Category Archives: badaga

Mrs.Rukmani Bhojraj.RIP

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Mrs.Rukmani Bhojraj
19-2-1934 —-29-5-2020

It is with the deepest regrets, we record the death of Mrs.Rukmani Bhojraj on 29th May, 2020 at her residence in Mount Pleasant, Coonoor. She was 86 years old.

She was living with her youngest daughter Mrs.Tara Jayaprakash, grand son Abhimanyu Ari and son in law Wg.Cdr.Bellie Jayaprakash. Her grand daughter Pakshalika Nanji lives in London with her husband Rishim Sachdeva and son Shaiel.

There are many women who have sacrificed everything so that they can devote all the time to look after the well being of family, friends and others. Their selfless sacrifies even under very trying times is an inspiration to many. Their struggle to maintain family dignity comes at a very high sense of responsibility. Mrs.Rukmani Bhojraj was one such Badaga woman.

Daughter of Badaga leader from Kundhey Ketchigatty B.K.Bella Gowder, daughter in law of the greatest Badaga Leader Rao Bahadur Hubbathalai Ari Gowder and was married to Bhojraj who was a South India Golf Champion in 1950s apart from other achievements. She had lived a life full of grit and determination, in-spite of severe physical impediments. She was a source of strength and inspiration to all those who have known her. Her hospitality was legendary.

May her soul Rest In Peace

NakkuBetta TV

See the source image

NakkuBetta TV channel is devoted to Badagas of the Blue Mountains. Naduhatti Ramakrisha,owner of this TV Channel, is doing a great job,

In this particular episode on May 15th, which is celebrated as Badaga Day, (in many places it is celebrated this as ARI GOWDA day also), the focus is on Edappalli Raghu Joghee, a very good photographer. His book HABBA will be published soon

I am grateful to Raghu Joghee for mentioning about me and the website http://www.badaga.co (more than 703,000 hits) in his interview. Click the pix above for full interview.

Nakkubetta TV is being embedded in our website as a separate page

Wg.Cdr.JP

Happy Badaga Day

Today (15th May) is Badaga  Day !

Also, celebrated as Ari Gowda day!!

Proud to be an Indian : : Proud to be a Badaga

 

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(From the archieves)

Badaga Day 2009

Some snaps taken on Badaga Day by Ravi Bal Raj
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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.

Flag hoisted

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.

BADAGA DAY

Badaga Flag

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

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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.

 

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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.

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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).

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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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No articles, images and other material in this website can be reproduced without the written permission of
Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash B.E.(GCT,Madras Univ).,M.B.A (FMS, Delhi Univ)

 

Contact : bjaypee@gmail.com
belliejayaprakash©2010

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Wing commander Bellie Jayaprakash’s other website from the heart for some ‘light’ reading

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How to take care of ourselves, in these Corona Virus days!

Let us buildup our immune system

This pandemic Covid -19 (Corona Virus), a gift to mankind by the Chinese, is once in  a life time disease that affects all of us. In this respect while a cure, (vaccine)  will be found sooner than later, what interests me is a few preventive or precautionary steps that may not only help us to to be prepared to face not only this deadly virus but also to build up immune system in our body, as advised by the men of medicine.

  1. Intake of Garlic, Ginger and Turmeric.
    (pix – Grover – from the net)

    Take a piece of raw Ginger and couple of pods of Garlic along with your breakfast. Take half to one tea spoon of turmeric powder along with a glass of water or tea/coffee everyday.

  2. Vitamin D – Just spend  fifteen to thirty minutes in the morning sun to get this vitamin every day. Available in abundance and free.
  3. Vitamin C – Citrus fruits like Lime Juice, Oranges
    (pix courtesy – restaurantgirl.com)

    And of course, Exercise – Walk, Jog , gym – anything.

