Tribe or Tribal means native people or aboriginal people. Tribal people generally live in the hilly region (Dr.S.Pushpalatha, 2012:133). In the Indian Constitution, tribals are popularly termed as Scheduled Tribe (Dr.S.Pushpalatha, 2012:133; R.Sugumaran, 2014:Vol.5:8,19). In South India the Dravidians are aboriginal. South Indian Dravidians are Tamilians, Malayalies, Telugus, Canares, and Badagas (W.W.Hunter, Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1886, vol.6:309;R. Sugumaran,2014,vol.5:8;) . The Badagas lived only in the Nilgiri over 8000 B.C. to till date. The Badagas are the primary native hill tribes of the hills. The Badagas are purely Neolithic people of the Nilgiri. The Nilgiri is situated at the tri-junction of the three states of Tamilnadu, Kerala and Karnataka.

The pre-British period in Nilgiris, among the tribes the Badagas are the only one recalling their past and furnishing proof of it. (H.P.Blavatsky, 1930:163; R.Sugumaran, 2014:Vol.5:9;). Under the British regime the Badagas are the most important, largest, indigenous people of the Nilgiris (Paul Hockings, 1999:17). The term indigienous means native to a country. The Badagas are original inhabitants of the Baduganadu (Nilgiri). Badugu is their parential language. Before 1956 A.D. the Badugu was the Lingua Franca of the Nilgiris.

The Neolithic Civilization had flourished in the Nilgiri hills and witnessed sufficient evidences. The Neolithic burial grounds such as Stone Circles, Cairns, Cromlechs, Azarams, Kistvaens etc, are all Badagas burial places.James Hough mentioned before 1829 some of the monuments had been opened large number of Nilgiri monuments were dug without system or care without troubling to record the result. The Neolithic people kept domestic animals and cultivated the land. As the Neolithic age gradually passed away in Northern India.Ash and domestic animalmanure has through the ages been the fertilizer in SouthAsia. The Neolithic monuments are many thousand years old .(M.R.Sakhare,1978:23; R.Sugumaran,2011:iv:2) 

Finnicio’s (1602) records mentioned that the begining of the 17th century only two races lived in the Nilgiris. They were Badagas and Todas. At first Finnicio met Badagas then Todas. During 17th century the Todas were paying tribute to the Badaga headman. It is important to note that all the latter authorities wrongly (without knowing the fact) told that the Badagas werepaying tribute to the Todas (Paul Hockings, 1980:14; W.H.R.Rivers, 1906:727; Anthony Walker, 1986:27; R.Sugumaran, 2014:Vol.5:10).

The Nilgiri historical events mentioned clearly about the native Badagas culture. Few events are Cairns, Barrows, Kistvaens, Dolmens or Cromlech, Azaram and etc. Few cave paintings and rock paintings clearly mentioned about the Badaga culture. They are now at Konavakorai, Betallada, Melur…etc.

Badugunadu people speak Badugu language. Badugu is one of the Dravidian languages. Badugu language is earlier than the ancient Kannada language. Badugu and Kannada are different languages. The Badugu language is ancient and the Baduga people are aborigines of the Nilgiri. Badugu Nadu or Nilgiri malai is a punya sthala of plains (Kongu) people (Abbe A.Dubois, 1906:196). Most of theauthors wrongly mentioned their guess work about the Badugu and Canada as same language, and wrongly mentioned the Badagas migrated from Mysore to Nilgiri.

The Badaga community has been constantly knocking the doors of the Central and the State Government for their Restoration of previous tribal status. The Honourable Chief Minister Amma of Tamilnadurecommended through a letter to the Central Government to include Badagas in ST list. The Pre-independence Indian records are accurate to legally supportive to call them Scheduled Tribe (ST). The Honourable Chief Minister Amma stated that the issue has been pending over 50 years. 

