December 4th, 2018 is the 125th birth anniversary of Rao Bahadur Hubbathai Bellie Gowder ARI GOWDER, a great Indian and a great Badaga.
Rao Bahadur H.B.Ari Gowder, the first Badaga graduate, first Badaga M.L.C & M.L.A for a long time( in the 1920s, 30s and 40s) at the time of British Raj, had brought many reforms in/to Badaga Community in particular and the other tribals of the Nilgiris in general.
He was the leader of the Badaga community and his words were taken as final. He would preside over the Nakku Betta Badaga gathering at Nattakal near Kotagiri, known in Badaga as “KOOTTU”.
Ari Gowder was honoured by the British Empire on many occassions.
May 15th is Badaga Day and is celebrated as Ari Gowda day.
Ari Gowder’s father Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder was the engineering contactor responsible for laying the Nilgiri Mountain Railway from Mettupalayam to Ooty (the work was completed in 1908).After his death in 1935, Ari Gowder was the Railway contractor of this sector till his death in 1971.
Ari Gowder lead the Indian contigent (yes, “INDIAN CONTIGENT) to World Scouts Jumboree held in Budapest in Hungary in 1932.
Being a great philanthropist, he had done a lot for the betterment of Badagas and other tribal communities of the Nilgiris. He was instrumental to establish Nilgiri Co-Op Marketting Society (NCMS) at Ooty, to save the small farmers-especially Badagas- from the exploits of middlemen & traders at vegetable mandis in Mettupalayam.
He was also the Nilgiris District Board Chairman and the (road) bridge built in 1936 connecting Tamil Nadu and Karnataka states at Kakkanalla, Masinagudi (Guladur) is named as Ari Gowder bridge.
He was the President of NCMS for more than 30 years, till his death and during his time, NCMS was considered as one of the best co-op societies in India. His statue has been erected in the NCMS at Ooty in appreciation of his great work for the society.
Since he donated the land, the road in front of Mambalam Railway Station in Chennai (Madras) is named after him (known as Ariya Gowder road).