Santhali becomes India’s first tribal language to get own Wikipedia edition

Santhali has become the first Indian tribal language to get a Wikipedia edition in its own script after the Santhali Wikipedia went live earlier this month. The Santhali Wikipedia got approval from the language committee of the Wikimedia Foundation on June 28 and went live on August 2.

Santhali is written in Ol Chiki script and spoken by 6.4 million people, according to the 2001 census, in India alone and its speakers live mostly in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, and Assam. It is also spoken in Bangladesh and Nepal. The home page of the Santhali edition of Wikipedia carries an article on Raghunath Murmu, who created the Ol Chiki script. There have been several initiatives in the past few months to push the Santhali language.

Several hundred students wrote their Class 10 board examinations under the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) in the Ol Chiki script for the first time this year. The Wikipedia initiative was first taken up in 2012 when workshops were held, but lost steam soon after due to the lack of contributors.

The Santhali language was heard for the first time on a global platform in March during the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a body made up of national parliaments from all over the world, when Uma Saren, a 33-year-old doctor by training and a Lok Sabha MP from Jhargram constituency, addressed a conference in Geneva.

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