The Day Nilgiris became a Hill Station

The Day Nilgiris became a Hill Station
Dharmalingam Venugopal [Nilgiri Documentation Centre, Kotagiri]
Today is the day, 190 years ago,  Governor Sir Thomas Munro gave his stamp of approval to establish a Hill Station on the Nilgiris.
Though the Nilgiri mountains have been in the possession of the British since 1800, it was only  after Collector John Sullivan’s visit to the hills in 1819 that the idea of founding a station on the hills for revitalizing sick soldiers was formed.Sir_Thomas_Munro
A factor  that greatly helped this idea was the appointment of Sir Thomas Munro as Governor of Madras Presidency in 1820. Munro was a close friend of the Sullivans  and they were part of a progressive front to develop India.
From 1820 Sullivan made repeated requests to the Madras government to set up a hospital in the hills and did everything in his capacity to facilitate such a decision by building roads, houses and introducing English vegetables, trees and fruits.  Till that time sick soldiers and officials had to go to England or Mauritius or Capt Town for rest and recuperation.
However, the Board of Control in London was not convinced and turned down Sullivan’s proposal. They also rejected Sullivan’s plan to use Ooty lake waters to irrigate lands in Erode because the outlay of Rs.2000  estimated was too much !
The Board in London simply did not believe that so near to the Coimbatore plains was a cold and salubrious place which was the dream of every British languishing in the hot, disease ridden plains of India.
Munro finally visited the Nilgiris in 1826 and saw for himself what Sullivan had been eulogizing about for the past six years.
On May 28, 1827, Munro sent his recommendation to the Board stating that though the Nilgiris may not be suitable or viable for setting up a hospital, officers of the civil and military services should be encouraged to visit the hills on their own for recovery of their health. To facilitate that Munro proposed that the government could take on rent Sullivan’s  Stonehouse  which would  accommodate 8 to 10 officers.
To reinforce his proposal, Munro argued that a sum of Rs.170 lakhs had been spent in the previous three years on sending sick officers to England  and therefore “ If only a very small proportion of these Officers could be restored to health by a temporary residence on the Hills instead of a Voyage to Europe the charges incurred by Government would be amply repaid”.
Stating further that the healthfulness of the Nilgiris had not been correctly assessed by the young medical officers who had  spent only a short time on the hills, Munro recommended, “It would probably require a long continued course of medical and scientific observation conducted by a competent person with the assistance of an adequate establishment of servants and the proper meteorological apparatus to determine fully on the capabilities
of the climate of the Nielgherries”
“It seems therefore advisable that we should station permanently on the Hills a Medical Officer qualified to make the necessary observations on their climate. I propose that Mr. Haynes be selected for this purpose and be appointed to the medical charge of the Nielgherries with a salary of Rupees 350 and the usual Palenkeen allowance for servants and Medicine”, Munro added in his recommendation.
It was a tragic irony that Munro’s recommendations were accepted by the Board of Control at London on July 6, 1827, the day on which Sir Thomas Munro met his untimely death at  Pattikonda in Andhra Pradesh.
Very interesting and informative.  Thanks for sharing. – Raminder Chowdhary
I think that at some point Sullivan began to make daily weather observations to back up his case. – Paul Hockings

Food that Can Replace Pills

Fourteen Foods that Can Replace Pills

Whenever we start feeling ill, the first thing we do is reach for the medicine cabinet. The problem with taking pills is that even though they’ll probably help with your predicament, they’re also bound to have unwanted side effects. The best solution is to use these 14 natural remedies, which are just as efficient as drugs.

1. Bananas – Stress and anxiety

Next time you feel stressed, grab a banana! With an average of 105 calories and 14 grams of sugar, a banana will boost your blood-sugar levels and help combat hunger. Additionally, a banana contains 30% of your daily requirement of Vitamin B6, which helps your brain in the production of serotonin – a chemical that helps reduce stress.

2. Yogurt – Constipation and gas

One and a half cups of yogurt are packed full of probiotics that assist in digestion and improves the stomach’s ability to digest dairy and legumes – a major cause of gastric gasses.

3. Raisins – High blood pressure

A large handful of resins (approx. 60) contains over 200mg of potassium, as well as 1 gram of fiber. These are strongly recommended as part of a diet to help reduce blood pressure. Recent studies show that the polyphenols in grapes, raisins and wine, help maintain the circulatory system and reduce blood pressure.

4. Apricots – Kidney stones

4 dried apricots contain 2 grams of fiber, 235mg of potassium and just 3mg of sodium. This combination is highly effective at preventing minerals from getting trapped in your kidneys, which is the cause of the most common kidney stones.

