Happy New Year!

More than 373,000 visitors to badaga.co website. Greatly appreciated. Deeply humbled.

What started as a hobby is now an obsession. To do something for the society that has given everything. The good, bad and the ugly.

Thank you once again for all your encouragement.

Happy New Year!

Wing Commander JP

2014 in review of badaga.co prepared by WordPress.com

The WordPress.com stats has prepared a 2014 annual report for this website.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 50,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 19 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Badaga Dance Songs

Listen to some fantastic streaming music as you browse:

Melay Keriyo’gay

The song ‘Mele Kerioge’ which forms part of the album “SINGARA SEEMAE” by KHD is my favouraite.The lyrics are by SHOLUR G. Raman & KHD and the music is by P.Subramani, Bangalore. The singers are G.N.Raman, Ravi – Jakkanaarai, Shanthi Desingh and G.N.Kalai. To know more about the talented singer Sholur Rama go here

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Kappu Hutti Lay’u

The more I listen to the song ‘Kappu Uttileyu’, the more fascinated I become. All the 12 Badaga months starting with Koodalu [given in Capital Letters] are beautifully integrated within the song.

The lyrics of the song go like this :-

Kappu huttileyu neppuna sundari,

Oppi hegileyu dhirachiya mundari

Kappu huttile naa hathuna notta dha,

Keppu na huttile ondhuna notta tha

Thatti beetha sileyu nee edhega,

Kottu beetha hennu naa edhaga

Muthu muthu mookathiga sokki hodhane, netti niddane

Sothu pathu neetha endhu kaathundhu endhe dha, matha hegu dha, madhuvaya matha hegudha,

KOODALU thinguvana koodile singarene ,

AALAANI thinguvatha aa aagi varasha mamma ,

NALLANI go kollaandhu hega beda, ,

AANI huttidha mele badhila hegine baa mamma ,

AADHIRE jena nodi bae thumbi maathaadu ,

AADI mudidha mele ododi bannane mamma,

AAVANI thinguvadhoge dhaavani singarava ,

Arattu perattu aara PERATTASI thinguvadha,

DODDA DIVIGEYA dodda kiru edhega ,

KIRU DIVIGEYA siri devi aagi banne ,

THAI mae thalaiga thatti kai yoda aatta paatta.

HEMMATTI ebbaneyu aemaathithindhu hoga beda ,

Thatti beetha sileyu nee edhaga ,

Kottu beetha hennu naa edhega

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Hutty Bappanay

Another great dance number with a greater message,’ you have come naked into this world and you will leave in the same state-naked. Every line has a nice meaning

Soley Gaayee

Lovers sending message through the forest breeze….ah..ah

You can listen and see the beautiful Badaga dance in this youtube video uploaded by Ashok Bellan

Ashok Bellan also informs me that the video was shot on the occassion the college annual day.He goes on to add ‘… I completed my graduation (B.Sc Mathematics) from Sree Naranyana Guru College. The biggest event of our college is the CREDISE function.Thus we the badaga guys planned to give a good feast and ended up with that dance. We have given opportunity to everyone to dance.Now I am doing my M.S ( Comp.Sci and Technology) which is a special course for four years.Life is good now.. but I am not able to recover from my college days in Sree Narayana Guru.List of people who were in the Dance (not in order) : 1. Ashok Bellan (Kadaikambatty Village) 2. Gopinath (BBM- kilkowatty village ooty)3.Arunkumar (BSc-Haliyur Village) 4.Suresh (B.com- Kadakodu Village) 5.Thyagarajan (B.Sc-Horasolai Village) 6.Nandhakumar(B.com-Gathukuli Village) 7.Jagadish (B.com-Jakkanarai Village) 8.Navaneeth (M.Sc-Thudalai Village) 9.Satish (M.Sc-kottanalli Village) 10.Shankar (B.com-Gathukuli Village) 11.Ayyapan (B.com Ooty) 12.Sivakaumar (M.Sc-Haliyur Village) 13.Karthi (B.Sc-Ooty ) 14.Rahul Sharma (B.Com -Ooty)

Baggi baggi

One of the few songs that remind you of the good old days..come let us see who is dancing with his back bent

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Badaga dance is all about grace and style. It is a wonderful sight when a group of ladies dance together. During the funeral, the ladies of the parental village [hatti] of the deceased woman, dance going around the cot [kattalu] to the music provided by the ‘host’ hatti musicians.
Badaga Dance

Did you dance?

