Tulu Language and Demand for Official State – History, Background and Current developments Explained


More than 2.5 lakh people on June 13, 2021, came out in support of a Twitter campaign to give an official language status to Tulu in Kerala and Karnataka.

Currently, Tulu is not an official language in the country. Tulu speakers and supporters of the Tulu language are making efforts to get Tulu included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

History of Tulu

• Tulu is a Dravidian language. Mostly, it is spoken in southern Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala, India. The native speakers of Tulu are referred to as Tuluva and are confined to mentioned regions in Karnataka and Kerala, informally referred to as Tulu Nadu.

• According to the 2011 Census report, there are 18,46,427 Tulu-speaking people in India. Some researchers state that Tulu is one of the oldest Dravidian languages with a history of 2000 years.

• Tulu has been regarded as one of the most highly developed languages of the Dravidian family by Robert Caldwell in his book ‘A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages’.

Demand of Tulu speakers

• The native speakers of the Tulu language, mainly spread across Kerala and Karnataka, have been demanding the Government of India to give an official language status to Tulu and include it in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

• Currently, 22 languages namely Assamese, Bodo, Bengali, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Santhali, and Maithili are included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Demand for a separate state for Tulu Nadu

• The political party ‘Tuluvere Paksha’ has been giving support to the aspirations of the Tulu-speaking people for a separate state for Tulu Nadu. The Election Commission of India had recognized the political party in February 2021 under Section 29A of Representation of the People Act 1951.

Who all are supporting the Twitter campaign for Tulu language?

• “Efforts and talks are on to include Tulu in the eighth schedule. A few technical issues need to be sorted out. All efforts will be made to announce Tulu as the official language during our tenure itself,” tweeted Dakshina Kannada MP and BJP Karnataka President Nalin Kumar Kateel.

• “Tulu is not only a language but also a culture and tradition with a history of its own,” said Dakshina Kannada district-in-charge minister Kota Srinivas Poojary.

• “Tulu language is our mother tongue. Every one of us wants Tulu to get official language status,” tweeted Vedavyas Kamath, MLA.

• Kannada film actors and native Tulu speakers Pruthvi Ambaar and Rakshit Shetty also came forward in support of the Twitter campaign for giving an official language status to Tulu.

Tulu language: Education, Art, Culture, Cinema

• Tulu language was introduced in schools by the Karnataka government a few years ago.

• As per the State Education Department, a total of 956 children from Udupi districts and Dakshina Kannada wrote Tulu as the third optional language in class 10 exams in 2020 while 18 students chose Tulu as the third language back in 2014-15.

• Jai Tulunad in 2020 had also devised a campaign to include Tulu in the National Education Policy (NEP).

• Tulu language with rich oral literature has a traditional folk theatre Yakshagana and folk-song forms like Paddana. Every year, around 5 to 7 Tulu language movies are produced and screened every day across theatres in Udupi and Mangaluru.

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