Santali: The Tribal Language Which Became India’s First To Have A Wikipedia Edition In Own Script

Santali is spoken by over 6.4 million people in the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha and Assam

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A tribal language to have its own Wikipedia edition is quite fascinating and progressive for regional India. Santali is primarily spoken in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, received global recognition when it got a Wikipedia edition in its own script, earlier this month.

Spoken by over 6.4 million people in the states of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, and Assam, efforts to bring bring the language to the online encyclopedia were underway and it finally went live.

The initiative to get a Santali edition for Wikipedia, began six years ago, in 2012. Workshops were held to make people aware of the language, but the initiative had to be paused because of shortage of cotributotos. The Bangladesh chapter of Wikipedia restarted efforts towards opening a Santali Wikipedia page around September last year. 

Santali, written in the Ol Chiki script currently has content of about 70,000 words. Jayanta Nath, who works for the Indian chapter of Wikimedia Foundation told the Hindustan Times, “The Santhali Wikipedia got approval from the language committee of the Wikimedia Foundation on June 28 and went live on August 2.”

The home page of Santali Wikipedia features an article on Raghunath Murmu — the inventor of the Ol Chiki script.

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