Monday, January 16, 2012


Badettu Narnappaya started his career by shifting his activities during his early days to Thripunithra, the erstwhile capital of the old Royal Kochi State where he was fortunate enough to get the patronage of the Royal family and was engaged for doing priestly service to the temple there. The Royal families of both Kochi as well as Travancore were enlightened rulers attracting many Shivalli brahmins from Mangalore-Udipi region for gaining employment as priests, locally known as "pottys" or "embrandiris" with responsibilities of doing pooja or "shanti" in some of the important temples in these two royalties. It is however not clear as to how many years he spent in Malayalam land though it is assumed it could be about a decade.   

After returning to Padubidri, Narnappaya tried his luck in hotel business at Udipi but could not achieve any thing substantial. In 1929 ( or earlier?)He returned to Malayalam land for trying to start hotel business some where in Travancore. What made him to select Kollam as his base is not very clear though this town was an important trading port with its known Light House for sea navigation on the Arabian Sea. The first Hotel was started in the name and style of "Sri Krishna Bhavan, Brahmins Hotel"  at Chinnakada, a busy market place and was successful in raising enough volume of business to sustain himself. He brought his sons who helped him to consolidate the business and also to start another hotel at Allappuzha, a port town near Kollam, reputed to be established by the renowned warrior Raja Keshavadasan, the Dewan of Travancore, during 1789 under the rein of Dharma Raja Karthika Thirunal Rama Varma. This hotel established around 1932 (or earlier?) was working till 2007, though it could not flourish as one would have expected probably because of rigid conservatism, labor aggressiveness and emergence of "nativism" among local population. What is remaining to day to remind about the achievements in Hotel Sector by the Badetty family descendants from both the branches are the reputed Hotels in Ernakulam owned by the children of late Govinda Rao of Srinivasappaya family branch and a small sized restaurant in Allapuzha owned by one of the sons of late Venkat Rao.

The fatherly duties of Narnappaya were evident when history tells us that he settled his three sons at Kollam while the other three were brought to Allapuzha to run the business. The profits generated were shared among the family members and during his life time itself all his sons were able buy their own properties while the Badettil was renovated and made a comfortable family home for all his sons and their families to enjoy. Lot of land owned by Narnappaya were leased out to farmers around on a "crop sharing" system for the mutual benefit of both the "Vokkaledawaru" (tillers) and the "Dhanikkulu" ( the owners. This symbiotic relationship was rudely disrupted by the irrational "land to the tiller" political philosophy of one of the chief ministers of Karnataka which destroyed the family harmony and fortunes of many brahmin families in south canara region pushing many of them into penury and poverty. It speaks well of Narnappaya's foresight in forking into business that paid rich dividends after the landed properties were taken away by the government. To day no single member of Badettu family is suffering from the past mishaps that happened in Padubidri due to the above episodes.

Answer to the last quiz:

The first chartered accountant in Badettu families of both branches was the much respected late V Sethuram who held aloft the pride of the family for a long time as one of the few successful professional in the finance and accountancy field. Of course he has been the inspiration for a few others in the family to follow his foot prints. Incidentally Sethuram's descendants are mostly settled in Bangalore, Karnataka, settled comfortably in life.

Quiz of this issue:

Who was the first Ph.D in the Badettu family?   


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