Badaga Day (15th May)
May 15th is celebrated as Badaga day, every year. Many may not be aware that this has been done from 1993 onwards. The Porangadu Seeme (Mainly Kotagiri Area) has been celebrating this day as ‘Ari Gowder Day‘ also, in honour of Rao Bahadur H B Ari Gowder of Hubbathalai [See the link Great Badagas] who had done a lot for the Badaga Community, at Nattakal ‘Naakku Betta Koottu Hane’ (Naakku Betta Meeting Ground) which had seen many historic Badaga gatherings for over 80 years. Nattakal is near Kerben Village [near Kotagiri], on the main road from Coonoor.
(From the archieves)
Badaga Day 2009
Some snaps taken on Badaga Day by Ravi Bal Raj
From ‘the Hindu’ issue dated 16 May 2009
Enthusiasm marks Badaga Day fete Special Correspondent
|Long-pending demands of the community highlighted|
Photo: D. Radhakrishnan
Paying respects: The founder-secretary, Young Badagas Association, T.B. Ramamurthy, garlanding the bust of Badaga leader H.B. Ari Gowder in Udhagamandalam on Friday. —
Udhagamandalam: Though exchanging greetings and enquiring about each other’s welfare repeatedly is a prominent cultural trait of the Badagas of the Nilgiris, it was done with accentuated enthusiasm on Friday.
The reason: May 15 has for the past 15 years been observed as Badaga Day.
Clad in their spotless white traditional dress, hundreds of Badagas from various parts of the Nilgiris district and places like Chennai, Coimbatore, Tirupur, Tiruchi, Hosur, Mettupalayam and Mumbai congregated at the Young Badaga Association (YBA) hall here and reflected on the state of affairs in the community even as they enjoyed the cultural programmes organised for their pleasure. The celebrations were set in motion after obeisance was paid to late H.B. Ari Gowder of Hubbathalai village, the widely acknowledged leader of the community who a few decades ago had done a lot to lift the Badagas socially and economically.
A bust of Mr. Gowder within the premises of the Nilgiris Cooperative Marketing Society was garlanded by the founder-secretary of the YBA, T.B. Ramamurthy, of Dhavani village. His contributions were read out.
Earlier the Badaga flag was hoisted at the YBA by a senior member of the community T.M. Kullan.
Interacting with ‘The Hindu’, the participants said that the occasion would be utilised to reiterate the community’s long-standing demand for inclusion in the list of Scheduled Tribes.
If fulfilled, it would ensure social security for the community, which is identified only with the Nilgiris.
Adverting to the rich and hoary culture of the community, they said that in whichever part of the world Badagas may have settled they should not lose sight of their moorings or compromise on the cultural front.
While highest priority should be accorded to unity, family values should be given importance and ego clashes should be eschewed.
Acts of selfishness which may do irreversible damage to families and the community should be avoided.
May 15th is celebrated as Badaga day, every year. Many may not be aware that this has been done from 1993 onwards. The Porangadu Seeme (Mainly Kotagiri Area) has been celebrating this day as ‘Ari Gowder Day’ also, in honour of Rao Bahadur H B Ari Gowder of Hubbathalai [See the link Great Badagas] who had done a lot for the Badaga Community, at Nattakal ‘Naakku Betta Koottu Hane’ (Naakku Betta Meeting Ground) which had seen many historic Badaga gatherings for over 80 years. Nattakal is near Kerben Village [near Kotagiri], on the main road from Coonoor.
Badaga Day – 15 May 2007
Ari Gowder’s photo being opened, Porangadu Seeme Gowda Bheema Gowder addressing the gathering, Part of the crowd, Ari gowder’s daughter in law Mrs.Rukmani Bhojraj being honoured with a ‘ponnadai’ Shawl
While I was proud and honoured to attend the function this year, what saddened me is the fact that there seems no unity among the Badagas what with trivial and minor disputes resulting in boycott of this function by certain hattis at the behest of their ‘Gowdas’. I beleive, in the earlier years, this function attracted a lot of crowd. To add more dismay, there was a parallel Badagar Day celebrations at Ooty, organised by some self appointed Badaga leaders along with corrupt self serving and discredited politicians.
At Nattakal function, I was pleasantly surprised to see BADAGA FLAG being hoisted. Badaga Flag is completety white and I felt, it is appropriate that white colour has been chosen, as the same is totally identified with badagas [due to our dress] as well as HETHE AMMA etc.
In the function, many prominent Gowdas spoke and high lighted the contribution of Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder to our community.
It was also announced by the family of Ari Gowder (by his grand daughter Tara Jayaprakash & myself) that from next academic year onwards, three girls and three boys [from the Badagas] who get the first three positions in plus two exams will be given a cash incentive of Rs.3000,Rs.2000 & Rs.1000 each. This amount will be distributed during the next badaga day (in 2008) at Nattakal. Also, we announced that for the benefit of all those badagas who have to go to Mettupalayam and stay there due to sickness, can stay, along with their family members, in two houses located at ‘Ari Gowder Thottam’, Edayarpalayam road [near housing unit colony]. A nominal fee (to meet electrical & water charges etc) may be charged. The duration of stay could be from a couple of days to a few weeks. (For details please contact ; Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash at 9244923145 or 9486631864).
Towards the end of the function, a sad incident of an eye being removed from Maasi Hethai from Aravenu Village was revealed. It was mentioned that the doctors at an eye hospital at Coimbatore, due to their total neglect and callous attitude, removed her GOOD eye instead of the person lying in the next bed in the hospital. She produced photocopies of her stay and medical history. Her case was highlighted by Mrs.Indu K Mallah, Badaga activist who was also a member of the Nilgiri District Cosumer Court for five years. She strongly recommended that this case be taken up for suitable compensation by the concerned hospital.
Maasi Hethe’s case being highlighted by Mrs.Indu K Mallah
The function concluded with lunch (briyani with pachadi) being served to all those who attended the meeting.
This function was covered by CTN Cable TV network . Incidentally, CTN has a lot of Badaga content in their programmes with songs, dances, serials etc. Hats off to them and do not miss their Badaga programmes if you are in their coverage area (Coonoor & Kotagiri surroundings).
As announced, our offer of free accomodation at Mettupalayam for looking after sick persons was utilised by [retired head constable] Bhoja Gowder from Horasolai Village for the benefit of his wife Lakshmi Ammal. After staying in Mettupalayam for a few months, he has taken her back to hatti on 12-02-08.
Incidentally, Bhoju [as I call him] is a famous football player and in his hay days represented Tamil Nadu Police.
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Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash B.E.(GCT,Madras Univ).,M.B.A (FMS, Delhi Univ)
Contact : email@example.com
Wing commander Bellie Jayaprakash’s other website from the heart for some ‘light’ reading