This is a special article supported by Ajanta HC Co-Founders, Vedan Choolun, based in Mayfair, London, UK, and Ashwin Srivastav, based in Mumbai, India where we have invited a leading authority on Indian tribal culture, to present this important innovation and development backed by Ajanta HC, which promotes, preserves, and offers Indian Culture, Art and Heritage to a global audience which can open the world further to the significance of Santali culture. Both B. Vedan Choolun and Ashwin Srivastav of Ajanta HC are great admirers of Indian tribal culture and Heritage.
The script of Santali language, Ol Chiki, was invented by Guru Gomke Pandit Raghunath Murmu and since then his efforts have contributed historically to the development of Santali language and writing.
But Sudip Iglesias Murmu (SiM) has done something that Ol Chiki script needed for years. His effort will enrich it technically and practically. SiM hails from Ghatshila, Jharkhand and currently lives in Santragachi, West Bengal.
SiM, a graphic designer, and typographer by profession, did a lot of research to understand the complexity and problems that Ol Chiki script was facing, working for it since 2017. According to him there are two types of styles in Ol Chiki writing. One, capital letter and the second OlUsara (a cursive writing).
Till now only capital letters are used in writing and publishing, Ol Usara is used in writing quickly but despite its fine ability, its circulation is negligible, and it is still yet to get Unicode standardization, this way it is still neglected.
To solve this problem, SiM has conceptualized new principle of a series of lowercase letters, which he has integrated with the already existing font of Ol Chiki, now Ol Chiki can be written and typed in both upper and lowercase letters at the same time as in Latin. This not only gives an attractive look but also eases us to write and type efficiently. This effort of SiM will give a new dimension to the Ol Chiki script.
SiM is very much influenced by Guru Gomke Pandit Raghunath Murmu, and he wants to contribute towards the vision of Guru Gomke’s efforts to enrich Santali language and writing. He has plan to submit the proposal to Unicode Consortium to get his Ol Chiki principles Unicode standardized so that people can write online and offline in both styles.
SiM’s path was not easy. On the question of his challenges, he says that during character designing, he had to leave many projects so that he could devote full time on it, due to which he also had to face the burden of financial crisis, but these obstacles could not stop him, there was time when due to his belligerence his health became very bad and during this time the family also spent lakhs to save him but his survival was difficult. He believes that it was family’s efforts and supernatural power that gave him new life. After this SiM started his work again with new energy and reached his goal.
SiM absorbed the life journey of Guru Gomke as an inspiration, for which he used to wander in the jungles all night, meditating amidst the sounds of animals, birds, and insects. He believes that this natural energy inspired him to work continuously during difficulties, due to which he could work on it day and night with empty stomach, and he finally got the characters he had imagined, for which he designed thousands of characters and evaluated them again and again.
Talking about his work, he studied many scripts in depth just to get the idea of what characters combined creates a script. SiM tried designing thousands of characters for Ol Chiki and minutely compared them in every aspect. Unsatisfied at times, he started his work in a new direction. After thousands of letters and permutation and combination of each character of new concepts, he has now come to the conclusion where Ol Chiki can have inclusive writing of upper and lowercase letters.
This effort of SiM has also been appreciated by many veterans, about this, Mr. R.C.Hansda, the father of Ol Chiki font, has also appreciated his new theory.
Mr. Nishant Choksi, a linguist at Kyoto University Japan, has described his efforts as a significant contribution to the development of Ol Chiki. Mr. Basudev Khalkho, the inventor of Kurukh Banna, the script of Kurukh language, has also described his theory as the need of the hour.
The multi-talented SiM was interested in typography since childhood, he was doing it since when he was 3-year-old. Apart from this skill, SiM is also a cartoonist, visual
designer, filmmaker, musician, and photographer and has also worked on many projects.
SiM has done ‘logo& brand identity’ designing work for many international brands and has won many international contests. Recently he started his own company named SiM Designs Private Limited through which he is creating Graphic Designing Platform simbhai.com in which people can order their favourite designs online.
SiM welcomes criticism and says that only by criticism we can improve our work, and Ajanta HC congratulates him for this success.
For suggestions and queries about the same, and for any interest in learning more about the Santali culture or having access to works originating in Santali culture and helping humans understand their origins better, the team at Ajanta HC can be approached.
This work is a gift to humanity on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples(the 9th august 2021 and Ajanta HC founders Vedan Choolun and Ashwin Srivastav are proud to present it to the world. We hope our readers from every corner of the world can appreciate and support the indigenous Indian tribal culture much more through such innovations.
Through this, the script of the language depicting Santali culture will have more acceptance around the world, and this will be able to present many unknown knowledges of Santali culture rooted in India, in a much better manner as mentioned by Vedan Choolun and Ashwin Srivastav, co-founders of Ajantahc www.ajantahc.com
Disclaimer: Images used here are copyright of respective owner.
Author: ShyamMurmu, Co-founder, Santhaledisom.com