Tulu people

Tulu people
Total population
18,46,427 (2011 census)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Karnataka and Kerala, India

The Tulu people or Tuluva people are an ethnic group of India. They are native speakers of the Tulu language and the region they traditionally inhabit is known as Tulu Nadu. This region comprises the districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi in Karnataka and the Kasaragod district of Kerala[2][3] The Census report of 2011 reported a population of 1,846,427 native Tulu speakers living in India.[1]

People and identity

The construction of a united Tulu cultural identity is relatively recent.[4]Tulu speakers have been subsumed by a larger Kannada linguistic identity of the state of Karnataka.[4] Tulu speakers are divided into various castes. The major Tulu speaking castes are Brahmins, Bunts, Billavas and Mogaveeras.[4] There are also minor castes like Kulala, Devadiga, Ganiga, Gowda and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.[4] There is limited social interaction between these various Tulu speaking castes and intermarriages are rare.[4] This led to each caste developing a distinct social dialect of Tulu.[4] The hierarchical nature of caste lines has become diffused in urban areas but it still exists in rural areas.[4]


Tuluvas follow a matrilineal system of inheritance known as Aliyasantana, where inheritance is from uncle to nephew, except for Brahmins.[5] Other distinctive features include the rituals of Yakshagana, Bhuta Kola, Nagaradhane[6] Aati kalenja and Kambala.[7]

Tuluva New Year is called Bisu parba, which falls on the same day as Baisakhi, Vishu and the Thai New Year.[8]

Tuluva Paddanas are sung narratives, which are part of several closely related singing traditions in Tulu language, Paddans are sung during occasions which describe the evolution of Tulu tribes and Tulu culture.[9]

Demand for Tulu Nadu

From India's independence and following the reorganization of states, the Tuluvas have been demanding national language status for Tulu[10] and a separate state for themselves called Tulu Nadu (Land of Tuluvas), based on their language and distinct culture. Though somewhat subdued for a while, this demand has grown stronger in recent years. Several organizations like the Tulu Rajya Horata Samiti have taken up the cause of the Tuluvas, and frequent meetings and demonstrations are held across towns in Tulunadu (such as Mangaluru and Udupi) to voice their demands.[11][12][13]

Prominent Tuluvas

See also


  1. 1 2 "ABSTRACT OF SPEAKERS' STRENGTH OF LANGUAGES AND MOTHER TONGUES - 2011" (PDF). www.censusindia.gov.in. Indian Census 2011, Government of India. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. "Tulu". ethnologue.com.
  3. "Tulu Nadu, Kasaragod, Kerala, India". Kerala Tourism. Retrieved 12 June 2017.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Shetty, Malavika (2010). Telling Stories: Language, Narrative, and Social Life (Identity building through Narratives on a Tulu Call-in Show). Georgetown University Press. p. 95-108. ISBN 9781589016743.
  5. Yogitha Shetty. "Ritualistic World of Tuluva: A Study of Tuluva Women and Siri possession cult". Retrieved 12 December 2010.
  6. "Nagapanchami Naadige Doodadu". Mangalorean.com. 18 August 2007. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
  7. "Connecting with nature". "Deccan Herald". 17 May 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  8. "Star of Mysore". Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  9. Peter J. Claus, "Variability in Tulu Padannas". Retrieved 2011-03-09.
  10. "Demand in RS for official status to Tulu, Kodava languages". dnaindia.com.
  11. Tulu Rajya Horata Samithi has urged that the region comprising Tulu speaking people should be given the status of a separate state."News headlines". daijiworld.com.
  12. "Now the time has come for all Tulu natives to pressurize the union government with the demand for a separate Tulunadu state”, said renowned Tulu litterateur and Yakshagana artiste Kudyady Vishwanath Rai."Beltangady: Litterateur Kudyady Vishwanath Rai Voices Need for Tulunadu State". daijiworld.com.
  13. "Vedike demands separate Tulunadu State". The Hindu.
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