MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT ( RAJYA SABHA )
63, South Avenue
May 11, 1987
With most respectfully, we would like to draw your kind attention regarding inclusion of Santali language in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution of India.
That Sir, Santali language is the most important and rich language amongst triba1s. Santali name applied the foreigners to the tribe which has given its name to the Santal Parganas. But before the British regirne the Santal people were known as Kherwar and the language was known as Kherwari and still they like to call themselves as Kherwar which comprises Santali, Munda, Ho, Birhor, etc.
From the point of population it is the largest amongst trials and it also shared in overwhelming majority, that is 98% comprising 24 major languages (Annexure I) of the Indian population. According to 1971 Census, the Santali speaking were 36,93,554 (excluding Assam). But in real fact the population Tribals are more than that, as according to I. Singh in his Deveopment and Adibasi in Asian Labour, Vol.1, No. 4 (Jan. 1950) says, "Adibasis …. Number not less than 30 millions according to the verdict of the scientists at the last session of the Indian Science Congress". He calls it "unreliable" and says' "it would be nearer truth to say that ethnically, tribal numbers would be four what is shown in the Census.
The Santals derived from Austro-Asiatic family, the aboriginal tribes of India have been deprived of not to say from Indian Independence, but from ages to ages in respect of language etc. The languages included in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution of India are mostly derived from Aryan language i.e. Sanskrit and Dravidian. But the language derived from Austric family are neglected which also shared and continue sharing in building the Indian Language and culture. It may be mentioned here that the Sindhi language having found place in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution for the 8 (eight) lakhs Sindhi speaking people whereas Santali language have been denied its legitimate claim from finding a place in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution for the 36,93,554 (excluding Assam) Santali people (ST).
Sir, the Santali language has its own script named 'OL CIKI' which was invented by Santali Scholar Pandit Raghunath Murmu who was adorned with award by the Sahitya Academi, Orissa and the script starts developing from 1925. The State Government of West Bengal has recognised this language and script as a medium of instruction to the Santali children in primary stage which is in vogue as well as in Bihar, Santali language has been recognised as a medium of instruction at the primary stage. The Universities of Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar and Assam (Gauhati University) also accepted this language as an alternative language.
Sir, it is an independent aboriginal language and not depends on any languages of India. The development of literature in Santali has taken place before Indian Independence and many magazines, periodicals, dectionaries, books etc. are being published in Santali and its script. The Constitution of India provided in respect of reecogni tion of language unc1er 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 thereof for such purpose as he may specify." It may be highly praised that under your dynamic leadership the National Policy on Education, 1986, has envisaged for the upliftment of Tribal languages having more than 1 lakh speakers. The Constitution under Article 29 has also given the right to conserve the distinct languages, culture and script. But Sir, how the language can be conserved or uplifted without upholding the dignity of the language in particular and unless it is recognised by the governments, such original language spoken by a large number of tribal people (Santa1) will face its unnatural death if it is not honoured by a democratic governments like ours.
Sir, the meaning of democracy is not that to jeopardise any burning/real problems of the neglected people of the country. It is presumed that a grave error and injustice will be caused if a blue eyes baby is deprived of from his mother's breast. It is the inherent right of a man to speak his mother tongue and the government cannot take away his right by imposing any other language on his community to which he belongs.
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru says, "One should not try to suppress a language. One has to be as liberal as possible. One should not try to coerce anybody into a language as far as possible. Whenever an attempt has been made to suppress a language or coerce the people into some other language, there has been trouble. "
Therefore, the maker of our Constitution very rightly had gone deep to the depth to the problem of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in some special provisions in the Consti tution so as to protect their inherent language, culture, socio-economic problem etc. which now cannot be ignored. The importance of Santal language in recognition and inclusion in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution of India cannot be narrated 1n a few words. It is well known fact that the educational-socio-economic condition of Austric group of population i. e. Santal, Munda, Ho, Birhor, Mahli etc. is much more deplorable in comparison with the rest of the population of our country. If the Santali language is recognised and included in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution of India, then the sister languages i.e. M unda, Ho, Birhor, etc. the originity of which is one and having absolute affinity will find place for development of all languages and more than 70% that is more than 5 (crores of Austric (tribal) population will get an opportunity to gear up their upliftment in all spheres, as a language is the messenger of bringing all develop m ental activities wi thin the community or communi ties having affinity of identity. In short, it may be said that recognition and inclusion of santal language in the VIII Schedule of the Constitution will definitely build a mile stone for the development of Austric language in our country. It is, therefore, highly prayed that your honourself may be pleased to use your good offi8e and consider the problems arising out of in pros and cons so as to give a real mandate in the Constitution: the Constitution which guarantees to the people to uphold the dignity and fair-play, and pass necessary order and/or direction to take necessary immediate steps for bringing an amendment of the Constitution in respect of the Santali language and its script (OL ClKI) forthwi th for the interest of the protection of the Santa1i people and their language. With warm regards,
1. Prithibi Majhi
2. Sidha Lal Murmu
3. Harihar Soren
4. Pruthvi Chand Kisku
5. D. P. Jamuda
6. Sushila Tiria, Rajya Sabha
7. Chaitanya Prasad Majhi, MLA, Orissa Legislative Assembly
8. Bhadreswar Tanti, M. P.
9. Gukul Saikia, M.P.
14. Methias Tudu, M.L.A., Assam
Shri Rajiv Gandhi,
Prime Minister of India,