Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee,
Hon'ble Prime Minister,
Govt. of India,
Sub: Prayer for inclusion of Santali Language in the Eighth Schedule of the costituion of India, under Articles - 344 (I), 350 A & 351 of the Constitution of India
Most respectfully, we the members of the Santal Community of India for and on behalf of the Indian Santals beg to submit the following facts for your kind consideration and favourable orders on the above subject.
1. The Santal Population is over one crore in India itself and sizable nos. in other countries of the World. As you are aware, Santals are ancient dwellers of Bharat i.e. India and are recognised as Scheduled Tribe under Constitution order 1950. Its present population is over 1 crore in India itself. Their major population is in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Orissa, Assam and Tripura states. Besides, a significant Santal population is also in Nepal, Bangladesh, Trinidad and Mauritius etc. 2.
The identities of Santals
a) Religion - 'SARNA'
B) Language - 'SANTALI' with its own script 'OL CHIKI'
c) Traditional custom & usages and rich cultural heritage
It is well known to all of us that Indus Valley Civilisation depicts that the civilisation traced out was of the Santals in Mohen Zodaro & Horrapa "ECHOES OF THE INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION" Dr. N. K. Verma
a) They have their own religion known as 'SARNA' appearing in various Census Reports prepared by the Govt. of India.
b) Language - SANTALI and its literature in their own script 'OL CHIKI' has already been accepted/recognised by the various state Govt./Central Govt. in many ways. The copies of the previous memorandums submitted to the then Govts. are enclosed for your kind perusal and necessary action vide Annexure 1-4
c) The Santals Tradition custom/usages form a customary law in their three subjects 1. Marriage, 2. Property (Immovable & Movable)
d) Religious Custom and its organisations - These have been recognised by the Supreme Court of India ( In the case of the Durga Charan Hansdah vrs. Mrs. S. Kujur), Panchayat Extension Act, 1996, Govt. of India and the Constitution of India.
The Santals are well known for their rich cultural heritage. The people of the country and outside are experiencing these times and again. The Govt. of India is spending a handsome amount of money every year for the protection/preservation of these culture. Sir, you have personally witnessed their culture during the Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi and other places.
3. Contibutions/Sacrifices of the Santals in making/ building our nation
a) Baba Tilka Majhi (MURMU) 1750-1785 fought against the British Rulers in India when there was none to think over even of an Independence.
b) Four brothers - Sido, Kanhu, Chand & Bhairab sacrificed their lives for the cause of country's Independence. Their revolution is well known as Santal Revolution (1852-1855) earlier to the sepoy mutiny 1857. They were the pioneers of the poeple's revolution in India as per Karl Marx 'NOTE OF INDIA' History and as a result British had to name their areas of inhabitance as Santal Pargana and passed Santal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act, 1855 which is very much in existence.
As a mark of respect and memory, the Bihar Govt. had to rename Bhagalpur University as Baba Tilka Majhi (MURMU) University and established Sido-Kanhu (MURMU) University at Dumka in Jharkhand State.
Recognition of Santali Language/Literature and script 'OL CHIKI' by the various State Govts./ Central Govt.
i) The Govt. of Jharkhand has already taken decision to impart education in Santali Language and other Tribal Languages (Munda, Ho, Oraon, & Khariya) in their scripts/ scripts accepted in Primary Schools (Class I-V) from the next educational session. The books are now under print.
ii) The then Patna University now Bihar Secondary School examination Board and Jharkhand School Examination Board have accepted Santali Language as an optional paper in Matriculation level.
iii) The University of Assam (Guwahati) is teaching Santali Language
iv) The Govt. of Bihar, now Govt. of Jharkhand is publishing a Newspaper named 'HOR SAMBAD' in Santali Language from Dumka. Previously, it was being published by the Govt. of Bihar from Deoghar since 1947
v) The Govt. of Bihar, West Bengal & Orissa have already initiated action plan for imparting education in Santali Language to the Santal Students in Primary Schools.
vi) The University Grants Commission, New Delhi is recruiting lecturers/professors in Santali Language for the Universities situated in Santal populated Areas.
vii) The Bihar Public Service Commission now Jharkhand Public Service Commission offers Santali Language/ Literature as optional paper for its competitive examinations.
viii) The Govt. of Bihar and now Govt. of Jharkhand is conducting Santali Examination for their officers posted in the Districts highly populated by the Santals, obviously for the Administrative reasons.
ix) The renowned Viswa Bharati i.e. Shantiniketan has been teaching Santali Language for the last 25 years or so.
x) Baba Tilka Majhi (MURMU) University Bhagalpur, Bihar, Ranchi University, Ranchi, Sido-Kanhu University, Dumka and Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribagh in Jharkhand are conducting examination in Santali Language in the post graduation levels.
xi) In the absence of 'OL CHIKI' Santali Literature /Books were being written in Roman, Devnagri, Bengali, Oriya & Assami Scripts. Now the situation has changed and OL CHIKI script being used for Santali Language which has already been recognised by the Govt. of Jharkhand and West Bengal.
