NEWS November from the villages

By: Martin Kämpchen
21.12.2014 News

University Visva-Bharati of Santiniketan

(1) Since September four students from Bishnubati and Ghosaldanga have been living in a two-room apartment in Santiniketan. They are living close to their colleges and their private tutorial schools. Frequently on the go until late in the evening, they previously had to return to their villages after nightfall. Thanks to a sponsor in Germany this effort is no longer necessary. Rupchand Hansda, Bimal Mardi, Nirmal Mardi and Ranjan Murmu have quickly become accustomed to their new style of living and visit their families at the weekends, after spending the week together in their apartment.

(2) On the 16th/17th November a seminar under P. David Solomon SJ took place in Dumka (Jharkhand) with a view to showing young Santals how to tell their own stories and those of their families. The intention was to reinforce the oral traditions of the tribe, which in our present age of books, TV and movies threatens to die out. Boro Baski, Gobinda Baski and Uttam Baski , who are all interested in story-telling and other literary projects, took part in this seminar.

(3) Sona Murmu was appointed by the local government of the Birbhum District to function as an "Adalat", that is a legal advisor to the villagers in the rural areas around Bishnubati and Ghosaldanga. His task is to set up and facilitate contact between the village dwellers and the police and the courts. He will carry out this important task for the period of one year.

(4) On 30th November a programme with the topic "The Seasons in the Santal Celebration of Life" took place in the Visva-Bharati University of Santiniketan. For the first time a Santal group was permitted to perform a concert with song and dance pertaining to the seasonal festivities in Udyan, in the rooms last used by Rabindranath Tagore. Boro Baski, who provided the accompanying explanations, was the director of rehearsals. Martin Kämpchen spoke the introduction, and the whole programme took place under the auspices of Professor Tapati Mukherjee, the Principal of the Rabindra Bhavan.