5. Tuna – Foul mood

A can of tuna contains about 800mg of Omega-3, a fatty acid that is considered vital in the treatment of depression. Omega 3 is even an approved treatment for depression by the American Psychiatric Association.

6. Ginger tea – Nausea

A time-old proven treatment for nausea, ginger has also been scientifically proven to be helpful in dealing with nausea caused by motion sickness as well as morning sickness. It is as effective as anti-nausea medicine, but without the side effects (such as ‘cottonmouth’ and lethargy)

7. Basil – Indigestion

Studies suggest that the eugenol in basil is highly effective as a gastric painkiller, nausea reduction, cramping and diarrhea by eliminating bacteria Salmonella and Listeria. Basil is also effective at preventing halitosis.

8. Pears – High cholesterol

The average pear contains 5 grams of the dietary fiber Pectin, which helps clear the body of ‘bad cholesterol’ (LDL).

9. Cabbage – Stomach ulcers

In a research published by the John Hopkins Medical School, it was found that the sulforaphane in cabbage helps battle the helicobacter pylori bacteria (a main cause for ulcers). It is believed that sulforaphane may also help prevent gastric tumors.

10. Figs – Hemorrhoids

Dried figs are rich in dietary fiber, which in turn, produce softer feces and aiding in reducing hemorrhoids and the liness of developing them.

11. Potatoes – Headaches

Amedium-sized potato contains 37 carbohydrates, which help reduce headaches by increasing serotonin production in the brain.

12. Garlic – Yeast infection

Garlic contains many essential oils that help prevent the development of yeast infections.

13. Chamomile tea – Heartburn

A great treatment for gastric inflammation, cramping, heartburn and gas, is mixing 2 teaspoons of chamomile tea in a cup of boiling water and brewing it for about 20 minutes and then drinking it.

14. Orange juice – Lethargy

The fructose in orange juice is a natural and fast-working stimulant, and research has proven the ability of Vitamin C to reduce damage caused by free radicals and provide the body with energy. Vitamin C is also a key factor in maintaining iron levels in our blood, which keeps it oxygenated.

C S Chandramouli

Congratulations Dr.Haldorai !

Life time achievement award being conferred on Dr. R.Haldorai from Kiya Kauhatti

Nellikolu Charitable Trust, headed by Dharuman of Kekkatti, Yellanalli, who has been doing commendable work to make Badagas to know about themselves [Nangava Nanga Arivo – let us know about ourselves], is going to confer Life Time Achievement Award to Dr.R.Haldorai, author of many books on and of Badagas on the 27th May 2017 at Ooty.

Hearty Congratulations to Dr.Haldorai !


A ray of hope for Young Badaga Association?

A Ray of Hope for Young Badaga Association, if All Willing !?

DV It is official now. YBA has been running an illegal activity (renting the building to marriages) to raise funds which has led to the unsavory tussle for control by rival groups.

The original order dated 5th July 1972 (obtained via an RTI request) granting land to YBA says, ‘The land shall be used for the construction of building for the Association Library etc and for no other purposes’.

One year later the order was amended to state,’The Association was permitted to use the downstairs of the building for recreational purposes’.

The punishment for violating the conditions is also clearly stated. ‘The Government may resume the land wholly or in part with any buildings thereon, in the event of the infringement of any of the conditions of the grant’.

It is a mystery how YBA has been allowed to continue all these years though it did not fulfill any of the original conditions but, on the contrary, was carrying on illegal activities like letting the premises for marriages.

How can different factions fight over the legality of the elections to YBA while the activities of YBA are totally unlawful? This is the question every Badaga should ask himself of herself.

Having now been brought to the attention of the government action is bound to follow sooner or later. Community members like me are determined to make the government take action no matter how long it takes.

Now in that unfortunate event, it will be a great loss of face and shame to the entire community.

But it is still not too late to avert such a situation if only we can all break our stupid silence and prevail upon the warring groups to see stark reality, sink their differences and make YBA lawful, purposeful and the pride of all badagas.

Here’s a 10-point proposal:

  1. Make the members who have had the honour of being Ministers, Chief Patrons of YBA.
  2. Make the sitting MPs and MLAs Patrons of YBA

  3. Form a Governing Council of 10 members representing senior members who have retired as government officials, professors, bankers, doctors and teachers.

  4. Form an Executive Committee comprising present office bearers and representatives of the other factions plus a few neutral observers. This Committee will run of YBA subject to guidance from the Governing Council.