xii) P.O. Bodding contributed a lot in writing Santali Dictionary in 5 big volumes, Dr. Doman Sahu 'Samir' wrote a dictionary in Hindi to Santali and many other books in his credit for which he was honoured with "Bhasa Samman Award" in 1998 by the National Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi. Santali Dictionary by Campbell Santali to Hindi and Hindi to Santali Dictionary published by the Tribal Welfare and Research Institute, Ranchi are testimony to our claim for the above.
xiii) The AIR & TV stations/centres like Calcutta, Bhubaneswar, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bhagalpur, Baripada situated in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal are giving /broadcasting regular programmes in Santali Language.
xiv) The inventor of 'OL CHIKI' Late Pt. R. N. Murmu was publicly honoured in Purulia (Kendbona) by the Ex Chief Minister of West Bengal Mr. Jyoti Basu. Mr. Pt. Murmu was also honoured by UTKAL University for his contribution in Santali Language/Literature & Scripts.
xv) Santali Sahity Academi, Jharkhand, Santali Sahitya Academi, West Bengal, Adivasi Socio Economic & Cultural Association, New Delhi, All India Writers' Association, International Santal Council and Branches of ASECAs all over India are engaged in developing Santali Language and Literature.
In nutshell, the development of Literature in Santali Language has taken place before our Independence and may magazines, Periodicals, Dictionaries & all kinds of books are being published in Santali and its script 'OL CHIKI'.
5 Language with much less population got place in the VIIIth Schedule of the Constitution of India namely Kashmiri, Konkani, Sindhi, Manipuri, Nepali and now Maithili & Bodo Languages (PM & Cabinet) as announced by the Central Govt. but the case of Santali Language was ignored the causes are known to the Santals of India
It is a matter of great care and concern for all of us particularly Santals that in a Democratic setup of Govt. like our country, majority is defeated by the minority as happened in the case of Santali Language. Definitely it is against the norms of the democracy, we Santals feel.
6 Sincere efforts for inclusion of Santali Language in the VIIIth of the constitution of India made in the past parliament and out side. i) Late MUNI BASKEY, President Kherwal Jarpa Samiti submitted a memorandum to the Advisory Sub Committee on excluded and partially excluded areas, constituent Assembly of India on 18.9.1947 just after 34 days of our independence for recognition of 'OL CHIKI' scripts. A copy of the same is placed opposite vide Annexure -I
ii) A memorandum was submitted to the then Prime Minister Late Rajiv Gandhi on May 11, 1987 by Mr. Prithibi Majhi, MP (RS) & 13 others MPs & MLAs from Assam, West Bengal, Bihar/Jharkhand & Orissa. A copy of the memorandum is enclosed for your kind reference vide Annexure- II
iii) A memorandum dated 1.1.1998 was submitted to the then President of India Dr. K.R. Narayanan by the Santali Sahitya Academi Bihar/Jharkhand. A true copy of the memorandum is attached for your kind perusal & necessary action kindly ref. Annexure-III
iv) Memorandum submitted to Mr. Babu Lal Marandi Ex Chief Minister Govt. of Jharkhand copy enclosed vide Annexure - IV
v) Several times in the past this subject was discussed in parliament and outside. Last it was discussed /debated on 10.04.2003 in parliament which was moved by Dr. Ram Chandra Dome, MP and supported by M.A. Kharabela Swain, Mr. Basudeb Acharia, Prof. Rasa Singh Rawat & Mrs. Sandhya Rani Bauri - all Hon'ble MPs. While replying to the Hon'ble Members - Mr. Harin Pathak, Hon'ble MoS Home Affairs, Govt. of India said that the Govt. is setting up an expert committee to include 32 languages including Santali Language in the VIIIth Schedule of the Constitution of India.
vi) Last but not the least, ASECAS OF INDIA, All India Santali Writers' Association, International Santali Council and other Santal organisations of India have been demanding for inclusion of Santali Language in the VIIIth Schedule of the Constitution of India since inception but without any result so far.
vii) It will not be out of place to mention here that the Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Mr. Arjun Munda recently stated that the Santali Language will be announced by the PM Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the foundation day's celebration of the Jharkhand State falls on 15th Nov' 2003.
Further more, the constitution of India provided in respect of recognition of language under Article 347 that "On demand being made in that behalf the President may, if he is satisfied that a substantial proportion of the population of a State desire the use of any Language spoken by them to be recognised by that State, direct that such language shall also be officially recognised throughout that State or any part there of for such purpose as he may specify."
It is, therefore, sincerely and highly prayed to your kind honour to consider the long standing genuine/reasonable demand of 1 crore Santals of the Country for inclusion of the Santali Language in the VIIIth Schedule of the Constitution of India without any further delay. Till today, We Santals strongly feel that out justice has been delayed. However, we are optimists and believe that "Late is better than never" and with this hope we are waiting for your kind approval on the subject prayed for.
Thanking you Sir,
Prof. D. Hansdah
Adv. K. C. Murmu
Mr. K.K. Murmu
Mr. B.N. Soren
Mr. D. C. Murmu
Mr. C. R. Majhi
Mr. Arjun Soren
Raja Ram Hansdah
Place: New Delhi