Unheard Sounds Flow On
In spite of being one of the oldest members of the Dravidian family of languages, Tulu, unfortunately, has not yet found the recognition that it richly deserves in the modern world. Since modernity privileges the written over the spoken, the Tulu language that is abundantly blessed with oral literature has been placed on the fringes of modern literary world. Ironically, Tulu is still engaged in a desperate fight for official status in a country that boasts of its cultural and linguistic diversity. The motives behind the translation of Nanajjer Sude Tirgayer, hailed as the first modern Tulu novel, into English refuse to remain apolitical in this context.
The novel, which has already been translated into Kannada, Konkani and Malayalam, beautifully captures the pulse of rusticity that characterizes the life of a village community that lived its life with its love-hate relationship with nature, more than 75 years ago in a Tulu speaking village in the south-western part of Karnataka. Besides bringing alive the socio-cultural practices that find their articulation through the natural linguistic plurality ingrained in the village psyche, the novel touches upon the duality of human nature that leaves man perennially condemned to an inner crisis.