Some ‘burning’ issues facing Badagas

[This article/page was published earlier. But, most of the issues touched upon have a great relevance even today – Wg.Cdr JP]

Badagas as a Hill Tribe

BADAGAS as ST

Many Badagas are under the mistaken impression that if they are brought under the “Scheduled Tribe”, it is a degrading step. I do not think so. Badagas are one of the ‘ORIGINAL’ tribes of the Nilgiris along with Todas, Kothas and Kurumas.

The enormous improvements achieved by Badagas in all social factors, in spite of many impediments, should make us feel proud. This success is attributed to one SINGLE factor. Education. For that we must remember with gratitude the pioneer, visionary and philanthropist Rao Bahadur [Hubbathalai Jogi Gowder] Bellie Gowder who built the first School for Badagas – along with free hostel accommodation in Hubbathalai and his son Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder who fore saw that in educating a girl, indeed we are educating a family and hence insisted on education for girls and encouraged it fully.

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‘Scheduled Tribe’ status for Badagas ?!

March, 2008 : Why the latest Tamil Nadu website, http://www.nilgiris.tn.gov.in/
on the Nilgiris is getting on my ‘goat’ is the fact that till recently Badagas were shown as a tribe along with Todas, Kothas, Kurumbas and others. In fact, the following photograph displayed in my website www.badaga.in [ see the page https://badaga.wordpress.com/badaga-dance/ ] was taken from that portal.

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But the same has been removed from http://www.nilgiris.tn.gov.in/ now.

Mind you, calling Badagas as a separate tribe and included with others, does not automaticaly give the status of a schedule tribe. And hence, the champions among ourselves who are opposed to ST status, need not feel small

The above website of TN govt is accessed by many tourists mainly foreigners and they are agast not to find anything on or about Badagas.

Many readers may not know that Badagas were listed as a separate entity in the CENSUS till 1981 but after, that courtesy some ill informed ‘idiots’, Badaga are grouped under Kannada (speaking people). What this has done is the huge loss of information of knowing how many Badagas are there [along with all other details like literacy rate, gender wise population etc]. That, SIMPLY MEANS BADAGAS DO NOT EXIST.

What is highly hurting is the fact we have many Badagas including a minister, MLA, many ex-MPs & ex-MLAs who seem to do nothing. Can they not, ATLEAST, shoot out letters to all concerned ? Or, have they forgotten the fact that they are getting a fat pension because of us? I know of an EX-MP who writes to the local police station every now and then emphasising the EX-FACTOR when it comes to grabbing others land for her own kith, but does nothing about the community welfare.

What about the many self appointed leaders of Badaga community, including ex-MLAs, who claim that they are very close to the DMK party leadership ? Why can’t they initiate some action and show the same enthusiasm when they ‘fleece’ the public for money in the name of donation for the party [but lining their own pockets]?

What about many senior government officers, including the only IAS officer who can influence the party in power to take some action ? Firstly, the IAS officer should correct his mother tongue being Badaga and NOT as Tamil as is given in the government official info { a fact I have mentioned in FIRST BADAGA also}.

It is a well known fact that late Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder would seek an immediate appointment, to highlight the problems concerning Badagas, with the Collector as well as the State ministers of his time including the great Rajaji who was the CM. Do you know that Rajaji had to apologise to Ari Gowder when he (Rajaji) was delayed for an appointment and Ari Gowder, as MLA, threatened to walk out. I believe, many Collectors of the Nilgiris, would not only address Ari Gowder’s concern expressed over the phone but would consult him on any issue on Badagas.

Why are we keeping quiet ? Why are we behaving like ‘HEBBATHES’ – cockroaches- running away from light and hiding ourselves in darkness??

Badagas under Schedule Tribes ???

I have very strong views on this subject. Before I elaborate on them, I feel that we should first of all be identified as BADAGAS which is not the case as SANTHOSH has rightly mentioned in www://badaga.com “. . our community’s name is not in the list of communities under the BC category. In fact, it is not mentioned under any of the categories.”

