H.R. Ravikumar
[Hubbathalai > married to Aruna from Thangaadu, 1944 -]

– First Badaga to play and captain the Madras University hockey team.

– First to play for Madras [Tamil Nadu] State team in hockey in 1965


[Ketti>…] Advocate


First to play football for Madras University

T. Gopal B.E
[Mel Bikkatti (Ketti) > married  toSushila from Ketchigatti, 1947 – ]

– First Engineer who established a heavy industry (manufacturing heavy industrial boilers, GM of India Meters) & now a software company for SMEs known throughout the world. He has many firsts – I am trying to gather the details

Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash B.E.,M.B.A
[Born and brought up at Hubbathalai and father’s hatti – Bearatty > married to Tara from Hubbathalai, 1948 – ]


– First [engineer] Wing Commander in Air Force(?)

  • First to play hockey for Air Force
  • First to be the selector for Services[ Joint Army,Navy & Air Force] hockey team in the National level
  • First NIS Coach in Hockey (Diploma in Coaching]
  • First to pass both basic [HMI, Darjeeling] & advanced [NIM, Utterkashi] mountaineering courses with alfa-instructor grading [cleared for expeditions]
  • First to be associated with Asian Games (1982) as Joint Director, Asian Games Village & Dy. Director (Protocol)

M. Somasundaram and his younger brother Devarajan

[Pororai – lived in Kil Bikkatti. Devarajan married to Sumathi]

First two IIT, Madras graduates in 1977 and 1978 respectively. They are from Pororai village. Their parents : ( late) Madia Gowder and Lakshmi Madian. Both brothers reside in the US.

[Melur Adigaratti > married .., 19?? – ]

– First IAS Officer {through UPSC}

[Eethorai > married >.. 19?? – ]

– First Cabinet Minister [DMK] of Tamil Nadu State

Mrs. Sundari
[Karimora – married > ? 194? – ]

– First woman professor(?) [Avinashilingam Home Science College,CBE] in 1960s

Flight Lieutenant KN Ravi
[Ketchigatti, 195? – 198? died in a tragic air accident]

– First Helicopter Pilot in IAF

Dr.R.K. Haldorai
(Kil-Cowhatty  > married to Shanthi from Kunna Hubbathalai > 1952-


  • First etymologist [The study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history], MOL(Master of Oriental learning) degree holder

– the recipient of Tamil Nadu Government’s “Best Author Award” twice (2006 and 2008).

[Pudhuhatti near Ithalar > married to Anitha from Gaikandi > 1973 -]


– First IFS [Indian Forest Service officer -direct entry]

Sivagami Nanda

– First IPS officer

K Premkumar

[Naihatty > Married Sharmila- aka- Seema from Kil Kundha, 1964 – ]

– First (engineer) columnist to write a regular technical analysis on shares – stock market, in ‘Business Line’ – The Hindu Group – First Badaga to have passed CMT (Chartered Market Technician, A USA based degree) and came first in the World ranking.

Wing Commander Saravanan
[Melur > married > …]

-First Fighter Pilot in IAF

Squadron Leader Urmila Bheeman
[Muligoor >…]

– First Woman commissioned Officer in IAF


First to act and direct a Tamil Movie in late 80s (info courtesy Dr.Rajkumar Krishnan)

[Yellanalli >…..??]

– First to act as the hero of a Badaga Movie ‘KALA THAPPIDHA PAYILU’ [1970s?]

Saravanan.S writes [25 May 2008] :

We, J.B. Santhosh Kumar from Thuratty, Mekala.C from Atthigal, and myself Saravanan.S from Peria Hubbathalai are the first three badagas who have cleared CMT (Certified Medical Transcriptionist) exam conducted by AAMT (American Association of Medical Transcription) in year 2007. Only 2700 professionals have cleared this exam worldwide out of million professionals in this field. For reference, our names can be seen in AHDIorg. com.


(Kil Kowhatty)
– First Badaga , who has got a COMMERCIAL PILOT LICENSE [ pune in april 2009], 28 years old. [Info from KK Bellie, Kundhachappai]

Nivedita Bhojaraj

[Oranalli, Thangadu]


First female IFS[Indian Forest Service] officer. Came 11th in All India merit.

R.Rajammal alias Rajma B.Sc, M.A. M.Ed (1961 -Kethorai > Parents – Mrs.Sarasu and Mr.M.Ramachandran)

4411First Badaga to get  President’s award for best teacher – 2010

NCERT award for innovative Teaching Practices – 2005

– Kendra Vidyalaya Sangatan Incentive Award – 2008

Woman Achiever Award – 2015

Dr. Hariprakash (Soraigundu, Ketti)

Has completed his doctorate from IISc, Bangalore and received young scientist award from HP in Japan. (info courtesy L.Gandhi, Soraigundu)

Dr. Guna Magesan ( Melur Hosahatty)

Dr Guna Magesan JP, a senior scientist with Scion (Crown Research Institute) in Rotorua, New Zealand,has been recognized as one among the 100 best Indians in the world and is one of only a handful of non-political personalities included in the list.[]. Did his PhD degree at Massey University. After completion, he worked for three Crown Research Institutes at different times in Palmerston North, Hamilton and Rotorua.

[Info courtesy – Sendil Halan & Sashikumar N.C)

Vivek. M, ( son of Mohanraj from T. Mynalai)

1. First FIDE rated (Chess) player from the Nilgiris. FIDE ID: 5064139
2. National Instructor (FIDE certified Chess Trainer) – One among 67 in the world

[Refer website: and for more details]

[Info courtesy – Sashikumar NC]

Dr.Bhojraj(son of Hala Gowder and Rukkiammal, Kodalatty)

– First Scientist in ISRO. Worked with Dr.APJ Abdul Kalaam

[info courtesy Santhosh Kumar]


Contact :


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