At Present in Nilgiri, Scheduled tribe people are migrated from plains to Nilgiri. They are not the aborigines of the Nilgiri. The Nilgiris original aborigines or native people are Badagas, but today they are considered as Backward Class. The Badagas had lost their original earlist status (Tribe). The Badagas economic condition is very poor. They are waiting for a job in the longest que.Agricultre alone cannot solve the problem of hunger and poverty. The largest number of poorest Badaga community living in the Nilgiri. Their agriculture development schemes are not favourable to continue till date. About 74% of the livelihood of the people is dependent on agriculture in India by providing employment but poverty has become a way of life for those totally dependent on agriculture.The Badagas lived in rural (village) area. They lived in villages and found to be economically backward. Poverty is the major problem of Badaga people. Agriculture is their primary occupation. Their agriculture is deemed as a gambling of monsoon and action centre by brokers. The Tea Board and Indco serve policies are not very much favourable to reach small tea farmers. Many NGOs or loacal groups believe that rise in income and social awareness of the Nilgiri people. The agriculture Badaga tribe shifting from agriculture to non-agriculture, because tea crisis was start on 1999 the most of the Badaga tribe sold their lands very low price.

Indian tribal are called ‘Adivasi’ or Native people. However, under the Constitution of India and people belonging to various tribes have been specified as ‘Scheduled Tribes’. The term Scheduled Tribes includes all tribes or tribal communities or parts or groups of such communities are notified under Article -342 and 366(25). But our Constitution did not give correct definition of Tribe, Scheduled Tribe, Backward Classes, Socially educationally backward, Weaker section of people, Minority…etc (R.Sugumaran, 2014:Vol.5:9; 19-21;48,61). According to the Indian Constitution the backward categories of the population was divided into three segments viz, SCs, STs and Other Backward classes (OBCs). All poor people were treated as backward. For instance, in Madras, a section of the OBCs had been treated as Most Backward (Dr.S.Pushpalatha, 2012:157; C. N. Shakar Rao, 1990: 662; R.Sugumaran, 2014: Vol.5: 19). The Scheduled Castes generally consists of Dalit. Mahatma Gandhi called Harijans(Children of God) . Their present population is 15% of the total population of India. The Scheduled tribes generally consist of tribal groups. Their present population is 8% of thetotal population of India. The Mandal commission covered more than 3000 castes under OBCs category. At present population is 52% of the Indian total population. The villages are the Backbone of India, more than 70%live in villages. They are completely depend on the Agriculture. The people forget the value of the villages. The government must take care that the villagers must not leave the villages.

The Badagas, Todas,and Kotas of the Nilgiri hills were classified by educational authorities, among those Toda and Kota and Badagas are backward classes for whose benefit special education efforts is required (W.Francis, 1908:265; R.Sugumaran;2014:Vol.5:44). One of the Nilgiri tribal Badaga community did not have the tradition of reading and writing, knowledge and values were passed from one generation to another orally. The general status of education among the Badaga communities was poor. The dropouts was the most serious problem as the Badaga tribal childrens education. The Badagas are economically poor. The Badagas do not known the value of education. Every Badaga areas school is having single teacher.The teachers were untrained. He took all the subjects. The most institution of higher educations specially those run by central government is difficult to find Badaga tribal students. After Independence Badagas lost their benefits (R.Sugumaran, 2014:Vol.5:44). Their ancestral parents had tribal status before just an half acentury. We need previous status, according to the constitutional right.The claim of ST by Badagas is a fundamental right.

The tribal Badaga villages are having common facilities. These are village pond(tank). Grazing grounds, temples and shrines, ceremation grounds, schools, sitting places, wells, waste lands, own lands etc. Their belief are ancient.The Badagas lost their lands, identity and their social status (Tribe- ST) of rights. The Government occupied the lands without compensation and made many factories, estates (Tea, Coffee) and many dams (Hydro electricity project) which caused submersion of Badaga lands, hamlets and Emmehatties (R. Sugumaran, 2014:Vol.5:10). The Badagas lost more than two lakhs acres of their ancestral lands (H.B.Grigg, 1880:12,302,307,312,325,332). Where would these people go?

