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Santals

Makers of picturesque houses, the Santals have an eye for beauty. They are also deeply concerned with personal hygine and the cleanliness of their surroundings. A Santal folktale says that God places rice inside a husk so it would remain clean ! Santals adore flowers. They also collect silk cocoons from Asan trees in the forest and process


them to help make golden hued fabric called tussar. According to the Santal culture, the supreme deity, who ultimately controls the entire universe, is Thakurji. The weight of belief, however, falls on a court of spirits (bonga), who handle different aspects of the world and who must be placated with prayers and offerings in order to ward off evil influences. These spirits operate at the village, household, ancestor, and subclan level, along with evil spirits that cause disease, and can inhabit village boundaries, mountains, water, tigers, and the forest. A characteristic feature of the Santal village is a sacred grove on the edge of the settlement where many spirits live and where a series of annual festivals take place.

Like most other tribal socoietis, the Santals did not have a written language for a long time. They were accustomed to use as many as four scripts for purposes of writing depnding on the exigencies of geographical postion they were put in. they were on the look out for new script which could be adopted by all the groups of the tribe. After a prolonged effort and experimewnt, their long felt need was fulfilled by Oandit Raghunath Murmu of Mayurbhanj district who discovered the OL Chiki script, in which books and journals are being published now a days.
 
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