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Eighth Schedule

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Eighth Schedule

What to study?

For Prelims: Eighth schedule.

For Mains: Need for and significance of recognition of languages.

 Context: A case for including Tulu in the Eighth Schedule.

Why Tulu should be given a place in eighth schedule?

Tulu is a textbook example of linguistic discrimination.

  • Tulu is a Dravidian language whose speakers are concentrated in two coastal districts of Karnataka and in Kasaragod district of Kerala. Kasaragod district is called ‘Sapta bhasha Samgama Bhumi (the confluence of seven languages)’, and Tulu is among the seven.
  • The Census reports 18,46,427 native speakers of Tulu in India. The Tulu-speaking people are larger in number than speakers of Manipuri and Sanskrit, which have the Eighth Schedule status.
  • Robert Caldwell (1814-1891), in his book, A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages, called Tulu as “one of the most highly developed languages of the Dravidian family”.
  • The present-day Tulu linguistic majority area is confined to the region of Tulu Nadu, which comprises the districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in Karnataka and the northern part of Kasaragod district of Kerala up to the river Payaswani, or Chandragiri. The cities of Mangaluru, Udupi and Kasaragod are the epicentres of Tulu culture.

Why the demand?

Efforts are being made to include Tulu in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. If included in the Eighth Schedule, Tulu would get recognition from the Sahitya Akademi. Tulu books would be translated into other recognised Indian languages. Members of Parliament and MLAs could speak in Tulu in Parliament and State Assemblies, respectively. Candidates could write all-India competitive examinations like the Civil Services exam in Tulu.

Linguistic diversity of India:

  • According to the 2001 Census, India has 30 languages that are spoken by more than a million people each.
  • Additionally, it has 122 languages that are spoken by at least 10,000 people each.
  • It also has 1,599 languages, most of which are dialects. These are restricted to specific regions and many of them are on the verge of extinction.
  • India must accommodate this plethora of languages in its cultural discourse and administrative apparatus.

Right to Conserve?

Article 29 of the Constitution provides that a section of citizens having a distinct language, script or culture have the right to conserve the same.

Background:

The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India lists the official languages of the Republic of India.

As per Articles 344(1) and 351 of the Indian Constitution, the eighth schedule includes the recognition of the following 22 languages.

Sources: the Hindu.