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Todas forced their way into his house, ravished his wife,
and possessed themselves of his wordly effects. Hear-
ing of what had occurred, Hethappa sought the assistance
of two Balayaru in revenging himself on the Todas.
They readily consented to help him, in return for a
promise that they should marry his daughters. The
Todas were killed, and the present inhabitants of the
village Hulikallu are supposed to be the descendants of
the Balayaru and Badaga girls. The seven brothers are
now worshipped under the name Hethappa or Hetha.

In connection with the migration of the Badagas to
the Nllgiris, the following note is given in the Gazetteer
of the Nllgiris. "When this flitting took place there is
little to show. It must have occurred after the founda-
tion of the Lingayat creed in the latter half of the
twelfth century, as many of the Badagas are Lingayats
by faith, and sometime before the end of the sixteenth
century, since in 1602 the Catholic priests from the west
coast found them settled on the south of the plateau, and
observing much the same relations with the Todas as
subsist to this day. The present state of our knowledge
does not enable us to fix more nearly the date of the
migration. That the language of the Badagas, which
is a form of Canarese, should by now have so widely
altered from its original as to be classed as a separate
dialect argues that the movement took place nearer the
twelfth than the sixteenth century. On the other hand, the


fact (pointed out by Dr. Rivers *) that the Badagas are not
mentioned in a single one of the Todas' legends about
their gods, whereas the Kotas, Kurumbas, and Irulas,
each play a part in one or more of these stories, raises
the inference that the relations between the Badagas and
the Todas are recent as compared with those between
the other tribes. A critical study of the Badaga dialect
might perhaps serve to fix within closer limits the date
of the migration. As now spoken, this tongue contains
letters (two forms of r for instance) and numerous words,
which are otherwise met with only in ancient books, and
which strike most strangely upon the ear of the present
generation of Canarese. The date when some of these
letters and words became obsolete might possibly be
traced, and thus aid in fixing the period when the
Badagas left the low country. It is known that the two
forms of r, for example, had dropped out of use prior
to the time of the grammarian Kesiraja, who lived in
the thirteenth century, and that the word betta (a hill),
which the Badagas use in place of the modern bettu, is
found in the thirteenth century work Sabclamanidarpana."
It is recorded, in the Gazetteer of the Nllgiris, that
" Nellialam, about eight miles north-west of Devala as
the crow flies, is the residence of the Nellialam Arasu
(Urs), who has been recognised as the janmi (landlord)
of a considerable area in the Munanad amsam, but is
in reality a Canarese-speaking Lingayat of Canarese
extraction, who follows the ordinary Hindu law of inheri-
tance, and is not a native of the Wynad or of Malabar.
Family tradition, though now somewhat misty, says that
in the beginning two brothers named Sadasiva Raja
Urs and Bhujanga Raja Urs moved (at some date and for

The Todas, 1906.


some reason not stated) from Ummattur (in the present
Chamarajnagar taluk of Mysore), and settled at Malai-
kota, the old fort near Kalhatti. Their family deities
were Bhujangesvara and Ummattur Urakatti, which are
still worshipped as such. They brought with them a
following of Bedars and Badagas, and thereafter always
encouraged the immigration to the hills of more Canarese
people. The village of Bannimara, a mile west of
Kalhatti, is still peopled by Bedars who are said to be
descendants of people of that caste who came with the
two brothers ; and to this day, when the Badagas of the
plateau have disputes of difficulty, they are said to go
down to Nellialam with presents (kanikai) in their hands,
and ask the Arasu to settle their differences, while, at
the time of their periodical ceremonies (manavalai) to
the memory of their ancestors, they send a deputation to
Nellialam to invite representatives of the Arasu to be

Close to the village of Bethalhada is a row of
cromlechs carved with figures of the sun and moon,
human beings, animals, etc., and enclosed within a stone
kraal, which the Badagas claim to be the work of their
ancestors, to whom periodical offerings are made. At the
time of my visit, there were within one of the cromlechs
a conch shell, lingam, bell, and flowers. A number of
these sculptured cromlechs at SholDr, Melur, and other
spots on the Nilgiris, aie described and figured by
Breeks,* who records that the cromlech at Jakata Kambe
is interesting as being the place of the yearly sacrifice
performed by the Badagas of the Jakaneri grama
(village) by their Kani Kurumba. And he adds that the
Badagas would seem to have usually selected the

