BADUGA HISTORY

The Badugas are the largest aboriginal Tribes of the Nilgiri district. Nilgiris was originally a tribal land.

The Badugas live in nearly 303 villages, called "Hattis", throughout the district. Baduga people speak the language called "Badugu." Language has no Script.

Some of the main villages  are Meluru, Ithalar, Tudur, Kukal, Tudagai, Nundala, Meekeri, Balacola, Melkunda, Kilkundha, Ketti, Thanthanadu, Milidenu, Nandatti, Achanakal, Jakkanari, Aravenu, Thinniyoor, Iyooru, Kannerimukku, Beragany, Pethuva, Jakkatha, Thuneri etc.,

They are also called as Gowdas of  Nilgiris.

Badugas belong to paleolithic period(20,000 B.C. - 35,000 B.C.). 

Baduga Tribe inhabited Nilgiris thousands and thousands of years ago even before Lord Christ was Born. They are inhabiting in Nilgiris over 10,000 B.C ("Nilgiri Comperehensive Pocket Guide by Shobana Swaminathan 1998:66, Reprint 2005", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal by R.Sugumaran Vol IV, 2009:5").

Precious Stone Trade was carried on between Indus Valley civilization(5000 B.C) and the Nilgiris. At Mohanja Daro and Harappa, "The beautiful green amazon stone could be found near Doddabetta, Nilgiris." Probably Doddabetta derived from Baduga Words ("Dodda - Big"+ "Betta - Mountain", "Doddabetta"), ("History and Philosophy of Lingayat by Sakhare M.R., 1978:39","The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:16").

During Mouriyan period(321 B.C - 184 AD) Buddhist Monks entered Nilgiris to spread Buddhism among the Badugas in Nilgiris, where came the tree worship among Badugas("Manuals of the Nilgiri District by H.B.Grigg, 1880:259", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris by Dr.J Halan, 2012:146", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran,  2014:12"). Still there is a place called "Mouria Manae" in Nilgiris, belonging to Badugas.

During Kadamba(2AD - 6AD) period, the land revenue and other taxes were collected from Badugas of Nilgiris. Food grains were measured by "Kolaga" and "20 Kolaga" a "Kanduga", "Kolaga" in Baduga is "Koga". Still the word Koga is used by Baduga people. Food grains were paid as a tax to Kadambas("Gazetteer of India by B.L.Rice, 1877: 468", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:144", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran,  2014:12"). 

Later, during Ganga Dynasty(200 AD to around 930AD), a Ganga general came to Nilgiris in 908 AD saw the Badugas living in Nilgiris; says, can find a Fort near Droog. A Baduga Chief has built the Fort ("Gazetteer of India by Gopala krishnan, 1995:204"). No doubt Nilgiris was an administrative unit of Gangas("The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:142", "Nilgiri, Perangadu sects and Religious Traditions by A. RamaKrishnan, 1993:28", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:12")

Raja Raja Cholan I, was crossing eighteen forests for the sake of his emissary to visit Nilgiris and reached the Nilgiris around 985 - 1014 and found Badugas("Kerala state Gazetteer, by K.K.Ramachandran, 1986, Vol II:184", "Gazetteer of India, by M.Gopala Krishnan, 1995:206", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:140", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran , 2014:13").

In 1116 A.D. a Baduga King called Kalaraja was ruling Nilgiris. Vishnuvardana of Hoysala Kingdom of Karnataka was the first king to invade Nilgiris, sent his army and tried to threaten the Badugas and ordered to obey him.

The Brave Baduga King, Kalaraja refused his order and fought with him. In his second invation, 1142 Hoysala army killed Kalaraj's son, inspite of his son death Kalaraja refused to obey Vishnuvardana. In third invation, 1162 King kala was killed by Hoysalas. Three inscriptions refers to Kala's rule from his fort in Kukal Village("Epigraphia Carnatica by B.L.Rice, 1877: Vol:IV, Chp:2"). It testified that King Kala was ruling from 1116 AD and implied that his ancestors had been living here centuries earlier. King Kala was killed in a "Dhandu(war)",("Epigraphia Carnatica by B.L.Rice, 1877: Vol:IV, Chp:2", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:139", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal by R.Sugumaran, Vol IV 2011:5,6, Vol V,2014:13"). 

Nilgiris was called as Baduga Nad or Baduga Country("Ootacamund A History by Frederick Price in 1908: 15,16", "Madras District Gazateer (The Nilgiris) by W.Francis, 1908:209", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:13").

Later in 13th century, the Hoysala Kingdom was defeated by Vijayanagara Empire("Madras District Gazetteer (Bellary) by W.Francis, 1904:31"), so Nilgiri came under Vijayanagara Empire.

Later Nilgiris came under  Sulthan rules. Later in 1799, British defeated Tipu Sultan and captured Nilgiris. Utill then Nilgiris was a part of Mysore Province later merged with Madras province, after Independence.

Even before Britishers arrived to Nilgiris, a Portuguese Priest called Rev. Jocome Fierier visited Nilgiris in 1602("Primitives Tribes and Monuments Of The Nilgiris by James Wilkinson Breekes, 1873:33"). He did not stay in Nilgiris. He returned back and informed that he found a group of Tribal people called Badugas and Todas.

In 1800 Buchanan made a one-day visit to Nilgiris, partly describes its climate, forest collection, swidden farming and cattle keeping of the Nilgirians and the lifestyle of Badugaru("Mysore,Canara and Malabar by Buchanan in 1807:161", "Neilgherry Guide and directory, South Indian Observers by Almanack, 1866", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:15", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:1"). 

In 1814, Williams Key visited Nilgiris from the plains of Coimbatore("A Topographical Description of neelaghery Mountains in appendix of H.B.Griggs, 1880:XLVIII", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:15", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:2") Wish and Kindersley visited Nilgiri in 1819. John Sullivan visited Nilgiris in 1819 with help from Badugas.

Precious Stone Trade was carried on between Indus Valley civilization and the Nilgiris. At Mohanja Daro and Harappa, "The beautiful green amazon stone could be found near Doddabetta", Nilgiris. Probably Doddabetta derived from Baduga Words("Dodda - Big"+ "Betta - Mountain", Doddabetta)("History and Philosophy of Lingayat by Sakhare M.R., 1978:39", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:16").

Lord Hethe worship is in practice since around 1200 year ago i.e., 826A.D. Their principle object of adoration is named as "Hette-du"("Letters on the Climate, inhabitants, Production etc., South India by James Hough, 1826:97", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:141").

Todas paid tribute to Baduga Headmen("Primitives Tribes and Monuments Of The Nilgiris by James Wilkinson Breekes, 1873:727", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:46"). Later it was wrongly told that Badugas paid tribute to Toda("Ancient Hindu Refugees by Paul Hocking, 1980:14", "The Todas by Rivers, 1906:727").

Baduga people distinguished their living place into four categories called Porangadu seemae, Thothanadu(Thodanadu became Thothanadu)seemae, Merkunadu seeame, Kundae seeame, where nearly 440 Villages come under these four seeame.

The Community has four clans as, Badugar, Kanakar, Haruvar, Athikari. Badugas have no kolas. Baduga people marry with these four clans and they don't marry Wodayar and Thorayar as they are not a part of the community.

Baduga tribal language called "Badugu" was the contact language between Badugas and other tribal people before Britishers and other community people arrived to Nilgiris.

Many names of places in the Nilgiris District are derived from the Badugu language, e.g., Doddabetta, Coonoor, Kotagiri, Gudaluru, Kunda and Othagae(Ooty), Kattabetu, Kodanadu, Aravenu etc., 

Due to lack of script, Baduga people could not record their history.

Wodeas and others are the Migrants from Mysore during king Wodeyar Raja period, during 16th century("Aborigines of Nilgiris with their remarks on their affinities by B.H. Houghson, 1856:503", "The Tribes and casts of Madras presidency by M.A.Sherring, 1907:173", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:4", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:48")

On 30th March 1814 William Keys came from plains of Coimbatore and reached Denad (Kil Kotagiri). He met a group of Wodeas and had conversations with them and collected information about them. Wodaes told that they migrated from Mysore around 16th century and now they live in Nigiris along with Baduga Neighbors. 

William Keys, by his obscure notice,  he simply grouped them into three - Badugas, Wodeas, and Toreas migrated from Mysore and thus emerged the factual error. Thus, in 1897, when Edgur Thurston wrote a book called "Anthropological Bulletin" and "Cast and Tribes of South India(reprint) in 1909", he followed the field work done by William Keys("A Topographical Description of neelaghery Mountains in appendix of H.B.Griggs, 1880:XLVIII") and, Thurston also gave a wrong information that Badugas migrated from Mysore.

Wodeas people are not a part of the Baduga community, they don't marry Baduga community people, they still marry from Mysore of their sept(" The Tribe Inhabiting the Neilgheery Hills by Metz 1864:61", "Anthropological Bulleton by E. Thurston, 1897:1", "Sex and Disease in a Mountain community by Paul Hockings, 1980:855", "The Indigenous Badugar of Nilgiris, by Dr.J Halan, 2012:146""Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:48"). 

Baduga men attended the Toda and kota panchayat to solve their problems. Kotas followed the Baduga custom("Gazetteer of India by B.L.Rice, Vol III, 1877:237", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran 2014:10"). 

Many research has been done on Baduga community and one of the important researches was done by a French Linguist Called Christian Pilot Raichoor. She has proved that Badugas are the aboriginal Tribes of Nilgiris and they speak an unique language, not a dialect of any language.

The Todas where not the first inhabitants of Nilgiris("The Manual of Nilgiri District by H.B.Grigg in 1880:333", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran 2014:46")The other two tribes that are not found in plateau are Toda and Kota("Gazetteer of South India, Vol II by W.Francis, 1908", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran 2014:46")Todas, Kotas and Kurumbas may be considered as aboriginal but not truly so("Nilgiri Guide and Directory by J.S.C.Eagon, 1916:99", "Manual of Nilgiri District, by H.B.Grigg, 1880:219", "Society in India by David G. Mandelbaum 1972 Vol II:600", "Malai Naattu Mannin Mainthargal Vol V by R.Sugumaran, 2014:10"). 

Tundu" (a white piece of cloth) forms an integral part of the attire of Baduga women, and it is presented to dignitaries visiting the villages as a gesture of goodwill. Badugas marry within their community, and there are strict rules about which clan may intermarry with which other. They celebrate Mari Habba, Uppu Attuva Habba, etc., and their important festival is Hethe Habba.

Religion

Badugas worship several Hindu deities, including Shiva, but their main deities are Hethai and Ayya. They celebrate Hethai Habba in a grand fashion spread over a month during December–January every year, and the festival is celebrated all over the district.