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Madhika Language and Chakaliya Community


In the remote colony of Kookanam, near Karivellur grama panchayat in Kerala, the Chakaliya community is grappling with the imminent loss of its unique language Madhika.


Facts for Prelims

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Madhika Language and Chakaliya Community
  2. Government Initiative to Preserve Languages

Madhika Language and Chakaliya Community

Madhika Language:
  • Spoken by Chakaliya Community: Madhika is a language spoken by the Chakaliya community, known for its unique linguistic characteristics.
  • Script Absence: This language lacks a script, making it distinct from many other languages.
  • Diverse Influences: Despite sounding similar to Kannada, Madhika can be perplexing due to its diverse influences. It is a linguistic blend incorporating Telugu, Tulu, Kannada, Malayalam, and is notably influenced by Havyaka Kannada, an ancient form of Kannada.
  • Endangerment: Madhika is facing the risk of extinction as younger generations are increasingly opting for Malayalam, contributing to the decline of this unique linguistic heritage.
Chakaliya Community:
  • Nomadic Origin: The Chakaliya community, initially nomadic, migrated from the hilly regions of Karnataka to northern Malabar centuries ago.
  • Religious Practices: Traditionally worshippers of Thiruvenkatramana and Mariamma, the community’s religious practices are integral to its identity.
  • Socio-Economic Classification: Initially recognized as a Scheduled Tribe, the community was later included in the Scheduled Caste category in Kerala.

Government Initiative to Preserve Languages:

  • Scheme for Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages of India (SPPEL): The Government of India has launched the SPPEL to protect, preserve, and document endangered languages spoken by less than 10,000 people.
  • Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL): CIIL, located in Mysore, works on the protection and preservation of endangered languages, contributing to the documentation of India’s linguistic diversity.

-Source: The Hindu

March 2024