* Account of the Primitive Tribes and Monuments of the Nilagiris, 1873.







neighbourhood of these cromlechs for their temples, as
for example, at Melur, Kakusi, H'laiuru, Tudur, and

It is recorded *, in connection with the legends ot
the Badagas, that " in the heart of the Banagudi shola,
not far from the DoddQru group of cromlechs, is an odd
little shrine to Karairaya, consisting of a ruined stone
hut surrounded by a low wall, within which are a tiny
cromlech, some sacred water-worn stones, and sundry
little pottery images representing a tiger, a mounted
man, and some dogs. These keep in memory, it is said,
a Badaga who was slain in combat with a tiger ; and
annually a festival is held, at which new images are
placed there, and vows are paid. A Kurumba makes
fire by friction and burns incense, throws sanctified
water over the numerous goats brought to be sacri-
ficed, to see if they will shiver in the manner always
held necessary in sacrificial victims, and then slays,
one after the other, those which have shown them-
selves duly qualified. Hulikal Drug, usually known as
the Drug, is a precipitous bluff at the very end of the
range which borders on the south the great ravine which
runs up to Coonoor. It is named from the neighbouring
village of Hulikal, or tiger's stone, and the story goes
that this latter is so called because in it a Badaga killed
a notorious man-eater which had long been the terror of
the country side. The spot where the beast was buried
is shown near the Pillaiyar temple to the south of Hulikal
village, and is marked by three stones. Burton says
there used formerly to be a stone image of the slain tiger
thereabouts. Some two miles south-east of Konakarai
in a place known as Kottai-hada, or the fort flat, lie

* Gazetteer of the Nilgiris.


the remains of the old fort Udaiya Raya Kota. Badaga
tradition gives a fairly detailed account of Udaiya Raya.
It says he was a chief who collected the taxes for the
Ummattur Rajas, and that he had also a fort at Kullan-
thorai, near Sirumugai, the remains of which are still to
be seen. He married a woman of Netlingi hamlet of
Nedugula, named Muddu Gavari, but she died by the
wrath of the gods because she persuaded him to cele-
brate the annual fire-walking festival in front of the fort,
instead of at the customary spot by the Mahalingasvami
temple about half a mile off. Anaikatti is a hamlet
situated in the jungle of the Moyar valley. The stream
which flows past it tumbles over a pretty fall on the
slopes of Blrmukku (Bimaka) hill. The Badagas call
the spot Kuduraihallo, or the ravine of the horse, and
say the name was given it because a Badaga, covered
with shame at finding that his wife gave him first sort
rice but his brother who lived with them only second
sort, committed suicide by jumping his horse down the

According to Mr. Grigg, the Badagas recognise
eighteen different " castes or sects." These are, how-
ever, simplified by Mr. S. M. Natesa Sastri * into six,
" five high castes and one low caste." They are
i. Udaya.

2. Haruva.

3. Adhikari.

High caste.

4. Kanaka.

5. Badaga.

6. Toreya ... Low caste.

" Udayas are Lingayats in religion, and carry the
Sivalinga the Siva image tied round their necks.
They claim to be superior to all the other Badagas, and

* Madras Christian College Magazine, 1892.






are regarded as such. They are priests to all the Bada-
gas of the Lingayat class, and are strict vegetarians.
They do not intermarry with any of the other high caste
Badaga sects. Udaya was, and is the title assumed by
the MaisDr Rajas, and those Badagas, by being thus
designated as a caste, claim superior blood in their veins."
The Lingayat Badagas are commonly called Lingakutti.
" Next in rank come the Haruvas. From their name
being so closely connected with the Aryas the respect-
able and from their habit of wearing the Brahmanical
thread, we are warranted in believing that they must
originally have been the poor Brahman priests of the
Badagas that migrated to this country (the Nllgiris),
though they have now got themselves closely mingled
with the Badagas. These Haruvas are also strict vege-
tarians, and act as priests." It has been suggested that
the Haruvas (jumper) derive their name from the fire-
walking ceremony, which they perform periodically.
A further, and more probable suggestion has been made
to me that Haruva comes from a Canarese word meaning
to beg or pray ; hence one who begs or prays, and so a
Brahman. The Canarese Basava Purana frequently
uses the word in sense. " The Adhikaris are to a certain
extent vegetarians. The other two high castes, and of
course the low caste Toreyas also, have no objection of
any kind to eating llesh. It is also said that the vege-
tarian Adhikari, if he marries into a flesh-eating caste
of the Badagas, betakes himself to this latter very
readily." The Kanakas are stated by Mr. Grigg to be
the accountants, who were probably introduced when the
hills were under the sway of the Tamil chiefs. This
would, however, seem to be very improbable. " The
Toreyas are regarded as sons and servants to the five
high caste Badaga sects to the Haruvas especially.