Pre-British Nilgiri was called “Badaga Country”. The Badagas and their ancestors were Neolithic people. The Badagas followed Neolithic cultivation. They burnt (Kar Kichu) land and ash was used asfertilizer. They followed shifting cultivation. In 1860-70came an end to their shifting cultivation in Nilgiri. The Badaga cultivation only depended on rains. They never disturbed the thick forests. Their threshing and winnowing methods were primitive. The grain production of Samai, Korali, Ragi were cultivated even before Christians. Their cultivation land was terracing of the field with rough stone walls to prevent soil erosion. In Sangam period the South Indians aborigines were Araiyar, Muniyar, Paranar, Kadar, Nagar, Kodar, Kongar, Kosar, Badagar, Kurumbar etc (Lakshmi Narayan, 1985:2-3). The Badagas were pastoral and agricultural tribe in the hills. The Badagas spoke Badugu language, one of the Dravidian languages. The Badugu language is more ancient than Kanada language. The Badugu and Kanada were different languages. The Badaga language, culture, community life style, tradition and their judicial system are different from other community. The Badagas measured grain in Pre-Kadambas (2nd century) gude (basket). During 2nd Century grains were measured by Kolagam and Kandaga (Kanduga). 

The Badagas were one of the Pastoralist group of the Nilgiri district. Every Badaga hamlet was having one Emmehatty. The Badagas had more than 300 Emmehatties in the district. The Talemale to Sathiyamangalam was the ancient pastoral circuit of the Badagar (Peranganad divison) and Nellithorai to Karamadai was another ancient pastoral circuit of the Badagas (Adikiri people).It is called Sikkanadu or Seetha nadu. Now it is changed Sikkadasa Palayam,again changed as Mettupalayam. (Palayam means cantonment area). The Badagas used to hunt during the month of March to May. The Badugar hunted tiger, deer, pig, rabbit, jungle sheep etc. The Badagar Panchayat followed Oath system. The Badagas attended to Toda and Kota panchayat to solve their civil disputes. The Badagas always enjoyed a higher position compared to the Toda, Kota and Kurumba.The Badaga marriage link with common Badugar (Baduga, Haruva, Adikiri, Kanakka) only. The Badugas did not marry other castes or tribes. The Badaga widows remarried easily. When her husband died she was permitted to remarry her husband’s brother. 
Every Badaga people having their own ancestral village.It is called ancient village (uru). Badagunadu devided five sub-nadus before 2nd century. They are Doddanadu their capital is Kadanadu village, their ancient village is Madithorai village. Another sub-nadu is Paranganadu their capital is Thanthanadu village, their ancient village is Ioour village. Another one is Meekanadu their capital village is Melour. Their ancient village is Nunthuva . Forth one is Kundhe nadu their capital village is Kilkundha, their ancient village is Melkundha. Fifth one is Sikkanadu or Seethanadu their capital and ancient village is Adhikkaratty. 

The Badagas female deities is ‘Hette’.The Hettefestival is celebrated since 800 A.D to till date.The State Government of Tamilnadu the Honourable Chief Minister AMMA has declareda local holiday for Hette Festival . Hette names are known. But Hette Parents names are unknown. Because the Hette period goes back more than eight thusand years old.The Badaga have believed is a natural worship. They worshiped Sun, Forest, Agni, Tree etc. They followed Herbal medical systems. The other community people Kota may ask his Badaga partner to help him toarrange for a reputable Badaga therapist to give medical treatments. The other community people in the Nilgiri followed Badaga customs. The Badagas lived only in the Nilgiri district. Before Indipendence Badugu was the common language of the Nilgiri. 

