With separate 'flag,' Tulu activists up demand for statehood

With separate 'flag,' Tulu activists up demand for statehood

While the state government has formed a nine-member panel to design a separate flag for the state, Tulu activists, demanding a separate statehood, have already designed a flag of their own.

The maroon flag bearing the designs of full moon and crescent moon in white has emerged as a symbol of ‘Tulu State’ in demand, that is being hoisted during Karnataka Rajyotsava in undivided Dakshina Kannada district for the last two years. It is yet another way of registering the protest opposing the flag of ‘Karnataka State’ on the day of its birth.

“The Rajyotsava celebration in coastal parts a year ago saw the unfurling of the flag in different parts of Dakshina Kannada district, like Hirebandadi, Bolame, Nandini Nagar, Arthila, Bajathur, Dembale and Hosamajalu in and around Uppinangady. It has been two years since when we have upped the ante by hoisting the flag only to court arrest,” said Tulunadu Okkoota founder president Shylesh R J.

No legality
What has given credence to their demand is the absence of legal stamping to existing Kannada flag (red and yellow colour) that is being hoisted as the symbol of the state during Kannada Rajyotsava, ever since the unification of Karnataka.
“The very flag assumes significance as the state government has decided to have a flag of its own.  We don’t have any objections to it, but the ‘new flag’ should be restricted to Kannada-speaking places, not Tulu-dominated Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and also Kasargod, now in Kerala,” he said.

Details soon
The Okkoota members who met recently in Belthangady in the wake of the state government’s move, decided to renew their struggle, the details of which are in the making, he said.

Dr Niranjan Rai, founder president of Ubar Koodukatt, a cultural organisation based in Uppinangady, said, “When there is a separate demand for Tulu state, the flag too assumes significance. But, when it comes to the nation, we are happy with the tricolour.”

Though there is no accurate information on the genesis of ‘Tulu Nadu’ flag, it has stemmed from ‘Kepula’ flower (local parlance) which is maroon in colour. The flower is important during rituals, thus symbolising the culture of the land.

The flag-bearers accompanying the troupes performing Bhoota Kola (worship of demi-god) carry similar flags, that was improvised further to give an apt look for the separate state flag. It can also be seen at ‘Daiva Sthanas’ (sacred place) in different parts of the district, Shylesh added.
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