Language battles in India: Case for declaring Tulu as an official language

Language remains a huge unifying force for people. Recently, people in Bangalore opposed imposition of Hindi as Metro stations also had Hindi on the station name boards. This led to the boards being taken off and not the Boards will just have Kannada and English.

This successful movement has captured the imagination of the Western part of Karnataka as well.  People from the region are asking to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Currently, there are 22 languages in Indian Constitution.

Over the past few months, pro-Kannada campaign gained huge momentum in Karnataka after ‘Namma Metro Hindi Beda’ took Twitter by storm. Now, a youth group – Jai Tulunad, has started a campaign called Tweet Tulunad, demanding that Tulu be included as an official language in India.

On Thursday, to mark the third anniversary of the organisation, thousands of youth began tweeting from 6 am, demanding that Tulu be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. With the hashtag #TuluTo8thSchedule, members of the organisation began tweeting aggressively, after which the campaign gained momentum.

The demand for inclusion is hardly new. What is interesting to note is that local people are saying how Kannada was imposed on the region:

Tweet Tulunad put out thousands of tweets in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Tulu, Malayalam, Kannada, Beary, Kodava and Konkani languages.

“When Kannadigas felt the threat of Hindi imposition, they campaigned for their language and won. We want to protect our mother tongue as well,” Tuluve added.

Jai Tulunad has approached several MLAs and MPs in Dakshina Kannada and memorandums have been submitted to the Chief Minister and Prime Minister, demanding that Tulu be made an official language.

“Ours is not a new struggle. We had submitted these memorandums long ago and no one has bothered to respond or take action. We demand to know why we are being neglected. We are a peaceful organisation and follow the principle of Mahatma Gandhi. We will ensure that Tulu is included in the Eight Schedule through non-violent methods of protest,” Tuluve said.

The organization is planning to create videos of actors and celebrities from the region to support their cause.

 “All members of our organisation have changed their surname to Tuluve. We have about 2,500 to 3,000 active members and about 17,000 other members. Since the past three years, we have been teaching Tulu to school children. Speaking in Kannada and English is acceptable in school but not Tulu. Many children, for this very reason, hesitate to speak Tulu,” Ashwath Tuluve added.
Just like the pro-Kannada outfits, which demanded that Hindi signs be removed from Metro Stations in Bengaluru, Ashwath Tuluve and the members of Jai Tulunad said that a comprehensive campaign would soon roll out, where the names of places, which were earlier in Tulu, were changed to suit the Kannada speaking crowd.
“Udupi was Odipu, Ubar has been changed to Uppinangady and Poopadikallu has changed to Hoovuhakuvakallu. We have documented the names of all the places, where Tulu was wiped out to replace Kannada. We demand that our language be preserved. It is our right,” Ashwath Tuluve said.


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