Draft Kannada Language Comprehensive Development Bill, 2022

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    In News

    • Recently, speakers of Tulu and Kodava have opposed the draft of the Kannada Language Comprehensive Development Bill, 2022.

    Key Points

    • About Bill:
      • It aims to ensure the extensive use and propagation of Kannada
      • The Bill provides for penalties for violations of rules, with fines prescribed for various offences.
    • S.R. Bannurmath Committee:
      • In a bid to give a legal framework and teeth to various rules and regulations on giving primacy to Kannada, the committee submitted the draft of the Kannada Language Comprehensive Development Bill, 2022, to the government which was tabled in the recently concluded legislature session. 
    • Activists Stand & Demands:
      • Tulu and Kodava language activists have termed the Bill “a threat to minority languages” in the State. 
      • They have sought that various dialects spoken within Karnataka too should get protection under the ambit of the Bill.
      • Various organisations representing the Kodava and Tulu languages in Kodagu and Coastal Karnataka regions are now preparing for a legal battle.
    • Protest held:
      • Tulu organisations have already held a protest against the Bill.
      • When Tulu speakers are demanding to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, the State government has brought this Bill which will only harm Tulu and other minority languages spoken in the State.
    • Administrative Languages:
      • According to the State Reorganisation Act, 1956, Kodava and Tulu languages were used as part of the administration in their respective districts. 

    Concerns 

    • The Bill only gives importance to Kannada and to use English for administrative purposes like communication with the Union government or in courts etc., but there is no mention of Kodava and Tulu
    • The State government is preparing a Bill to legislate Kannada as the only language formula.
    • This will further increase the fear among the native speakers about the language vanishing.

    Way Ahead

    • Kannada should be given priority, but other sister languages should be treated equally.
    • Karnataka as a heterogeneous State should have protected its subaltern languages and cultures in general, and Kodava, Tulu and Konkani in particular, in all spheres as per Articles 347, 350, 350A and 350 B under 7th Amendment to the Constitution R/w State Reorganization Act, 1956. 

    About Kodava Takke

    • A language in the Dravidian group.
    • The original language of the Kodagu district in Southern Karnataka.
    • UNESCO has classified the language as an Endangered Language.
    • It has no separate script and is traditionally written using the Kannada script. 
    • According to the 2001 census, Kodava takke is spoken by just 166,187 people.

    About Kodavas

    • It is a small martial community in Kodagu district in Karnataka.
    • It is an ethno-linguistic tribe, claiming to be the original inhabitants of Kodagu. 
    • Traditionally, they are land-owning agriculturists.
    • The community has its rituals around guns and weapons like swords.
    • The special privilege to own firearms without a license was granted to the Kodavas.

    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”.

    Source: TH