Category Archives: badaga

Image

Disaster Can Strike…D.Venugopal

Wake up call for Ooty Botanical Gardens
Dharmalingam Venugopal

The piece de resistance of Nilgiri tourism, the Government Botanical Gardens at the east end of Ooty town could be sidelined by the fast emerging new garden by the Karnataka government at the west end of the town if the GBG authorities do not wake up in time, the Nilgiri Documentation Centre has warned.

The widely acclaimed botanical gardens was created 170 year ago in 1848 by the expert hands of W.G. McIvor who converted a primitive jungle into a beautiful public garden. He turned the swamps into streams of water and ornamental ponds and wild growths into grassy slopes and beds of flowers. Nurseries of vegetable, fruit and ornamental trees were created. He started the famous annual Flower Shows at the gardens to encourage the public grow good varieties of vegetable and flowers with a competitive spirit. The agricultural and horticultural products of the botanical garden and farms were displayed in the Dasara Festival of Mysore.

In the past three decades or so, the gardens have not only been steadily losing their botanical importance but were replaced by unbecoming artificial trappings such as cement statues, garden benches and so on. The exotic trees and plants which were uprooted naturally were never replaced. The popular glass houses have been allowed to deteriorate into disuse. The buildings and foot paths inside present a picture of neglect and indifference. Public conveniences and food stalls are shabby and insufficient. The once immaculate entrance has became bizarre, filthy and an unregulated bazzar. The gardens have almost lost their botanical significance and become an amusement park.

The authorities seem to have taken the visitors for granted and bothered only about the gate collection. Ironically, the gate fee was imposed after great resistance for better upkeep of the gardens.

The new gardens coming up in an idyllic ambience away from the din and bustle of the town with ample parking and amenities could easily divert the cream of the tourist crowd leaving only the sundry to GBG.

The GBG badly needs another professional McIvor to reinvent itself.

Advertisements

‘Consider Badagas as the indigenous people of Nilgiris’

‘Consider Badagas as the indigenous people of Nilgiris’

From The Times of India| Aug 11, 2017 

The Nilgiri Documentation Centre (NDC) has appealed to society for managing the Tribal Cultural and Research Centre (TCRC) in Ooty to considerBadagas as indigenous people of the Nilgiris. It said that separating the Badagas from other indigenous people would not only violate the well-documented Nilgiri history and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP), but will also harm the proverbial communal harmony of the hills
The appeal came even as an estimated 370 million indigenous people of the world celebrated the 10th anniversary of the UN declaration on Wednesday, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. Stating that the UNDRIP was adopted by the General Assembly on September 13, 2007, by a majority of 144 states, including India, Dharmalingam Venugopal, honorary president and founder of NDC, says, “Given the complexities in India, the government is yet to declare the list of indigenous communities in the country.”
Over 370 million indigenous people are estimated to be spread across 70 countries. Practising unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live, said the NDC letter.

The appeal also quotes the first Commissioner of Nilgiris, J.W.Breeks, who wrote the monumental work, ‘An Account of the Primitive Tribes and Monuments of the Nilgiris’ in 1873 that classified the Todas, Badagas, Kotas, Kurumbas and Irulas who inhabited the upper Nilgiris as ‘Hill tribes’. But he described the other tribes except the Badagas as ‘primitive tribes’ or ‘jungle race’ depending on their level of development.
However, while Todas, Kotas, Kurumbas and Irulas were included in the list of scheduled tribes in 1950, the Badagas were listed as backward class. In recent decades the government of Tamil Nadu had recommended inclusion of Badagas in the list of scheduled tribes.
Whatever be the economic classification of the five tribes it has been well established they were interlinked culturally for hundreds of years in an exceptional and exemplary manner and that the same relationship and harmony continues even to this day. And the Badagas need an ethnic status as an indigenous Nilgiri group, says Venugopal.

Gone but not forgotten

 

H.B.Ari Gowda

Gratefully remembering all the selfless service done to the society, Badagas and the family !

