After 2 decades, official language tag elusive for Tulu

After two decades, official language tag elusive for Tulu

As the state government prepares for another push for the inclusion of Tulu in the eighth schedule of the Constitution, there are fears that the long-pending demand will face further delays before coming to fruition.

Experts point out that the demand is at least two decades old and opine that in the absence of proper parameters for including a language in the official list, any attempt at it would be mere politicking.

Speaking to DH, former Karnataka Tulu Academy president B A Vivek Rai said that the proposal to include Tulu in the eighth schedule was two-decade old. "It was proposed for the first time in the late 90's during the tenure of S M Krishna as chief minister," he said.

However, despite several memorandums and inclusion of four languages in the eighth schedule in 2003, the official language tag for Tulu remains elusive.

Umanath Kotian, MLA from Moodabidri constituency, who raised the issue in the Legislative Assembly recently, highlighted the rich tradition of the language and had pointed out that it was one of the oldest spoken tongues in South India, especially in coastal Karnataka region.

"There are enough works of literature in the language, along with a script which is not in use," he said. He recalled that a delegation of dignitaries from coastal Karnataka, including Dharmasthala Dharmadhikari Veerendra Heggade had petitioned for the inclusion of Tulu in the eighth schedule and that there had been little progress since then.

Meanwhile, Kannada and Culture minister C T Ravi had recently batted for the recognition of Tulu as a state language.

"Though there is a provision to recognise a second language, only few states in the country have adapted them. Recognising Tulu as state language in Karnataka will be a major boost for its inclusion in the eighth schedule at a time when more than 40 languages have sought recognition under the schedule," Rai added.

According to Kotian, there were more than 50 lakh speakers of the Dravidian language, spread in coastal, parts of Malnad Karnataka and major cities such as Mumbai and Bengaluru. "About four to five lakh Tulu speakers are working in the Gulf alone," he added.

 

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