The Importance of a Community Museum: Its Role in the Education and the Development of the Santals – West Bengal

A museum can be a motivation for the community to move forward towards modernity without abandoning one’s Santal mentality Boro Baski (concept note for the National Seminar on 8th December, 2016)

Organized by Bishnubati Adibasi Marshal Sangha, Birbhum, West Bengal
Funded by The Anthropological Survey of India, Government of India

Funded by The Anthropological Survey of India, Kolkata

Venue: Rolf Schoembs Vidyashram, Ghosaldanga, Birbhum, West Bengal

Concept Note for the One-Day National Seminar held on 8th December, 2016

Banam © Boro Baski | eBooks:
Banam | Museum of Santal Culture >>

Introduction: We Santals have no written history of ourselves. The memories that exist have come down to us from our ancestors through oral traditions like myths, songs, folk tales, dance forms. The written history of us is mostly the work of dominant groups which ruled us during the various stages of our civilization. In the schools our children read about the life of the great personalities and rulers of our country, but there is not any reflection on our own history. Hence, the Santals who take mainstream education often grow up ignorant about their own culture. Besides the great personalities that we read about at schools, we also need to explore our own heroes and heroines who have become ‘successful’ in life in the context of our own background. We need to document their contributions to the sustainable development of our society with Santal values. Growing up with the talents and the genius of one’s own people in mind will have a lasting effect in life.

Objectives: There is some sense of skepticism within the Santal community about the idea of exhibiting the old household and cultural items in our museum. Even among the educated Santals many feel that it is a glorification of the backwardness of Santal life. However, items like musical instruments, a mouse-trap or the ornaments, are not “any old wooden or metal thing” which our parents and grandparents once used. But these objects tell us of the history of our tribe and are a witness to the deep thoughts, the intelligence and ingenious spirit of our forefathers. Through these items we can educate our children about the rich culture and traditions that our ancestors have given us. We believe that the strength of our cultural roots can give support to a Santal to consciously reach out to the modern world. In this way, a museum can be a motivation for the community to move forward towards modernity without abandoning one’s Santal mentality. Therefore, to create awareness about the importance of a Community Museum and to understand its role in education and development of Santal is the main objective of the workshop. The workshop is also the follow-up of the Bodding Symposium 2015, Oslo in which our Museum of Santal culture had been one of its indigenous partners.


Prof. SushantaDattagupta, former Vice-Chancellor, Visva-Bharati
Dr. Ranjit Kr. Bhattacharya, former Director of The Anthropological Survey of India.
Dr. Dhaneshwar Manjhi, Dept. of Santali, Visva-Bharati
Prof. Kumkum Bhattacharya, Dept. of Social Work, Visva-Bharati
Dr. Gurupada Soren, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi
Dr. Clement Soren, Ranchi, Jharkhand
Conveners / Contacts

Dr. Boro Baski, Convener, Ph-9432357160, Email: [email protected]

Mr. Sanyasi Lohar, Co-convener, Ph-9434636856, [email protected]


Venue: Rolf Schoembs Vidyashram (RSV) , Ghosaldanga


Rabindra Sangeet in Santali ​​ ​​R. S. Vidyashram students

Reception of guests ​ ​​​​Village women

Inauguration by beating the Santal Drum ​Prof. Sushanta Dattagupta, Chief Guest (former Vice-Chancellor of Visva-Bharati)

Introduction ​​​​​​Dr. Boro Baski, Convener

Keynote Speech ​Prof. Ranjit Kumar Bhattacharya (former Director of The Anthropological Survey of India)

Address ​​​​​​Mr. Innocent Soren, General Manager, Reserve Bank of India, Kolkata

Address ​​​​​​Dr. Kakali Chakraborty, Dy. Director, The Anthropological Survey of India

Address ​​​​​​Chief Guest

TEA BREAK (15 minutes)

SESSION 1: 11.15 AM to 1.15 PM (in English)

1st Panel Discussion on ‘Importance of preserving Santal Cultural Heritage’

Panelists: Mr. Gokul Hansda, President, Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust (GBAT)

