Santals seek recognition for Ol-Chiki script

BARIPDA: With the creation of Jharkhand State, the Santal tribals of eastern India are preparing in a big way to press for the recognition to Ol-Chiki -the Santali script.

The Ol-Chiki movement, which is gaining momentum in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa, is being spearheaded by the Kolkata-based All-India Santal Council (AISC), Adivasi Socio-Educational and Cultural Association (ASECA), All-India Santali Writers' Association (AISWA) and the Santali Bhasa Morcha (SBM).

These cultural outfits of the Santals have also been vociferously demanding inclusion of Santali language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution and its recognition. However, all their demands have fallen on deaf ears, the champions of Ol-Chiki movement felt. The Santali 'language', they argued, are spoken by more people than Kashmiri or Sindhi languages.

The Ol-Chiki movement was given a major fillip by AISC and ASECA at a joint conference held here during early 1991. Chairman of AISC Baburam Hansda said, while both the Santali language and the script have been recognised by the West Bengal Government, Bihar has recognised the language only. However, Orissa Government has not done anything so far, he lamented. The conference was attended by over 1000 delegates from the four States.

Santali scholars feel that the language may suffer phonetic deformity and advise the use of Ol-Chiki to prevent distortions.

MAYURBHANJ BANDH: Secretary of All Orissa Ol-Chiki Students' Union Kaluram Murmu has called for a dawn-to-dusk Mayurbhanj bandh on August 7 in protest against the State Government's apathy to their demand for recognition of Ol-Chiki script and its introduction in schools as the medium of instruction for Santali children. The Union also wants that all the text books of the District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) should be printed in Santali language and that too in Ol-Chiki script.

Murmu also informed that they would observe August 15 as a Black Day if the demand was not met before that day. Jharkhand Mukti Mocha and All-Jharkhand Students' Union (AJSU) have supported these demands.

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Referred by: Mukundan C.M.
Published on:August 7, 2001
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