Author Archives: JP

Badaga Videos

Badagas are one of the native tribes of the Nilgiris, in South India, called the Blue Mountains. Badaga dance is all about grace and style. It is a wonderful sight when a group of ladies dance together. During the funerals, the ladies of the parental village [hatti] of the deceased woman, dance going around the cot [kattalu] to the music provided by the ‘host’ hatti musicians. This particular video was shot during the funeral of a lady of Bikkatti married to Hubbathalai Hatti. The singer is Nandakumar from Mel Bikkatti. My sincere thanks to all.

youtube link -> clich here



Badaga Jewellery with all its glory

Election Time…

Very soon we will be having elections in our state, Tamil Nadu. On April 6th, to be precise.

Of late, Badagas have shown a marked interest in politics. In fact, they have shown interest in many political parties, mainly in BJP, Congress, AIADMK and DMK. Now , even in MNM and surprisingly Naam Tamizhar Katchi also.

The party tickets were given to recognised local leaders to contest in the elections. Then they were known as General Elections that came once in five years and for both Centre (Parliament) and state assemblies. In olden days, in the first half of 19th century, the great leader Ari Gowder chose to contest elections as an independent since he felt that he could serve all the people much better without any restraints that would come of any particular party that had its own policies. It is a well known fact that when Rajaji was the CM of Tamil Nadu, he wanted to make Ari Gowder a minister but Ari Gowder refused since he had to join Congress party.

Those days political parties were also comparatively less corrupt and there were many tall political leaders. Many Badagas were elected as MPs, the notable one being when Mrs. Akkamma Devi, the first Badaga woman graduate, won the parliamentary elections in 1962 and became the first and so far only woman MP from the Nilgiris. Unfortunately this MP constituency has became reserved for SC & ST and Badagas cannot contest.

Now, in this elections 0f 2021 for the TN assembly, the contests for Ooty and Coonoor constituencies have become fierce between AIADMK with its ally BJP and DMK with its ally Congress.

Though likely to be very close, it appears that BJP in Ooty and AIADMK in Coonoor may come out successful.

May the best man win!

‘ The Book Shelf ‘ by Nandini Viswanathan

Nandini is from Yellanalli hatti

Nandini Viswanathan was born in Ooty, India and holds MBA in Human Resource Management and Master’s Degree in Psychology. Currently working in a corporate before embarking on a writing career. This is her first book – The Book Shelf and she now lives in Coimbatore and she loves pets and plants and interested in politics and business. To know more about her follow her on Facebook or @nandini_vishwa on Twitter or nandini_viswanathan on Instagram.

This book, published by Notion Press, is priced at Rs.200/- and is available in Notion Press as well as in Amazon and Flipkart

We wish Nandini all success with her FIRST book and hope she will come out with many more books in future – Wg Cdr JP

Happy New Year ! website of Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash

742,504+ visits and counting….

Thank you for making this website a grand success !

Wishing you and your family a

Happy and Healthy

New Year-2021 !

A Badaga child prodigy

A Badaga child prodigy

It is a well known fact that Badaga children possess above average intelligence and some among them are truly out standing. One such is Jayanth.

Jayanth Sidhartha is the youngest and probably the first in our community to hold a record in India Book of Records. 


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Born on 9 April 2018, he holds the record for solving 63 puzzles, reciting counting from 1 to 30, alphabet A to Z with corresponding words, identifying 52 animals, 29 fruits, 24 vegetables, 23 English words, 22 body parts,, 20 tools, 20 flowers, 18 birds, 18 stationery items, 18 national leaders, 16 colours, 15 festivals, 15 occupations, 15 personal care products, 14 vehicles, 14 shapes, 10 cartoons, seven national symbols, seven insects,, and six worship places, at the tender age of 2 years and 7 months as confirmed on 21 November, 2020.

Jayanth is born to Sidhartha (son of Chandrashekar Raju and grand son of (Late) Shri B Raju, Maniyagar family, Kiya Kundhey – Kil Kundah), and Divyakala (daughter of Rajkumar Ramalingam and grand daughter of (Late) Shri B Ramalingam, Nunduva -Nunthala)

(Sidhartha Chandrashekar +91-9944634876)

Badaga Migration theory is a BLUNDER!!