Kerban Bella Gowder

Over a period of time, I have listened to a lot of Badaga singers [some were as good as professionals] but the best in my opinion is KERBEN BELLA GOWDER who had a golden voice. I met him for the first time all most three decades ago. He could play harmonium, bull bull tara or ‘thambutte’ [drum] with equal elan, His greatest ability was to compose and render songs on the spot, some times suitably changing the verses to suit the occassion.He was a much sought after singer in any function, be it a wedding, savu or anniversary. Just with a couple of his colleagues accompanying on the thambutte [mathalam] and jalra [cymbals], he would sing while playing the harmonium. Sadly, no songs were recorded in any studio. His savu [sad] songs would bring tears streaming down even in the hardest of hearts.Another, great contribution of Bella Gowder is his rendering of many Badaga Ballads – the best being ” BERADA BELLIE “ I had the great fortune of recording [on a tape recorder] some of his songs when he had visited my home at Hubbathalai on a few occassions. Luckily I could trace them recently.

It is with a great sense of honour and as a tribute to this gifted singer I have uploaded some of his BERADA BELLIE as well as KAARA CHENNE and other songs on the net so that all of us can listen to his golden voice. The voice quality of some of these streaming songs may not be good due to the original recording having been done on a tape recorder.

kerban-bella-gowder.jpg

I bow my head in dedication to Kerben Bella Gowder who passed away a few years back.

Listen to the streaming music of “BERADHA BELLIE” and “KAARA CHENNE” ballads in the golden voice of Bella Gowder



Kothagiri (Kurudu) Kada
Another great singer of yester years was Kada from Kothagiri. He was blind but was very very spontaneous and could keep the audience spell bound.



Some times I feel we are insensitive to others’ feelings. We call them Nondi Rama, Kividi Sevani & Kurudu Kada etc. More than the individual’s disability, it is our disability that is truly appalling & blinding!!

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The unique BADAGA community of the Nilgiris in Southern India…their origin, language, culture and customs !!
 A website of Wing commander Bellie Jayaprakash that is regularly updated and more info added

Thangaadu L.Krishnan, another great singer

I have heard a lot about Thangaadu L.Krishnan, probably a contemporary of Kerban Bella Gowder, but only now had the opportunity to listen to his songs, courtesy Priyaraghava of Eddakkaadu. To say the least, the voice of L.Krishnan, is very unique and the more you listen to his songs, the more you want to listen. Simply great. One of the songs from the album, Priyaraghava has hosted in Cooltoad, is “Kundha Paala Roadu dhoge”…the original Badaga atta song. I remember listening to this dance number fifty years back, a song which was a must in any habba. Old timers will remember this song being referred to as ‘ Baby powder’a bekku endhagha, Bella na hennu en Janagi, Akka akka huttidha awai, ondhu jolia heghine baali’.
Ganjikke Kukkaya

Indhu Dhodda Maneya

Hrindhundu Hoppa

I will be grateful to any reader who can provide more info on Thanagaadu L.Krishnan [including photos] and his songs so that we can immortalise his songs like that of Kerban Bella Gowder.

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Badaga Songs and Dance

On the unique BADAGA community of the Nilgiris in Southern India…their origin, language, culture and customs !!
badance.jpg
photo from : Kongunadu Arts and Science College, Kovai

—– Aatta Aadovo…Baarivo !

If you are one of those who enjoy the foot tapping Badaga Dance numbers, you’d like this streaming media on the side bars with some nice dance numbers
http://badaga.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/badagadance.jpg
BUGIRI
bugiri.jpg
Bugiri – probably the only original musical instrument that is considered very sacred by Badagas and is extensively used during Hethai Habba. Whenever the ‘Hethai Mane’ group visits any badaga village , just before the invocation of Hethai (DEV ADDODHU) this instrument is played by the specialists. It produces a very snoothing music, and when Hethai Songs are played, it can produce an electrifying effect.
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BUGIRI

by IR Loganathan, Ithalar
[from Silver Jubilee Souvenir 1993 of Badaga Welfare Association, Madras]
bugiri2.jpgBugri
pix – The Hindu
Bugiri is one of the musical instruments of our ancestors. This looks like a long flute. There are a couple of small side branches at the knots of this bamboo instrument. There are six holes in this. It is learnt that this instrument was kept in all the Badaga houses in earlier days. It is also said that all the elders had the capacity to play this instrument in those days. This was played near the patients/suffering so as to make them go off to sleep forgetting their pain. During funerals, the relatives of the deceased played this to vent their sorrow.
It is difficult to exactly say the type of music/sound the bugiri produced. Still, it may be like the sound of a big fire, or the sound produced when things are rubbed systematically, or like the sound of a spinning top or like that of a constant ’sangu’ being blown. There are high and low notes produced by this instrument which can kindle deep feelings as well as to make one get thoroughly engrossed.

