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The meaning of "Ol Chiki" is "writing script" for the Santali language. It becomes necessary here to introduce Santal people to know more about their language "Santali" and its script "Ol Chiki". Santals are peace loving, sons of the soil of India. They belong to the Pre-Aryan community and the descendants of the great heroes of India like Baba Tilka Majhi, Sido, Kanhu, Chand, Bhairab and others who gallantly fought against the mighty British ruler to get themselves rid of the shackles of exploitation, tyranny, deprivation and oppression. Santal people identify and introduce themselves as Hor (Human Beings) which amply testifies their broad world view. They are the largest linguistic tribal community of India. According to various available sources, their total population is roughly about one crore (ten million). The districts having Santal population are Dhanbad, Dumka, Giridih, Godda, Hazaribagh, Kodarma, Paschim Singhbhum, Purbi Singhbhum and Sahibganj in Jharkhand; Katihar and Purnia in Bihar; Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Khurda and Mayurbhanj in Orissa; and Bankura, Bardhaman, Birbhum, West Dinajpur, Jalpaiguri, Malda, Medinipur and Purulia in West Bengal. Besides, Santals are also found in the States of Assam, Tripura and across the border in Bangladesh and Nepal. Literacy among Santals is very low and it varies from State to State. Santals wherever they are either in India or abroad speak a uniform language called "Santali". The Santali language belongs to the Austric family of the category of Indian languages. Before the invention of the script, the people were using the other scripts viz. Devnagari, Bengali, Oriya, Roman and Assamese depending upon their place of domicile or influence. However, by using these scripts also, they were finding it difficult to express the words correctly while writing as these scripts were inadequate to support the right expression of Santali words. As is being rightly said necessity is the mother of invention, they thoroughly endeavored for better manifestation and their zest for excellence paved the way for the evolution of their own script known as "OL CHIKI". This historic path breaking invention gave them confidence and also facilitated proper expression of their words while writing. And, Ol Chiki emerged as a beckon of light to inspire and instill a sense of confidence, pride, rejuvenation and solidarity among Santals.

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Revised: October 11, 2001