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Rao Bahadur H J Bellie Gowder

Rao Bahadur H J Bellie Gowder
[ A Historic Hero of the Nilgiris]

Society grows due to education, a human being remains  human due to education. The pioneer who helped the Badaga Community (of Nilgiri Hills, South India) in the field of education,  was Rao Bahadur Hubbathalai.Joghee Gowder.Bellie Gowder, a great leader and the leading light of Badagas during his time.
He started a school for Badaga students in Hubbathalai Village on July 01, 1929. It was (initially) known as Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder (free) High School.

Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder Board High School, Hubbathalai
It is at the same Hubbathalai Village where he often used to invite the  'Seeme Gowdas' (Badaga leaders of other areas of the Nilgiris, each area being called   a   'Seeme' or a small 'kingdom') to discuss the situations and problems prevalent at that time and give his advice. People from  "Naaku Betta " (  from all over the Nilgiris - spread on all the four[naaku] sides by mountains  called 'bettas' in Badaga language) always kept coming to see him, seek his advise and settle their difficulties. In fact, it is said that the kitchen fire in the house of Bellie Gowder was never extinguished (to feed the people who came to see him).
Like the proverbial seven philanthrophists (Kadai Ezhu Vallalgal) described in Tamil literature, he too was a great philanthrophist. He gave lot of importance to education and established the Hubbathalai High School to help the poor to be literate.
He passed away on April 10, 1935
The fame of this historic hero, Rao Bahadur  Bellie Gowder, will remain forever ! 

This article was  originally written in Tamil by 

 A.Kari Gowder

General Secretary, Porangadu Seeme Nala Sangam and published (May,2006) in the form of a booklet by
"PORANGADU SEEME NALA  SANGAM" [N.G.O Regd No. 153 / 2002],
C-10  Hope Park, Kotagiri Post, Nilgiri Dist - 643 217, Tamil Nadu (India)

Translated  by Wg.Cdr.Bellie Jayaprakash

Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder with British Engineers and workers at Bridge No.33 between Coonoor & Mettupalayam. Bellie Gowder was involved in laying the Nilgiri Mountain Raiway, now WORLD HERITAGE, a hundred years ago. He was conferred with the title RAO BAHADUR for carrying out the excellent but challenging contract work of building this unique railway system in inhospitable forest area that also involved in cutting tunnels through rocky hills as well as building many bridges with sheer guts. He employed human power to lift the racks & rails and remove the rocks and boulders. Many of his workers were BADAGAS who addressed Bellie Gowder as BELLIE MAISTRY
Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder became very famous after help laying the Nilgiri Mountain Railway between Ooty & Mettupalayam and British Officilas who visited Nilgiris accepted his invitation to come to his house in Hubbathal Village. This photo taken on 27-12-1934 shows the water tank & “Mel Tharas” (upper street houses) of Hubbathalai
Rao Bahadur HJ Bellie Gowder with boy scouts of Hubbathai School which he built (1929)

Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder’s wife Mrs. Nanji Hethe with a British lady in 1930s.
( This photo was taken at Hubbathalai Hatti to which many dignitaries including the Governor along with his wife had paid visits on Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder’s invitation for functions like opening the first school built by Bellie Gowder etc. The British governor was presented with a lock - made of pure gold - that he unlocked to open the school building)
Nanji Hethe with one of the sisters of Rao Bahadur Bellie Gowder
hethai-r.jpgHJBG’s sister
Nanji Hethe with her first grand daughter Radha [daughter of Mrs.Kade Idyammal (Photo taken about 65 years back) and Rao Bahadur HJ Bellie Gowder’s sister -photo taken abt 80 years back

Proud to be an Indian , Proud to be a Badaga

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