Category Archives: badaga

Badagas – who are they and what is their ORIGIN?

Recently I had posted an article under the tiltle “Who are BADAGAS?” (see below the text high lighted in blue) and wondered whether Odayas and Thoraiyas can be included as Badagas. Sudha Arjun has sent her strong views which I feel deserve a careful study.

Sir, with the evolution of science in every field, this is the right time to further explore the truth about the origin of the Badagas. I have read most of your articles on this website which insist that Badagas have not migrated from the plains towards Mysore but the proximity of the language to Kannada cannot be denied in spite of centuries of isolation. Even to this day a Badaga can easily understand Kannada because of the major similarities between the two. We have genetics, anthropology and social sciences which will be able to provide a far more accurate picture than the lore of the Badaga forefathers- much of it lost in transmission from one generation to another. Due respect must be paid to the in-depth research of Prof Paul Hocking, without casting aside all that he has studied. On the topic of Odaiyas and Thoriyas, am not clear what you would like to prove- that they should no longer be included as Badagas, though the exact same customs, language and culture is followed for centuries as far as we can remember?

The Odaiyas seem closer to the royal family of Mysore by name (Odaiya/ Wodeya) and further research into this is definitely merited. On the Thoraiyas- there could be several possible reasons why they have been made the servants of the Badagas. These could only be because –

a) they were living in the mountains before the Badagas but were subjugated

b) they came after the Badagas, therefore had no claims of their own and had to be subservient to them

c) for reasons unknown, a few people were set aside and made servants within the Badagas themselves. If I am right, there are less than 10-15 Thoraiya hattis which itself makes the claim that they were servants to Badagas of 274 hattis require more investigation.


Leaving aside the topic of the original Badagas, would like to know what you plan to achieve through further separate of these 3 groups – do you want the Odaiyas and Thoraiyas to stop calling themselves Badagas and continue to maintain the rigidity of exclusion for the next 100 centuries?

Either way in the spirit of seekers of the truth, let us hire/ engage scientists who can give us an accurate view of the past, starting with genetic and DNA matching to identify the truth about the origins of all these groups.

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Who are Badagas? – by Wg Cdr JP

First of all, both the people and the language are called Badaga. The question, though appears to be a simple and straight forward one, is more complex than initially assumed. It was taken for granted that anyone speaking Badaga language ( also known as Badugu/Badagu) was considered a Badaga. The initial ‘research’ done by the westerners, in fact a large number of them being Italian/German missionaries whose ‘mission’ was to convert the hill tribes to Christianity (later joined by British officials and some anthropologists) wrongly clubbed all Badaga speaking people together and wrongly assumed that Badagas to be a community who migrated from the plains of Mysore (Karnataka).

Though, the Badagas were, initially divided into three distinct groups known as Odaya, Gowda and Thoraiya, and the Gowdas further sub-divided themselves into sects like Gowda, Haruva, Kanakka, Adhikari, Lingaites etc.

But a deeper analysis and research may lead us to come to the conclusion that the title Badaga should belong ONLY to Gowdas who were/are one of the original indigenous tribes of the Nilgiri hills in Southern India. Living in the hills for thousands of years. The myth of migration was thrust upon them due to the fact that a smaller number of, Vokkaligas from the plains of Mysore (Chamaraja Nagar), might have migrated to the hills during the reigns of Malik Kafur in the 12th centaury and later the ruthless regime of Tipu Sultan.

The clear distinction that divides the Badagas is due to the fact the the Gowdas do not marry Odayas or Thoraiyas.

Odayas consider themselves superior to Badaga Gowdas, being initially temple priests. Confined to a few villages and generally economically weaker, the Odayas, especially the males, would not enter individual Badaga houses (inner rooms like Ede Mane) though they would come to Badaga villages (hattis) and take alms of grains (mainly rice and millet (Batha). They would cook the food outside hattis and eat among themselves.

Thoraiyas were considered as domestic help (Aevil Thoraiyaru) in olden days, and were deployed to carry out errands between the hattis mainly to convey messages. Now, Thoraiyas do not like to be known as inferior to Badagas. They also live in cluster of villages and marry only among themselves.

