A couple of actions taken by a group of volunteers for the past few months have proved that Badagas can be truly enterprising.
Lead by a group leader from Kodumudi and implemented by a husband wife team from Pudugamandu and volunteers from many hattis – villages have launched a successful cooperative movement. To make vegetables available to the villagers at very much affordable prices that are much cheaper than in the market at their door step.
These young volunteers, take their pickup vans and and buy fresh vegetables from Mysore in the north and and Karamadai in he south. They buy onions, tomatoes and potatoes along with curry leaves (benguvay, dhomba, gaasu and karambay soppu) in bulk and bring it to Nattakallu, near Kotagiri where the sorting out of the vegetables takes place. The people of Nattakallu, famous for its Koottu Haada (meeting ground), have made their community hall available to the volunteers.
A number of volunteers both men and women, apart from sorting out, pack one kg each of these vegetables with curry leaves into an eco riendly cloth bag. Based on the request made, the men take these bags to villages and deliver them directly to the villages, some times through a volunteer who takes charge of distribution and collection of money.
Each bag (3 kgs plus Curry leaves) is given for a price of Rs.100 ( the same quantity costs around Rs.160 in the market these days).
This is done every day of the week.
Bravo Badagas, God helps those who help themselves.
It was a great pleasure to meet and get to know photo journalist Raghu Joghee (Yedapalli) who is with the Tamil Daily Dinamalar.
His photos are treat to eyes. One of them has been selected and published by the National Geographic
The photo below of a 94 yrs old Singhi Hethe (grand old Badaga lady) from Ebbanadu Village is sheer pleasure to see. Fist time I am seeing a body tatoo. Also see the page about tatoo by Badaga women
Proud of you Raghu
In the Nilgiris, Nakkubetta to Badagas, many schools started many decades ago, even during the British period, are in the final stages of being closed down due to lack of students. They were/are Tamil medium schools.
Lack of students, in this age and time of substantial population explosion? Therein lies the sad story of how clueless politicians and through them the government insisted that Tamil and only Tamil would be given the status of medium and English was given the go by.
Apart from the lack of job opportunities, the inherent ego and prestige issues ensured that even comparatively poor families sent their children to English medium schools spread around the district ignoring the government run Tamil medium schools.
And hence, many of these Tamil medium schools located in the hattis have ten/twenty students and are in the verge of being closed.
One of the oldest schools, started by Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder in Hubbathalai has only around 30 students and may be closed soon.
But some Badagas who are old students of these schools did not want to see their alma mater going to seeds. People like Dr.Sundraradevan , the first and so far only IAS officer among Badagas, gave a serious thought to the problem and identified that the medium of teaching was the main source to this issue. They decided to take the issue hands on literally. Why not start teaching in English?
With consultation among the villages and taking personal interest, Dr.Sundaradevan succeeded in converting the school in Adhigaratty, started in 1832, to function again in full bloom with highly qualified teachers being paid by the parents/ association.
Prakash (Heera Masi) of Godalatti informs me that they have also revived the school in his village being inspired by the Adhigaratty example.
We are very proud of these people whose interest is for the community, by the community!
Wake up call for Ooty Botanical Gardens
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.
‘Consider Badagas as the indigenous people of Nilgiris’
From The Times of India| Aug 11, 2017
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.
Gratefully remembering all the selfless service done to the society, Badagas and the family !
04 Dec 1883 – 28 Jun 1971
46th Death Anniversary !
Badagas go gaga over tender bamboo shoots
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.
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.