Ooty: The prestigious 'Badagas day' will be celebrated in Nilgiris on Wednesday (Badagas constitute for the single largest ethnic community in Nilgiris) as Nilgiri Documentation Centre (NDC) traced the history of Badagas from 1600s.
Hill veteran Sri Dharmalingam Venugopal, director of the NDC, stated that May 15 from the year 1989 onwards is being observed as 'Badagas Day' to rally the members of the community for collective action.
The first ever written record of Badagas by Father Finicio in 1602 describes a "Badaga village of 150 to 200 inhabitants with hens, goats, rice and lentils, mustard, garlic and honey. They do business with the Todas selling rice and buying from them butter for which they find a market in Mannarghat (in Kerala)," he noted.
Then 200 years later, John Sullivan, the founder of modern Nilgiris, on his arrival in 1819 noted, "Badagas are the principal cultivators and landlords". Another 200 years later, Prof. Paul Hockings who had researched the Badagas for over half a century attributed their success to, "the availability of land to farm, willingness to switch to new crops, ability to learn from British planters, healthy food and clean water, an indigenous system of herbal medicine, availability of loans, the presence of village schools since 1820s and a general appreciation of education at all levels".“Only those cultures that have a tenacious pattern of religious, linguistic, artistic, and other features can persist in a distinct form”, Mr. Venugopal pointed out quoting from them.
In recent years the Badagas are in the vortex of local, national and global changes. They are trying to adapt to the demands of ultra modernization and globalization while retaining their native moorings and identity, he noted. Whatever happens to the Badagas happens to the Nilgiris also. Just as in the past, the fate and future of the Badagas and the Nilgiris will always swing together, Mr. Venugopal emphatically added. Sri Venugopal has been making meticulous efforts with care to document Nilgiris....