Dr. Gurupada Soren, Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi

Prof. Kumkum Bhattacharya, Dept. of Social Work, Visva-Bharati

Mr. Lakhan Soren, Research Scholar, Visva-Bharati

Mr. Tonol Murmu, General Secretary,

All India Santal Welfare and Cultural Society (AISWACS), Kolkata

Moderator: Fr. David Soloman Sj, Social Worker; Director, HRD ‘Johar’, Dumka, Jharkhand

LUNCH BREAK (one hour)

SESSION 2: 2.15 PM to 4.15 PM (in Santali)

2nd Panel Discussion: From Bodding to Bishnubati – The Role of the Museum of Santal Culture in the Light of the Bodding Symposium 2015 in Oslo

Panelists: ​Dr. Boro Baski, Managing Trustee, GBAT

Mrs. Khukumoni Hansda, leader of the women’s group, Bishnubati
Mr. Sanyasi Lohar, Artist and Teacher In-charge of RSV
Dr. Dhoneshwar Majhi, Dept. of Santali, Visva-Bharati
Mr. Premchand Murmu, President, Adivasi Buddhijibi Manch, Ranchi
Prof. Tone Bleie, University of Tromso, Norway, (Paper to be read out in absentia by Mrs. Asha Baski, Bishnubati)
Moderator: Mr. Sunder Manoj Hembrom, Santali writer, Bandel, Hooghly

TEA BREAK (15 minutes)


Santals’ Identity in the Modern World ​Dr. Clement Soren, Ranchi, Jharkhand
Sharing my life with Santals​​Dr. Martin Kämpchen, Santiniketan
Valedictory Speech Mr. Tonol Murmu, General Secretary, All India Santal Welfare and Cultural Society (AISWACS), Kolkata
Vote of Thanks​​​​Mr. Sona Murmu, Trustee, GBAT.


Slide show​​
The Making of the Museum of Santal Culture at Bishnubati and ​​ the Draft Catalogue of the Museum exhibits.
Santali Songs​​ Mr. Ram Kisku, Traditional Santali Singer, Dakhin Dinajpur;
Santal Dances ​​ The villagers of Ghosaldanga and Bishnubati.

Dr. Boro Baski​​​​​​ Convener​​​​​​ [email protected] Ph No: 9434636856

Mr. Sanyasi Lohar, RSV, Co-Convener [email protected] Ph No: 9432357160​​​​​

To locate the Museum of Santal Culture in Bishnubati village (near Santiniketan) on the map seen below, open by clicking on the left button:

Learn more

Audio | Santali Traditional and Fusion Songs: Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust



Education and literacy

eBook | Free catalogue: Banam: One of the ancient musical instruments of the Santals

eBook | Free catalogue: Museum of Santal Culture (Bishnubati) – West Bengal

eBook | “Santals Celebrate the Seasons”: Creativity fostered by Ashadullapur Gramin Silpa & Sastha Bidhan Kendra – West Bengal

eJournal | Writing and teaching Santali in different alphabets: A success story calling for a stronger sense of self-confidence

eLearning | “National development and the development of tribal communities are linked to each other”: Droupadi Murmu – 15th President of India

Homes and utensils

Indigenous knowledge systems

Multi-lingual education

Museum of Santal Culture Bishnubati

Santal | Santal Parganas | The Santals by Boro Baski | Santal music

Santal democratic organisations, customs, history and creation traditions (book tip)

Santali language | eBook | A Santali-English dictionary –

Santal mission | Santal Parganas

Santali translations of Rabindranath Tagore’s “Vidyasagar-Charit” and “Raktakarabi”

Santali script – Ol Chiki

Seasons and festivals

Teaching Santal children by Boro Baski

Traditional music instruments of the Santals at the Museum of Santal Culture

Video | Roots and Branches: The Lifeworld of an Enlightened Villager in West Bengal

Video | Santali video album “Ale Ato” (Our Village, Part 1 of 2) – West Bengal

Video & eLearning | “Cadence and Counterpoint: Documenting Santal Musical Traditions” – A virtual exhibition on Google Cultural Institute


Tips for using interactive maps

Toggle to normal view (from reader view) should the interactive map not be displayed by your tablet, smartphone or pc browser

For details and hyperlinks click on the rectangular button (left on the map’s header)

Scroll and click on one of the markers for information of special interest

Explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>