Santali is a tribal language. It represents Santali culture. The language was first developed by Pandit Raghunath Murmu in the year 1920. The Santali language sadly did not have a written script of its own till 1920. Pandit Murmu who studied the language gave it new wings by establishing a written script called Ol Chiki and highlighted significance of the language.
It is the language spoken by the Munda tribes of India. The language is popular in India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan countries where there is prominence of the Munda tribe. It is spoken by almost 6 million people all over. Till the time Santali got a written script of its own, the Munda tribals depended on Bengali or Oriya to write down any content.
UPSC Santali Mains Syllabus
(Answers must be written in Santali)
Part – I
History of Santali Language.
- Main Austric Language family, population and distribution.
- Grammatical structure of Santali Language.
- Important character of Santali Language : Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, Semantics, Translation, Lexicography.
- Impact of other languages on Santali.
- Standardization of Santali Language.
Part – II
History of Santali Literature.
I. Literary trends of the following four periods of
- Ancient literature before 1854.
- Missionary period : Literature between 1855 to 1889 AD.
- Medieval period: Literature between 1890 to 1946 AD.
- Modern period: Literature from 1947 AD to till date.
II. Writing tradition in History of Santali literature.
Literary forms – Main characteristics, history and development of following literary forms.
Part – I
Folk Literature in Santali – folk song, folk tale, phrase, idioms, puzzles, and Kudum.
Part – II
Modern literature in Santali
- Development of poetry and prominent poets.
- Development of prose and prominent writers.
- Novels and prominent Novelists.
- Stories and prominent story writers.
- Drama and prominent Dramatist.
- Criticism and prominent critics. (v) Essay, sketches, memoirs, travelogues and prominent writers.
Shyam Sundar Hembram, Pandit Raghunath Murmu, Barha Beshra, Sadhu Ramchand Murmu, Narayan Soren ‘Toresutam’, Sarada Prasad Kisku, Raghunath Tudu, Kalipada Soren, Sakla Soren, Digambar Hansda, Aditya Mitra ‘Santali’, Babulal Murmu ‘Adivasi’, Jadumani Beshra, Arjun Hembram, Krishna Chandra Tudu, Rupchand Hansda, Kalendra Nath Mandi, Mahadev Hansda, Gour Chandra Murmu, Thakur Prasad Murmu, Hara Prasad Murmu, Uday Nath Majhi, Parimal Hembram, Dhirendra Nath Baske, Shyam Charan Hembram, Damayanti Beshra, T.K. Rapaj, Boyha Biswanath Tudu.
Part – III
Cultural Heritage of Santali tradition, customs, festival and rituals (birth, marriage and death).
(Answers must be written in Santali)
This paper will require in-depth reading of the following texts and the questions will be designed to test the candidates’ critical ability.
- Kherwal Bonso Dhorom Puthi – Majhi Ramdas Tudu “Rasika”.
- Mare Hapramko Reyak Katha – L. O. Scrafsrud.
- Jomsim Binti Lita – Mangal Chandra Turkulumang Soren.
- Marang Buru Binti – Kanailal Tudu.
- Karam Sereng – Nunku Soren.
- Devi Dasain Sereng – Manindra Hansda.
- Horh Sereng – W.G. Archer.
- Baha Sereng – Balaram Tudu.
- Dong Sereng – Padmashri Bhagwat Murmu ‘Thakur’
- Hor Sereng – Raghunath Murmu.
- Soros Sereng – Babulal Murmu “Adivasi”.
- More Sin More Nida – Rup chand Hansda.
- Judasi Madwa Latar – Tez Narayan Murmu.
PART I – Poetry
- Onorhen Baha Dhalwak – Paul Jujhar Soren.
- Asar Binti – Narayan Soren “Tore Sutam”
- Chand Mala – Gora Chand Tudu.
- Onto Baha Mala – Aditya Mitra « Santali ».
- Tiryo Tetang – Hari Har Hansda.
- Sisirjon Rar – Thakur Prasad Murmu.
PART II – Novels
- Harmawak Ato – R.Karstiars (Translator – R.R. Kisku Rapaz)
- Manu Mati – Chandra Mohan Hansda.
- Ato Orak – Doman Hansdak.
- Ojoy Gada Dhiph re – Nathenial Murmu.
