Tulu speaking people from all over the country and abroad are sending their representatives here to meet at the Delhi Kannada School to voice their demand for inclusion of their mother tongue in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
The right of language is a basic cultural right of the people and linked with their economy, culture, social system and political right. UNESCO recognizes the concept of language equality among all languages, irrespective of whether they have a script or not.
Irrespective of their power and specific ranking in the world systems of states, the language best able to survive the competition are likely to be those that have the support of a government. Unfortunately the Tulu language has no official support as it is not included in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
The Constitution of India is not rigid and it has no fixed number of languages to be included in the 8th Schedule. Many languages have been included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution after India's independence. Many languages were found neither numerically stronger nor more grammatically richer than Tulu. Assamese (approx 13,168,484), Sindhi (approx 2,535,485), Nepali (approx 2,871,749), Konkani (approx 2,489,015), Manipuri (approx 1,466,705), Kashmiri (approx 5,527,698), Sanskrit (approx 49,800) many of them have lesser population than Tulu speaking population (approx 5,000,000) but Tulu has unfortunately not been included in the 8th Schedule.
Tulu is a language of the masses, language of the people who have struggled for centuries, one of the oldest Dravidian languages, language of the saints and poets, language of the hills, rivers and valleys which treasured the beauties of the nature, language which unites people by heart and mind, language of peace and compassion. Today this language is struggling for its identity in a country which is being considered to be the world's largest democracy and proclaims the "Unity in Diversity" as its backbone.
The oldest available inscriptions in Tulu are from the period between 14th to 15th century AD. These inscriptions are in the Tulu script and are found in areas in and around Barkur, which was the capital of Tulu Nadu during the Vijayanagar period. Another group of inscriptions are found in the Ullur Subrahmanya Temple near Kundapura. Many linguists like S.U. Panniyadi and L. V. Ramaswami Iyer as well as P.S. Subrahmanya suggested that Tulu is among the oldest languages in the Dravidian family, which branched independently from its Proto-Dravidian roots nearly 2,000 years ago. This assertion is based on the fact that Tulu still preserves many aspects of the Proto-Dravidian language.
This dating of Tulu is also based on the fact that region where Tulu is natively spoken was known to the ancient Tamils as Tulu Nadu and the Tamil poet Mamular who belongs to the Sangam Age (200 AD) describes Tulu Nadu and its dancing beauties in one of his poems. In the Halmidi inscriptions one finds mention of the Tulu country as the kingdom of the Alupas. The region was also known to the Greeks of the 2nd century as Tolokoyra.
The history of Tulu would not be complete without the mention of the Charition mime, a Greek play belonging to 2nd century BC. The play's plot centres around the coastal Karnataka, where Tulu is mainly spoken. The play is mostly in Greek, but the Indian characters in the play are seen speaking a language different from Greek, namely Tulu.
Though most of the Tulu population is found in the coastal areas of Karnataka and Kerala states. Equally good number of Tulu speakers can be seen all over India and also in other parts of the World, mainly in Gulf countries, U.K., Europe, Canada, Australia and USA.
Tulu drama troupes are very popular in villages and cities of Tulunadu comprising Udupi, Mangalore and Kasaragod District. They are also popular world over in general and in U.S.A. and Gulf countries in particular.
Yakshagana field drama, internationally known folk dance is very popular in this part of the country. Tulu is used as a medium during the last half century. Yakshagana troupes perform Tulu Yakshagana not only in Tulu area, but also in various places of India and abroad.
Tulu films are recognised for Award and a few Tulu films have won State, National and International Awards.
A few monthlies are published in Tulu. Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy also is bringing out a quarterly. During the last 3 years more than 100 writers contributed articles, poems etc. to this Journal. Research articles too are written in Tulu. A host of great research scholars of national and international repute are writing on Tulu culture, language, folklore etc. in important journals. A large number of scholars have submitted and published thesis on Tulu language and culture.
This language is a symbol of "Unity in Diversity". People from different religions, regions and cultures are using this language. The Tulu language has lost its prominence as a major language. Though it is certain that most of the literature has been lost because of difficulties in preserving palm leaf scrolls, the earliest literature available is from the 15th century. This indeed is a much later work than the language itself, which is thousands of years old. Tulu language possessed its own script before Malayalam script existed. Perhaps the reciprocal is true that the Malayalam script developed from Tulu script as the language predates Malayalam by more than a thousand years. The priests who went south are now credited with carrying mantras written in Tulu script to Kerala. Tulu script is derived from the Grantha script.
The earliest piece of literature, Tulu Mahabharata is from the 15th century written in Tulu script. Another manuscript that was discovered Tulu Devimahatme, a prose work like the Mahabharata, is also from the 15th century. Two epic poems written in 17th century namely Sri Bhagavata and Kaveri have also been found.