  5. The winning office bearers of the recent elections can be declared but their functioning will be subject to the Executive Committee. A competent non-Badaga can be appointed as full time Secretary for the time being at a good salary and responsibility.

  6. The tenure of the new team will be limited to the original two years and membership to Rs.100.

  7. Proper, transparent and democratic rules and regulations can be formed during the next two years for future growth of YBA.

  8. Membership should be opened immediately and should remain on tap.

  9. All illegal renting activities should cease. It can be decided later how best to make use of the space and premises of the YBA building in a proper manner.

  10. Pending these changes let us all join together and celebrate Ooty Summer Festival, for 10 or 15 days, at the YBA hall in a grand manner to showcase the multi-talents of the Badaga youth.


Young Badaga association, taking everyone for a ride !

YBA taking Courts, Government, Community & Public for a Ride!!

Dharmalingam Venugopal
Honorary Director, Nilgiri Documentation Centre. Kotagiri

Present Young Badaga Association team drives its legitimacy from a High Court order implemented by a retired judge and a retired top official. Despite it being challenged on multiple fronts of late it keeps hanging on to power because the administration, community and the public are helpless.

Fed up with the continuing nuisance, the administration has even come down to mediate between the two unrepresentative groups claiming rights.

The fact YBA has conveniently hidden from the High Court, Government, Community and the Public is that all the fight is over an illegal corpus of funds.

The only bone of contention between the warring groups is the few lakhs of money with the YBA.

The only source of that money is the conduct of marriages in the YBA Hall which is totally illegal. Conduct of income earning activities like letting the premises for marriages is against the non-profit condition on which the government granted the land.

Besides, YBA does not have a license to run a marriage hall. YBA hall also does not qualify for any of the conditions required by law to conduct marriages such as minimum distance from schools, parking space, food safety etc. If a disaster happens every body will be in trouble.

It is not as if that the administration is not aware of these facts. It is in an embarrassing situation. If it takes a positive decision, it will be only endorsing an illegal activity. If it takes a negative decision, it will offend the whole community.

The situation is so pathetic that my RTI to the administration requiring the original order granting land to YBA is yet to be replied even after 40 days.

My representation to the Udhagamandalam Municipality requesting for information as to why an unauthorized institution has been allowed to conduct marriages in YBA has not been replied for more than two months.

The administration has so many important things to attend during this summer months. It is nothing but criminal on the part of us Badagas to take up the administration’s time to solve a problem which has no resolution.

The solution is simple provided us Badagas, ordinary as well as so called intellectuals, give up our hesitation, prejudice and diplomacy to call a spade a spade.

Call on the administration to stop the illegal activity of conducting marriages in YBA Hall. Once that income ceases, let us see how many groups are willing to fight for control.

Once the dust settles down in six months or so genuine members could contest the elections in due manner and take the YBA to glorious heights. Why worry about funds? Badagas are willing to donate if YBA is run honestly, professionally and democratically.

If you agree with me, send a mail immediately to the District Collector.

Congratulations, Dr.Devaraj, from Kethoray Village

Congratulations, Dr.Devaraj

Makkal Sevaiyin Magathuvam” written by Dr.G.N.Devaraj,M.B.A.,M.Phil.,B.G.L.,D.Lt .,[Stenographer, CSTI,President,Govt Employees Co-Op Society,Bhavanisagar,VP,TNGEA, Sathyamangalam], from Kethoray hatti/village, Civil Service Training Institute, Bhavanisagar received best book award from World Tamil University, Washington DC, USA, on convocation at Music Academy, Chennai on 18.3.2017.


Ooty – Kodapamund : Throwing caution to winds

Kodapamund : Throwing caution to winds

Dharmalingam Venugopal  [Nilgiri Documentation Centre]

 Kodapamund  originally referred to a Toda mund at the boundary between the traditional  divisions of  Todanad and Mekunad. The Toda mund was abandoned sometime in mid-19thcentury, probably after the opening of Kotagiri-Ooty road.

Map- Kodapamund in 1920s

During the British period it was the preferred residential area for top officials including Major Kelso, the first Commander of the Nilgiri hills.

Post independence,  it remained for long  a sleepy settlement  of hard working farmers, washer men and milk men. The Kodapamund reservoir  fed by streams originating from the Doddabetta ranges used to be perennial source of drinking water for the town.

Degradation of Doddabetta ranges in the 1970s  led to the 1978 landslides and floods which turned the life-giving Kodapamund reservoir  into a killer taking away more than 100 lives.

