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Book captures Kharia tongue

Ranchi, June 16: Tribal tradition and legacy live on.

This was apparent when Tatacharya Julias Baa, a book on issues related to the language and life of the Kharia-speaking people was released at a function organised by Kharia Sahitya Samiti at Satya Bharati auditorium in Ranchi this evening.

The book is a compilation of articles by the late Julias Baa as well as a few on him by others, edited by Basil Kiro.

“The book has three parts,” Kiro said.

The first contains articles by Baa expressing his views on topics such as standardised writing, how to form neologisms, Kharia alphabets and the village council in the Kharia self-governance model, he added.

While other writers’ views on Baa’s work have been included in the second part, the last section is a collection of his letters to various authorities on issues concerning Kharias, he added.

A former employee of the state forest department, Baa was a prolific writer in Kharia and published books such as Kharia Dhwani Shastra.

He also served on a committee that worked towards translating Holy Mass and hymns from Latin into tribal tongues. After the tribal languages department was opened in Ranchi University in the mid-’80s, Baa was appointed an expert in Kharia in the selection panel for appointment of lecturers.

Baa died in December 2009 before he could complete the Kharia grammar he was working on for schoolchildren. Kiro later completed the book.

Baa worked towards the revival of Kharia from almost the verge of extinction, reminisced president of Kharia Mahasabha Plasidus Kiro, who knew him since college days.

Even before scholars such as George Abraham Grierson and Paul Olaf Bodding had started working on tribal languages, including Santhali, about a century ago, their counterparts had started working on languages of the people of Chotanagpur, including Kharia, a project of his predecessors that Baa carried forward.