In news– Recently, a professor in the Santali language at the Sidho-Kanho-Birsha University in Purulia, West Bengal, translated the Constitution of India for the first time in Santali in the Ol Chiki script.
What is the Ol Chiki script?
- This script is also known as Ol Cemet’, Ol script, Ol ciki Script and also Ol.
- In Santali, Ol means writing and Cemet’ means learning .
- Ol Cemet’ is the title of the book, written by Pandit Raghunath Murmu for teaching the Ol Chiki to the beginners(primer).
- Ol Chiki is alphabetic, and does not share any of the syllabic properties of the other Indic scripts.
- It is used for writing Santali which belongs to the Munda group languages of the Austro-Asiatric family.
- One of the interesting features of the Ol Chiki script is that it makes use of signs and symbols long familiar to the Santals.
- A large number of words in the Santali language are derived from natural sounds.
- Letters of Ol Chiki script are also derived from the physical environment and what surrounds the people – hills, rivers, trees, birds, bees, plough, sickle etc..
- It contains 30 letters and five basic diacritics and has 6 basic vowels and additional three vowels are generated using Gahla Tudag.
- The Norwegian-born missionary Paul Olaf Bodding wrote the first grammar for the Santhal community in the early 20th century.
About Santal People-
- The Santal or Santhal, are a Munda ethnic group native to India.
- They are the largest adivasi (indigenous) community in the Indian subcontinent with a population of more than 10 million, and they reside mostly in the Indian states of Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Assam and Bihar, and sparsely in Bangladesh and Nepal.
- Santals entered the historical record in 1795 when they were recorded as “Soontars.
- In the Santal religion, the majority of reverence falls on a court of spirits (bonga), who handle different aspects of the world and who are placated with prayers and offerings.
- There are seven kinds of marriage recognized in the Santal community, each with its own degree of social acceptance.
- The most elaborate kind of marriage is the hapramko bapla, or ancestor’s marriage, but the most widely practiced is kesimek’.
- Sohrai is the principal festival of Santal community. Besides that Baha, Karam, Dansai, Sakrat, Mahmore, Rundo and Magsim are important festivals.
- They traditionally accompany many of their dances during these festivals with two drums: the Tamak‘ and the Tumdak’.
- Chadar Badar, a form of puppetry known also as Santal puppetry, is a folk show involving wooden puppets placed in a small cage which acts as the stage.
- It is the most widely spoken language of the Munda subfamily of the Austroasiatic languages, related to Ho and Mundari, spoken mainly in the Indian states of Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Mizoram, Odisha, Tripura and West Bengal.
- In 2003, the 92nd Constitutional Amendment Act added Santali to Schedule VIII to the Constitution of India, which lists the official languages of India, along with the Bodo, Dogri and Maithili languages.
- This addition meant that the Indian government was obligated to undertake the development of the Santali language and to allow students appearing for school-level examinations and entrance examinations for public service jobs to use the language.
- Santali was a mainly oral language until the development of Ol Chiki by Pandit Raghunath Murmu in 1925.
- According to the 2011 Census of India, there are over 70 lakh (seven million) people who speak Santali across the country.