Badaga Migration – the myth and the MISTAKE

The Professor who corrected the colonial blunder about Badaga migration !!!

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Prof: Gareth Davey

Ethnography is the study of peoples and cultures with their customs, habits, and mutual differences. Ever since, British rule in 1800, foreign Ethnographers have been studying the native people of Nilgiris.
Ethnographic and general accounts of Nilgiris and its people began with Evans Macpherson (1820) followed by James Hough (1829), Henry Harkness (1832), Bernhard Schmid (1837),  Harry Congreve(1847), Richard Burton (1851), Rev.Metz (1856), John Shrott (1868),William Marshall (1873), Breeks (1873), Grigg (1880), Edgar Thurston and Natesa Sastri (1898), Francis (1906) and Rivers (1908). This was followed by local writers and later by Western scholars from America, Germany, UK and so on.

They wrote about the different communities on the Nilgiris  including the Badagas. They had their different viewpoints. But they had on common view. That is,  Badagas migrated from Karnataka some 300 or 500 or 800 years ago. Every writer repeated this religiously as if it was a God given truth. Many Badaga scholars and elders have questioned this conclusion over the years.
But where is the evidence?

Gareth Davey is UK scholar with a Ph.D in Anthropology and Psychology. He has authored several books and articles on varied subjects and has done extensive work in Asia. In 2018 he wrote a book, ‘Quality of Life and Well Being in an Indian Ethnic Community: The Case of Badagas’.
He reviewed all the literature written about the Badagas over the past 200 years and raised a simple, basic question- Where is the evidence to show Badagas migrated from Karnataka? The hundreds of books written till then had only one evidence- some Badagas told they came from Mysore. Who were they? On what basis they said that? Did they show any evidence? Nothing was known.
Now, Prof. Davey asks how so many scholars from so many countries repeated the same claim in their books without looking for any evidence- anthropological, archeological, and historical or any other source. No scholar, Indian or Western, has come forward with any evidence.
The problem, Prof. Davey, is that all these scholars seemed to have made up their mind about Badaga migration even before studying or researching the Badagas. 
Prof. Davey categorically states, “Badagas have been misrepresented in the literature with a migrant identity. Grammatical homogeneity of Badagu and the language of Kotas, Kurumbas and Todas might indicate they have always resided in the Nilgiri hills.
 Also genetic studies show Badagas share similarities with other indigenous people of Nilgiris. In summary, separation of Badagas from other people based on history and migration seems unfounded”.  It is poetic justice that it has taken a UK scholar to undo the injustice of a 200 year old Colonial Blunder !!! 

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Venugopal Dharmalingam (Nilgiri Documentation Centre)

Badaga Months

Badaga Months

1) Koodalu

2) Aalaani

3) Nallaani 

4) Aani

5) Aadire 

6) Aadi

7) Aavaani 

8 ) Perattaadhi

9) Dhodda Devige

10) Kiru Devige

11) Thai

12) Hemmatti

There are 12 months and each month that starts on the 10th of English Calendar month but for a few exceptions due to the fact that the month of Feb has 28/29 days [leap year].

Since Badagas consider ‘Sovara’ (Monday) as the most auspicious ( ‘holy’ ) day, they have attached a lot of importance to that day. Generally, no non-vegetarian food is taken on Mondays. No ‘Hola Gelcha'[field work] is usually done on ‘sovara’s.

The biggest festival of Badagas is day-specific and not date-specific. That is to say that this festival – HETHE HABBA (this year it comes on 4th Jan 2021, officially starting from 28th Dec 2020 to $th Jan 2021) – always falls on a Monday [after twelve full moons and on the first Monday of the thirteenth full moon]. By the way, full Moon (‘Pournami’ in Tamil) is ‘HUNNAVE’ [pronounced similar to :- hunnu – wound, awai – mother] and New Moon is ‘MUTTU’ in Badaga. Hunnave and Muttu days have a white and black circle next to the date.

I must put on record my great appreciation to Mr.Sivaprakash. B.Sc.,B.Ed (Dhavane Village) and ‘Naakku Betta’ magazine [1979 Koodalu issue] for their pioneering effort on this subject.


