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‘Tulu is a highly developed language of the Dravidian family’

Raviprasad Kamila

Handbook makes case for inclusion of the language in the Eighth Schedule


First dictionary for Tulu called ‘Manner Tulu-English Dictionary’ was published in 1886

More than 30 lakh people speak Tulu in Karnataka and other States


MANGALORE: A handbook published by the Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy has highlighted the richness and importance of the language and makes out a case for the inclusion of Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and recognition by the Kendra Sahitya Akademi.

It says that in 1856, Robert Caldwell, the renowned scholar, in his monumental work “A Comparative Grammar of Dravidian Languages” said that Tulu was “one of the highly developed languages of the Dravidian family” and had an equal place among languages such as Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu.

“It is an acknowledged fact and no scholar has raised an objection to it,” the handbook says. The first dictionary for Tulu was published in 1886 — “Manner Tulu-English Dictionary”. The second one was published by the University of Madras in 1967.

Script

According to the handbook, Tulu was formerly written in Tulu script, and the ancient works of the 15th, 17th and 18th centuries, ere in that script.

After Christian missionaries started printing the Bible and related literature in Tulu, the old script was discarded, and Kannada script was used for Tulu.

It says “Tulu Mahabharato”, written in the 15th century, “Tulu Bhagavato”, “Kaveri”, and “Devi Mahatme” of the 17th century were published by Mangalore University and Govinda Pai Samshodhana Kendra.

Independent language

The handbook says that the Registrar General and Census Commissioner recognised Tulu as an independent language ever since the department was established, and the census report gives statistics about Tulu-speakers as a separate linguistic community.

Recognised

American and European universities have recognised Tulu as an important Indian language.

In the information bulletin of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of U.S. universities, candidates have to record their mother tongue in the computerised application form by filling up code number of the mother tongue. Tulu is one among the 133 world languages that have been given code numbers, and it is one among the 17 Indian languages listed there.

According to the handbook, more than 500 books have been published in Tulu.

The handbook says that more than 30 lakh people speak Tulu in Karnataka and other States.

A number of scholars from the U.S., the U.K., Germany, Italy, and Finland have worked on Tulu folklore and folk literature and brought out important publications.

“Any scholar who wants to study the cultural heritage of Karnataka cannot ignore the contribution of Tuluva region to the totality of Karnataka culture and Indian culture,” it says.

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