Ari Gowder

04 Dec 1883 – 28 Jun 1971

46th Death Anniversary !

Ottukudi – Bamboo Shoots

Badagas go gaga over tender bamboo shoots

DECCAN CHRONICLE.Jun 19, 2017
RAVICHANDRAN
More so, the edible bamboo is a veggie wonder during late summer or in the early southwest monsoon season in the Nilgiris.

View of edible tender Bamboo shoots, popularly known as "Ottakudi" in Badaga language in Nilgiris. (Photo: DC)

View of edible tender Bamboo shoots, popularly known as “Ottakudi” in Badaga language in Nilgiris.

By all accounts it is very hard to resist buying tender bamboo shoots, popularly known as “Ottakudi” in the local Badaga language. For this green, crunchy delicacy from the semi-wild areas is always a jungle vegetable to relish.

More so, the edible bamboo is a veggie wonder during late summer or in the early southwest monsoon season in the Nilgiris. Though this ancient jungle vegetable still brings the taste of the wild, its availability is becoming scarce now.

 The gravy of Ottakudu, called as “Ottakudi Udhaka” in the hills, is a
tempting delicacy with a taste of different kind and flavor that make
the bamboo shoots, which is also called as “bamboo sprout,” a much sought after vegetable of semi-wild origin during its annual season in the summer and early monsoon periods.

Ms. Bannari, a vegetable vendor, said that this year ‘bamboo shoot’ fetches around Rs 140 per Kg.  There is good demand for “Ottakudi” in the Badaga villages as every Badaga home generally shows interest in buying it at least once during its season.

Quite a few of them buy and gift them to their kith and kin living in  other places and other districts.  “Bamboo shoot was abundant in the hills, especially along the water sources in the jungle fringes in the hills in the past.

Now, its availability had become scarce and mostly confined to Pykara area,” she said, adding, that one needs to remove the outer dark-red coloured peel to extract the young bamboo shoots that is the edible part of the plant.

Though this annual semi-wild vegetable is known for its taste, the
fleshy and crunchy tender bamboo shoot is said to be good for keeping a good digestive health due to its good fibre content, besides helpful in tackling cold-related ailments during the monsoon, say gourmets here.

Mark this day and be present with all your like minded friends of Ooty
Date : June 15, 2017 (Thursday)
Time: 11-30am
Place: Birla House, Pudumandu ( below Birla Mandir)
Direction: Take Marliamund Road, adjacent to St.Stephens Church near the Collector’s Office.  About 3 kms.
Occasion: Centenary of the House Arrest of Dr. Annie Besant  during the Home Rule struggle. (see below for details)

Image result for annie besant

Centenary of Ooty’s link to Freedom Movement

Dharmalingam Venugopal

The demand for Home Rule or Self Rule  in 1917 was an important  milestone and a turning point in the struggle for Indian independence. The Home Rule movement was launched by the Irish activist Dr. Annie Besant  and Bal Gangadar Tilak.

Unable to silence Dr.Besant , the British rulers decided to arrest her on June 15, 1917. She and her two supporters G.S.Arundale and B.P.Wadia were kept in house arrest at Ooty.

Dr. Besant choose to stay at Gulistan at Pudumand which was built in 1890 by  H.S. Olcott, the founder president of the Theosophical Society as  his summer home.

The property now renamed Stokebridge Birla House is the property of Gwalior Rayons. A plaque commemorating the historic connection of the building to the historic event is displayed in front of the house.

Dr. Besant designed and unfurled a Home Rule Flag at Gulistan. She also started a local branch of the Home Rule League at Ooty.

Protests broke out across India and abroad condemning the arrest. All top leaders including  Gandhi and Jinnah joined the protest. Gandhi suggested a 350 km mass padayatra  from Madras to Ooty protest the arrest but the idea was given up due to practical difficulties.

Fearing the spread to the protest, the British declared in August 1917  its policy for  “increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration and the gradual development of self-governing institutions with a view to the progress of responsible government in India as an-integral part of the British Empire”.