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[H]Ethai Amman in Kovai

Sakshi [edited]

amma dance
Seventy kilometers north of Coimbatore, in the Nilgiris hill town of Ooty, resides a community of people known as the Badagas. The Badagas trace their ancestry back to Hethai Amman, a pious woman from Mysore who fled the city when a Muslim king wanted her as his prize. Theirs is a somewhat cloistered community, stretching across some 500 villages in the Nilgiri Hills, which make the border of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The Badagas have their own customs, codes, traditions and language. Dharma, faith, compassion and service—these are the hallmarks of the Badaga. They will proudly tell you that one will not find a single beggar among their “brothers and sisters” and rarely are any of their children born handicapped. (They attribute both of these to their culture, which nurtures service-mindedness)….
A central element of Badaga culture is music and dance. When inspired, the Badaga will spontaneously begin improvising melodies and lyrics. “It is our way of expressing our fondness for someone,” explains Smt. Sivagami, a Badaga.
Their often-ecstatic music comes in the form of call-and-response, and some say the Badaga even have a form of telepathy, which enables them to improvise cohesively. The words and melodies are ever new, but the dance steps remain the same, regardless of the occasion. The Badaga sing and dance at weddings, births, funerals and nearly all other occasions.
The Badaga’s lead singer was a lady with a piercing voice who kept time with hand cymbals as she sang. The entire time, she barely ever opened her eyes. Watching her and the rest of the Badaga—and their slow, graceful, dream-like dance—Amma commented that it was as if they were meditating.
In fact, many of her lyrics were about [Hethai] Amma:

Amma, can you hear what we are saying?

Has it reached you?

You are the Great Giver.

We are spreading happiness

By singing about you.

Come running to us. Come running.

ithai amman
The music was an onslaught of drums and cymbals. It was an earthy, powerful and glorious ruckus to which the Badaga’s synchronized slow-motion dance served as a stirring and poignant counterpoint.
When Amma finished darshan at 3:00 a.m., the Badaga did not stop. With their music resonating all around her, Amma stood up on her peetham and pranamed. Then, just as Amma was about to step down and walk up to her room, she stopped and slowly began turning in a circle in imitation of the Badaga’s dance. As music, applause and ecstatic cries filled the chilly hillside air, Amma walked up to her room.
“For us that was the happiest moment,” Smt. Sivagami says of Amma’s short dance. “We felt that Amma was really one with our community.”
The Badaga sang and danced again on the last night of darshan for nearly three hours. Their devotion engulfed the entire program site. It was as if everyone was suddenly a Badaga. As Amma’s three days of programs in Kovai came to a close, one Badagar spoke over the sound system: “Amma, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for these past three days. You have awoken the glory of the old days. This is a moment our community will never forget.”

Karu Harachodhu

‘Karu Haruchodhu’ – Transference of sins to a bull calf


Badaga funeral prayer :

Ever since I became aware of the verses of ‘Karu Harachodhu’ , I felt how nice it would be if these beautiful words could be given in English so that the present day youngsters could understand one of the most important and significant part (prayer) of Badaga funeral rites. In the process of translation, I interacted with a large number of community elders and in some cases, the very people who recited this prayer during funerals.

What surprised me is that NO ONE could give me the exact and complete meaning of these verses. Hence, the difficulty in the translation. May be this is due to the fact every word and sentence could be interpreted in many different ways. That, precisely, is what makes this prayer very special.

But one redeeming factor is that though some of the sequence and the wordings changed from village to village, the broad essence was kept in tact. What gave more satisfaction is the fact that in some villages, it was comparitively young people who conducted this prayer and they had no hesitation to refer and recite from a written source so that they did not leave out any part.

For the original source I have consulted Dr.Rams (given in http://badaga.org) and Nakkubetta Monthly (1979 issue) and my own research.

For more details with photographs go here

Badaga funeral prayer in audio

 

Ever since I became aware of the verses of ‘Karu Harachodhu’ , I felt how nice it would be if these beautiful words could be given in English [ both in script and as translation] so that the present day youngsters could understand one of the most important and significant part (prayer) of Badaga funeral rites. Read the full article here > http://badaga-funeral.blogspot.com/

Cover of "Golden Bough a Study In Magic a...

Cover via Amazon

In his book, THE GOLDEN BOUGH – A STUDY IN MAGIC AND RELIGION (1922) Sir James George Fraser (1854 – 1941) mentioned in Chapter LV [“The Transference of Evil (To Inanimate Objects)” ] the following :-

” Among the Badagas of the Neilgherry Hills in Southern India, when a death has taken place, the sins of the deceased are laid upon a buffalo calf.For this purpose the people gather round the corpse and carry it outside of the village. There an elder of the tribe, standing at the head of the corpse, recites or chants [known as – “KARU HARUCHODU”] a long list of sins such as any Badaga may commit, and the people repeat the last word of each line after him.

The confession of sins is thrice repeated. By a conventional mode of expression, the sum total of sins a man may do is said to be thirteen hundred. Admitting that the deceased has committed them all, the performer cries aloud, – “Stay not their flight to Gods pure feet”.

As he closes, the whole assembly chants aloud “Stay not their flight.” Again the performer enters into details, and cries, “He killed the crawling snake. It is a sin.”

You can listen to this prayer [rendered by Wg Cdr JP] by clicking the play button below

Listen to the prayer rendered by Bellie Jayaprakash here

Go here to know more about Badaga Funeral Rites

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