A national seminar was held at KISS Deemed to be University to celebrate the birth anniversary of Legendary Pandit Raghunath Murmu. The seminar focused on Pandit Raghunath Murmu’s contributions to the Santali Language and Literature. The School of Comparative Tribal Languages and Literatures and Pandit Raghunath Murmu Research Chair jointly organised the event on 5th May 2023.

The programme was presided over by Dr K.C. Mahali, Director General, KISS-DU and Chairperson of Tribal Advisory Council (TAC), KISS-DU. Dr. Gumda Mardi, Assistant Professor and Head of Department at Panskura Banamali Autonomous College Purba Midinipur, West Bengal was invited as the esteemed chief guest and Shyam Charan Tudu, Assistant Professor at Government General Degree College, Salboni, Paschim Midnipur, West Bengal joined as chief speaker.

The chief guest, Dr. Gumda Mardi, appreciated the institution and its Founder, Dr Achyuta Samanta. He appreciated the efforts of KISS in educating tribal students free of cost and lauded the initiatives of the Founder of KISS and KIIT. He stressed the importance of language, stating that Santali Language is an ancient and rich language of the world. He spoke about the efforts taken by Pandit Raghunath Murmu in teaching Ol chiki to the Santal society through his drama Bidu Chandan. The speaker concluded with the message to the students in developing their communities through education.

The chief speaker, Mr Shyam Charan Tudu, spoke about the importance of literature and stressed on the need of documentation. In addition, he underscored that documentation is vital in preserving, promoting and protecting rich cultural heritage and diversity.

Dr Naran Tudu emphasized the importance of the day of “Guru Kunami” – the full moon day of Baishaka. He stated that many great men, including Pandit Raghunath Murmu, were born on this auspicious day. He noted that Pandit Raghunath Murmu was not only the inventor of Ol Chiki, but also a social, religious, and educational leader in the Tribal and Santal community. He was honoured with great names such as Pandit, Spiritual Guru, and Guru Gomke. Dr Sunaram Soren highlighted the significance of preserving the Santali language, and Mr. Kadey Soren shed light on the achievements of Guru Gomke Pandit Raghunath Murmu and emphasized the need to write books in multi-lingual to spread our language and literature in other countries.

Dr Kanhu Charan Mahali, announced a concrete action plan and roadmap which included the introduction of a Santali Value Added Course, primary education in Santali, a research documentary on Pandit Raghunath Murmu, translation of his books into Hindi and English, and research-based book publications from KISS-DU.

The vote of thanks by Dr Rasmita Tripathy, Dean of the School of Comparative Tribal Languages and Literatures, marked the successful conclusion of the seminar. Hopefully, the concrete action plan will be implemented, and the preservation and promotion of the Santali language and literature will continue to receive the attention it deserves.