Dr. Besant and her supporters were set free in September 1917 by which time Dr.Besant had moved to Coimbatore for health reasons.

The whole of India celebrated her freedom and success. Dr. Besant was made the President of the Indian Naitonal Congress session at Calcutta that year by Tagore.

Besant thundered from her Presidential Chair that, “India shall soon be seen, proud and self-reliant, strong and free, the radiant splendour of Asia, the light and blessing of the world”.

Her dream came true three decades later in 1947 although Dr. Besant  passed away in 1933.

It is a proud coincidence for Ooty that nearly a 100 years before Dr.Besant gave the call for Home Rule, a fellow Irishman, John Sullivan, the founder of Ootacamund, had given a similar call at the UK parliament 1832.

Marriages between hattis from the same SEEMAY

I’m from Horanally under Mekku Nadu. My doubt is according to the details, Pororai hatti also comes under Mekku Nadu. But people normally marry in between these two hatties . Please clear my doubt

 

Clarification

a) A girl/boy cannot marry a boy/girl from the same hatti  to which they both belong to .

b) A girl/boy cannot marry a boy/girl from the same Ooru (a group of hattis) to which they both belong to.

c) BUT A GIRL/BOY CAN  MARRY A BOY/GIRL FROM THE SAME SEEMAY TO WHICH THEY BOTH BELONG TO.

What is Moray (relationship)?

In simple terms, Badagas, [being a very small community], have evolved, over the centuries, a system in which marriages are not ‘fixed’ – call it arranged if you want, between certain hattis (villages) since the ‘blood’ relationship  among them is considered to be very ‘close – anna thamma moray’.

How this could have happened is, like, in olden days, one brother deciding to move away from the hatti he was born in to establish a ‘new’ hatti for various reasons. For example, a brother from Hubbathalay could have moved to Eethoray. Hence, the male children of the elder bro X in Hubbathalay would/could not marry the female children of younger brother Y in Eethorai as they are considered brother and sister (being the children of two brothers).

Hence, Hubbathalay hatti has no moray for marriages with Eethoray.

This brings us to the grouping of various hattis into Ooru [communes] and Seemay.

So,where do we start to check about ‘Moray’?

Since, time immemorial, every Badaga belonged to a village, irrespective of his place of residence. For example, Kada [now, Srivasa Ramachandra] and Kangi [Lokeswari Renuka] are the son and daughter of Bhoja  and Laxmi , living in Ooty [this can be, Bangalore, London or Boston in USA]. Since Bhoja is the son of Rama Gowder of ‘Hannu Mora Hatti’ [ or Jakkadha, Dhavani or Ketchigatti for that matter], Kada and Kangi belong to HM Hatti for practical or rather, moray purposes. By the way, in olden days, all Badagas belonging to Gowda [group] were known as Bellie Gowder, Ari Gowder etc.

So all the youngsters of HM Hatti are brothers and sisters. Marrying among themselves is, thus prohibited.

Now, our ancestors, being wise men of yonder, grouped certain hattis into communes called OORU. These hattis need not be very close to each other. The number of hattis forming a ooru need not be of a specific number. The next grouping done by our forefathers is forming a SEEMAY. Hence, a Seemay contains a few Oorus [which in turn has many villages]. And our Muthe Muhappa [the first of the ancestors] divided the Nilgiris into Nakku Betta [Four Mountains/massifs] to where all the Badagas belong to. See the division of Seemays and hattis in my websites here – Hattis, Ooru & Seemay or here

To put simply, a cluster of closely built houses formed a street -thara, [the thatched and later country tiled houses have common walls).

A few tharas formed a hatti with well defined and demarcated areas like ‘Dhodda Manay’ [big house- literally], ‘suthu kallu’ [mostly with a bikka mora (olive tree), gudi [temple],hanay [grass ground] etc.

A few hattis to Ooru. A few oorus to Seemay.

