Kolkata: In a first, the Centre for SC, ST Support and Research (CSSR) – known to be close to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) - has come up with a book on Dr BR Ambedkar’s vision and his thoughts for the tribal people in Ol-Chiki script.
The Ol-Chiki script is an Austroasiatic-Munda language recognised as an official regional language in India. It is common among Santhali tribe in India.
Earlier, on April 17, 2019, a book on Ambedkar in ‘Bangla’ was launched in Kolkata by Governor of Jharkhand Draupadi Murmu. Murmu had reportedly suggested that there should be a book on Ambedkar in Ol-Chiki script to take his vision forward among the tribal people, mainly ‘Santhalis’.
Sources in the RSS said the book is likely to be launched in November after final screening by experts from four tribal states, including Bengal and Jharkhand where Santhali population is high.
“For now, we have published 1,000 books and these will be distributed among our tribal brothers and sisters during Santhali festivals at Lalpania in Jharkhand and in Jhargram. The tribal festivals will start from November 11. We are planning to put up stalls during festivals for the distribution of Ambedkar’s book in Ol-Chiki,” a source in the RSS said.
He further said, “We have chosen Ambedkar for Ol-Chiki because we want to spread his wisdom among the tribal people. No initiative was taken before in Ol-Chiki script and therefore we are hopeful that this book will be an excellent gift for the Santhalis.”
Since Santhals constitute nearly 51% of the total Schedule Tribe (ST) population in the Bengal, this book is likely to create an impact in the TMC and BJP camps considering the 2021 Assembly polls in the state.
In 2016, the TMC, in order to secure the tribal votes, released party’s election manifesto in Santhali language.
Now, the CSSR backed by RSS’s move to reach out to SC/STs in Bengal through Ambedkar’s book in Ol-Chiki, is expected to draw the attention of Santhali voters.
On the other side, with the BJP’s noticeable rise in Jungalmahal in the Panchayat and Lok Sabha polls, Ambedkar’s book for dalits in Ol-Chiki script can be seen as an advantage for the saffron brigade to help it make some more political space in the upcoming 2021 Assembly polls in Bengal.
In the Panchayat polls in Bengal, the BJP won 329 seats in Jhargram as compares to TMC’s 399 seats. In Purulia, the BJP won 626 as compared to TMC’s 771 seats.
Santhals are the third largest tribe in India and mainly settled in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha and Assam.