So, it may not be out of place to call only the Gowdas as Original Badagas who live in 274 villages called hattis spread around the length and breath of the hills of the Nilgiris called NAKKU BETTA in the four Seemes (Nadus).

Please do give your views in the comments column.

_________________________________________________

Hariharan EB

1) There are 44 Thoreya hatties. I have details with me.
2) The caste division in the Badaga Community mimics the same divisions which exist in the Mysore and Kongunadu plain areas.
3) Wodeyas, Adhikaris and Kanakkas were/are Lingayats. Wodeyas trace their heritage to the royal family of mysore and married among themselves, based on existing “MORAY” within their framework. Few decades ago, they changed their community certificates from “Hindu Badagar” to “Veerashaiva Langayat”.
4)Adhikaris (field officers) and Kanakkas (accountants) too trace their origin to the Mysore royal kingdom, but not to the royal family. nevertheless, all the three Jatis (Kola) became lingayats once the royal family themselves converted to lingayatism during the 1300s. there are many sources available in google to verify this fact.
5) The Gowdas were/are the Agricultural group with their own land holding and domestic animals. they had/have “moray” system and used to marry only among themselves until about 100 years ago. There is a strong Gowda Community in today’s Karnataka too.
6) The Thoreyas belonged to the service class in the bottom of the existing Community pyramid. they had/have “moray” system and marry only among themselves. There is a Thoreya Community in today’s Karnataka too. Few years ago, they changed their community certificates from “Hindu Badagar” to “Hindu Thoreya” to get MBC status benefits.
7) The Haaruvas were the Brahmanical priests in almost all Gowda/thoreya (Maalingayya and Herodayya) temples not very long ago. Times have changed, they are mostly confined to their own 8 major villages in Naakubetta.

Of late, in order to get ST status, quite a few self styled Historians have delineated the Badaga Community from its historical past on “popular demand” to show us as one separated from other Communities, living in complete isolation in the Hills without any Jati divisions. I dont agree with this claim. Its my firm opinion that about 600-700 years ago, the language of Badugu and Kannada were probably one and the same.

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Dr. Sundaradevan Nanjiah IAS

I agree. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter whether we are migrants or indigenous.  After all, the entire human species is supposed to have evolved from the migrants from Africa (the so-called ‘Out of Africa’ theory).   It is high time we get a DNA profile of each kola and each subsect, especially when the cost of DNA sequencing has come down.  If we could spend about Rs. 5-7 lakhs for a DNA analysis of about 100 persons, both male and female, we could set this issue at rest for ever.  Incidentally, the Govt Arts College, Ooty has been quietly doing some important research and their primary analysis seems to be exciting.  Let us await the publication of their findings.

The Badagas of the Blue Mountains

Who are Badagas?

First of all, both the people and the language are called Badaga. The question, though appears to be a simple and straight forward one, is more complex than initially assumed. It was taken for granted that anyone speaking Badaga language ( also known as Badugu/Badagu) was considered a Badaga. The initial ‘research’ done by the westerners, in fact a large number of them being Italian/German missionaries whose ‘mission’ was to convert the hill tribes to Christianity (later joined by British officials and some anthropologists) wrongly clubbed all Badaga speaking people together and wrongly assumed that Badagas to be a community who migrated from the plains of Mysore (Karnataka).

Though, the Badagas were, initially divided into three distinct groups known as Odaya, Gowda and Thoraiya, and the Gowdas further sub-divided themselves into sects like Gowda, Haruva, Kanakka, Adhikari, Lingaites etc.

But a deeper analysis and research may lead us to come to the conclusion that the title Badaga should belong ONLY to Gowdas who were/are one of the original indigenous tribes of the Nilgiri hills in Southern India. Living in the hills for thousands of years. The myth of migration was thrust upon them due to the fact that a smaller number of, Vokkaligas from the plains of Mysore (Chamaraja Nagar), might have migrated to the hills during the reigns of Malik Kafur in the 12th centaury and later the ruthless regime of Tipu Sultan.

