Department of Santali

Santali, as an oral language has been in existence for some 4000 years. Pandit Raghunath Murmu developed the OlChiki script for Santali about a hundred years ago in 1925. Santali is recognised in the eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution as a regional language. As per the 2011 census India has more than seventy lakh native Santali speakers. Yet Santali was seldom included as a school subject, the scope of pursuing higher studies in Santali was almost nil. In West Bengal, the Santali speaking child has to pursuing his or her education through Bengali did not have an opportunity to study Santali language and literature.

On this background Mankar College introduced Santali as a BA Pass course subject a quarter of a century ago, in 2005, to make it possible for the young boys and girls to continue to study the subject even after school. In those days Santali was taught in only three or four colleges affiliated to the University of Burdwan, It should be noted that then BU had all the colleges in the districts of Burdwan, Birbhum, Hooghly, Purulia and Bankura under its jurisdiction.

The department of Santali, Mankar College, is proud of being one of the oldest departments among colleges teaching the subject. In 2005 a very modest beginning was made with a few students and Sri Kisun Murmu as the sole Part Time Teacher. Books in Santali are not readily available even today, the situation was much worse then. Sri Murmu took the initiative and collected books from places like Jhargram and Ranchi. It should be emphasised that the tradition continues even today, as a result of the initiative taken by all the teachers working in the department the stock of Santali books in the college library has become quite sound.

The first batch, comprising nine students appeared in the BA final examination in 2008 and all nine of them passed. The rate of success continued in the following years. The success of the Pass course gradually gave rise to a strong demand for the introduction of the Honours course in Santali. The University granted affiliation to the Honours Course in 2015. The course is now being continued with commitment and competence.

After Kisun Murmu left, the department was served by a number of Part Time Teachers and Guest Teachers over the years. The individual teachers may have continued for irregular periods of time, but there can never be any question raised about their dedication and responsibility. In 2019 Sri Dhirendra Nath Murmu joined the college as an Assistant Professor in Santali on the recommendation of West Bengal College Service Commission.

At present Prof. Murmu is in charge of the department and the task of teaching and learning is shared with him by three other State Aided College Teachers. In the 2019-20 even semester there are in all — students, of them —– Honours and —- General students. There is a very close relation between the teachers and the taught. Apart from academic activities the students actively participate in cultural activities, publish departmental wall magazine, prepare exhibition stall during the college social every year, participate in sports and games and also serve the NCC and NSS units of the college.

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102 Apr 2020Santali by Dhiren MurmuN/ADownload