Inventor

Pandit Raghunath Murmu is the inventor of the "Ol Chiki Script". On the day of Baishakh Kunami (Purnima) a boy was born in a small village called Dandbose of erstwhile Mayurbhanj princely State (now it is in the Bamanghati sub-division of Mayurbhanj District in Orissa State of India). The boy born on 5th May 1905 was Pandit Raghunath Murmu. Upon completion of his High School education from Baripada High School, he joined as an apprentice in Baripada power house. After completing apprenticeship, he engaged himself in carpet weaving. His novel method of twisting threads and quality of carpets drew visitors. Dr. P. K. Sen, the Dewan of Mayurbhanj State once visited him and persuaded him to pursue further industrial training. He was then sent to Kolkata, Serampore and Goshaba for acquiring technical know how. On return from Kolkata after getting technical training, he was made the advisor of Purna Chandra Industrial Institute at Baripada (Head quarters of Mayurbhanj). Due to increasing family burden after the death of his father Shri Nandlal, he had to proceed to his native place and took charge as the Head Master of "Badam Talia" model School. During this period he wanted to do something for the development of the society and started planning to create the letters for the use of Santali language. After prolonged perseverance and hard work "Ol Chiki" could saw the light of the day during 1935-36. He developed a hand press in order to disseminate and popularize Ol Chiki. Superintendent of Education was impressed by the new invention and on his insistence hand press was displayed in the State Exhibition in February, 1939. His Majesty Purna Chandra Bhanj Deo, the Maharaja of Mayurbhanj was immensely impressed by this invention and permitted him to propagate the use of this script. In 1946 he relinquished the job and dedicated himself for the overall development of the Santal community. He inspired the hitherto million illiterates through his writings. He has to his credit around 157 numbers of manuscripts in the form of novels, drama, poetry, story, grammar and syllabus in Ol Chiki. Some of them have already been published. Widely acclaimed Drama books are "Bidu Chandan" and "Kherwal Bir". Kherwal Jarpa Samiti, Jamshedpur provided him all kinds of support to get Ol Script in the shape of modern types suitable for use in Printing Press. He got the types cast from Kolkata Swadeshi Type Foundry. Pandit Murmu left for his heavenly abode on 1st day of February, 1982 thus ended a glorious innings of a great thinker, poet, philosopher, writer and social worker. He is remembered as "Guru Gomke" - Revered Teacher among the Adivasis.


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Revised: November 13, 2002