ROURKELA: Santhali language has its own significance among ancient Indian languages, said Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu while speaking at the International Santhal Conference here on Saturday.
Inaugurating the two-day conference in presence of Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, Murmu emphasised the need to preserve and popularise the rich culture, tradition, language, independent religion (Sarna) and history of Santhal tribe.
Stating that not much is known about the richness of Santhal tribe outside the community, she exhorted historians and researchers to help in preparing official chronicles of Santhal history, practice, tradition and heritage.
Organised under the aegis of International Santhal Council (ISC) about 1,000 delegates from Santhal-dominated states of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam besides countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Fiji attended.
Addressing the gathering, Oram said, “Santhal tribe is ahead of other tribal communities and Jharkhand Governor herself is a Santhal which is a matter of pride for us”. Later, Draupadi and Jual paid floral tributes to Pandit Raghunath Murmu, the inventor of Santhali script ‘Ol Chiki’.
Former speaker of Assam Legislative Assembly and ISC president Prithbi Majhi claimed Santhali language is one of the world’s oldest languages, but in absence of its independent script Santhal history failed to make wide impact. The ‘Ol Chiki’ script was invented in 1925 but in the age of information technology, Santhali language faces a challenge of survival.
Informing about the second day of the conference ISC spokesperson Ramesh Patra said, deliberations on empowerment of Santhal women for social development and measures to save the ‘Sarna’ religion of Santhal tribe would be held.
ISC working president DC Murmu also spoke.