Four seemays namely 1)Thodha Naadu 2)Porangaadu 3)Mekku Naadu 4) Kunde [Naadu],  to NAAKKUBETTA. see Hattis, Ooru & Seemay.

And now to specifics

As far as MORAY for marriages are concerned,

a) A girl/boy cannot marry a boy/girl from the same hatti  to which they both belong to .

b) A girl/boy cannot marry a boy/girl from the same Ooru to which they both belong to.

c) BUT A GIRL/BOY CAN  MARRY A BOY/GIRL FROM THE SAME SEEMAY TO WHICH THEY BOTH BELONG TO.

There is a wrong impression that you cannot marry from the same seemay.

My own example

My father, Bellie gowder, one of the few educated Badagas was born in 1896 in Bearhatti ( the real surprise is that my grandfather Kada Gowder decided to educate my father in St.Michael’s in Coimbatore. In those days, I understand, he had to be taken upto Mettupalayam in a Kattay Bandi [bullock cart]. He got a job in Cordite Factory, Aravankadu near Hubbathalai. He married my mother Kaade (Idy ammal), daughter of Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder and sister of Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder.

Bearhatti is one of the six hattis belonging to AARUOORU [six villages], Jakkadha [Jagathala] being the ‘head’ village. Hubbathalay is one of the hattis coming under HATHOMBATHU OORU [nineteen villages]. Both these villages belong to PORANGAADU.

After marriage, firstly for convenience as cordite factory is closer to Hubbathalai than Bearhatti and secondly being the youngest daughter of Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder who was the Naakku Betta Gowda (chief) at that time and as she was only 15 at the time of marriage in 1927, my parents decided to settle down in Hubbathalai.

But my mother being a fiercely ‘PROUD” lady insisted that she would stay only in a new house built a little away from the main Hubbathay hatti. Thus, was born my ‘home’ called ‘DHODDI’ in 1948.

For all practical puposes, we are Nattaru (Guests- literally) of Hubbathalay.

Story does not end here. Though, I was born and brought up in Hubbathalay, I am married to Tara, grand daughter of Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder of Hubbathalay. That is, my mother and wife are from the same hatti.

Please note ; It is very common to see many marriages among boys and girls living in the same village. Living, I said and NOT BELONGING to the same village. But they are perfectly suited to each other and probably known to each other from childhood. May be their marriage is a LOVE marriage.

Exceptions

Incidentally, there are a few marriages solemnised  between the boys and girls belonging to the same Ooru. In one of the cases known to me, a boy from Eethoray is married to a girl from Hubbathalay – both belonging to Haththombathu Ooru. Though, it created some flutter in the beginning, it has been accepted now (due to the fact a rich and politically very influential person is involved??)

Do you know that Kodhumudi is one of the villages which is considered as two separate villages consisting of Mel Kodhumudi and Kiya Kodhumudi and marriages between them is normal?

When you refer to Kinnakorai, in fact it refers to six/seven hattis and marriages do take place among themselves as some hattis in them is consided to be completely made up of Nattarus??

More on Moray

So what happens when a boy belonging to Kavaratti of Thodha Naadu seemay wants to marry a girl from Yedapalli Village of Porangaadu Seemay ?

This appears to be a case of NO MORAY in the sense moray is neutral here and not prohibited. And, in my opinion, there should not be any problem.

Causes for confusion

Originally or rather in the earlier days, marriages took place only within the groups like Gowdas, Lingayats[Lingakattis],Haruvas, Odayas and Thorayas as they formed their own hattis. For example, Odhanatty near Jakkadha is a hatti of Thorayas and it does not come under Aaru Ooru [and hence Porangadu Seemay].

Without going into the details of the unfortunate vertical divide of Badagas, in the early 1900s, where one section was against the compulsory invitation of Kothas [to ‘harakkolu idippudhuga’ – playing music on payment in kind or cash, which ended in huge expenses and debts for the family of the deceased with devastating results. The funeral was not an oneday affair but went on for week and all the ‘guests’ who had come from far and wide, had to be looked after with food and drinks.  The expenses of funerals were not NOT borne by [all houses in] the hatti as is the practice now] for funerals and another insisting on inviting Kothas.

