Response to James Kisku and Others
Dear Mr. James Kisku with Mintu Soren and 40 others,
Johar to all of you. The questions raised or issues highlighted by this group on the communication of Mr. Manik Soren to All India ASECA are translated point wise from Bangla to English to facilitate better understanding and appreciation. In fact, it is observed that only misconception is prevailing on “Ol Chiki” among you people. An attempt is being made to bring clarity on issues raised by you. We request you to go through the replies sensibly and if possible should be read repeatedly to understand the clarification in a better or deserved way.
1. They have given least attention to Manik.
It is an important matter that positioning of “Ol Chiki” has been achieved in India also through a process of prolonged peaceful struggle. This peaceful and needful struggle was necessitated for unification of Santals for their overall collective development as well to establish a unique identity and genius with a resolve to preserve their social identity and solidarity. The communication of Mr. Manik Soren has equated him with numerous Santals in India who had sacrificed for positioning and getting due recognition for “Ol Chiki”. In India they are treated as “Saonta Dularia – Passionate lover of the Society”. Now Mr. Manik Soren is recognized as a torchbearer for the “Ol Chiki” along with so many such “Saonta Dularia” in Bangaldesh. Opinion may differ whether Ol Chiki would be accepted, adopted in Bangladesh but it is thoroughly wrong to say nobody cared for Mr. Manik Soren in the Santal Society of India. It is simply an overreaction and perhaps you have not got the opportunity to feel the warmth of the golden rays of “Ol Chiki” to realize its strength.
2. He has proved his competence in Ol Chiki.
Going by his present communication in “Ol Chiki” which he has learnt through website material and by self leaning, it is an instance/example to demonstrate that how easy it is to learn and write in “Ol Chiki”. Mr. Manik Soren’s writing is flawless and can earn him at least 95% marks which may not be possible either in Bangla or Roman script as Santali cannot be written accurately in these scripts. It is universally accepted that Santali words cannot be expressed properly in other scripts than the “Ol Chiki”. Let us try to know what is Ol Chiki. It is a system of letters or scripts for Santali language for writing in a correct way.
3. Whether Ol Chiki will be dependent on India or it will push us to backwardness as a community?
Ol Chiki promotes self respect, unity, integrity, solidarity, relationship, oneness, uniqueness and therefore it cannot be a source for backwardness. Through Ol Chiki, Santal community can get rid of illiteracy in a short period of time which we are languishing for generations together. For adopting, it does not require any permanent support but of course a hand holding may be required.
4. Whether we will hire experts from India to write Books for the education system or it will be done by our Government.
Books written in Ol Chiki will ensure standardization. There is no need to hire experts from India. Yes, if some good books from India are found relevant and useful, those can be read in general or adopted as text books in the schools, colleges, universities. Linguists all over the world are of the same opinion that a language should adopt a single script. Otherwise, it will lead to nowhere. And for this reason only “Ol Chiki” has been accepted by Government of India, Governments in other States of India to promote standardization leading to creation of a sizable market.
5. We will easily find teachers when books are written in “Santal Script” but through Ol Chiki we will not find.
It appears there is confusion. “Ol Chiki” is the Santali Barnamala. Here difference is the knowing 30 letters and 9 numeral with which Santali language can be written. Just imagine a situation, Santals throughout the globe can easily communicate among themselves if they use a common script – Barnamala. One can imagine the difficulty of learning various scripts for reading the Santali literature or any other resource books those are being created in different States with different scripts.
6. Manik has talked about the debate on Bangla and Roman, is it true? When he has failed to gather support for Bangla then he started the issue of Ol Chiki which is his extreme selfishness.
As we do not know about the previous engagement or past reference, no comment to offer.
7. In the name of importing Ol Chiki, he is spoiling the opportunity of Santal children to get education in mother tongue. He has the aim to continue the debate so that Government should not implement the scheme.
The benefits, pros and cons for adopting “Ol Chilki” have to be analysed and understood properly by the Santals of Bangladesh. It will be their collective wisdom and unanimous/majority decision and we have nothing to add on that. If they elect “Ol Chiki” to be their writing medium, we from India will try to extend all kinds of initial supports through official (government level) channel.
8. Without considering the opinion of Bangladesh Santal, he is working for his self interest for which in spite of being invited to discussion table, Rabindranath Soren does not attend the same.
Proposal to learn and adopt “Ol Chiki” is not an element of self interest. Rather Mr. Manik Soren is endeavouring to remain connected with global Santals for which he should be lauded. Going by his eagerness to accept and adopt “Ol Chiki” he is rendering a valuable service. This may not be realized to-day but time will come his efforts will be appreciated in Bangladesh.
9. He is trying to divide the Santal society
It is not appropriate to load the burden of dividing the society on Mr. Manik Soren. Perhaps his good intention to usher in a process of unification is being misunderstood. He has attempted to integrate the Santal Society of Bangladesh with the Indian counterparts or elsewhere. Even if “Ol Chiki” does not find a place in the hearts of Santals of Bangladesh, he has already earned a niche in the Indian Santal Society.
10. Adivasi Parisad is just a figure (putul) without having a backbone.
No knowledge on the working of Adivasi Parisad in general. It is not understood in which context ‘not having backbone’ has been mentioned but we heartily appreciate and support its commendable initiative on “Ol Chiki”.
Please feel free to seek clarifications, if any. We are having discussions with the Government institutions on the issue of familiarizing Ol Chiki as well as teaching in Ol Chiki to the interested Santals of Bangladesh. Even if Santals of Bangladesh are not in a mood to accept “Ol Chiki” which in our understanding is unlikely, then also there is no harm in learning “Ol Chiki”. We, therefore, invite all of you to come to India and have a feel on the status and development of Santali literature through Ol Chiki. We will be more than happy to extend our support in this regard.
P. C. Hembram,
All India ASECA,