[lg policy] More on the Telangana Issue: A note on linguistic references in Sreekrishna commission report

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 10 20:46:26 UTC 2011

A note on linguistic references in Sreekrishna commission report
P. Sreekumar, Dravidian University

1. The much-debated report of the Committee for Consultations on the
Situation in Andhra Pradesh (CCSAP) known as Sreekrishna Commission
made a few linguistic references on Telugu in relation to the argument
of separate Telangana state, which need serious response from
linguists and language activists.

2. Section 7.14 of the report subtitled titled Cultural Issues discuss
the linguistic issues underlie the Telangana State movement as one
among the five distinctiveness of this region. The report turned into
linguistic issues by remanding us the triggering role of Andhra
Pradesh in the formation of the first linguistic states in India. The
report observed that: “It  is  important  to look at the linguistic
diversity of the state as AP was the first linguistic state to be
formed in the country, as a consequence of the demand for a separate
state by the  Telugu  speaking  population  of  the erstwhile  Madras
Presidency.  In  the current  movement  for  Telangana,  language  has
 again  become  a  contentious issue  with  coastal  Andhra  and
Rayalaseema  claiming  that  the  Telugu  language  underpins  the
fundamental unity  of  the  three  regions  and  for  this  reason
the state needs to be preserved as it is. Telangana people, on the
other hand, have argued that their dialect, if not language, differs
substantially from that of Andhra region, connoting a separate
cultural identity” (CCSAP 2010: 435). What extent the Telangana
dialect named as ‘northern dialect’ by Bh. Krishnamurti (2003: 230)
differs from the rest of the dialect of Telugu? Section 7. 14. 06 of
the report states that: “People from coastal Andhra ridicule the
Telangana Telugu as inferior and pass derogatory comments. The
language spoken in coastal Andhra is considered as  “Standard
Language”   while  Telangana  language  is condemned  as  an “Ordinary
 Dialect”. The language spoken in coastal Andhra is considered as
“Standard Language” while  Telangana  language  is  condemned  as  an
“Ordinary  Dialect”. The Telangana  language  is  also  ignored  in
the  academic syllabus. Text books published by the government are
written in coastal Andhra language. This puts an extra burden on
children from Telangana as they have to learn an alien Telugu. The
Telangana dialect is ridiculed in government offices, universities and
colleges. There is no feeling of unity among the people of the
different regions on the basis of language.” They claim that Telangana
Telugu is a separate language; the difference in Andhra Telugu and
Telangana Telugu can be  found  in  the  literary  works  of Telangana
 poets  like  Pothana  and  Palakuriki Somanatha,  compared  to  the
Andhra  poets  like  Nannayya  and Tikkanna  or  for that matter,
Rayalaseema poet like Srinatha. Hence, it is felt that a new
linguistic state  can  be  forged  on  the  basis  of  a distinctive
language  and  other cultural features” (CCSAP 2010: 394).

3. The above mentioned issues in the Sreekrishna Commission report
raises few questions which are general to many language based states
in our nation.  How one dialect of a language  felt an alien language
to the people who speak another dialect of the same language? What
constitute this linguistic attitude among the speakers of the same
dialect of a language? Is it purely linguistic, sociolinguistic or
only an attitude constructed by the socio political context of the
speakers?   Is it an overstating of a negligible issue by the
Sreekrishna Commission report?  If the Andhra Pradesh prefers the
sixth option “keeping the state united”, how linguists address the
above issue especially the extra burden of students to learn the
textbook content rendered in an alien dialect of their language? These
are few immediate issues have to be addressed by the linguists  and
language activists who works in language planning in general and
Telugu language and linguistics in particular.

[Moderator's note:  this document, authored by   Dr. P. Sreekumar, of
the Dravidian University, India, was forwarded to me by Dr. E.
Annamalai, former head of the Central Institute of Indian Languages
and author of many scholarly works on Dravidian languages, and
Indian language policy.  (HS)]

N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of the list as to the veracity of a message's contents.
Members who disagree with a message are encouraged to post a rebuttal,
and to write directly to the original sender of any offensive message.
 A copy of this may be forwarded to this list as well.  (H. Schiffman,

For more information about the lgpolicy-list, go to

This message came to you by way of the lgpolicy-list mailing list
lgpolicy-list at groups.sas.upenn.edu
To manage your subscription unsubscribe, or arrange digest format: https://groups.sas.upenn.edu/mailman/listinfo/lgpolicy-list

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list