They are the lowest in the scale, and they are prohibited
from intermarrying with the other or high caste Badagas,
as long as they are sons to them." The Toreya does
the menial duties for the tribe. He is the village servant,
carries the corpses to the burning-ground, conveys the
news of a death from village to village, is the first to get
shaved when a death occurs, and is sent along with a
woman when she is going to visit her mother or mother-
in-law at a distance from her own home. " The Udayas,
Adhikaris and Kanakas are Lingayats in religion, and
the other thr^e, the Haruvas, Badagas, and Toreyas are
Saivites." Of the six divisions referred to, the Udayas
and Toreyas are endogamous, but intermarriage is per-
missible between the other four. At the census, 1891, a
large number of Badagas returned as their sub-division
Vakkaliga, which means cultivator, and is the name of
the great cultivating caste of Mysore.

Seven miles west of Coonoor is a village named
Athikarihatti, or village of the Athikari or Adhikari
section of the Badagas. " The story goes that these
people, under a leader named Karibetta Raya, came
from Sarigur in Mysore territory, and settled first at
Nelliturai (a short distance south-west of Mettupalaiyam)
and afterwards at TudOr (on the plateau west of
Kulakambi) and Tadasimarahatti (to the north-west of
MelDr), and that it was they who erected the sculptured
cromlechs of TudDr and Melur. Tudur and Tadasi-
marahatti are now both deserted ; but in the former a
cattle kraal, an old shrine, and a pit for fire-walking may
still be seen, and in the latter another kraal, and one of
the raised stone platforms called mandaikallu by the
Badagas. Tradition says that the Badagas left these
places and founded Athikarihatti and its hamlets instead,
because the Kurumbas round about continually troubled



them with their magic arts, and indeed killed by sorcery
several of their most prominent citizens." :

Like other Canarese people, the Badagas have
exogamous septs or knlas, of which Mari, Madhave
(marriage), Kasturi (musk), and Belli (silver) are
examples. A very large number of families belong to
the Mari and Madhave septs, which were time after
time given as the sept name in reply to my enquiries.
It may be noted that Belli occurs as an exogamous sept
of the Canarese classes Vakkaliga, Toreya, and Kuruba,
and Kasturi is recorded in my notes as a sept of the
Vakkaligas and Telugu Kammas.

The Badagas dwell in extensive villages, generally
situated on the summit of a low hillock, composed of
rows of comfortable thatched or tiled houses, and
surrounded by the fields, which yield the crops. The
houses are not separate tenements, but a line of dwel-
lings under one continuous roof, and divided by party
walls. Sometimes there are two or three, or more lines,
forming streets. Each house is partitioned off into an
outer (edumane) and inner apartment (ozhaga or
ogamane). If the family has cows or buffaloes yielding
milk, a portion of the latter is converted into a milk-
house (hagottu), in which the milk is stored, and which
no woman may enter. Even males who are under
pollution, from having touched or passed near a Kota or
Paraiyan, or other cause, may not enter it until they
have had a ceremonial bath. To some houses a loft,
made of bamboo posts, is added, to serve as a store-
house. In every Badaga village there is a raised
platform composed of a single boulder or several stones
with an erect stone slab set up thereon, called sOththu

* Gazetteer of the Nilgiris.


kallu. There is, further, a platform, made of bricks
and mud, called mandhe kallu, whereon the Badagas,
when not working, sit at ease. In their folk-tales men
seated thereon are made to give information concerning
the approach of strangers to the village. Strangers,
who are not Badagas, are called Holeya. The Rev.
G. Richter gives * Badaga Holeya as a division of the
lowly Holeyas, who came to Coorg from the Mysore
country. In front of the houses, the operations of drying
and threshing grain are carried out. The cattle are
kept in stone kraals, or covered sheds close to the habi-
tations, and the litter is kept till it is knee or waist deep,
and then carried away as manure for the Badaga's land,
or planters' estates.