I also agree with the views of ‘bhojvija’ who feels that ST tag for Badagas is humiliating…
“…Badagas living in cities and doing/completed education in cities and are upper middle class family and for them it’s not at all a matter if Badagas are non ST. But we have to talk about our entire badaga community. For example an SC/ST guy simply getting govt job if he passed just degree. And government providing more facilities like scholarship, free hostel, books, notebooks etc… In our community so many have stopped their education due to lack of economical support and their entire life style also has been changed as they have to work just as ordinary labourers…. “.

Most of us feel that getting ST status is demeaning and meant mainly for getting admissions to educational institutions and getting jobs easily. The truth could be entirely different.

Even in our own district of the Nilgirs, do you know that we are not taken as a separate community as BADAGAS but are clubbed with other non tribals??? That is one of the reasons why the exact number of Badags is not available? When census is taken Badags are clubbed under Kannadigas / others.

I am afraid, if this sad state of affair continues, after a few years, we will come under the “extinct” community.

Being from an above average Badaga family – economically [God’s grace], having done my professional studies of engineering and business administration etc and having served in the defence services and having mostly lived in big cities like Delhi, Bangalore & Madras for the past forty odd years or educating my children in the elitist schools, colleges and now abroad, I had no occasion to seek the tag of BC.

BUT.. yes this is a big ‘but’ [no pun intended]…

BUT, NOW THAT I VISIT AND INTERACT WITH OUR PEOPLE IN OUR HATTIS ON A REGULAR BASIS, I AM CONVINCED THAT FOR THE UPLIFTMENT OF OUR COMMUNITY AS A WHOLE (as opposed to city based creamy layers) THERE IS AN URGENT NEED THAT :

  1. First, we should be identified as a separate group as BADAGAS like Todas, Kothas,Kurumas etc when the people(tribes) of the Nilgiris are referred to.
  2. For the larger good of the community, Badagas should get the ST status for the benefits available are too many to go into detail.

Nearly eighty years back, Nakku Betta Leader, Rao Bahadur (Rao Sahib then) Bellie Gowder on whose invitation the Governor of then Madras Province visited Hubbathalai Village was presented a memorandum on the Hill Tribes of Nilgiris which included Badagas, Todas & Kothas. In a grand cultural show organised on that eve Badaga dance was presented [by school boys] in their ‘DODDA KUPPACHA”.

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Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder, incidentally, was not only the leader of Badagas but represented as leader of all the tribes of Nilgiris (a relatively remote hilly & jungle area and unexplored at that time). The folder he presented to the British Governor, on the occassion of his vist to Hubbathalai [on the invitation of Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder] containg some rare photos of all the tribes of Nilgiris INCLUDING BADAGAS

Badagas as a Hill Tribe

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p style=”text-align:center;”>What do you think?

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Let us be FAIR to the fair gender

As I sit down to ponder over the ‘burning issues’ that are bothering the Badaga Community, three issues pop up as very important. The FIRST one is the inequality with which we seem to be treating our women today. Though, this malaise is affecting all the communities in our country, I am concerned that the Badagas who treated their women folk with so much respect and love in the olden days, are slowly but surely pushing them into the second class citizens category.

In earlier days, the girls were married off at a much younger age [Kannu Hoottadha Henga] but with the firm understanding that they [the girls] could seek divorce at any time if there was matrimonial disharmony and that they would be accepted back into the society without any blame and reservation. Getting married again was no big issue. She, always, had the backing of her parents and her brothers as ‘guru mane’ gave unflinching support in all respects mainly financial. This was probably the main reason that the girl children were not given any share in the property.