The section of Badagas who were against inviting Kothas was lead by Hubbathalai [Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder, who introduced many reforms like 1) the funeral expenses would be borne by the whole village 2) education for all Badagas etc] and the other section by Thangaadu.

Another cause for this division was the claim of  Thangaadu [Haruva Katchi] led group that when they attend the funeral of Gowda, they would only touch the head [saavu muttodhu], irrespective of the age of the deceased saying that they were the priets. Generally, when a Badaga attends a funeral, as a mark of paying respect to the deceased, the feet or the head is touched depending on whether the dead is elder or younger.

I am skipping many more details since this would distract from the topic MORAY which is under discussion.

But these days, marriages among these groups [Gowdas, Haruvas, Lingakattis] have become common. Hubbathalai has marriage relation with Thangaadu or the Lingakatti Hatti of Sakkalatti [Sogathorai] with Eethorai or Bearhatti.
[to be continued]

Sathish Krishnan commented on Marrying a person with no MORAY

‘Thanks for the detailed explanation. I belong to Balacola and I’ve heard elders saying that there is no moray for any marriages within Maekunadu seemay, and Kundey seemay is the best suit for us. But your blog says there is only restriction for marriages within a village or within a ooru (group of villages), and no restriction for marriages within a seemay. It is contradicting and please clarify the same. I will be looking forward for further updates to this blog’

Hello Sathish, Thanks for the comments. First for the contradiction part. I am saying that “no marriages within a hatti and Ooru but yes within a Seemay as long as the Oorus are different. Like 6 Ooru can tie nupital knots with 19 ooru – both being from Porangaadu“. As far as your Hatti Bakkola (Balacoloa?), Mekkunaadu Seemay are concerned, I am NOT in a position to clarify but as far as Kundey Seemay – yes I agree. More in updates soon – Wg Cdr JP

Ooty’s Coovam of despair

World Environment Day

 Ooty’s Coovam of despair

 Dharmalingam Venugopal

 The Kodappamund channel, equivalent of the Coovam canal of Chennai, has been at the core of Ooty’s environmental problems defying any solution.
The Kodappamund channel runs for a length of 5.5km of which 3.06 km is within the Ooty town.  It is the only source of water to the 20 ha Ooty lake. The channel is also the only storm water drainage in the town.

However, in reality the channel has become one of the largest dumping yard of the country carrying the waste of millions of tourists and locals.

The much abused channel has the potential for an unprecedented environmental disaster in terms of pollution and landslides. The channel could become the death knell of the ‘sweet half-English Neilgherry air’ as  eulogized by Poet Tennyson.

39 years ago, the channel was the cause of 1978 Ooty floods which altered the world famous face of Ooty forever.

Since then the channel has become the carrier of open sewage in the town gradually choking the Ooty lake. A government report concedes, ‘Earlier, under National Lake Conservation Plan, remediation of the Ooty lake was successfully done by the Public Works Department. But, due to the continued letting in of sewage water, the quality of water has deteriorated and is not up to the standards now’.

During the monsoon, the channel’s woes turn worst. According to another government report,‘The local body has provided Pucca Storm Water Drains (only 16% of road length) in some portions of the town. Other areas are drained through natural slopes. Increase in development activities in the town, over the past years, has resulting in reduced carrying capacity of the drains due to siltation, encroachments and solid waste dumping. The drains carry the wastewater disposal and in many places, the functions of storm water drains are choked with garbage, which creates environmental problems and need regular maintenance by the urban local body’.

Over the years several plans have been tried to cleanse the channel including increasing the sewage connections in the town, desilting and construction of check dams. But the problem has hardly been addressed.

Only  a strong public movement can halt the abuse of the vital Kodappamund channel.

A taste of the hills – keeping traditional Badaga food alive!

