Tulu: Demand For Official Language Status

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    Recently, Various organisations initiated a Twitter campaign demanding official language status to Tulu in Karnataka and Kerala and received an overwhelming response. 

    About Tulu 

    • Tulu is a Dravidian language spoken mainly in two coastal districts Dakshina Kannada and Udupi of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala
    • As per the 2011 Census report, there are 18,46,427 Tulu-speaking people in India.
    • Some scholars suggest Tulu is among the earliest Dravidian languages with a history of 2000 years. 
    • Robert Caldwell (1814-1891), in his book, A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages, called Tulu “one of the most highly developed languages of the Dravidian family”.

    Present Status of Tulu

    • According to Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy president, people who speak Tulu are confined to the above-mentioned regions of Karnataka and Kerala, informally known as Tulu Nadu. 
    • At present, Tulu is not an official language in the country
      • Efforts are being made to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. If included in the eighth schedule, 
        • Tulu would get recognition from the Sahitya Akademi.
        • Tulu books would be translated into other recognised Indian languages.
        • Members of Parliament and MLAs could speak in Tulu in Parliament and State Assemblies, respectively.
        • Candidates could write all-India competitive examinations like the Civil Services exam in Tulu.
    • Tulu in Education
      • The Karnataka government introduced Tulu as a language in schools a few years ago.
      •  In 2014-15, 18 students chose the language as the third optional when it was introduced. 
      • Last year, ‘Jai Tulunad’ conducted an online campaign demanding to include Tulu in the new National Education Policy (NEP). 
    • Tulu Art, Culture and Cinema
      • Tulu has a rich oral literature tradition with folk-song forms like paddana, and traditional folk theatre yakshagana
      • Tulu also has an active tradition of cinema with around 5 to 7 Tulu language movies produced a year. Tulu films are being screened every day in Mangalore and Udupi in at least one theatre.

    Demand of Tulu Speakers

    • The Tulu speakers, mainly in Karnataka and Kerala, have been requesting the governments to give it official language status and include it in the eighth schedule to the Constitution. 
    • The political party ‘Tuluvere Paksha’, which got recognition from the Election Commission of India in February 2021 under section 29A of Representation of the People Act 1951, has given wings to the political aspirations of the Tulu-speaking people
    • When the country was reorganised based on languages, Tulu Nadu was partly shared among Kerala and Karnataka. When there was a separate state for Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada-speaking people, then there should be  a separate state for Tulu Nadu
      • Article 29 of the Constitution provides that a section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture have the right to conserve the same.
    Eighth Schedule

    • The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India lists the official languages of the Republic of India. Part XVII of the Indian Constitution deals with the official languages in Articles 343 to 351.
    • The Constitutional provisions relating to the Eighth Schedule occur in article 344(1) and 351 of the Constitution.
      • Article 344(1): it provides for the constitution of an official language Commission by the President, which shall consist of a Chairman and such other members representing the different languages specified in the Eighth Schedule to make recommendations to the President for the progressive use of Hindi for official purposes of the Union.
      • Article 351: It provides for enriching Hindi language by assimilating in it the forms, style and expressions used in the languages specified in the Eighth Schedule so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India.
      • Article 345: Official language or languages of a State subject to the provisions of Article 346 and 347.
      • It would thus appear that the Eighth Schedule was intended to promote the progressive use of Hindi and for the enrichment and promotion of that language.
    • Languages under the Eighth schedule:  As Per Articles 344(1) and 351 of the Indian Constitution, the eighth schedule includes the recognition of the following 22 languages:
      • Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri are the 22 languages presently in the eighth schedule to the Constitution.
      • Of these languages, 14 were initially included in the Constitution. Subsequently, Sindhi was added in 1967; Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were added in 1992; and Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santali were added in 2003.

    Source :IE