Ol Chiki - The Santali Script

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Ol Chiki is the official script of Santali language. Pt Raghunath Murmu is the chief engineer of the script. It has become an identity and matter of pride for people of the Santali tribe in particular and all the tribes in general. Read on to know more about it.

Ol Chiki is the official script of Santali which is an Austroasiatic-Munda language. It is also known as Ol Cemet. The script or writing system has 30 letters which has been derived from natural shapes. Ol Chiki script is written from left to right. The script was created by Pandit Raghunath Murmu in 1925 and was publicized for the first time in 1939 at a Mayurbhanj State exhibition. Initially Santali was written in Latin script. However, one needs to note that Santali is not an Indo-Aryan language. Further, Indic scripts do not contain Santali phonemes, especially its stop consonants and vowels. Therefore, writing in Indic script is very difficult.  Norman Zide has aptly said that the letters in the Ol Chiki script are pictorial shapes which reflect the names for letters which are words, usually the names of actions representing conventionalized form.

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