[Article and photos from The Hindu, dt 1 Jun 2017]

A taste of the hills – keeping traditional Badaga food alive!

Samita-Balakrishnan

As traditional Badaga food slowly begins to vanish, a few people are making an effort to keep the memories alive

For someone who is a foodie and a fitness freak, stumbling upon dishes that are both healthy and delicious is like hitting the jackpot. When I frantically scrolled through my Pinterest feed, looking for “healthy desserts”, I quite forgot that there was a satisfyingly delicious dessert that was made right at home. My favourite hatchike, a Badaga dessert made out of millets.

I remember when my hethai (grandmother) served us hatchike every other day. Now, living away from my hatti (village), it is a forgotten dish along with many other old favourites. Happily, all is not lost as there are people from the community who are striving to revive and preserve the fading traditions of the Badagas of the Nilgiris.

Harsha Bellie, 48, a Badaga from Coonoor, often invites people to visit or stay with her. She enjoys serving them a healthy and tasty Badaga hittu (meal). “Not many know what hatchike is,” she says and recounts, how earlier, her relatives sent ready-to-eat millet cereal. It is becoming a rarity now, she says.

Hatchike is made using little millet or samai, which is suitable for all age groups, says Bellie. It has several health benefits for both men and women. Preparing hatchike is a cumbersome process, she admits. It involves boiling, roasting and pounding the millet to de-husk it and, finally, winnowing to blow off the husk.

I still remember when my hethai would sit by the ole (fireplace) and roast grains in a madake (earthen pot) with a hole on the side, using a huri-kolu (a wooden stick with a cloth tied at the end to make a ball). Sadly, this now remains only in my memory. Hatchike is usually served with milk and grated coconut.

Bellie is keeping these memories alive by inviting tourists to sample Badaga fare. A group called Veg Voyages stops at her place every year as a part of its vegan tour. She introduces the tourists to some of the customs of community life, to a typical Badaga house where the grains are stored in the atulu (loft/attic), to Badaga music and dance and to enne hittu (a sweet dish of maida) that is dipped into black coffee and eaten. This is rounded off with an authentic Badaga meal, served in a ganguva (copper/brass plate) filled with kadimittu, eragi hittu, batha hittu, avare udaka, soppu, sandege and bathal. Of course, hatchike is the dessert. For vegans, instead of milk, Bellie serves it with coconut milk.

Eragi hittu — or ragi mudde in Kannada — is made of finger millets and is a healthy alternative to rice and wheat. A depression is made in the mudde and ghee poured into it. It is then eaten with soppu (greens) and avare udaka (beans curry). During the hethai habba (our biggest festival), it is a beautiful sight to see all Badagas wearing white, sitting in rows and eating avare udaka and kuu (rice) in the green hills.

Apart from millets, the earlier Badaga cultivated barley and wheat. It was common to see these grains spread out in the courtyards to dry under the sun. They would then be fried, and used to make a variety of dishes. With such practices disappearing, dishes like ganjike, the base of which is ganje (barley), have also become a rarity. The increase in tea cultivation led to the decline in the cultivation of millets and other grains in the Nilgiris.

Our ancestors consumed what they grew, made sure they replenished the soil and prepared almost everything from scratch. If they wanted butter, they would churn milk using a pot and plunger, a rope and bare hands. This process called haalu sorakodu has now been replaced by mixers and machines. Even the hati maasu hudi (masala used in the gravies) was home made but is now available readymade in shops. ). Since everything was hand milled, there was no adulteration and the food was extremely healthy. People stayed active and there was plenty of social interaction when relatives or neighbours lent a helping hand in grinding and pounding.

Bellie firmly believes that if more people followed older traditions, both the people and the earth would be healthier. She says that she would dearly love to grow more grains and encourage others to do the same in their hola (fields) for at least a few tasty meals every month.

For Badaga food habits and some mouth watering recipes, visit the pages in http://www.badaga.co – Wg.cdr.JP