PART III – Stories
- Jiyon Gada – Rup Chand Hansda and Jadumani Beshra.
- Mayajaal – Doman Sahu ‘Samir’ and Padmashri Bhagwat Murmu ‘Thakur’
PART IV – Drama
- Kherwar Bir – Pandit Raghunath Murmu
- Juri Khatir – Dr. K.C. Tudu.
- Birsa Bir – Ravi Lal Tudu
PART V – Biography
- Santal Ko Ren Mayam Gohako-Dr. Biswanath Hansda
More about the language
Santali language can be grouped under Austro-asiatic class of languages. These languages are considered to be one of the oldest languages as compared to other India languages. This language has a unique attribute attached to it and that is, the language does not belong to or is not restricted for a particular state as a native language. For example, Kannada is the native language of Karnataka and Tamil is the native language of Tamil Nadu respectively. But when it comes to Santali, it is spoken across several states that are a cluster in that zone where the tribe that speak the language is spread across.
There are several popular dialects of the language and they can be heard among locals residing near the Chota Nagpur plateau. It is also interesting enough to note that just like the language variations, there is difference in the script variations too. There is no uniqueness hidden in the script used for the language. In India the Oriya and the Bengali scripts are used for written communication by the tribes in their respective states. So, the language is more centered around the tribal migration and settlement aspects than pertaining to a particular language of any land.
Missionaries from Europe have a great role to play in the reviving of the Santali language. It is thanks to people like Campbell from the European missionary groups that they have come so far and achieved documentation of very important and essential content from the Santali literature. What was earlier in the oral form were neatly transformed into documentation and kept for preservation so that the culture does not die out and continues for generations to come.
These efforts from the European folks led to the arrival of Santali dictionaries, references, folk scriptures, documentation of all kinds of tribal literature and art forms. Apart from preservation of important literary forms and generic articles in the language, it also led to an extended support for the language in itself. That means, the language enjoyed phonetic corrections, syntax and grammatical rectifications, structural changes and many more elements essential for a language to be established as a main stay language.
The greatest contribution to Santali language comes from renowned Pandit Raghunath Murmu. Pandit Murmu’s contribution to the language and its progress and development is immense. It encompasses a whole lot of elements together, bringing about a visionary change and revival of the subject. He is the person who invented the Ol Chiki script for the language.
After the script was created, he contributed to the language through his works on poetry, drama, fiction, novels, plays, short stories and many more. Some of his prominent and outstanding works that have inspired lots of people and stood the test of time are Darege Dhan, Sidhu Kanhu etc.
Santali has a total of 21 consonants and 14 vowels. Among the vowels, they are differentiated into nasal and non nasal vowels. Eight non nasal vowels and six nasal vowels are the unique features of the Santali language. In English we have the singular and plural nouns. In Santali, this comes with a difference. We refer to the single nouns, then come the dual nouns and later come plurality at the end.
After 2012, the language saw widespread recognition and became a part of the greater constitution of India functionally. It was of huge interest to see the internet search engine Wikipedia publish its pages in Santali language post 2012. This created enormous interest in the tribal educated youth to work for the cause of the language. Many took to teaching the tribal hotspots and spread awareness about the language. At the same time regional education centers were created and worked on, to help children learn the language and culture.
Shikha Mandi who is a radio jockey by occupation actually became the first in her profession to converse in Santali in November 2017. A team of anthropologists headed by Pashupathi Prasad Mahato exclaimed the growing reverence of the language and noted that the area of higher education in Santali should be encouraged so that more students take it to another level of persuasion to reach greater heights when it comes to university level education.
Language experts believe that Ol Chiki script has distinct characteristics when it comes to its phonetic usage. Phonetically it sounds very dissimilar from English and strangely from its neighbouring and related Indian languages as well. So, for a person to master the language well, he has to learn the pronunciations well.
These small perfections were attained with precision by Pandit Murmu in his works and later followers have kept tabs to inculcate them in their language usage. So, today we have a set of rules or series of expert commands that guide us on how to use the language correctly.
Santali scripts also share a close connection with Roman script since the way the letters are represented is using alphabet distinctions. The presence of rare nasal phonetics, particular to Ol chiki script is another unique feature of the language.