Being brought up in an atmosphere where complaining and cribbing were not considered as routine, the Badaga women accepted life as it came and were always ready to sacrifice their own comforts. But then, the Badaga men, at least a majority of them, were, also, simple and hard working. Then came the curse of ‘drinking’. And with that, the problems and troubles of Badaga woman increased many fold and took a dramatic turn for the worse. The men folk took full advantage of the vulnerable nature of the women who had the additional burden of bringing up the children. Here, it must be mentioned that a Badaga girl was expected to be pregnant within a few months of marriage and invariably, there was a child to ‘celebrate’ the first wedding anniversary. Followed, of course, with many more children. “Mane thumba Makka” – House full of children – was part of the ‘blessing – Harakkay’.

This put the women in a very disadvantageous position. With many children, divorce was not a choice. Thus, they accepted suffering without complaints.

Education changed the fundamental thinking of girls. Though still faced with the compulsion of early marriage, many girls accepted ‘two children per family’ norm as the best option. But, there was and is still discrimination when it came to giving them share of property. The present law of the land is clear. Girls should get EQUAL share of the property.

The Badaga thinking, mainly mandated and manipulated by men, has found the clumsy excuse of not giving share of the property to the girl children by quoting outdated traditions. This is the problem.

I am convinced that one of the most important and burning issues facing us today is GIVING EQUAL SHARE TO THE GIRLS AS THE BOYS. I am firmly of the view that we have to resolve that we will give equal share to the girls if we have to save our community from falling into disgrace. Let us take that resolution, HERE and NOW.

Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash B.E.(GCT,Madras Univ).,M.B.A (FMS, Delhi Univ)
Contact : bjaypee@gmail.com
belliejayaprakash©2006-2020

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A Big Thank YOU

700,000 + and counting….

that is the number of hits for this Badaga website

But for you, it would not have been possible

A Big Thank You

A book to ‘Learn Badaga in 30 days’

Yogesh Raj of Kadasolai, who has invented a script for Badugu/Badaga language, after nearly fifty years of hardwork, with lot of passion and a single minded dedication, has brought out an excellent book, ” Learn Badugu in 30 days ” (with English). In this book, he has also explained about how to learn and write in the Badaga Script he has invented.  Yogesh prefers to say Badugu rather than Badaga

Divided into six Parts, this book contains 162 pages.

Part I explains about the how to write Badugu alphabets, vowels, consonants etc

Part II deals with Words, Nouns, verbs etc and names of seasons, months, fruits, animals etc

Part III contains words related to offices etc and basic Grammar – Let us learn Grammar

Part IV deals with various day to day conversations in offices, market as well as Grammar -2.

Part V has more Grammar lessons and long sentences

Part VI is on letter writing (in Badugu)

The book also contains about 500 Badaga words with English equivalents, a sort of dictionary at the end.

This book meets the urgent and important need of a script for the Unique Badaga language.

Recently Yogesh had taken a delegation to celebrate International Mother (Tongue) Language Day with a demand to include about 40 languages  in the 8th Schedule of our Constitution. Many activists, spread across the country of many languages like BADAGA, Bhojpuri, Kosali, Rajasthani, Kodava, Magahi, Angika etc. The programme was organised by Campaign for Language Equality and Rights (CLEAR), a pan India Organisation representing language activists. 

 This book “Learn Badugu in 30 days” is available in some select book stores/shops in Ooty, Coonoor and Kotagiri. Price Rs.105. Pages 162.

Published by Bukka Malla Publications, Veerapandi, Coimbatore- 19

Contact : Yogesh R (yogeshr23@gmail.com – 8903471808)

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We are happy to make this book available to all friends and visitors to this website at a special price of Rs.80/-

( Courier/postal charges extra where applicable).

Contact :

bjaypee@gmail.com or send sms to 8637677373

Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash –

 

Remembering H B ARI Gowder

Today, 4th December, is Rao Bahadur H B Ari Gowder‘s 126th birth anniversary.

