Kolkata: Amid the on-going Dalit protests across the country, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Bengal is working on a book in Ol-Chiki script that deals with BR Ambedkar’s vision for uplifting the condition of Dalits in India.
Ahead of the 2019 polls, the RSS believes, the book could help the organization consolidate its position amid the tribal population of Bengal which accounts for nearly seven per cent of the state’s total population.
Ol-Chiki is the script used by Santhals, a tribe which constitutes nearly 51 per cent of Bengal’s total ST population. The book on Ambedkar would have a special focus on Birsa Munda, the tribal freedom fighter from the state.
Speaking to News18.com, Jishnu Basu, RSS’s General Secretary in South Bengal, said, “This book will be a gift from us to the SC/ST communities and will highlight the work of Ambedkar and his thoughts about Birsa Munda.”
“Little effort has been made so far to spread Ambedkar’s work among the tribal and SC communities in Bengal. Hence, we thought of this book which deals with Ambedkar’s wisdom and Birsa Munda’s tales of courage. And what better way to do that than in the Ol-Chiki script?” Basu added while explaining his project.
“Both Ambedkar and Munda were true nationalists. Both leaders fought for the dignity and identity of SC/ST communities and RSS also believes in the same goal. A team of historians, academics and experts in Ol-Chiki are working on this project,” Basu said.
Referring to the violence during filing of nominations for the state panchayat polls, he said, “Tribals never bowed down to injustice. A recent example is that of Ajit Murmu, a tribal who was brutally murdered in Bankura’s Ranibandh area by TMC goons because he refused to withdraw his nomination. That’s the kind of courage we want to highlight in this book in the context of Ambedkar’s fight for the Dalits.”
During the state elections in 2016, the Trinamool Congress reached out for tribal votes by also releasing the party’s election manifesto in Ol-Chiki, among other languages. Later, in 2017, the government launched a trilingual Santhali-English-Bengali dictionary in Ol-Chiki.
Clearly, it is this very space that RSS plans to have its presence felt, a move that could irk the ruling TMC dispensation in an already antagonized political atmosphere of the state.