South Indian Tribes List (After Independence) 

I.Andhra Pradesh:1.Andh,2.Bagata,3.Bhil,4.Chenchwar,Chenchwar,5.Gadadsa, 6.Gond,Naikpod,Rajgond, 7.Goudu (in the Agency Tracts), 8.Hill Reddis, 9.Jatapus, 10.Kamonara, 11.Kattunayakan,12. Kolam,Mannervarlu, 13. Konda Dhoras, 14. Konda Kapus, 15.Kondareddis,16. Kondhas,Kodi,Kodhu,Desaya Kundhs, Dongria Kondhs,Kuttiya Kondhs, Tikiria Kondhs, Yenity Kondhs, 17.Kotia,Bentho,Oriya,BartikaDhulia,Dulia, Holva,Paiko,Putiya,Sanrona,Sidhapaiko.18.Koya,Goud,Rajah,Rasha,Lingadhari Koya (Ordinary),Kottu koya, Bhine Koya, Rajkoya, 19.Kulia,20.Malis (ExcludingAdilabad, Hyderabad, Kanmnagar, Khamma, Mahbubnagar, Medak,Nalgonda,Nizamabad and warangat didtricts), 21. Manna Dhora, 22. MukhaDhora, Nooka Dhora, 23. Nayaks (In the Agency tracts),24.Pardhan, 25. Porja,Parangiperja, 26.Reddi Dhoras, 27.Rona,Rena, 28.SavarasKapuSavaras,Maliya Savaras, Khutto Savaras, 29.Sungalis,Lambadis, 30.Thoti(Adilabad,Hyderabad,Karimnagar,Khammam,Mahbubnagar,Medak,Nalgonda,Nizambad and Warangal districts), 31. Valmiki (in the agency tracts), 32.Yenadis, 33.Yerukulas. 

II Karnataka: Adiyan, 2. Barda, 3.Bavacha, Bamcha, 4.Bhil, BhilGarasia,Dholi Bhil, Dungri Bhil,Dungri Garasia,Mewasi Bhil, Rawal Bhil,Tadvi Bhil,Bhagalia, Bhilale,Pawra,Vasave,Vasave, 5.Chenchu, Chenchwar, 6. Choohara,7.Dubla, Talavia,Halpati, 8.Gamit,Gamta,Marchi,Padvi,Valvi, 9. Gond, Naikpod, Rajgond, 10. Gowdalu, 11.Hakkipikki, 12.Hasalaru, 13.Irular 14.Iruliga, 15.Jena Kuruba, 16. Kadu Kuruba, 17. Kammara(in south kanara district and kollegal taluk of Mysore district), 18. Kaniyan,Kanyan(in kollegal taluk of Mysore district), 19.Kathodi,katkari,Dhor Kathodi, Dhor Kattari, Son Kathodi, Son Katkari, 20. Kattunayakan, 21. Kokna, Kokni,kukna, 22. Koli Dhor, Tokre Koli,Kolcha, Kolgha, 23. Konda kapus, 24. Koraga, 25.Kota, 26. Koya, Bhine,Koya,Rajkoya, 27. Kudiya,Melakudi, 28. Kuruba(in Coorg district ), 29. Kurumans, 30. Maha Malasar, 31, Malaikudi, 32.Malasar, 33. Malayakandi, 34.Maleru, 35. Maratha (in Coorg district ), 36. Marati (in South Kanara district),37.Meda, 38.Naikda,Nayaka, 39. Palliyan, 40.Paniyan, 41.Pardhi,Advichincher, Phanse Pardhi, 42. Patelia, 43.Rathawa, 44.Sholaga, 45.Soligaru, 46.Toda, 47.Varli, 48 Vitolia,Kotwalia, Barodia, 49.Yerava. 

III – Kerala -1.Adiyan, 2. Arandan, 3.Eravallan, 4.Hill pulaya, 5. Irular, Irulan, 6. Kadar, 7.Kammara (in the areas comprising the Malabar district as specified by subsection (2) of section 5 of the states Reorganizations Act, 1956 (37 of 1956)), 8. Kanikaran, Kanikkar, 9.Kattunayakan, 10.Kochu Velan, 11.Konda Kapus, 12.Kondareddis, 13.Koraga, 14.Kota15. Kudiya, Melakudi, 16. Kurichchan, 17.Kurumans, 18.Kurumbas, 19. Maha Malasar, 20. Malai Aryan, 21. Malai Pandaram, 22. Malai Vedan, 23 Malakkruvan, 24. Malasar, 25. Malayan (Excluding the areas Comprising the Malabar district as specified by sub- section (2) of section 5 of the state Reorganizations Act 1956 (37 of 1956)) 26.Malayarayar, 27.Mannan, 28. Marati (in Hosdrug and Kasaragod taluka of Cannanore district), 29. Mathuvan, Mudugar, Maduvan, 30. Palleyan, 31.Palliyan, 32.Palliar, 33.Panyyan, 34. Ulladan, 35.Uraly 