A great Badaga, a great Indian who did so much to the society

We pay tributes and remember him with reverence

Rao Bahadur H.B.Ari Gowder, the first Badaga graduate, first Badaga M.L.C & M.L.A for a long time who had brought many reforms in/to Badaga Community including ‘prohibition’ (no alcohol – kudi) to Nilgiris in British days itself. Ari Gowder lead the Indian contigent (yes, “INDIAN CONTIGENT) to World Scouts Jumboree held in Europe in the 1930s.
Being a great philanthrophist he had done a lot for the betterment of Badagas. He was the one who established Nilgiri Co-Op Marketting Society at Ooty, to save the small farmers-especially Badagas- from the exploits of middlemen & traders at Mandis in Mettupalayam. He was the President of NCMS for more than 30 years, till his death and NCMS was considered one of the best co-op societies in India during his days. His statue has been erected in the NCMS compound in appreciation of his great work.
Since he donated the land, the road in front of Mambalam Railway Station in Chennai (Madras) is named after him (known as Arya Gowder Street). Both were held in great esteem and considered as the ‘ Uncrowned King ‘ of Nakku Betta by Badagas.

Ari Gowder

See the page – All about Ari Gowder

Ari Gauda



 

 

 

Dr. Rajamma of Kethorai

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It has been some time earlier that I had written about Rajamma, a Badaga from Kethorai Village. Though, she has been highly recognised, on a personal level, she has not been treated fairly by Badagas, specially from her own village. Some over indulgent and misinformed gentlemen. She has been excommunicated and not allowed to enter her village.

Her ‘crime‘, marrying a non Badaga some 30 years ago, with whom she hardly lived for a year and got legal separation. Instead of feeling proud about a daughter who has been presented with so many awards as a teacher and social activist, her village people have not been kind to her. They may not be aware that what they have done, preventing her from coming to the village, has caused so much pain to this lady who brought up a son as a single mom.

She is a source of inspiration to women folk.

For her efforts and in recognition an USA university has conferred a doctorate to her. Read her inspiring story below. – Wg.Cdr.JP

 We are happy to learn that she was conferred with Honorary Doctorate by International  Tamil University, USA  on 24th Aug. 2019, for her exemplary service in the field of education and social work.

Dr.Rajamma ( Dean & Educational Consultant. SSAV, CBSE School, Thirumudivakkam ) writes to say :

It is a reward for my 40 years journey. I owe this to my Parents who had given me education, Kendriya Vidyalaya ,the great organization where I served for 28 years, the NGOs which gave me a platform to do my social work  and the thousands of my students whom  had traveled with me  in my journey of 40 years.

Tribute to Rajamma from her son Prithvi

There was a dreamy eyed girl who ran to school every morning with tattered clothes, but with big ambitions. When the world around her refused to see how bright she was, she shone even brighter, engulfing all the darkness around her. She climbed mountains nobody ever dreamt of and fought battles she never imagined. In the end, she had the last laugh. This is the story of my Amma who was denied the right ti education, but now has an honorary doctorate for her excellence in the field of education and social service.

Your journey fight for dignity in a society where women were undervalued, and still are, just for being women, has inspired generations of both women and men. Your humility and thirst for knowledge has earned you so many awards that there is no space to keep mine anymore

You lived your dreams of earning your PhD vicariously through me at first, but look at you now, shining like a pole star.

Thank you for being a purple hibiscus in a world of ordinary red hibiscus. Thank you for being the feminist icon we all need.

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Santhosh Kumar JB has sent the info and the link in ‘The Hindu’ and we have great pleasure in sharing the same with all Badagas.

