Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton April 8, 2014

Scripting the border: script practices and territorial imagination among Santali speakers in eastern India

Nishaant Choksi


This article examines the role of ``borders'' in the writing practices of Santali speakers, who are spread across the states of Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and Assam in eastern India. A tension between a ``trans-border'' linguistic homogeneity and a ``bordered'' linguistic heterogeneity occurs in discussions around script. Santali is written in the various ``official'' scripts. Together with regional scripts, there is a recently invented script, called Ol Chiki (`writing symbol') in circulation as well as a Roman script invented by Christian missionaries. This article examines the alternating use of Ol Chiki, Roman and regional scripts in Santali language media. I argue that these media simultaneously posit a linguistically homogenous future while at the same time affirming a present that is deeply influenced by differing linguistic environments.

Published Online: 2014-4-8
Published in Print: 2014-5-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston