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 villages  are Kukal, Kadanad, Ithalar, Nundala, Meluru, Hulical, Athikaratty, Melkunda, Kilkundha, Ketti, Thanthanadu, Milidenu, Nandatti, Jakkanari, Aravenu, Thinniyoor, Iyooru, Kannerimukku, Beragany, Pethuva, Jakkatha, Thuneri etc.,

They are also called as Gowdas of  Nilgiris.

Badugas belong to paleolithic period. Neolithic cultures like Dolmens, Cromlech, Cairns, Kistavens, Burrows could be found in many Baduga villages, which is considered as sacred by Badugas. Ashmound an unique feature of neolithic culture, was in practice with Badugas.

Baduga Tribe inhabited Nilgiris thousands and thousands of years ago even before Lord Christ was Born. They are inhabiting in Nilgiris over 5000 B.C ("Shobana Swaminathan 1998:66, Reprint 2005", "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"), ("Sakhare M.R., 1978:39", "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("H.B.Grigg, 1880:259", " Dr.J Halan, 2012:146", "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("B.L.Rice, 1877:468", "Dr.JHalan, 2012:144", "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 (" Gopala krishnan, 1995:204"). No doubt Nilgiris was an administrative unit of Gangas("Dr.J Halan, 2012:142", "A. RamaKrishnan, 1993:28", " 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("K.K.Ramachandran, 1986, Vol II:184", "M.Gopala Krishnan, 1995:206", "Dr.J Halan, 2012:140", " 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("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)",("B.L.Rice, 1877: Vol:IV, Chp:2", " Dr.J Halan, 2012:139", "R.Sugumaran, Vol IV 2011:5,6, Vol V, 2014:13"). The Nilgiris came under Hoysala Empire after Kala Raja's death.

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

Later Nilgiris came under  Sulthan rules after the fall of Vijayanagara Empire. 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("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.

Nilgiris was called as Baduga Nad or Baduga Country("Frederick Price, 1908:15,16", "W.Francis, 1908:209", R.Sugumaran, 2014:13").

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("Buchanan in 1807:161", " Almanack, 1866", "R.Sugumaran, 2014:15", " Dr.J Halan, 2012:1").

In 1814, Williams Key visited Nilgiris from the plains of Coimbatore(" H.B.Griggs, 1880:XLVIII", " R.Sugumaran, 2014:15", "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)(" Sakhare M.R., 1978:39", "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"("James Hough, 1826:97", " Dr.J Halan, 2012:141").

Baduga people distinguished their living place into four categories called Porangadu semae, Thothanadu (Thodanadu became Thothanadu) seemae, Merkunadu seame, Kundae seame, where nearly 303 Villages come under these four seame.

The Community has four clans as, Badugar, Kanakar, Haruvar, Athikari. Thoreyas may considered as sub clan. Badugas have no kolas. 

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.

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. At the time Nilgiris was a part of Mysore and every transcation was with Mysore.

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("H.B.Griggs, 1880:XLVIII") and, Edgar Thurston also gave a wrong information that Badugas migrated from Mysore.

Baduga men attended the Toda and kota panchayat(" B.L.Rice, Vol III, 1877:237", "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.

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. They also celebrate Devva Habba yearly once through out the district, considered as an important festival.