India’s first documentary film on Santal writers by Sangita Datta and produced by the Sahitya Academy New Delhi – Jharkhand, Odisha & West Bengal

Ready for release by the Sahitya Akademi (India’s national institution for the development of Indian letters) and subsequent screenings in and outside India – Information courtesy Sangita Datta, Kolkata, 5 August 2015

First time in the history of Santali literature a full-fledged documentary film is being made on the lives and works on four well known Santal writers who have been writing for more than three decades.

The first phase of the shooting has just ended in October and second phase is due to start at the end of November 2013. The four Santal writers are (1) Shovanath Hansda, East Singbhum, Orissa; (2) Thakur Prasad Murmu, Loyadi village, Jharkhand; (3) Dhirendranath Baskey, Bhimpur, West Bengal and (4) Bhaiya Hansda, Dumka, Jharkhand.

All the writers are renowned in their respective area. Most of their works are on Santali prose and poems however, Mr. Baskey’s works are mainly on historical writings. Though all their works are in Santali language but they have used four different scripts like Al-chiki, Debnagari, Roman and Bangla.  Mr. Shovanath Hansda had received Santali Sahitya Academy Award in 2010 on translation work. Most of the writers are in their nineties and represent the first generation educated Santals thus their line of thoughts, art of expression, choice of words and experiences are the treasure of Santali literature.

The six member team of the film is led by Ms. Sangita Datta (Director) and the project is financed by Sahitya Academy [India’s National Academy of Letters], New Delhi. Being one of the team members and the interviewer of the film I had a great opportunity of going through the literary works of the writers. Their much struggled and colorful journey of life also moved me so much. Visiting their place of birth, their old schools, place of work, meeting their close kin and learning about their transition from traditional to modernity is also a unique experience for me.

Text and photographs: courtesy Boro Baski © 2013

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The Sahitya Akademi was formally inaugurated by the Government of India on 12 March 1954. The Government of India Resolution, which set forth the constitution of the Akademi, described it as a national organisation to work actively for the development of Indian letters and to set high literary standards, to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to promote through them all the cultural unity of the country. Though set up by the Government, the Akademi functions as an autonomous organisation. It was registered as a society on 7 January 1956, under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

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Date Visited: Tue Nov 19 2013 15:40:23 GMT+0100 (CET)


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