Absence of a dowry-system, divorce by mutual consent, and widow-re-marriage: On the high status of women in Badaga communities (Nilgiri) – Tamil Nadu

The Badagas are a unique community living mainly in the Nilgiris District in Tamil nadu in South India. They are also the single largest community of the Nilgiris. Though classified backward, a significant factor is the high status of their women says Indu K Malla, a Badaga writer of distinction, in her article ” The myth of Badaga origin & migration […]

Since the Badagas have no script, their history has been documented in other languages (mostly English) by non-Badaga historians and anthropologists (mostly westerners). Since the Nilgiris formed part of the Mysore state domains till 1799, the question of the migrations of the Badagas to the Nilgiris, does not arise. […]

Badaga Henno, Sathiyada Manno

The title is only a rough translation of Badaga woman-hood, for there is no exact English translation for Sathiya – the nearest words are blessed or divine. (‘Mannu’ means soil). The Badaga woman is the epitome of ‘Shakthi’, and many of their festivals, legends, ballads and folk – tales are centred around women. In fact, the chief festival of the Badagas, Hethai Habba, is centred around ‘Hethai’, a woman imbued with divine powers, and who was subsequently deified. It is significant that though the Badagas are a patriarchal society, their women are held in high esteem. The high status of Badaga women perhaps derives from three main factors – the absence of a dowry – system, divorce by mutual consent, and widow-re-marriage. There is no stigma attached to widows; in fact they are part of the mainstream community, and in the fore – front of auspicious functions like engagement and wedding coremonies. Also, there is the practice of ‘hengava nadathodu” – a tradition of giving a daughter / sister material, emotional and moral support throughout her life.
Traditional Badaga women are very hardworking, and are the mainstay of the family and the community. They till the soil, harvest the produce, collect fire – wood and water, and tend the cows, in addition to looking after their families. Since the Badagas have been mainly agriculturists, the Badaga women’s ethos is closely connected to the soil. In fact, even the proverbs of the Badagas evoke this ethos – for e.g : “Hennogiri, mannogiri” (A daughter’s / sister’s curse will turn the soil barren). […]

Source: http://badaga.in/
Address : http://badaga.in/
Date Visited: Sun Jan 25 2015 20:33:53 GMT+0100 (CET)

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Shantha Thiagarajan, TNN | Nov 13, 2014

UDHAGAMANDALAM: They’ve been fighting to regain their lost status as tribals from the 1970s, and on Tuesday the Badagas, an indigenous community in the Nilgiris, filed a petition in the Madras High court to demand that they be included in the list of scheduled tribes. […]

The Badagas are classified as Backward Class in Tamil Nadu through constitutional orders. The 1901 census classified them as tribals and the 1911 census denoted Badagas as Hindu animist tribals having a tribal mother tongue. In 1931, they were classified as important primitive tribals of southern India. […]

Source: Badagas take fight for scheduled tribe status to Madras high court – The Times of India
Address : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/Badagas-take-fight-for-scheduled-tribe-status-to-Madras-high-court/articleshow/45128857.cms
Date Visited: Sun Jan 25 2015 20:56:00 GMT+0100 (CET)

Shantha Thiagarajan | May 16, 2012

UDHAGAMANDALAM: To mark the 25th ‘Badaga Day’, the community members launched on Tuesday the ‘Academy for Badaga Culture‘ (ABC), a trust which will focus on many things including setting up of a museum for the community’s archives.

The Badagas, a predominant community in the Nilgiris, have been celebrating May 15 as ‘Badaga Day’ since 1989. On May 15, 1989, the Badagas gathered in large numbers and took out a rally in Ooty town to show their solidarity. Founder of the academy Manjai V Mohan said, “The academy will collect data about the community and its important personalities. Also, a list of firsts in the community will be compiled for future records.” […]

Source: Badagas to dig into their past – The Times of India
Address : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/Badagas-to-dig-into-their-past/articleshow/13159221.cms
Date Visited: Sun Jan 25 2015 21:02:06 GMT+0100 (CET)

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