In response to an allegation that he was ignoring the language, Bhat said that he would try his best to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

Adding Tulu to official languages list Udupi MLA promises to take issue up in AssemblyRaghupathi Bhat. File photo.
news Language Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 17:49

The long-drawn demand for the inclusion of Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution saw fresh support from the BJP’s Raghupathi Bhat, newly elected MLA of Udupi.

In response to a Twitter user’s allegation that he was ignoring the language, Bhat said that he was proud of his Tulunadu credentials, and that he would try his best to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution – which lists the languages recognised as official languages of the country.

The language, spoken by close to three million people predominantly in Karnataka’s coastal district, has been the subject of much discussion in recent years.

In his tweet, the Udupi MLA also made use of the hashtag ‘#TuluTo8thSchedule’, one that was the subject of an online Twitter campaign by activists in August 2017. 

Although Bhat may steer a renowned political push for the language in the next Assembly Session, the ball is now in the court of the Centre, according to Tuluva activists.

Speaking to The News Minute, Chandrahas Rai, registrar at the Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy, said that a memorandum had already been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office in 2016.

“The central government now has to decide the matter of inclusion. Our proposal went before the Home Minister and the Prime Minister. We expect that they will do something in the future,” he said, adding that future plans of the Academy include hosting a meeting of Members of Parliament from Karnataka to support the issue when it comes up in the Lok Sabha.

Even as campaigns for inclusion are spearheaded by Tulu organisations, social, cultural and academic roots of the language remain strong in the coastal region of Karnataka. Art-forms and plays conducted in Tulu, such as Yakshagana, still resonate with much of the population in Udupi and Mangaluru. Tulu cinema has seen increased viewership not just from the region, but even in states such as Mumbai and several Middle-Eastern countries as well.

Academic developments over the past few years have been aimed at familiarising the new generation with the language. With the help of the Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy, several colleges and high schools in the district offer Tulu as a language.

On May 18 this year, a committee at the Mangalore University decided to expedite syllabus formation processes to include Tulu as an optional subject in post-graduation and graduation courses from the upcoming academic year.

The 2016 launch of the Tulu Wikipedia, India’s 23rd regional Wikipedia, added more focus on the scholarly contributions to the language’s promotion. The website was even reported to have received mention in the pro-inclusion memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Modi by Tuluva activists later that year.

Ultimately, despite assurances from the Central Government, it remains to be seen if the language will make its much demanded appearance in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. At present, the Eighth Schedule has 22 languages, with the Ministry of Home Affairs claiming demands for inclusion of 41 more languages.

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