" Nobody," it has been said, t " can beat the Badaga
at making mother earth produce to her utmost capacity,
unless it be a Chinese gardener. To-day we see a portion
of the hill side covered with rocks and boulders. The
Badagas become possessed of this scene of chaos, and
turn out into the place in hundreds, reducing it, in a
few weeks, to neat order. The unwieldy boulders,
having been rolled aside, serve their purpose by being
turned into a wall to keep out cattle, etc. The soil is
pounded and worried until it becomes amenable to
reason, and next we see a green crop running in waves
over the surface. The Badagas are the most progres-
sive of all the hill tribes, and always willing to test any
new method of cultivation, or new crops brought to their
notice by the Nilgiri Horticultural Society."

Writing in 1832, Harkness states J that " on leaving
his house in the morning the Burgher pays his adoration

* Manual of Coorg. t Pioneer, 4th October 1907.

J Description of a singular Aboriginal Race inhabiting the summit of the
Neilgherry Hills.


to the god of day, proceeds to the tu-el or yard, in
which the cattle have been confined, and, again addres-
sing the sun as the emblem of Siva, asks his blessing,
and liberates the herd. He allows the cattle to stray
about in the neighbourhood of the village, on a piece of
ground which is always kept for this purpose, and,
having performed his morning ablutions, commences the
milking. This is also preceded by further salutations
and praises to the sun. On entering the house in the
evening, the Burgher addresses the lamp, now the only
light, or visible emblem of the deity. ' Thou, creator of
this and of all worlds, the greatest of the great, who art
with us, as well in the mountain as in the wilderness,
who keepeth the wreaths that adorn the head from
fading, who guardeth the foot from the thorn, God,
among a hundred, may we be prosperous.' '

The Badaga understands the rotation of crops well.
On his land he cultivates bearded wheat (beer ganji),
barley, onions, garlic, potatoes, klre (Amarantus), samai
(Panicnm miliare], tenai (Setaria italica), etc.

"Among the Badagas," Mr. Natesa Sastri writes,
" the position of the women is somewhat different from
what it is among most peoples. Every Badaga has a
few acres to cultivate, but he does not mainly occupy
himself with them, for his wife does all the out-door
farm work, while he is engaged otherwise in earning
something in hard cash. To a Badaga, therefore, his
wife is his capital. Her labour in the field is considered
to be worth one rupee per day, while an average male
Badaga earns merely three annas. A Badaga woman,
who has not her own acres to cultivate, finds work on
some other lands. She thus works hard for her hus-
band and family, and is quite content with the coarsest
food the korali (Setaria italica) flour leaving the


better food to the male members of the family. This
fact, and the hard work the Badaga women have to
perform, may perhaps account to some extent for the
slight build of the Badagas as a race. The male
Badaga, too, works in the field, or at his own craft if he
is not a cultivator, but his love for ready cash is always
so great that, even if he had a harvest to gather the
next morning, he would run away as a cooly for two
annas wages." Further, Mr. Grigg states that "as the
men constantly leave their villages to work on coffee
plantations, much of the labour in their own fields, as
well as ordinary household work, is performed by the
women. They are so industrious, and their services of
such value to their husbands, that a Badaga sometimes
pays 150 or 200 rupees as dowry for his wife." In the
off season for cultivation, I am informed, the Badaga
woman collects faggots for home consumption, and
stores them near her house, and the women prepare the
fields for cultivation by weeding, breaking the earth, and
collecting manure.

In his report on the revenue settlement of the
Nilgiris (1885), Mr. (now Sir) R. S. Benson notes that
" concurrently with the so-called abolition of the bhurty
(or shifting) system of cultivation, Mr. Grant abolished
the peculiar system in vogue up to that time in Kundah-
nad, which had been transferred from Malabar to the
Nilgiris in 1860. This system was known as erkadu
kothukadu. Under it, a tax of Re. i to Re. i-8-o was
levied for the right to use a plough or er, and a tax of
from 4 to 8 annas was levied for the right to use a hoe
or kothu. The so-called patta issued to the ryot under
this system was really no more than a license to use one
or more hoes, as the case might be. It merely specified
the amount payable for each instrument, but in no cases


was the extent or position of the lands to be cultivated
specified. The ryot used his implements whenever and
wherever he pleased. No restrictions, even on the
felling of forests, were imposed, so that the hill-sides
and valleys were cleared at will. The system was
abolished in 1862. But, during the settlement, I found
this erkadu kothukadu system still in force in the flour-
ishing Badaga village of Kinnakorai, with some fifty

