Ol Chiki Script #69/100: A Journey Through 100 Writing Systems of the World

Discovering Ol Chiki: The Enduring Script of the Santals

Ol Chiki

Script type: The Ol Chiki script is an alphabet-based writing system, where each character represents a specific sound.

Writing direction: Ol Chiki is written in a left-to-right direction, similar to English and many other modern scripts.

Creator and invention time: The Ol Chiki script was created by Pandit Raghunath Murmu, a Santali scholar, and educator in the early 20th century. He invented the script in 1925 as a way to promote Santali culture and language and provide a writing system that was better suited to represent the sounds of the Santali language.

Time period of use: The Ol Chiki script gained popularity among the Santal community in the early 20th century and has since become the primary writing system for the Santali language.

Population and current usage: The Ol Chiki script is actively used by the Santal community, an indigenous ethnic group in the Indian states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, and Assam. It is an integral part of their cultural identity and is taught in schools to preserve and promote the Santali language and heritage.

Languages associated: The Ol Chiki script is primarily associated with the Santali language, which is a Dravidian language spoken by the Santal people. It is also used to write other languages and dialects within the Santal community.

Interesting Facts:

  1. Script Design: The Ol Chiki script has a unique and visually distinctive design. Its characters are angular, simple, and arranged in a linear fashion. The script is easy to learn and write, making it accessible to the Santal community, including those with limited formal education.

  2. Cultural Significance: The Ol Chiki script holds immense cultural significance for the Santal people. It has become a symbol of their identity and cultural pride, fostering a sense of unity and belonging among the community members.

  3. Script Revival: Before the invention of the Ol Chiki script, the Santali language did not have a standardized writing system. By creating the script, Pandit Raghunath Murmu played a crucial role in preserving and revitalizing the Santali language and heritage.

  4. Recognition and Official Status: In recognition of its importance and cultural significance, the Ol Chiki script was granted official recognition by the Government of India in 2004. It is now included in the Unicode Standard, facilitating digital representation and use in modern communication.

  5. Efforts for Preservation: In recent years, there have been concerted efforts to preserve and promote the Ol Chiki script. It is taught in schools, and cultural organizations work to raise awareness and appreciation of the script among younger generations.

  6. Script Adaptations: Over time, the Ol Chiki script has been adapted for writing other languages of the Santal community, including Kurukh and Mundari, further extending its utility and relevance.

  7. Beyond Writing: The Ol Chiki script is not limited to just writing. It is used in various art forms, such as painting, music, and dance, as a way to celebrate and express the Santali culture and traditions.

In conclusion, the Ol Chiki script stands as a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the Santal community. Its invention by Pandit Raghunath Murmu was a pioneering effort to preserve and promote the Santali language and culture. Today, as an active and culturally significant script, Ol Chiki continues to strengthen the identity of the Santal people and serves as a bridge between their rich heritage and the modern world.

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