The beautiful Badaga dance song that contains all the Badaga monthsKappu Hutti Leyu

The more I listen to the song ‘Kappu Uttileyu’, the more fascinated I become. All the 12 Badaga months starting with Koodalu [given in Capital Letters] are beautifully integrated within the song.

The lyrics of the song go like this :-

Kappu huttileyu neppuna sundari,

Oppi hegileyu dhirachiya mundari

Kappu huttile naa hathuna notta dha,

Keppu na huttile ondhuna notta tha

Thatti beetha sileyu nee edhega,

Kottu beetha hennu naa edhaga

Muthu muthu mookathiga sokki hodhane, netti niddane

Sothu pathu neetha endhu kaathundhu endhe dha, matha hegu dha, madhuvaya matha hegudha,

KOODALU thinguvana koodile singarene ,

AALAANI thinguvatha aa aagi varasha mamma ,

NALLANI go kollaandhu hega beda, ,

AANI huttidha mele badhila hegine baa mamma ,

AADHIRE jena nodi bae thumbi maathaadu ,

AADI mudidha mele ododi bannane mamma,

AAVANI thinguvadhoge dhaavani singarava ,

Arattu perattu aara PERATTASI thinguvadha,

DODDA DIVIGEYA dodda kiru edhega ,

KIRU DIVIGEYA siri devi aagi banne ,

THAI mae thalaiga thatti kai yoda aatta paatta.

HEMMATTI ebbaneyu aemaathithindhu hoga beda ,

Thatti beetha sileyu nee edhaga ,

Kottu beetha hennu naa edhega

கப்பு ஹுட்டிலெயு நெப்புன சுந்தரி,
ஓப்பி ஹெகிலெயு திரசிய முந்தரி
கப்பு ஹுட்டிலே நா ஹத்துன நோட்ட த,
கெப்பு ந ஹுட்டிலே ஒந்துன நோட்ட த
தட்டி பீத்த செலெயு நீ எதெக,
கொட்டு பீத்த ஹெண்ணு நா எதக
முத்து முத்து மூக்கத்திக சொக்கி ஹொதனே,நெட்டி நித்தனெ
ஸொத்து பத்து நீத்த எந்து காத்துண்டு இந்தெ த, மாத்த ஹேகு த, மதுவய மத்த ஹெகுத,
கூடலு திங்குவன கூடிலே சிங்காரெனெ,
ஆலாணி திங்குவத ஆ ஆகி வரஷ மம்ம,
நல்லானி கொ கொள்ளாந்து ஹேக பேட,
ஆணீ ஹுட்டித மேலே பதில ஹெகினே பா மம்ம,
ஆதிரே ஜென நோடி பே தும்பி மாத்தாடு ,
ஆடி முடித மேலே ஓடோடி பன்னனே மம்ம,
ஆவாணி திங்குவதொகே தாவணி சிங்கரவ,
அரட்டு பெரட்டு ஆர பெரட்டாதி திங்குவத,
தொட்ட தீவிகியொ தொட்ட கிரு எதெக,
கிரு தீவிகியொ சிரி தேவி ஆகி பன்னே,
தை மே தலைக தட்டி கை யோட ஆட்ட பாட்ட.

எம்மாட்டி எப்பனேயு ஏமாத்திதிண்டு ஹோக பேட,
தட்டி பீத்த சிலெயு நீ எதக ,
கொட்டு பீத்த ஹெண்ணு நா எதெக


Dr.Haldorai, a Badaga Scholar, who has written extensively on Badaga, has the following interesting info on Badaga Months. Click the link below :
Badaga Months by DR.Haldorai

Remembering Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder

Remembering Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder on his 127th birth anniversary.

We thank Nakkubetta TV and their CEO Ramakrishnan for carrying out a full interview with Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash about Ari Gowder in their “Nangava Nanga Arivo” programme

Remembering Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder

Remembering Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder on his 127th birth Anniversary (4th Dec)

Rao Bahadur H B Ari Gowder

Son of late Rao Bahadur H.J.Bellie Gowder, the then leader of the hill tribes of the Nilgiris, born on 4-12-1893 was the first graduate from the Badaga Community (Madras Christian College). He was the elected member of the Madras Legislative from 1924 to 1957 except for a break in one period.

