November 5, 2020
Udhagamandalam: The Nilgiri Documentation Centre, which has been researching Nilgiri history for nearly four decades, has appealed to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to rectify a 200 hundred year old British colonial mistake which had wrongly labeled the Badaga community of the Nilgiris as immigrants Karnataka.
Stating that the Badagas have been the pride of Tamil Nadu from time immemorial, NDC Director Dharmalingam Venugopal said that modern research had established that the colonial view of the Badagas was unfounded, biased and questionable.
Latest research show that the history of Badagas has been separated from other people in the Nilgiri hills although no archeological or historical records have been discovered in support.
Modern researchers aver that the studies of oral tradition on which the migratory theory is based, seem rudimentary at best. Also folklore should be treated with caution as it is not necessarily based on actual events.
Gareth Davey from the School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, UK categorically states,“Thus there is no strong evidence for a migration, and also too much reliance on folklore and the rough observations of British colonial officials, even though it has been taken for granted by previous writers”.
In his book, ‘Quality of Life and Well-Being in an Indian Ethnic Community: The Case of Badagas’, published by the Switzerland based ‘Springer Briefs in Well Being and Quality of Life Research’, in 2018, Prof, Davey writes, “Badagas have been misrepresented in the literature with a migrant identity. Grammatical homogeneity of Badagu and the language of Kotas, Kurumbas and Todas might indicate they have always resided in the Nilgiri hills. Also genetic studies show Badagas share similarities with other indigenous people of Nilgiris. In summary, separation of Badagas from other people based on history and migration seems unfounded”.