In connection with the local self-government of the
Badagas, Mr. A. Rajah Bahadur Mudaliar writes to me
as follows. "In former days, the monegar was a great
personage, as he formed the unit of the administration.
The appointment was more or less hereditary, and it
generally fell to the lot of the richest and most well-to-
do. All disputes within his jurisdiction were placed
before him, and his decision was accepted as final. In
simple matters, such as partition of property, disputes
between husband and wife, etc., the monegars them-
selves disposed of them. But, when questions of a com-
plicated nature presented themselves, they took as their
colleagues other people of the villages, and the disputes
were settled by the collective wisdom of the village
elders. They assembled at a place set apart for the
purpose beneath a mm (Melia Azadirachtd] or pipal
tree (Ficus religiosd] on a raised platform (ratchai),
generally situated at the entrance to the village. The
monegar was ex-officio president of such councils. He
and the committee had power to fine the parties, to
excommunicate them, and to readmit them to the caste.
Parents resorted to the monegar for counsel in the dis-
posal of their daughters in marriage, and in finding
brides for their sons. If any one had the audacity to
run counter to the wishes of the monegar in matters


matrimonial, he had the power to throw obstacles in the
way of such marriages taking place. The monegar, in
virtue of his position, wielded much power, and ruled
the village as he pleased." In the old days, it is said,
when he visited any village within his jurisdiction, the
monegar had the privilege of having the best women or
maids of the place to share his cot according to his
choice. In former times, the monegar used to wear a
silver ring as the badge of office, and some Badagas
still have in their possession such rings, which are pre-
served as heirlooms, and worshipped during festivals.
The term monegar is, at the present day, used for the
village revenue official and munsiff.

I gather that each exogamous sept has its headman,
called Gouda, who is assisted by a Parpattikaran, and
decides tribal matters, such as disputes, divorce, etc.
Fines, when inflicted, go towards feasting the tribe, and
doing puja (worship) to the gods. In the case of a
dispute between two parties, one challenges the other to
take an oath in a temple before the village council. A
declaration on oath settles the matter at issue, and the
parties agree to abide by it. It is the duty of the
Parpattikaran to make arrangements for such events as
the Heththeswami, Devve and Bairaganni festivals, and
the buffalo sacrificing festival at Konakkore. The Par-
pattikaran takes part in the purification of excommuni-
cated members of the tribe, when they are received
back into it, for example, on release from prison. The
tongue of the delinquent is burnt with a hot sandal stick,
and a new waist thread put on. He is taken to the
temple, where he stands amidst the assembled Badagas,
who touch his head with a cane. He then prostrates
himself at the feet of the Parpattikaran, who smears his
forehead with sacred ashes. It is, further, the duty of


the Parpattikaran to be present on the occasion of the
Kannikattu (pregnancy) ceremony.

A quarter of a century ago, a Badaga could be at
once picked out from the other tribes of the Nllgiris by
his wearing a turban. But, in the present advanced
age, not only does the Toda sometimes appear in the
national head-dress, but even Irulas and Kurumbas, who
only a short time ago were buried in the jungles, living
like pigs and bears on roots, honey and other forest
produce, turn up on Sundays in the Kotagiri bazar, clad in
turban and coat of English cut. And, as the less civilised
tribes don the turban, so the college student abandons
this picturesque form of head-gear in favour of the less
becoming and less washable porkpie cap, while the
Badaga men and youths glory in a knitted night-cap of
flaring red or orange hue. The body of the Badaga
man is covered by a long body-cloth, sometimes with
red and blue stripes, wrapped " so loosely that, as a man
works in the fields, he is obliged to stop between every
few strokes of his hoe, to gather up his cloth, and throw
one end over his shoulder." Male adornment is limited
to gold ear-rings of a special pattern made by Kotas or
goldsmiths, a silver waist-thread, silver bangle on the
wrist, and silver, copper, or brass rings. The women
wear a white body-cloth, a white under-cloth tied round
the chest, tightly wrapped square across the breasts, and
reaching to the knees, and a white cloth worn like a cap
on the head. As types of female jewelry and tattooing,
the following examples may be cited :

i . Tattooed on forehead with dashes, circles and

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