It was not before the age of 15 that she was first taught the English alphabet. Now, 35 years later, she is a successful teacher in the same subject and is getting ready to leave for New Delhi to receive the Dr. Radhakrishnan Best Teacher Award from President Pratibha Devisingh Patil.
The fact that R.Rajammal is the first generation learner from her family may not be uncommon. But that she belongs to the Badagar community from remote Kethorai Village of Kethi Village Panchayat in Nilgiris District and has come thus far is an inspiring story. People travelling on the famous Nilgiri Mountain Railway might have noticed the Kethi railway station Coonoor and Udhagamandalam. Her native village Kethorai is a good five-kilometre trek from there.
Ms. Rajammal teaches English and Science to primary students at Kendriya Vidyalaya (II) at Madambakkam near Tambaram. Recognising her rise from modest backgrounds, her contribution to teaching and the Guides movement, the Ministry of Human Resource Development selected her for the prestigious award.
“I am the eldest among five children. I still remember the hardwork of my parents who toiled through the day in tea plantations and small farms raising vegetables,” Ms. Rajammal recalled her childhood days at Kethorai. Five decades back, education in remote hilly areas was scarce but Rajammal made the best of it, excelling in academics till high school.
Being a first generation learner did come in the way but having imbibed the quality of sheer hard work from her parents M.Ramachandran and R.Saraswathi, she never gave up. “We used to walk eight kilometers to high school and back home. It was not before class nine that we were first taught the English alphabet,” Ms. Rajammal said.
As those were the days of college education immediately after S.S.L.C., they had very little time to master English and when she joined Providence College, Coonoor, she found it even more difficult in the initial days. However, with the help of her teachers and classmates, she finished her B.Sc in Botany in high grades and came to Chennai, where she managed to get the job as a teacher at St. Michael’s Academy in Adyar.
Deputation to Moscow
Seven years later, she joined the Kendriya Vidyalaya. After a nation-wide test, she was selected to go on a three-year deputation to Moscow where she served the KV school there. A compere for programmes at INS Rajali in Arakkonam and also during passing out parades of Central Industrial Security Force establishments, Ms. Rajammal has earned popularity for her motivational speeches and also for her work among the underprivileged sections involving school students.
Her association with welfare homes for the senior citizens, destitute women and children had its origins in her childhood. “I visit my native village at least six times a year and spend a long time during the summer vacation. I insist on the importance of education and encourage young girls never to give up till they succeed in life,” Ms. Rajammal said.
Actively involved in the Girl Guides movement, Ms. Rajammal has received the NCERT Award in 2003 for Innovative Teaching Practices in Environmental Studies and the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan Incentive Award in 2008.
She wants to be a role model for rural women, especially among her Badagar community. Ever indebted to the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sanghatan for the exposure that she has received, she said that she would be only too glad to serve KVS even after her retirement.

K. Manikandan

Oh, Mother!

Remembering mother on her 107th Birth Day

Idyammal Bellie Gowder

You were everything for us in all those glorious 99 years and 10 months when you were ‘here’.

As we were preparing to celebrate the ‘century’, you chose to leave this earth just a couple of months earlier…seven years ago.

How time flies!

Elle idhale’yu engava harachu

[Bless us all from where ever you are]

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Idyammal Bellie Gowder
Born September 02, 1912
Hubbathalai, The Nilgiris
Died July 13, 2011 (aged 99 years 10 months)
Parents Rao Bahadue HJ Bellie Gowder and Nanji Hethe
Sister of Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder
Spouse B.K.Bellie Gowder [Bearhatti]

[Autographed pencil sketch of Mom by JP in 1968 while she was reading an issue of Femina ]

“I know my mother looks much older than what she is but those wrinkles have the charm of their own. They indicate the signs of her great endurance; and the hard life she has to lead through to bring her children to lead a life that is respected and regarded by others” – JP (24-1-68)

Dear Hands

[Grace Noll Crowell]

My mother’s hands were beautiful,
They are not always smooth and white
They were so busy making dull
And lusterless things clean and bright.

They reached so often to caress
A hurt child crying in the night
They moved as quick as fluttering birds
Among the cups and spoons at tea

They did a thousand lovely things
And did them all so graciously
There is no way to sum them up
The countless things she did for us.

[photo of Idy Hethe’s hand by her grandson Abhi Ari -2010]