A case for including Tulu in the Eighth Schedule


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Schedule VIII languages

Mains level: Read the attached story

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. Tulu is one such language with considerable number of speakers.

Speakers of Tulu

  • 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.

Schedule VIII languages

  • Among the legion of languages in India, the Constitution has 22 languages. They are protected in Schedule VIII of the Constitution.
  • But many languages that are kept out of this favoured position are in some ways more deserving to be included in the Eighth Schedule.
  • For example, Sanskrit, an Eighth Schedule language, has only 24,821 speakers (2011 Census).
  • Manipuri, another scheduled language, has only 17,61,079 speakers. However, many unscheduled languages have a sizeable number of speakers.

Why does Tulu deserve a place in the Schedule?

  • At present, Tulu is not an official language in India or any other country. 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.
  • The Yuelu Proclamation, made by the UNESCO at Changsha, The People’s Republic of China, in 2018 calls for protection and promotion of linguistic diversity.


  • India must accommodate this plethora of languages in its cultural discourse and administrative apparatus.
  • 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.
  • Placing of all the deserving languages on equal footing will promote social inclusion and national solidarity. It will reduce the inequalities within the country to a great extent.

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