IV -Tamil Nadu:1.Adiyan, 2. Aranadan, 3.Eravallan, 4.Irula, 5.Kadar, 6.Kammara(Excluding Kanyakumari district and Shenkottach taluk of Tirunelveli district), 7. Kanikaran, Kanikkar(in Kanyakumari district and shenkottah, taluk of Tirunelveli district), 8. Kaniyan,Kayan, 9. Kattunayakan, 10. Kochu Velan, 11. Konda kapus, 12.Kondareddis, 13.Koraga, 14.Kota (Excluding Kanyakumari district and Shenkottach taluk of Tirunelveli district), 15.Kudiva,Melakudi, 16.Kurichan, 17. Kurumbas(in the Nilgiris district), 18. Kurumans, 19. Maha Malasar, 20. Malai Arayan, 21. Malai Pandaram, 22.Malai vedan, 23. Malaikuravan, 24.Malasar, 25.Malayali( In Dharmaburi, North Arcot, Pudukottai, Selam, South Arcot, And Tiruchirapalli district), 26. Malayekandi, 27.Mannan, 28. Mudugar, Muduvan, 29. Muthuvan, 30.Palleyan, 31.Palliyan, 32.Palliyar, 33.Paniyan,34.Sholaga, 35.Toda(Excluding Kanyakumari district and Shenkottach taluk of Tirunelveli district), 36.Uraly.[R.C. Verma, 1990, Ministry of information and broadcasting, Government of India, New Delhi-01; Census of India,Tamilnadu,2001,Vol.I, Series 34] 

The Badaga community has been constantly knocking the doors of the Central and State Governments for demanding their Restoration of previous tribal status. The State Government of Tamilnadu, the Honourable Chief Minister Amma recommended through a letter to the Central Government to include the Badagas in the ST list. The Pre-independence and after independence periods Indians records are accurate to legally supportive to call the Badagas as Scheduled Tribe. But since 1952 the Badagas had lost their original earliest status as tribes.

Paul Hockings had wrongly mentioned about the division of the Badagas as Adikiri and Haruva. He did not explain clearly about Badaga origin The Badagas are the aborigines of the Nilgiri. They lived in the Nilgiri before 8000 B.C. The Badaga people lived only in the Nilgiri district. 

Paul Hockings in his book,“Sex and Disease in a Mountain Community (1980a)”. Mentioned about the Badagas had been followed Folk Medical system several centuries ago. (Ancient Hindu Refugees, 1980:106). And in his book “Sex and Disease in a Mountain Community (1980a:5)”the Badagas were refugees for a century. Then how could it be possible to accept Paul Hockings guessed work about the Badaga origin. It is a controversial research statement on Badagas. 

Hockings(A.H.R,1980:27) again wrongly mentioned about the Badaga tradition. He stated that three people came from Karahalla (Mysore) to the Nilgiri. One person settled at Cinnakunoor his brother settled at Ketti and another brother settled at Kundha. 

Edgar Thurston in his book. Castes and Tribes of Southern India, 1909:Vol.1:67, wrongly mentioned about Badaga origin. “Seven brothers and their sisters were living on the Talaimalai hills. A.Muhammadan ruler attempted to ravish the girl, whom the brother saved from him by flight… the seven brothers were separated and settled in different parts of the Nilgiri.

Madras District Gazetteer (Nilgiri), 1908:128; W.Francis wrongly mentioned about the Badaga origin. The Badagas of the plateau are the descendants of Canarese who immigrated to it centuries ago (1908-100=1808 A.D) from the Mysore country. He mentioned in page 105, in 1603 the Badaga and Toda already lived here. The information given in the Madaras Gazetteer in the year 1908 is also contraversy of the origin of Badagas. 

