The state government will soon bring out a trilingual Ol Chiki dictionary, the first-of-its-kind in the country.
Ol Chiki to English and then to Bengali, the trilingual dictionary incorporating 24,800 words is a major step to popularise the language, feel academics. The dictionary has been prepared by the backward Classes Welfare Department (BCWD). The trilingual dictionary will help those who are interested to learn Ol Chiki language.
After coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took the initiative to popularise the Ol Chiki language. Recently at a function held at Uttirno, she felicitated Uday Murmu who got highest marks in Santhali language in Madhyamik examination in 2017. His parents are daily-wage labourers. Banerjee has also set up a committee headed by Sanskrit scholar Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri to study the Rajbangshi language so that it can be given the status of a state language. The Chief Minister wants that tribals should develop by getting modern education and preserve their own culture and tradition. With this view, she had requested the then general secretary of Ramakrishna Mission Swami Suhitanandaji (now one of the vice-presidents) to take over Eklavya Model School in Jhargram.
Accordingly, the BCWD handed over the school to RKM and Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandir Eklavya Model Residential School. The Mission will set up an auditorium beside the school in Jhargram and will take up measures so that the students can know about their heritage and culture and work towards their preservation. The students of the school have done remarkably well in the Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations.
The Ol Chiki script, also known as Ol Cemet (in Santhali language, Ol means writing and Cemet means learning). The Santhali alphabets were created by Raghunath Murmu in 1925 for the same language. Previously, Santhali used to be been written with the help of Latin script. Unlike most Indian scripts which are derived from Brahmi, Ol Chiki is not abugida, with vowels given equal representation along with consonants. Ol Chiki has 30 letters, the forms of which are intended to evoke natural shapes. The script is written from left to right.
Noted scholar Nrishingha Prasad Bhaduri welcomed the move of BCWD and said it is a great initiative taken up by the state government. He thanked the Chief Minister for taking up the step to develop and popularise Ol Chiki language.