Let us know about ourselves
Nangava Nanga Arivo is the topic underwhich Nelikolu Trust is organising a ‘wake up meeting’ to preserve ‘Badaga Culture’ at Bakkamora, Kaguchchi Village in Thodhanaadu Seemay on 28 Jan 2017 at 10.30 am.
A laudable effort by Nelikolu Trust, Yellanalli, Ketti under the leadership of Dharuman and ably assisted by Dr.R.K.Haldorai [based at Chennai] and others. [I want to put my deep gratitude and appreciation to Dr.Haldorai and other organisers for inviting me to this meeting- Wg.Cdr.JP]
Unfortunately, the notice/information sent about the meeting is only in ‘pure’ Tamil and hence difficult to give the correct translation in English. My request to Dr. Haldorai, who is a Tamil Scholar as well, is, please in future kindly give the information in English also, since most of Badaga youth is more familiar with English [being tech savvy, active social media and internet users].
This sort of awareness meeting is overdue and hopefully, something concrete will emerge. The sad but true fact is, of late, Badaga community, is slowly but surely losing its unique customs and culture.
Starting at the very basic and fundamental fact of Badaga Origin, our community is not able to say and asertain with any sort of authority [based on facts and figures] about our very origin. The western researchers supported by some ill informed local Badagas, have succeeded in spreading the ‘Migration from Mysore plains’ theory over the years, just based on the meaning of the word Badaga. It is high time, we assertain that we are one of the indigeneous tribes of the Nilgiri hills and are eligible to be considered under the PTG – Primary Tribal Group.
Three of the topics that would be discussed as indicated in the notice are :-
1.Badagar samaya kotpadum, munnor vazhipaadum – by Dr.Sundaradevan
Badagas have been nature and ancestor worshippers. Though they followed the traditional theories and practices of Hinduism, in the ancient days, there were no temples in any Badaga Village . The practice of worshipping Hethai is comparitively a new phenemenon of a few hundred years old. But now, in every village, there is a temple around which all functions and festivities are centered .
In some rare cases, the temple/temples themselves have become a point of conflict and confrotation. The forced or otherwise, conversion to Christianity has become a big threat shaking the very foundation on which Badaga values have been built. Every Badaga had a ‘PURE’ Badaga name, based on their ancestors in the family – Muthe mupparu and hethe hepparu hesarikki bandharu. Now some of the Badaga names are there only on paper and sadly even the few Badagas with original Badaga names have added at the end ‘n’ to their names and distorted the originality completely. Madha has become Mathan, Nanja has become Nanjan.
Hopefully Dr.Sundaradeven will touch on these issues.
2.Badaga mozhi’in thani thanmaigalum sirappugalum – by Dr.RK Haldorai
Dr. Haldorai is blessed with deep knowledge of Badaga and Badaga baashay. But, I am afraid that, he is also biased in favour of Tamil. Though the Ha word and pronounciation is an integral part and beauty of Badaga language, I notice a reluctance to use it in his writings. He prefers to write his name as Aalthorai in Tamil instead of Haldorai. I beleive that it shoul be only Hatti and not Atti when you refer to a village. Haalu for milk not aalu. Aalu in fact means anger. Ha and Ja are part of our language and let us retain them in all its glory.
Badaga language is being literally decimated by the influence of Tamil and English. When you see some of the videos on Badaga, you feel so disgusted to hear some words being used. ‘In search of love – is gavava thedi’ and not ‘gavava arachi’. Purunjoley for artha aappiley [not understandable] has become a common word.
Humble request to Dr.Haldorai to address this urgent issue – as he has rightly put it ‘let us know our mother tongue – avvaiya maaththa arivo’.
3. Badagar thirumana uravu muraigalum Badagar kaala kanukkum – by N.Raman
One of the main reasons why many Badagas marry from outside is the confusion created based on the so called MORAY. We assume that the village gowda is the ultimate in assertaining about morey. High time, this great tradition is followed in the correct and scientific way instead of in an adhoc manner.
Hope and pray that this sort of meetings and seminars are held more often.
My last but a very important request to Nelikolu and other groups, please involve our Badag ladies in these meetings and give them equal opportunities to freely express their views. Let us accept that they are ‘half’ of us.
May Hethe bless and give us the strengh to overcome the threats that are facing our great community and enlighten us to know about ourselves.