Madhvacharya's eight matts established in Udupi in the 13th century were centers of Tulu literature during his lifetime and thereafter. However, very little of this has survived. So it is not inconceivable (as it is claimed) that Madhvacharya himself did all his writings in the Tulu script.
Other inscriptions discovered are Sanskrit mantras transliterated in Tulu script. It appears as though the Brahmins used the script mainly for this purpose. How many languages in the eighth schedule have such a rich literary work? In fact very few of them have such enriching literature.
Tulu Sahitya Academy was established by state government of Karnataka in 1994, Kerala Tulu academy established by the Government of Kerala in 2007 are important State governmental organisations that promote Tulu literature. Nevertheless, there are numerous organisations spread all over the world with significant Tulu migrated populations that contribute to Tulu literature.
During the past two centuries more than 500 books were published in Tulu comprising of poems, novels, stories and prose works. Tulu literature is now developing and contributions of great authors like Kayyara Kinhanna Rai, Amruta Someshwara, B. A. Viveka Rai, Kedambadi Jattappa Rai, Venkataraja Puninchattaya, Paltadi Ramakrishna Achar Dr. (Smt.) Sunitha M. Shetty, Dr. Vamana Nandavara, Sri. Balakrishna Shetty Polali and a host of writers of repute.
Tulu as a language continues to thrive in coastal Karnataka and Kasaragod in Kerala. Tulu Sahitya Academy, an institute established by the state government of Karnataka, has introduced Tulu as a language in schools around coastal areas of the State. . The Academy is awaiting government permission to add more schools.
Tulu is also taught as a language at the post graduate level in Mangalore University, and there is a dedicated department for Tulu studies, Translation and Research at Dravidian University in Kuppam, Andhra Pradesh. The Government Degree College at Kasaragod in Kerala has also introduced a certificate course in Tulu for the academic year 2009-2010. It has also introduced Tulu as an optional subject in its Kannada post-graduation course.
German missionaries Revs. Kammerer and Manner were the first people to conduct research on the language. Rev. Kammerer collected about 3,000 words and their meanings until he died. Later his work was carried on by Rev. Manner, who completed the research and published the first dictionary of the Tulu language in 1886 with the help of the then Madras government.
The Govinda Pai Research Centre at MGM College, Udupi started an 18-year Tulu lexicon project in the year 1979. Different dialects, special vocabularies used for different occupational activities, rituals, and folk literature in the forms of Paad-danaas were included in this project. The Tulu lexicon was awarded the Gundert Award for the best dictionary in the country in 1996. In September 2011, the Academic Council of Mangalore University accepted a proposal, to allow the university and the colleges affiliated to it to offer certificates, diplomas and postgraduate diploma courses in Tulu, both in regular and correspondence modes.
Universities in the U.S. and Europe has recognised Tulu as an important Indian language. Tulu is among 17 Indian languages on the information bulletin of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination, which specified code numbers for each of the 133 languages of the world.
Tulu Nadu is called "the cradle of Indian banking". Five major banks of India (Syndicate Bank, Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, Vijaya Bank and Karnataka Bank) have their origins here.
Article 29 of the Indian Constitution deals with the "Protection of interests of minorities" It states that "Any section of the Citizens residing in the territory of India or any part there of having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same." Denial of due recognition to the Tulu language is a violation of the minority rights; therefore it has killed the spirit of the Article 29 of the Constitution.
People who are using this language practice different religions. I think India and Indians have to work day and night to protect its identity of "Unity in Diversity".
Language is not only a medium of communication, but it also reflects the history, culture, people, relationship, system of governance, ecology, religion, politics etc. Tulu is a systematic, scientific, culturally and intellectually rich language.
The low representation of "Tulu Nadu" region in the Indian parliament is a major constraint for strongly advocating for bringing reforms in policy. Even the handfull of representatives from this region were mostly scattered and unorganized in different directions. The "Tulu Nadu" people are not only geographically scattered but also politically unorganized.
From India's independence and following the reorganization of states, Tuluvas have been demanding for the inclusion of the Tulu language in the eighth schedule. Though a bit subdued in between, this demand has grown stronger in recent years. Several organizations have taken up the cause of the Tuluvas, and frequent meetings and demonstrations are held across towns in Tulunadu (like Mangalore, Udupi, Kasaragod, etc.) and in New Delhi to voice our demands.
If the Government of India sincerely and honestly wants to unite and strengthen the whole country, including the peace loving and vulnerable communities of the Tulu Nadu region, it should not hesitate to include the Tulu language in the 8th Schedule of the Indian constitution, so that the people in the Tulu Nadu can also be proud of their own language; our members of Parliament can also represent us in a more effective way by addressing our problems and aspirations in our own mother tongue; more research and development work can be feasible, with adequate government's support and the benefits are many more if it included in 8th Schedule.
The inclusion of Tulu in the 8th Schedule will ensure the security and promotion of the language, culture, identity and dignity. By Alok Rai(ANI)