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As the Senior most District Scout Commissioner of Boy Scouts among the delegates he lead the All India Scouters Contingent of Scout Masters of District Commissioners to the World Jumboree of Scouts at Godillo, Hungary in 1933.

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He travelled extensively in Europe, including Russia, Turkey and the Balkans etc. He toured around the world visiting U.S.A, Japan, China, Indo-China (Vietnam), Malaya and Burma.

After travelling widely in India too, he started the Madras Provincial Backward Classes League and continued to be its President foe a number of years with a view to make it an All India Organisation, which it indeed become later under the leadership of a Minister of State in Delhi.

As a member of the Tea Licensing Committee, Tea Market Expansion Board, Calcutta, (Imperial) Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Delhi, President of Land Mortgage Bank, he encouraged cultivation of tea by the villagers, thus bringing into existence ‘Small Tea Growers’ and their problems.

With tea, the cultivation of potatoes was also encouraged by forming in 1935, a Co-operative Marketing Society, which has been supplying manure at reasonable price and marketing the produce under favourable terms. He continued to be its President for over 30 years.

As the elected President of the District Board from 1930 for 17 years, he opened a number of additional schools, including High Schools, Village roads and provided water supplies, medical aid, sanitation etc.

With the advancement of education, he worked hard, culminating in the opening of an Arts College at Ooty.

Due to his tireless work in various capacities, it is said that the general standard of living in the Villages improved considerably.

For his services in the Second World War and social work to the society, he was awarded medals and the title of Rao Bahadur.

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The road bridge connecting Tamil Nadu and Karnataka in Kakkanalla in Gudalur and the road in front of Mambalam Railway Station, Chennai, are named after Ari Gowder.

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He was the Nakku Betta leader of the Badagas and it is said that ‘no dispute will go unsolved’ once it is brought to his knowledge. The Badaga Day, 15 May, is also celebrated as Ari Gowda day.

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We remember Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder with respect and reverence on his birth anniversary!

Badaga Jewellery – Bangara


Badagas call the jewellery they wear as BANGARA.


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Photo by Bellie Jayaprakash
Badagas, especially the women, have some exotic and unique jewellery that they wear on their person.

The main ornaments are the nose ring called ‘ MOOKUTHI ‘ and the ear ring known as ‘CHINNA’ . Chinna , literaly means gold but usually refers to ear rings. The type shown above is worn both by men and women. Of course, the ‘ BELLI UNGARA ‘ [silver finger ring] has a special place in Badaga tradition and considered to have medicinal / health benefits. On the occasion of death, silver finger rings form part of a ritual of ‘decorating the dead’.

Perhaps, it would be an interesting topic to research why Badagas have chosen these two particular designs for nose and ear rings that have not undergone any changes in ages. Is it due to their simple but very beautiful get up or are there some great hidden stories?

It was a chance but a wonderful meeting with Mrs.Gangamma, aged 78 years, daughter of Karibajja Kari Gowder of Pedduva Kallatti who was associated with Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder (’Ari Gowda koottuda maathu adile, Koodi ebba ella bae muchindu unnippa ortara endu appa hegina’, she remembers ] and wife of late Kari Gowder of Kerben Village (Kotagiri) who passed away about 40 years back, at Mettupalayam in Feb,2007.


She was wearing traditional Badaga Jewllery – ‘Mookkuthi [nose ring] & Chinna [ear ring]’ which made me ponder and wonder about Badaga Jewellery and offered me the opportunity to take her snaps with these unique ornaments.

To my great pleasure, she also has the typical tattoo on her forehead called ‘ ASALU /ASILU ‘ a tradition which is completely extinct now. She told me that the tattooing was done when she was twelve by her mother. The soot at the bottom of mud pots used for cooking in those days, was scrapped on the rim of a silver finger ring and the circular impression was first made on her forehead before being ‘pricked’ with a needle, she said.