The clear distinction that divides the Badagas is due to the fact the the Gowdas do not marry Odayas or Thoraiyas.

Odayas consider themselves superior to Badaga Gowdas, being initially temple priests. Confined to a few villages and generally economically weaker, the Odayas, especially the males, would not enter individual Badaga houses (inner rooms like Ede Mane) though they would come to Badaga villages (hattis) and take alms of grains (mainly rice and millet (Batha). They would cook the food outside hattis and eat among themselves.

Thoraiyas were considered as domestic help (Aevil Thoraiyaru) in olden days, and were deployed to carry out errands between the hattis mainly to convey messages. Now, Thoraiyas do not like to be known as inferior to Badagas. They also live in cluster of villages and marry only among themselves.

So, it may not be out of place to call only the Gowdas as Original Badagas who live in 274 villages called hattis spread around the length and breath of the hills of the Nilgiris called NAKKU BETTA in the four Seemes (Nadus).

Please do give your views in the comments column.

Marriages – why are they failing among Badagas now?

Marriages – why are they failing among Badagas now?

The question is a troubling one but reflects a harsh reality.

Badagas usually get married on ‘arranged system‘. The parents of eligible boys look for a suitable girl from the hattis which have a MOREY (மொரெ). After the customary ‘Hennu Noduvadhu’ – the parents visit the girl’s house, approve the match for the son ( many times the boy also accompanies them), and if the ‘CHEMISTRY’ works, then the marriage is fixed – Madhuve Nitchchiya Maadiyaara.

In good old days, the ‘marriage’ gets confirmed only when the girl becomes (seven months) pregnant. That was the time THALI – Kanni (yellow thread) was tied around the girl’s neck ceremoniously by the husband. It was known as KaNNi (kattuva) Madhuve கண்ணி கட்டுவ மதுவே. If the girl does not become pregnant, the problem was always considered to be on the part of the girl (an unfortunate and rather cruel system of the Indian male dominated society). It may be a ground for divorce and in in some cases, a reason for a second wife. Remember, in those days, girls were married off at a very young age.

But the saving grace was that divorcees could get married again and divorce was NOT considered taboo. There were hardly any UNMARRIED boys and girls in hattis.

Unlike those ‘good old’ days, now we find a large number of girls and boys remaining UNMARRIED. In many cases, the failed marriages have resulted in DIVORCED (புடிச்சத) men and women remaining single.

What are the reasons?

  1. Is it due to the (incorrect interpretation of) Morey system?

2. The educated and employed girls, not finding a compatible match?

3. The unreasonable expectation from the boys (and their parents) side that the girls should settle in hattis?

4. The reality that many marriages have failed and resulted in divorces and hence has created a feeling that “better to be single than to get married & get divorced”

On FB and many of the Badaga Madhuve sites, there are many girls and boys willing to get married but suitable matches are not found. Why?

[ps: Incidentally, I am also seriously looking for a suitable match for my unmarried son, who is 44, English medium educated, including a PG from Canada, highly independent, from Aaru Ooru (Jakkadha Commune) – Porangadu Seeme. Divorced girls – no problem. Above 35 years and willing to take over running the house and take care of the properties. Contact bjaypee@gmail.com :: Whatsapp – 8637677373)

Charming Charvi

I received from Rama ( Madhuveonline) a video (see below) of Charvi giving the Wellerman song in different languages including our own. BADAGA /BADUGA/BADUGU. I bit of googling and a request for more info about Charvi was put in this post. I was delighted to receive a message from her mother Vidhya who sent the following details. I must also thank Praveen from Dubai who had given my contact details to Vidhya – Wg Cdr JP

Charvi SanthoshKumar

Is eleven years old and studying 6th standard in SBOA School & Junior College Chennai. She is the proud princess of IB Joghee Gowder family Ithalar 

Granddaughter of IBJ Ramakrishnan, Saroja Ramakrishnan Ithalar & Bhojan, JanciRani Milidhane Kotagiri.

