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Indian Polity

Tulu Language

  • 07 Jan 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

There has been growing demand to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. At present, Tulu is not an official language in India or any other country.

Key Points

  • Tulu is a Dravidian language whose speakers are concentrated in the region of Tulu Nadu, which comprises the districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in Karnataka and the northern part of Kasaragod district of Kerala.
  • Kasaragod district is called ‘Sapta bhasha Samgama Bhumi (the confluence of seven languages)’, and Tulu is among the seven.
  • The oldest available inscriptions in Tulu are from the period between 14th to 15th century AD.

Case for Inclusion in the Eighth Schedule

  • Global Efforts: The Yuelu Proclamation made by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at Changsha, China, in 2018 plays a central role in guiding the efforts of countries and regions around the world to protect linguistic resources and diversity.
    • The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL). The IYIL 2019 strives to preserve, support and promote indigenous languages at the national, regional and international levels.
  • Constitutional Safeguard: Article 29 of the Indian Constitution deals with the "Protection of interests of minorities". It states that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.
  • Number of Speakers: According to Census-2011, there are more than 18 lakh native speakers of Tulu in India. The Tulu-speaking people are larger in number than speakers of Manipuri and Sanskrit, which have the Eighth Schedule status.
  • Literary Recognition: Robert Caldwell (1814-1891), in his book, A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages, called Tulu as “one of the most highly developed languages of the Dravidian family”.

Yuelu Proclamation

  • Yuelu Proclamation was adopted at the first international conference on language resources protection in Changsha, Central China's Hunan province in 2018 by UNESCO. It is a document on protection and promotion of the world's linguistic diversity.
  • It calls upon the international community, states, governments and non-governmental organizations, among others, to reach a consensus on the protection and promotion of linguistic diversity in the world.

Advantages of Recognition in Eighth Schedule

  • If included in the Eighth Schedule, Tulu would get the following benefits:
    • Recognition from the Sahitya Akademi.
    • Translation of Tulu literary works into other languages.
    • Members of Parliament (MP) and Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) could speak Tulu in Parliament and State Assemblies, respectively.
    • Option to take competitive exams in Tulu including all-India competitive examinations like the Civil Services exam.
    • Special funds from the Central government.
    • Teaching of Tulu in primary and high school.

Way Forward

  • India has a lot to learn from the Yuelu Proclamation. Placing of all the deserving languages on equal footing will promote social inclusion and national solidarity.
  • It will reduce inequalities within the country to a great extent. So, Tulu, along with other deserving languages, should be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution in order to substantially materialise the promise of equality of status and opportunity mentioned in the Preamble.

Source: TH

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