Till about 1931 they had been classified as hill tribe
The Badagas of the Nilgiris should be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes.
This was emphasised at a meeting of the Thodhanadu Seemai Badaga Welfare Association held here on Sunday.
With the association president T.M.Kulla Gowder in the Chair, speakers listed the efforts made over the years to get the tribal status restored to the community.
Later, speaking to The Hindu, Mr.Gowder adverted to the role of the Badagas in shaping the history of the Blue Mountains and added that it had been their home since time immemorial.
Till about 1931 the Badagas had been classified as hill tribe.
Claiming that there was historic evidence to prove that the Badagas had been part and parcel of the Nilgiris for many centuries, he said that they shared an ‘umbilical cord' relationship.
Like many aspects of the flora and fauna of the district, they were found only here though over the years some of them had gone to various places for work.
Stating that the 1908 gazetteer had declared that the Nilgiris plateau was a ‘special home' of three communities viz. Badagas, Todas and Kotas, Mr.Gowder said that the socio-economic and cultural aspects of the Badagas had been a subject of intense research by foreign and Indian scholars for well over a century.
Pointing out that even before the commencement of the national census, the population status of the Badagas had been periodically determined by local officials, he lamented that the system had changed over the years.
Mr. Gowder expressed the hope that henceforth they would be enumerated separately.
M.Nandhi Gowder of Kallakorai welcomed the gathering.