Mahendra Nath Sardar

Born on 02 06June,1956


Ol Onal is alphabetic, and does not share any of the syllabic properties of the other Indic scripts. It contains 30 letters and five basic diacritics. It has 6 basic vowels and additional three vowels are generated using . On commenting about Ol Onal, Norman size (1996) observes, "One ingenous - 'scientific' and unique feature of Ol Cemtao'(Ol Onal) that certainly increases the efficiency of writing Bhumij is the deglottalizing ohot'(Ahad). This neatly preserves the morphophonemic relationship between the glottalized and the voiced equivalent:"

Mahendra Nath Sardar is the inventor of Ol Onal script. He was born in a village, called Mahadev dihi, on 2nd June 1956on the day of full moon in the district of Mayurbhanj, Orissa. After a brief stint in technical profession, he took up the job of teaching in Badomtolia high school. During this time, his interest was drawn into Bhumij literatures. Bhumij is a language with its own special characteristics, and has a literature which dates back to the beginning of the 15th State. Naturally, he felt that Bhumij with their rich cultural heritage and tradition also need a separate script to preserve and promote their language, and therefore, he took up the work of inventing Ol Onal script for writing Bhumij. The epoch making invention of Ol Onal script was unveiled in 1925. In the novel Bir Birsa, he has vividly described how god Bidu, and godess who appear on Earth as human beingwould have naturally invented the Ol Onal script in order to communicate with each other using written Bhumij. He wrote over 50 books covering a wide spectrum of subjects such as grammar, novels, drama, poetry, and story in Bhumij using Ol Onal as a part of his extensive programme for culturally upgrading the Bhumij community. "Onal ge Dhan" and "Kherwal Bir" are among the most acclaimed of his works. Mahendra Nath Sardar is popularly known as GURU GOMKE among the Bhumij, a title that was conferred on him by the Mayurbhanj Adibasi Mahasabha. Besides the Govt of West Bengal and Orissa, several other organizations/associations including Orissa Sahitya Academy have honoured him in various ways and Hod Mrs.Suklla Mahanti was coferred on him by Dr.N.Bhokoth Ranchi University.S. K. M. University S. P. College Road, Dumka.Kolhan universiy Chaibasa Jharkhand.The great thinker,philosopher,writer,and dramatist breathed his last breath on 13 November-2013.

Why do we need Ol Onal script ? In earlier times, all Bhumij writings were in Bengali, Devanagari, or Roman script. Although there have been impressive number of works by foreigner and non-Bhumij writers on dictionary, grammar, collection of folklore etc., these works are mostly intended for research purposes. Roman script was in extensive use for writing Bhumij and several books in Bhumij have been published using Roman script. But most of the creative literatures were written by the native speakers in Bengali or Devanagari script. The use of different scripts for writing Bhumij has hindered the development and utilization of Bhumij language. This, in turn, has effectively marred the progress of Bhumij language in several fields such as philosophy, history, religion, science, novel, prose, poetry etc. The problem of using different scripts for the same language necessitated the invention of a new script for Bhumij, and it finally led to the invention of Ol Onal by Mahendra Nath Sardar After the invention of Ol Onal, a large number of books have been written by various authors in Bhumij using Ol Onal script. Types of books include (i) novels and short stories, (ii) poetries, songs, and religious sermons, (iii) books on Bhumij society, (iv) primary books for learning Ol Onal, (v) books for learning primary mathematics, (vi) books on Bhumij grammars and related topics, and (vii) books on great tribal persons. Bhumij magazines in Ol Onal are also being A Brief Introduction to Ol Onal Script The very basic information about Ol Onal script is provided here. The intention of this tutorial is to provide information about the unique features of Ol Onal writing system, which is often misunderstood due to a lack of organised information about the script. Here, an attempt has been made to provide sufficient information about features and functions of various letters: vowels, consonants and diacritics. This tutorial is written by Anil Munda. and . MahendraNath Sardar UPDATED ! on 15/03/1998 To15/03/1998 Ol Onal: The Ol Onal letters are arranged in a matrix of 6 by 5, in which the six letters in the first column of the matrix are vowels, and the rest 30 letters are consonants. However, the five letters of the third column represent dual consonants, and this, eventually, helps to represent 29 consonants with the help of diacritic Ahad. Ol Onal gives 5 basic diacritics, and the combination of diacritics Mu Tundag and Ekir Alang gives rise to another diacritic, called Mu-Tudag. The matrix of Ol Onal letters are listed with transliteration of alphabets, with pronounciation in brackets and their sounds in bracelets.

OL OnaL Letters

Diacritics: The diacritic Mu Tudag functions like Devnagari Onosokar, and it is used for nasalization of vowels. Muarang is used for generating additional vowels, and Soman is used for generating extra length in the vowels. Ekir Arang is used as separator and Kom has special properties, that will be discussed later.


The important component of any writing system is the vowels, which are, indeed, responsible for producing words by joining the consonants. The description of vowel system of Ol Onal scriptisgiven here. The Munda language has 9 vowels. The first six vowels are shown in first column of the Ol Onal alphabets matrix. The next three vowels are generated juxtaposing the Gahla Tudag.But one of the vowel generated by placing Gahla Tudag (/A/+ Gahla Tudag) has marginal phonemic status and rarely used. In Bhumij all vowels may be long or short and all vowels may be nasalized. The Bhumij diphthongs consists of two vowels; unlike English they never consist of a vowel and a semi-consonant. The below is that list of Bhumij language vowels along with their corresponding International phonetic alphabets.

Word Formation: 
Ol Onal writing system is alphabetic, and so, it is better understood using Roman script. Normally, in Bhumij language, all words begin with either a vowel or single consonant. However, it is observed that inside a word, a combination of two consonants may occur, and, sometimes even three. But then one of these is a nasal. It is worth mentioning that, in Bhumij language, the occurrence of nasals is extremely regular. These are even distinguishable in word final position.Let us look at some of the examples that illustrate how words can be formed using Ol Onal letters. Suppose, one needs to construct a Bhumij word /am/, then just put the vowel /a/ followed by the consonant /m/. so, we write /a/ + /m/ = a + m = /am/ which, in Bhumij, means 'you'. Similarly, when we need to write /ipil/, we write /i/ + /p/ + /i/ + /l/ =i+p+i+l = /ipil/ = l+i+p+i=/lipi/ =k+aa=/ka/ which, in Bhumij, means 'star'. Given below is a list of examples which would help to understand the mechanism of forming words using Ol Onal vowels and consonants.

Digits: Ol Onal uses decimal system, and the symbol for basic digits 0-9 are as follows:

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