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

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 4 20:42:34 UTC 2014


All:

In order to clarify some of the background for the demands for a Telangana
state in India,
I searched our archives and found this item, which I had forwarded to the
list back in 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)]




On Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 3:46 PM, Harold Schiffman <hfsclpp at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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)]
>
> --
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-- 
=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+

 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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