Bale Tulu Kalpuga! One-Month Tulu Classes for Mangaluru City Police Began Today (5 Aug)
Mangaluru: Not just Kannada: Language tripping up cops in Dakshina Kannada, including Mangaluru? When is the last time you heard a City Traffic Cop stops you for a traffic violation or when you visit a City police station where a cop sitting at the desk, spoke in TULU other than Kannada? You might have heard this many times-” Yennappa hegiddiya sowkyava”; “Ellige rash agi hogodu eethara”; “Badige haku vehicle, Magane?”, and bunch of other Kannada dialects, but come September or October, you could be hearing the same dialects in Tulu-” Dane maraya, encha ulaa, sowkhya na”; “Odeg raavandu popuni ee namune”; or “Barik untalla Gadi, Magga?”..and much more, as the District/Mangaluru Police Departments have come up with an initiative by starting One-Month Tulu speaking Classes for the DK/Mangaluru police.
We see a large number of police personnel here who are from Northern Karnataka or out of town since the youths from Dakshina Kannada rarely opt for a career in the police. Police sources said from constables to senior officers, most come from other places to Mangaluru, and none of the local DK languages is spoken and the local recruitment has been declining over the years. Very few in the force can speak the local language and this is a barrier between the force and the people. Once an ASI could control an agitated mob in Bantwal a few years ago by just conversing in Beary. There was an instant connection and the locals stopped to listen. Currently, though, the majority of the police personnel here are from outside the district and not fluent in any of the local languages: Tulu, Beary or Konkani.
The One-Month Tulu Speaking Classes was launched on Thursday, 5 August 2021 at 10:30 am at the Police Commissioner Conference Hall, by lighting the traditional lamp by Dayanand Kathalsar-the President of Tulu Sahitya Academy, in the presence of Mangaluru Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar; DCP (Crime & Traffic) Dinesh Kumar and DCP -DAR Channaveerappa B Hadapada. In his inaugural address, Dayanand Kathalsar said, “Tulu is not only a language but also a culture and tradition with a history of its own. Tulu language is our mother tongue. We need to get Tulu as our official language status. I appreciate the efforts put in by Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar in taking this step to start Tulu speaking classes for the police personnel who are lacking behind in this language. Tulu is a Dravidian language spoken mainly in two coastal districts Dakshina Kannada and Udupi of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala. Some scholars suggest Tulu is among the earliest Dravidian languages with a history of 2000 years”.
“Robert Caldwell (1814-1891), in his book, A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages, called Tulu “one of the most highly developed languages of the Dravidian family. At present, Tulu is not an official language in the 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 Academy. When the country was reorganised based on languages, Tulu Nadu was partly shared among Kerala and Karnataka. When there was a separate state for Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada-speaking people, why there cannot be a separate state for Tulu Nadu? Tulu has a rich oral literature tradition with folk-song forms like paddana, and traditional folk theatre Yakshagana. Tulu also has an active tradition of cinema with around 5 to 7 Tulu language movies are produced a year. We need support for Tulu language to be spoken in Tulunadu aka Kudla aka Mangaluru”, added Dayanand.
Also speaking on the occasion, Police Commissioner N Shashi Kumar said, “Since we have a large number of the police personnel joining the police force from out Dakshina Kannada/Mangaluru there is a need to learn the local language, especially the Tulu language, among other local languages like the Beary or Konkani. We took this initiative so there could be a close connection between the police and the citizens here when they meet or interact with each other. I thank Tulu Sahitya Academy for coming forward and teaching our police personnel basic Tulu language which will definitely serve the purpose”.
50 police personnel will be taking this Tul language classes commencing 5 August, (from 9 am-12.30) Monday-Friday for a month under the guidance of Rajesh Kadri- a professor in English at Ramakrishna College, Yeyyadi-Mangaluru, along with guest teachers-Bhaskar Rai Kukkodi -the Tulu litterateur and Dayanand Kathalsar. The inaugural ceremony was compered by ACP-Traffic Natraj, where he while welcoming the audience in Tulu said, “Nikleg Poora Salmelo” (“My greetings/wishes for you all- if ACP could learn a bit of Tulu, I think these 50 students in the Tulu class can also learn Tulu!) and the vote of thanks was delivered by P A Hegde-the ACP Central Sub Division.
It is learnt that Senior police officers who do speak Tulu say the difference is marked. When police personnel speak the local language, locals open up and volunteer information while they clam up on hearing Kannada. Speaking to Team Mangalorean one retired senior police officer said, “Speaking the local language connects two people immediately. Policing has suffered in Dakshina Kannada because those who come from outside the district show no interest in learning and conversing in the native language”.
Apart from the familiarity factor, there are unmistakable cultural nuances. A police officer who has been working in Mangaluru for 25 years says, for instance, Tulu speakers address everyone, irrespective of their age, in the plural. “Even when Tulu speakers converse in Kannada, they use the plural for all. But Kannada speakers refer to everyone in the singular. When a police officer does so, it is a put-off. The tradition of this land is that everyone respects everyone in a conversation,” he said.
The retired officer added, “I remember that local women would open up when they heard Tulu, Konkani or Beary. The moment one spoke in Kannada, they would draw up a wall. Though Kannada is the state language, the local women especially are not comfortable speaking it.” Sources reveal that when Former city police commissioner M Chandra Sekhar had introduced Tulu and Beary classes for police personnel but very soon they were discontinued after his tenure. Then after commissioner PS Harsha took the initiative it received an overwhelming response, with many commending his outreach. And now the present young and dynamic police commissioner N Shashi Kumar taking up the initiative, there are very good chances that the police personnel in this batch will surely learn to speak Tulu fluently and make a good connection with the local commuters and motorists.
I end this column with a Tulu song “MODEKA SINGARI” sung by our MOKEDA TOP COP