I found a comment on your website to the effect that “It is ironic that despite research by Western scholars the Badagas are little known overseas”. I think you are altogether too pessimistic about this matter. The Badagas are in fact widely known, and are the subject of articles in four encyclopaedias that can be found today in several hundred libraries worldwide, viz:
Castes and Tribes of Southern India, I: 63-124
Encyclopaedia of the Nilgiri Hills,1: 2-8, 36-39, 91-113, 252-256, 296-301, 327-332, 347-351, 417-421; 2: 524-525, 541-546, 569-571, 577-580, 607-611, 727-730, 758-779, 815-816, 827-829, 980-981, etc.
Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology, 2: 572-578
Encyclopedia of World Cultures, 3: 14-18
This means that many thousands of students and professional scholars have read about Badagas in these reference books over the past century. The hundreds of articles that have been published on Badagas in popular magazines as well as academic journals reflect (and often quote) the widespread use of these particular resources. A detailed bibliography (Hockings, 1996) has revealed that the Nilgiris region is the most thoroughly studied and documented of any rural part of South Asia, without exception.
I often look at your website, and of course often see a list of “Books about Badagas”, some of which are in Tamil and not easily obtained. The impression you give with that title is that these are the only books available on the subject. But the books which scholars most commonly cite when writing about Badagas are usually missing from your list! You could correct that list most easily by changing the heading to read “selected recent books about Badagas,” unless it would be more accurate to say “Books by Badagas”.
For the record, these are the books that are most commonly cited in publications, such as academic articles, about the Badagas (in alphabetical order):
Heidemann, Frank M.
2006 Akka Bakka: Religion, Politik und duale Souveränität der Badaga in den Nilgiri Süd-Indiens. Berlin: LIT- Verlag.
1980 Ancient Hindu Refugees: Badaga Social History 1550-1975.The Hague: Mouton Publishers; New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House.
1980 Sex and Disease in a Mountain Community.New Delhi: Vikas Publishing House; Columbia, Mo.: South Asia Books.
1988 Counsel from the Ancients: A Study of Badaga Proverbs, Prayers, Omens and Curses. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
1992 A Badaga-English Dictionary (by Paul Hockings and Christiane Pilot-Raichoor).Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
1996 Bibliographie générale sur les Monts Nilgiri de l’Inde du sud 1603-1996 / A Comprehensive Bibliography for the Nilgiri Hills of Southern India, 1603-1996 / Eine umfassende Bibliographie der Nilgiri-Berge Südindiens, 1603-1996. Bordeaux: Université Michel de Montaigne.
1999 Kindreds of the Earth: Badaga Household Structure and Demography. New Delhi, London and Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications; Walnut Creek, Cal.: AltaMira Press.
2001 Mortuary Ritual of the Badagas of Southern India. Fieldiana, Anthropology, (new series) 32. Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History.
2012 Encyclopaedia of the Nilgiri Hills. (Paul Hockings, ed.) New Delhi: Manohar Books
2013 So Long a Saga: Four Centuries of Badaga Social History. New Delhi: Manohar Publishers & Distributors.
Ranga, Nayakulu Gogineni
1934 The Tribes of the Nilgiris (Their Social and Economic Conditions). Bezwada: Vani Press.
(Whoever wrote the “Badaga” article in Wikipedia seems unaware of this literature.) I have not included here several dissertations, as they are not really publications, and are often difficult to get hold of.
With best wishes,
It is always a pleasure to receive communications from Prof. Paul Hockings, an authority on Badagas, the people and Badaga, the language.
It will be very true to say that he has made Badagas, originally a small tribe living only in the Nilgiris [now, of course, spread around the world] known all over the globe with his well researched books and articles. Many of them can be easily accessed online.
Thank you Paul,
Rejoinder from Prof.Paul Hockings:
Thank you for your quick response, J.P.
You touch on a very important matter, that the Badagas are becoming, shall we say, internatonalised. There are dozens of Badaga families where I live in Silicon Valley, and their children and grandchildren are growing up as Americans, or elsewhere as Australians or Britons.
We social scientists find that the third generation of immigrants in some “new” country get very curious abut their ancestors and the culture too, and want to know more about it. So in a sense you and I are planning to pass on the most accurate description we can to people who need to know the details, but in many cases are not born yet!
There’s no point in lamenting that the old ways are no more, but at least we can try to preserve something in print and photography for those who will need it later on.