Since then, the Kodapamund  water channel has been major source of pollution and sewage in the town gradually choking up the Ooty lake.

The Kodapamund channel is the only source of water to the 20 ha lake and runs for a length of 5.5 km of which 3.06 km is within the Ooty town. According to a study, ‘the Channel  is converted into the dumping place of the different types of waters by small hotels, land encroachers, market, shop keepers etc., moreover it has been the outlet for the sewage of the unauthorized house owners and the rain water drains are utilized for this purpose’.

Hundreds of similar studies and crores of funds have been spent  in the name of cleaning up of  the Kodapamund channel and the lake but to no avail so far.

Kodapamund,  situated on the Dodabetta slopes, has become increasingly susceptible to  landslides in recent years. Slides on the Eastern flank of Kodapamund  near the grave yard and on the North east of  grave yard have been recorded. On the road side huge retaining walls reminds one of the vulnerability of the area which has become one of the heaviest  traffic area in the district.

Of late, the Kodapamund area has been allowed to grow into a major tourism area with facilities such as hotels, shops and entertainment centres mushrooming all over. Monstrous buildings are raised right on the road margin with total disregard for building rules, drainage or slope safety. Neither rules nor reason appears to slow down the roller coaster development of Kodapamund.

Severely high traffic, steep slopes, lack of drainage, high density of heavy constructions, excessive and indiscriminate tourist activities amidst   vegetable farming make  Kodapamund a prime spot for environmental  catastrophe.





Make Tribal Resource Centre unbiased

Call to make Tribal Resource Centre unbiased

Dharmalingam Venugopal  Nilgiri Documentation Centre. Kotagiri


The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu today inaugurated the Resource Centre for Tribal Culture at Ooty near the Botanical Gardens.

The Centre is expected to showcase the unique tribal culture of the Nilgiris which was based on mutual good will and interdependence, equal respect for each other and no violence. This exceptional culture is unparalleled in the mountain cultures of the world.

However, the display of the Nilgiris culture will be incomplete if any of the indigenous Nilgiri communities, particularly the Badagas, the largest social group, are excluded.

As a local cultural centre, it should not be exclusive to the Scheduled Tribes or the Primitive Tribes. It should depict the tribal culture of the Nilgiris as a whole.
Originally, the Nilgiri tribes recorded were the Todas, Kotas, Badagas, Irulas and Kurumbas. There is no record of how long these tribes have been in the mountains.

The first written record on these tribes was by Father Giacomo Fenicio who visited the hills in 1603. He was the author of “South Indian Religions” in Portuguese, published in 1609. During his two months stay on the hills he mentions only the Todas and Badagas. The former numbered about 300 and the latter about 500.

He saw in the Badaga village “hens, goats, rice and lentils, mustered, garlic and honey” and observed “ The Badagas are like the Malabars and they do business with the Todas selling rice and buying from them butter made of buffaloes’ milk for which they find a market at Manarghat”. Badagas spoke Kannada and some Malabar, he wrote.

There was no mention about any tribe coming from anywhere or how long they were on the hills.
The next written record on Nilgiris was after nearly two centuries in 1812 by William Keys, Assistant Revenue Surveyor sent by Coimbatore Collector W. Garrows.

The population of the hills as recorded by him was, ‘2516 individuals of which 1647 were Baddugars, 292 were Lingayats, 268 were Thoraiars, 179 were Todas and 130 were Kotas.

He was the first to mention that, “The Baddagurs, so called from their having settled on the mountains from the northward, speak the Cannady language and are the principal inhabitants as well as cultivators of the land”. It is not clear on what basis Keys made this statement.

In any case, according to the “Historical Records of The Survey of India 1800-15”, “Keys and McMahon were the first surveyors to enter the Nilgiri hills, and it is not surprising that their training at the observatory had not qualified them to make much of a success of the hill features”. Keys also described the Nilgiri climate at “inhospitable” with the result Collector Garrows took no further interest in the hills.

It was finally left to J.W.Breeks, the first Commissioner of Nilgiris, to make the distinction clear. Breeks distinguished the Todas, Kotas, Kurumbas and Irulas as “Jungle race” and documented them in his monumental work, “An Account of the Primitive Tribes and Monuments of the Nilgiris” in 1873. He categorically mentioned, “The Badagas cannot be called an aboriginal or a jungle race”.

Breeks however, included as a Frontispiece, the now famous photo of Five Hill Tribes which included the Badagas.

The authorities, should, therefore have no further reservations about depicting the cultures of all the Nilgiri people or tribes in the Resource Centre.