A great sense of relief is that still there are some graceful old ladies who wear the traditional dress – thundu mundu – as well as the typical Badaga jewellery. One such lady is Mitchi Hethay from Thambatty Village. I had the great pleasure and honour to meet her and take this short video a few months back.

Kivi Chinna
The two pictures below are from Prof.Paul Hocking's 'Kindred of the Earth'.
Notice the kivi chinna - ear ring
B & W Photos – Prof: Paul Hockings
Kivi Chiina – Ear Rings, worn by men. They also used to wear traditional kivi chinna.


Notice the two rings and dots in the center of the forehead

“ Madekkeya pitti eendhu masiya belli ungaradhoge ujji nethiga haakki, adu mele soonjiya kuthidha awai. Appara urichidhamane krichi butte..adutha asilu ollagenge kuthule” ( The black soot from the bottom of a mud pot is scrapped on the rim of a silver finger ring and an imprint is made on the forehead, over which mother would ‘tattoo’ with a needle. Since it hurt a lot I cried out in pain and Mom did not prick deeper and hence the tattoo is lighter).

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Above photo by Raghu Joghee
Courtesy Mr.Karia Gowder of Nattakal Village, I could take some pix of Seruppinige, Mani Maale, Sippu Bae etc, which are produced below :

Badaga women also [used to] wear a kind of chocker called “SARATTADI“ that is a short chain around the neck with a biggish pendant. Then, of course is the ‘SERUPPINIGE‘ a silver necklace / chocker.

Koderi Hethay with Mookkuthi & Seruppinige
Mani Maalay

Gubbe -Mani Maaley


The picture of a Badaga woman [blue blouse – bottom left ] was taken by late Chantal Boulanger-Maloney [she was a social anthropologist specializing in Indian culture and I thank her husband Peter Maloney for permitting me to use it. You can see more pictures on Badaga by Chantal in her website [other pics are by me – Bellie Jayaprakash]. The next pix is that of Mrs.Gowri wife of Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder and to its right is Mrs. Nanji e wife of Rao Bahadur HJ Bellie Gowder and mother of Ari Gowder. On the right extreme is Lakshmi e from Chinna (Ooru) Hubbathalai. These pictures are chosen to show the ‘SARATTADI’.

KADAGA (Bangles)

The bangle or rather bracelet around the wrist is known as ‘ KADAGA ‘ or ‘ CHIPPU BAE ‘ and the thick flat armlet just above the elbow made out of gold or silver is ‘ BAE .

When I took this picture of Kothiben Hatti Laxmi ‘Karuppi’ Hethai on 09-04-07 and mentioned that the photo has come out well, she mentioned with a great sense of humour, ‘ potto olange bandu ena maaduva, utti enbudhu tha kappu edhaga’. Thank you Kothiben Karuppi Hethe, it was wonderful meeting you !
Finger Rings known in Badaga as UNGARA

BADAGAS GIVE A LOT OF IMPORTANCE TO SILVER FINGER RINGS AND THEY ARE ALWAYS WORN IN PAIR. This is the only jewellery item that is not removed from a deceased Badaga.

My mother Idy Hethe with Janaki Akka (Hubbathalai)
Badagas give a lot of importance to silver finger rings and they are always worn in pair
Ode - dharay - waist belt
N Bellie of Achenakal writes to mention about HODETHARA, a chain worn around the hip of a year old baby on the occassion of MANDE BEESUVA [head shaving] ceremony.


Inside the linga katti
Linga Katti - worn only by Lingayats

Given below is this rare photo of Mrs. Gauri Ari Gowder, wife of Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder,and the eldest daughter in law of Rao Bahadur HJ Bellie Gowder, then the ‘uncrowned king of Nakku Betta’, was taken some 80/90 odd years back on her wedding day. Probably, she was the first Badaga woman to dress up in a saree for the wedding. She died very young (less than twenty) after delivery of her second female child – the epitome of beauty. Unfortunately, the baby also did not survive. The photo is given here to high light the badaga jewellery she was wearing.

The photo [from Prof : P.Hockings’ book] below is about 100yrs old. See the Jewellery



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Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash B.E.(GCT,Madras Univ).,M.B.A (FMS, Delhi Univ)
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