Demand for inclusion of Tulu Language in the
eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution
The demand for inclusion of Tulu, an important language of the Dravidian linguistic family spoken by the people in the state of Karnataka and also in the northern part of Kerala, is gathering momentum, with Members of Parliament from Karnataka, and leading political and literary persons from the State and abroad announcing their intention to gather in the national capital next Sunday (February) to articulate their demand.
Though primarily the native land of Tulu speakers was the western coast of Karnataka and northern part of Kerala, Tulu is also spoken outside the state of Karnataka, such as Maharashtra, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh and also in Delhi. The Metropolitan cities like
Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and
have a large number of Tulu population
settled there since many decades. Delhi
Tulu diaspora outside
India are known by the active role played
by Tulu people in countries like United
Arab Emirates, Middle Eastern Countries, United Kingdom, United
States of America, Singapore,
and some other European countries. It is estimated that the total population of
Tulu speakers within India and abroad amounts to one crore. Australia
Tulu is one of the ancient languages of
and it is one of the five major
Dravidian languages of South India. M.S.
Andronov, the Russian Linguist, states that ‘Tulu has emerged as an independent
language from the Proto-Dravidian family, 2000 years back.’ (M.S.Andronov:
Dravidian Languages, 1970.) Robert Caldwell, another Linguist had clearly
stated, ‘Tulu is one of the most highly developed languages of Dravidian family of languages and has an
equal place among the languages like Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu and Kannada’.
Comparative Grammar of Dravidian Languages, 1856.) Dr. P.S. Subrahmanyam, Professor of Linguistics,
Tamilnadu has shown Tulu as the first offshoot of Proto-South Dravidian
Language Family, about 2800 years back (Position of Tulu in Dravidian, Indian
Linguistics; 1968). Annamalai University
On the basis of excavations, the archaeologists observed that Tulu speaking area was inhabited by the people of old stone age (about 25000 B.C.). The tools of old stone age were also discovered in this region. The axes of new stone age (of 12000 B.C.) were also discovered in this region. Similarly copper age, bronze age and iron age tools were also discovered.
Tulu speaking people were mentioned in Tamil Sangam Literature of 2nd century A.D. A Greek drama of 2nd century A.D. also records some Tulu words spoken at that time in coastal Karnataka. The language, Tulu is spoken by people belonging to different religions, castes and tribes. Hindus, Jains, Muslims and Christians use Tulu language in their communication in west coast region of Karnataka. This language is considered as a binding force and also a symbol of communal harmony by different religious groups and sects in Karnataka.
Tulu has its own independent script. The first manuscript in Tulu script is ‘Tulu Mahabharata’ of 14th century AD. Tulu classical epics in Tulu script like Tulu Bhagavata, Kaveri, Devi Mahatme were written in 16th and 17th centuries. There are thousands of palm leaf manuscripts written in Tulu script which are preserved in archives, in universities and research institutions in Karnataka.
Tulu has a rich heritage of oral traditions. Different genres of Tulu folklore, namely , oral epics, prose narratives, proverbs, riddles, customs and rituals, performances, festivals, theatres and such other forms exist since thousands of years. This rich oral tradition of Tulu culture has been documented and studied by scholars from various countries like
Germany, France, Japan,
UK, and . Linguists and folklorists from various countries
had conducted research projects on Tulu folklore. Italy
Tulu language and culture have been included in academic programmes in universities and research institutions within
and abroad. Many Indian universities
including Mangalore, Mysore, Hampi,
Kannur, Calicut, Kerala,
Madras, Madurai, Annamalai,
Central University Hyderabad,
Osmania University, Dravidian
University, Delhi University, Mumbai and Poona are doing research on the various
aspects of Tulu Language and culture. India
Universities abroad, including the California State University, Hayard and Wisconsin University in USA, Turku University, and Kalevala Institute in Finland; Heidelberg University, Tubingen University, and Wurzburg University in Germany; Waseda University in Japan have also been conducting research on Tulu.
Publication of Tulu books started in 1830 by German missionaries in Karnataka. They were instrumental in bringing out standard reference books for Tulu like grammar, dictionary, text books, translations, compilation of folklore. More than 500 Tulu books were published during 1830-1930. Tulu is recognized as having a modern scientific lexicon which is somewhat rare for a language like Tulu.
Tulu-Kannada-English Lexicon (Vol. 1-6 Chief Editor Dr. U.P.Upadhyaya, 1988-1997) has got international recognition as an unique work incorporating different dimensions of a language like classical literature, modern literature, spoken dialect and folklore.
From 20th century onwards, Tulu has been used as a medium for writings both in creative and research fields. For the last hundred years, about two thousand Tulu books have been published in various areas like literature, history, linguistics, folklore, translation, culture, art and architecture. Tulu literature has to its credit all major genres of modern literature like poetry, epic, short story, novel, drama, criticism and prose.
Tulu songs have been broadcast by
(Srilanka) Radio from 1970 onwards. All India Radio Mangalore has been broadcasting
programmes in Tulu since 1976. Doordarshan channels Bangalore and Delhi are
telecasting programmes and serials in Tulu. There are a number of Tulu channels
which are exclusively devoted for telecasting Tulu programmes. Tulu magazines have
been published from 1970 onwards. Even Kannada news papers devote columns for
Tulu writings. Ceylon
The Government of Karnataka has established
in 1994. The Tulu
Sahitya Academy has been instrumental
for the development of Tulu language and literature in modern times. The Government
of Kerala has also established a Tulu academy in 2007. This is a rare example
of two neighboring states, Karnataka and Kerala, establishing academies for the development of
Tulu is very rich in traditional folk theatre, like Yakshagana. More than 40 troupes of Yakshagana perform throughout the year in different places and cater to the needs of lakhs of people with rich heritage of Tulu language and culture. Tulu is also popular in modern theatre. Tulu drama theatres draw large audience and such theatrical troupes travel across the globe attracting Tulu people in large numbers.
Tulu Films had their beginning in 1970 and till today more than 50 Tulu films have been produced and released. Some of the Tulu films like ‘Sudda’ and ‘Gaggara’ have bagged national awards. The film ‘Sudda’ has won an international award .
Tulu people have been active in the freedom struggle of
Queen Abbakka, a Tuluva woman of 16th century AD was the
first freedom fighter against Portuguese
rule. There were thousands of freedom fighters from Tulu region, influenced by
Mahatma Gandhi, who had visited
Tuluva region. India
Many freedom fighters from Tuluva region served the nation after independence in different capacities like ministers in the Government of India and speakers in the Parliament and also ministers in the erstwhile
speakers have contributed for the development of the country in a big way, in
fields like education, literature, arts, science, law, politics, sports,
banking, industry and commerce. Mysore
Tulu people desire that their contribution to the struggle for Indian Independence , the progress of Karnataka state and
should be recognized by including their mother tongue Tulu in the Eight Schedule of
the Constitution. . India
Currently a total of 22 languages are listed in the Eighth Schedule of the constitution; 18 of them are northern Indian languages and just four are from southern
. The demand has been made
earlier and , the last one being in 2003 in New Delhi when a resolution was
passed and handed over to then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee. The demand
was sidelined as Tulu was not the official language of a separate State. But since then the Constitution has been
amended and Dogri, Bodo, Santhali and Maithili have been
included in the Eighth Schedule. Tuluvas
have been patient so far, hoping that
they will receive justice which is their rightful due India