Charvi surprised us with her picturesque memory at the age of 2.8 where she could identify the flags of over 100 countries and remember their capital cities, it’s hard to believe right? Here is the link https://youtu.be/ljbAGrA1wEU

Her eloquence in English is definitely because of the books she reads. Bookworm is an understatement as she would flip thru over 500 pages in 2 days and also review them. To grow her interest in reading we started the YouTube channel Charvi Reviews ,  to make the channel more interesting she comes up with different videos on brush lettering, mirror writing and songs like this. Being a left handed she picks up new languages with ease and that’s how she learnt sign language and currently at the beginner’s level of Spanish. It’s from her we learnt about mirror writing, any word you show she will be able to write it in reverse in no time. She constantly comes up with new ideas and Santhosh and I are working harder to keep up with her. Out of the blue she came up with the idea of creating a baduga version of the Wellerman song and reached out to her kunna appa’s Karthick Chandran & Kamal Chandran who readily obliged.

All your support and encouragement means a lot to us. Thank you for all your blessings.

SanthoshKumar & Vidhya Bhojan

****************************

Came across this beautiful video of CHARVI Santosh Kumar (CSK), obviously a Badaga girl. Great Charvi

Badagas at the cross roads??

(The following were some of my thoughts on the crucial issues facing the Badaga Community, expressed earlier. They remain relevant even today – JP 13 Nov 2021)

Badagas at the cross roads, need to change with changing times

On the 10th and 11th Feb 2018,  a seminar was organised by The Nelikolu Charitable Trust at Coimbatore. The seminar was called “Nangava Nanga Arivo – Let us know about ourselves”. This is to make a select group of scholars/youngsters to present their views on issues concerned/connected with Badaga, both the people and language.

This topic is most appropriate and needed focussed attention.

We Badagas stand at the cross roads, at a crucial time in history. Some of the urgent issues that we face today, if not corrected now, will result in reducing us to history.

I chose to speak on “Badagas at the cross roads, need to change with changing times

Some of the issues I touched upon are

1. Who are Badagas?
The similarity, differences or otherwise of the Badaga, Odaiya and Thoraiya groups,

2. What is Badaga origin?
The myth, mystery and mistakes of migration from Mysore theory.

3. Badaga language.
The decline of the purity of Badaga language due to inadequate knowledge of the present generation. The systematic omission of HA sound from the language and its impact. The influence of Tamil and English on Badaga in the day to day conversations.

4. Moray system
Is the Moray system playing a major role in the large number of marriages breaking up? Is it time to change the fundamentals?

5. Need to involve the women as equal partners
No elaboration is required about this issue when we consider ourselves as HETHE MAKKA

6. Music, Dance, Chant and keeping the traditions
The originality of our music and dance is lost in the present day blind copying of cinema ‘koothattam’ dances. Are we cutting short the important traditions/rituals like funerals due to paucity of time?

7. Way forward
What we should do? – a COURSE CORRECTION ??

8. Conclusion
What we know about Badagas is much less than what we do not know.

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Are we, the Badaga Community, at the cross roads?

With drastic changes that have engulfed every thing around us, how long can we stay and live unaffected?

With farming, especially growing vegetables [potato in particular] becoming a nightmare with monkey menace and green leaf tea prices on a free fall [mind you, still the tea leaf agents, tea factories, tea brokers are all making money when the actual small tea growers are feeling the pinch of  low price that has fallen below Rs.10/- per kg], agriculture that has always associated with Badagas has become an alien word.

With more and more people being forced to leave their villages/Hatties, both for economic and unimaginable reasons [like what happened in Nanjanaadu], following centuries old customs and traditions are becoming difficult.

Added to this is the growing ‘fashion’ among the young and eligible adults to marry ‘outsiders’ that is driving a society to the brink.

Last but the most disturbing is the conversion to ‘another religion’ that has not shown any decline.

Will there be a Badaga Society that is so proud of its unique history, origin, culture, customs, rituals, language and lifestyle, fifty years down the line?

?

?   +   ?

?

Three main factors were high lighted in the last post – Badagas at the cross roads, about the need to change with changing times. One of them is the problem of ‘outside’ marriages and the root causes. ‘Moray’ being one of them. Some clarifications are called for.

