Dravidian language forum to push for UNESCO tag

Dravidian language forum to push for UNESCO tag

Karnataka has come forward to take up the cause of Dravidian languages as it will organise the first-ever conference on these vernaculars and push for a recognition by The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco). 

At least, 41 Dravidian languages alive in the southern part of India will be represented in the conference on Dravidian languages, to be organised by the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) in December.

KDA chairman S G Siddaramaiah said, "All Dravidian languages have a common history and their development is also similar.”

“Some of the languages are a culture in themselves. Recognition by Unesco will give these languages legitimacy, especially in universities across the world,” he added.

The KDA is holding preliminary meetings with language and literary bodies of other states for the conference that will be tentatively held in December in Bengaluru. It was initially planned to be held next month. 

The KDA has listed 61 languages that come under the Dravidian family. The most endangered language, according to the list, is Aranadan, which has only 200 speakers in the Malappuram district of Kerala. The Holiya language has about 500 speakers left in Balaghat and Seoni districts of Madhya Pradesh as well as parts of Maharashtra and Karnataka.

The Brahui language, Siddaramaiah said, was recently declared ‘dead’ in India. “It now remains only in Balochistan, Pakistan, where it has about 24 lakh speakers,” Siddaramaiah said.

The conference on Dravidian languages is seen as an attempt to bring Southern states together to counter “Hindi imperialism” and the “Hindutva” agenda ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Siddaramaiah, however, refuted this.