In 1995 Gazetteer of India written by Gopalakrishnan had wrongly mentioned in the foreword page asthe British entry to the Nilgiri was at the beginning of the 18th century. But the British entry to the Nilgiri is in 19th century. Again in his preface page he mentioned “I would never have completed this work”. Then how could it be possible to accept the 1995 Gazetteer?

Tamilnadu State Government second backward class commission wrongly mentioned about Badaga community. The committee wrongly declared the Badagas migrated from Mysore to Nilgiri.

The Badagas are not migrated. They are first indigenous people of the Nilgiri district. The Badagas lived only in the Nilgiri. The Badaga sub divisions are Badaga, Haruva, Adikiri and Kanakka.

Many authors wrongly mentioned that their guessed work the king Tippu Sultan wanted Okkaliga bride. She and her brothers decided to run away. The Muslim troops chased but luckily there were floods in the river as soon as Okkaligas crossed the river. The Muslim troops return to Mysore and the Okkaligas peacefully settled in the forest marginal area. ( Nambiar and Bharathi, 1965:3;Paul Hockings,1980:27-28) Tippu Sultan wanted to marry a Badaga girl. She and her brothers decided to run away. The Muslim troops chased but luckily there were floods in the river as soon as Badagas crossed it. The Muslim troops return to Mysore and the Badagas peacefully settled in the forest marginal area. Then how could it be possible to the same history of these two communities? 

The definition of the Tribe is not given in Constitution. Few important traits of the Tribes are Common Name, Common Language, Common Religion, Primitive Occupation, Separate Culture identity, Their own Political Organization (Panchayat System), Geographically Isolated, Economicaly Backward, Smallness, Self Sufficiency, Living forest and Hills, Primitive Religious Animism (Nature worship), Settled in Rural area, Using tree barks and leaves for clothing, Low rate of literacy, Dravidian race, Practicing hunting and fishing, Practing shifting cultivation, Dry crop cultivation, Having own lands, Used Fertilizer as Ash, Cattle dung, Use Primitive weapons, Producer and Consumer are own, Living away from Civilized people, Largely Carnivorous, Ignorance, Follows on Folk and Herbal Medicine (R.Sugumaran, 2014:Vol.5:21-22). 

Land is the main support of the tribal. The tribal are dependent on agriculture. Their economy is primarily agro-based. Land is the only tangible asset of a tribal. The tribal are the official owners of the land. Under the Sixth Scheduled, the District Autonomous Council has also been given powers ofprotection of the interest of the tribal in land. After independence the tribal people have been gradually loosing lands. The Sixth Schedule applies to Tribal Area. Tribal Areas enjoy full autonomy in respect of matters falling within their jurisdiction. It provides to the tribal power of self management through autonomous districts. One autonomous district has been constituted which covers tribal majority areas extending over three revenue district and covers several tribes. Each autonomous district has a District Council for its administration. A District Council consists of not more than 30 members. The power of the district councils are 

The allotment, occupation or use of land,other than any land which is areserve forest. 

The management of any forest not being a reserve forest. 

Use of any canal or water course for the purpose of agriculture. 

The establishment of village or town committees or councils and their boards. 

Appointment orsucession of chief or headman. 

The inheritance of property. 

The marriage and divorce. 

The social customs 

The power of the district council may establish, construct and manage primary schools,dispensaries, markets, cattle ponds, fisheries, roads and water ways in the district. At present Nilgiri native tribes trying to get tribal area status. They trying to get tribal area statusis their constitutional rights. Before independence census more than 50% tribes lived in Nilgiri. The people of migration was divided into two categories. They are life time (permanent) and part time migration. The migration was from state, district to another. Before independence many state, district people migrated to the Nilgiri. It is a life time settlement. At present the basic reasons for migration are unemployment, education, health, marriage, etc. Employment and education is the principal reason for migration of the people in our country. It is a temporary migration. Now the principal reason for the Nilgiri people’s migration to plains is unemployment, education, and health condition.