Moray, in my opinion, is a very scientifically significant restriction brought in by our Muthappas/Hethappas. This restriction has avoided a lot of health problems associated with ‘in breeding’ and may be one of the reasons for a better health prevailing among Badagas as compared to other native tribes of the Nilgiris.

But, it is mistaken by many that marriages do not take place among people belonging to the same ‘seemay’. Let us elaborate.

https://badaga.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/nakku-betta1.jpg?w=486&h=300&h=300

A typical Badaga Village [hatti] consists of houses of brothers [both blood brothers and cousins]. Their chiildren are ‘anna thammaru and akka thangairu – brothers and sisters’. So, the ‘moray’ restriction is very much required as otherwise, one will land up in literally marrying a ‘sister’. Many hattis, not necessarily congruent or geographically adjacent, form a OORU. Many Oorus form the Seemay. The number of villages/hattis in one ooru to another differs. Marriages between OORUS within the same Seemay is very much possible and is in vogue. Like for example,  in Porangaadu Seemay which has many oorus, HATHTHOMBATTU OORU [19 villages] and AARU OORU [6 villages] have marriage relationship. See the page on Hattis for more information.

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There was a time when every Badaga household got their FRESH vegetables from their own holas [vegetable gardens next to their houses or a little away from the hatti [village].

2-8-15 008

Be it Avare [beans], gaasu [potatos] or kadaley [peas] or the healthy Keerey Soppu. They were part of the daily menu. Ganji Godhumay [wheat] and baththa  were grown, harvested and made into flour so that Eragittu, Pothittu and baththa hittu could be made very often if not daily. There was no dearth of haalu [milk], majjigay [butter milk], mosaru [curd] and thuppa [clarified butter].

But now, all these seem to be a dream. The basic reason  could be the INVASION of the koda and kaadu emme [monkeys and bisons] which would not spare any thing green. The strict laws related to wild life and their implementation had become a big deterrent in growing vegetables. A family’s wealth was based on the Banda [cattle -number of buffalos and cows] owned. Tho and kottagay [large and individual cattle sheds] were part and parcel of a hatti.

Every Badaga family had atleast a small patch of thotta [tea estate] that would give an assured income. The steep fall in green leaf tea prices and steeper labour wages have made owning and maintaining the estate more of a burden and headache.

Now, everything is uncertain. Health and wealth have become big casualties.

Life in the Naakku Betta [the Nilgiris, the blue mountains] has really become very difficult. Badagas are at the cross roads and in a catch 22 situation.

Future is a big question mark now?? What can we do about it???

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Golden opportunity for Girls

Golden opportunity for girls who have completed + two & between 18 and 20 years of age.

To start a career with the TATAs. To work in their (IPhone) Mobile manufacturing facility at Hosur (TN), near Bangalore.

Dr. Rajammal, The Lady with a Magic Lamp, is organising this event of Direct Recruitment in association with Tata Group.

On 12 Nov 2021 at NSIyah Memorial Senior Sec School, Kattery Dam, Ketti Palada, The Nilgiris, between 10 am to 1 pm

Starting salary of Rs.15,000 in an all women enterprise at Hosur. Initial paid training of ONE month at Coimbatore.

For more details contact – Dr Rajammal at +91 98413 57720

A great and grand function held on 31 Oct 2021

A great and grand function on 31 Oct 2021

On behalf of Nakkubetta Foundation

A grand function was held at Providence College, Coonoor on 31 Oct 2021 (Sunday)

1. Prize distribution to winners of Rao Bahadur Ari Gowder’s 50th Death Anniversary, Badugu Kadhe Gamalu (Song Competition),

2. Inauguration of Nakkubetta Radio,

3. Ist Anniversary of NANGAVA NANGA ARAVO

It was a well organised function with most of the winners of Badaga Kadhe Gamalu (Badaga Song competition being given the prices in person. With Kausi (Kausalaya), the anchor of “Nangava Nanaga Aravo” who had hosted the programme continuously for the past one year, was the MC and she has a natural talent to keep the audience in rapt attention. It was nice to see so many girls in traditional Badaga dress of THUNDU, MUNDU & PATTU.

