What is the first of its kind Santhali-Bengali-English dictionary
August 2, 2017: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday released a Santhali -Bengali-English dictionary. It is a first of its kind dictionary in the Santhali language.
Santhal is an indigenous tribe residing in India and the Terai regions of Nepal. A small population of Santhals is also found in Bangladesh. In India, Santhals are mainly found in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Assam. With a population of around 6,950,000, Santhal is one of the largest tribal community in India.
The Santhal community speaks the Santhali language. Previously the language did not have a script and used the Latin script. However in 1925 Raghunath Murmu created the Ol Chiki script.
The dictionary was released by Mamata Banerjee from Uttarkanya, the mini Secretariat in the Jalpaiguri District in North Bengal during the Tribal Advisory Council meeting is in Ol Chiki script.
"It is unique as it is a bilingual dictionary, the first of its kind in Ol Chiki script. It not only has the Ol Chiki words but also the common scientific and commerce terms. It will be a very helpful tool for anyone wanting to learn the Santhali language" stated Banerjee.
The "Tri Bhasa Abhidan" (name of the dictionary) is prepared by the Santhal Academy with the help of the Tribal Development Department, Government of West Bengal.
It has 24,550 Santhali words in Ol Chiki script, Santhali alphabets, numerical, units of measurement, names of months and days along with colors in Santhali. It has terminologies used in physics, chemistry, biology, mathamtics, history and geography. It has has Santhali idioms and the usage.
"We are giving a lot of stress in preserving and uplifting the unique culture, language and script of different tribal communities. We are trying to impart education to these communities in their own languages" Banerjee had earlier announced during her tour of North Bengal on March 27. At that time she had mentioned that a Santhali dictionary was being prepared by the State Government.
In the meeting, Banerjee also claimed that Pattas (land documents) have been handed over to 45,000 tribal families by her government.