New Delhi
17th December, 1999

Shri A. B. Vajpayee,
Hon'ble Prime Minister of India,
South Block,
New Delhi

Sub: Memorandum for inclusion of Santali Language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution

Respected Sir,

We the members of Santali Bhasa Morcha having whole hearted support from Adibasi Socio-Educational and Cultural Association (WB), All India Santali Writers' Association, All India Majhi Madwa, All Santal Students' Association, All India Santal Welfare and Cultural Society, All Adivasi Students Association of Assam and many other organizations of India hereby respectfully submit this memorandum for your kind notice and favourable consideration that:

1. The Santals are the most primitive and the original sons of this vast sub-continent - India. The Santals have been living in this great country from time immemorial. Some of the historians assert that they existed before the advent of Aryans. In the eastern states of India i.e. Bihar, West Bengal, Assam, Orissa and Tripura etc. having a population of over 1 crore. Besides, a sizable population of this community is also in Bangladesh, Nepal, Mauritius, Trinidad, Tobago etc. These people have got their rich cultural heritage, social customs and language foundation. The Santal Community (tribal) belongs to an Austric group.

2. The Santali is the front runner language in the Austric group and spoken by over one crore people.

3. The Santali has got the strong literacy foundation with about 200 magazines and journals published (weekly to yearly) every year. Three hundred books are being published in their own personal efforts. About 500 writers are engaged in promoting this language and literature.

4. Many literary and cultural societies have been established to promote Art, Literature and Culture through this language all over the country. This language has got a private academy and many publishers and printing presses. A large number of literary publication, Drama, Novels, Short Stories, Poems, Grammar evidently highlight the richness of the language to any kind of expression.

5. Like many other prominent languages of the country, it has its own script too. This script is popularly known as 'OL CHIKI' invented by Late Pandit Raghunath Murmu, D. Litt. It is a very scientific script. It is phonetically sound and suits the speakers of the language. It is very appropriate to the sound system of the Santali language. It is easy and its physibility cannot be questioned.

6. The Santali language has found a place in mass communication media. The All India Radio has recognized this language. The transmission of programmes have already been started from various centers of All India Radio. The All India Radio, Calcutta relaying a daily news bulletin in its half an hour programme. The other cultural programmes from Cuttack, Jamshedpur, Ranchi, Chaibasa, Bhagalpur, Dumka, Keonjhar, Baripada and other centres. Doordarshan Kendra, Calcutta is also relaying 20 minutes programme twice in a month.

7. The Government of West Bengal has already recognized 'OL-CHIKI' as an only script for writing 'Santali' Language in 1979 and it accorded a grand reception to Late Pandit Raghunath Murmu, the inventor of OL-CHIKI script in the same year in recognition of his great invention. It also published text books in Santali in OL-CHIKI script and 600 Santali teachers have been trained to teach 'Santali' Language in OL-CHIKI script. Although it had not yet been implemented.

Besides, the Govt. of Orissa has also started teaching 'Santali' Language in OL-CHIKI script in 30 primary schools.

In Govt. of Bihar, Santali language is being taught from school to university level.

8. The Bhagalpur University, Ranchi University and Sido-Kanhu university of Bihar provide scope for Post Graduate studies in Santali language. The U.G.C. also provides Fellowship for higher studies in Santali language and literature.

9. The frequent and wide circulation of this language made it rich. A large number of literary work considerable merits have made this language famous. Some talented writers of this language have written many interesting Novels, Short Stories and Poems. A large number of Grammar and Dictionary books also have been published in this language.

10. The number of Santali speaking people is much larger than the number of the people speaking Nepali, Konkani, Sindhi, Kashmiri, Manipuri, which have already got their berth in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India in 1992 or before. But it is very unfortunate to note that none of the Austric group of language has been included in the 8th Schedule as yet.

11. We feel proud to mention that Dr. Doman Sahu, 'Samir' has been given award for his contribution to the Santali language and literature by the Central Sahitya Academy. This proves beyond doubt that Santali language deserves inclusion into the 8th Schedule of the Constitution immediately.

12. The Union Govt. headed by you has promised to constitute a High Powered Body to go into details for inclusion of the Santali language into the 8th Schedule of the Constitution. We are very optimistic about this move and believe that the Govt. will ultimately do justice to this language.

In addition to our basic demand for immediate inclusion of the Santali language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, we also emphatically demand from the Central as well as State Governments of Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa and Assam for the following:-

a) Inclusion of Santali language with 'OL CHIKI' script from primary to Higher level of education in the 4 states

b) Inclusion of Santali language programmes in the Television and All India Radio in the 4 states.

Johar and with kind regards,

Yours faithfully,

1. Salkhan Murmu, MP & President Santali Bhasa Morcha
2. Baidyanath Saren, President, Adibasi Socio-Educational and Cultural Association (WB)
3. Dukhi Ram Hansda, Gen. Secretary, Adibasi Socio-Educational and Cultural Association (WB)
4. Saheb Ram Murmu, Vice President, Santali Bhasa Morcha
5. D.R. Mardi (Advocate), Treasurer, Santali Bhasa Morcha
6. Bishu Murmu, President, Bihar Unit, Santali Bhasa Morcha
7. Kisun Soren, President, Adim Owar Jarpa, Bhubaneswar, Orissa
8. Joseph Minz, Gen. Secretary, All Adivasi Students' Association, Assam
9. Gurupada Saren, Member, All India Santali Welfare and Cultural Society, New Delhi
10. Mangal Saren, Gen. Secretary, All Santal Students Association, West Bengal
11. Ram Chandra Manjhi, Astt. Gen. Secretary, All India Santali Writers Association
12. Jagat Tudu, President, Santal Educational and Cultural Association, Mayurbhanj
13. Baiju Majhi, Advisor, Jumid Kherwal, Cuttack
14. N. N. Hembram, President, All India Majhi Madwa
15. Keshab Ch. Saren, Secretary, Kherwal Itun Asra, Sagendih, Jhargram
16. Isor Ch. Besra, Advisor, Marshal Yuvak Sangh, Mayurdor, Mayurbhanj, Orissa