Nakku Betta Foundation and Nakkubetta TV founder Ramakrishna honoured the chief guests Ex-Nakku Betta Gowda Thuneri Iyyaru, Ex-Wing Commander Bellie Jayaprakash, Ex-ISRO scientist Bhojaraj, Ex-IAS officer Sundara Deva and Great Singer Solur G Rama with traditional Badaga Seeley (shawl) and Mandarey (turban) with a momento.

One person who was solely missed at the foundation was the great Badaga Singer Shanthi Desingh, one of the chief judges along with Solur Rama, as she is based in USA.

Many others were presented momentoes on behalf of Nakku Betta Foundation. The well recognised Artist and Painter Gokul Gowder presented his digitally done painting to all the winners.

The man with the golden voice Thuneri Muruga, along with Pudugamandu hatti youngster at the tabla kept the audience enthralled with his songs.

WE take this opportunity to put on record our great appreciation and greetings to Naduhatti Ramakrishna, the founder of Nakkubetta TV and Nakkubetta Foundation, (along with his tech and digital savy team of youngsters). He has single handedly taken great initiatives to bring the Badagas together and to high light the much appreciated cultural and other traditions of the indigenous community. To preserve the arts, especially old songs , the Nakkubetta TV has left no stone unturned.

The programme “ Let us know ourselves (Nangava Nanga Aravo) ” has been an eye opener to both young and old.

You make us PROUD, Indrani Radhakrishna !

You make us PROUD, Indrani Radhakrishna

There are some Badaga women who have achieved international name and fame with their contribution in many fields. Indrani Radhakrishna is one such exceptional women who has shown her caliber in more than one field. Born in Yedapalli hatti and married to Naduhatti, she has been an inspiration and a motivation for many youngsters.

Her father Y K Bellie was an award winning postmaster and a well known social activist. He scored distinction in all subjects. He is Indrani’s role model. Back in her 5th standard, he encouraged her reading habits and in 8th std itself, he motivated her to write poetry and aricles. She proudly claims that “I am what I am because of my father”. Her mother Mathiammal (Maadhi) was the first girl student to finish 10th Standard schooling in those days. Another person who loved Indrani and motivated her a lot was Mrs.Akkama Devi, the first Badaga woman graduate and Member of Parliament from the Nilgiris.

Indrani Radhakrishnan is an international award winner in peace and development, besides other awards. She is a lawyer and also has experiences in many fields like teaching, training, softskills, medical transcription, business transcription, call centre, travel and tourism lecturer in Providence College for Women, besides being a writer of articles and poetry, speaker, at various Rotary, other meetings and conference at Sri Lanka . She has also been chief guest at many events and fashion shows. However, her foremost passion is history, heritage and culture.

Her researched articles of historical events of The Nilgiris are very popular. For her contributions on the military establishments in the district like the Madras Regimental Centre and Defence Services Staff College, both in Wellington, she has been personally honoured. She is very active on the FaceBook.

She is busy writing a book and we have no doubt that it is going to a best seller.

With husband and son

Indrani Radhakrishna, you make us very proud !

Ari Gowder Bridge

There is small but beautiful bridge, called ARI GOWDER BRIDGE, connecting Tamilnadu and Karnataka States at Kakkanallah, Gudalur taluk in the Nilgiris District. This was built in 1936 when Rao Bahadur HB Ari Gowder was the District Board Chairman.

Ari Gowder

For many years it was not painted and looked bad. We had taken it up with Collector and NCMS for repainting.

Now the Karnataka Badaga Gowda Association, Bangalore has taken the initiative to get a paint the bridge and give it a green and great look through their EC members Mrs.Anitha & Mr.Gokul IFS.

We thank Mr.Saravanan, the President and all members of KBGA.

Hello Girls, are you looking for a ‘break’?

Dr.Rajammal, the Badaga “Lady with the Magic Lamp” informs that there is a wonderful opening opening at TATA company.

She can help you reach there. Contact her at +91 9841357720

The ever helpful lady, Dr.Rajammal, whose two eyes are Education & Service, can be reached

at +91 9841357720