This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Subhajit Murmu. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Who Is Bal Sahitya Puraskar Recipient Saridharam Hansda? Find Out More

More from Subhajit Murmu

It is said that a writer attains perfection only when he writes a composition for children. Writing for children is challenging and hard work. Among the Santali writers who have made the language and its literature popular among children, Saridharam Hansda is one of them.

He was born Basudev Hansda, in a lower middle class family, on January 7, 1955. He was born in a peasant family to Noha and Padan Hansda at Kumarda village, Jhargram district, West Bengal. He is the eldest of six children.

Despite having limited means, his parents educated him. Hansda received his primary education in Bengali medium from Bhagaband Primary School. Next, he went to Joypur Junior High School and Silda Radhacharam Vidyamandir. He graduated from Silda Chandra Sekhar College in 1978.

Saridharam Hansda is one of the most prominent Santali writers of our times. Photo credit: Saridharam Hansda, Facebook.

How It All Began

Hansda was drawn to nature from his childhood. He used to recite whatever he saw and it sounded like a rhyme. When he was studying in class seven or eight, he started penning Bengali rhymes by working on them secretly during class.

After reading Bengali poems prescribed in the school syllabus, he thought to himself, “When will such rhyming poems be written in my own language, Santali?”

One day, he was writing a poem in Bengali in a free period. He had barely completed the poem when the head master, Ananta Kumar Shatapathi, came to teach. A classmate tattled on him by giving the headmaster Hansda’s notebook. Hansda began to tremble with fear.

The headmaster called him and asked him if he had written the poem. When he said yes, the headmaster patted him saying, “You have written very well, write more.” His enthusiasm for writing poetry increased after he received praise from the headmaster.

He started writing Santali poems in the Bengali script, as the Ol Chiki (the script for writing Santali) was not as popular and well-promoted, as it is today.

The Story Of His Name

He used to send his poems, articles to various magazines when he was in college. But none of them were published. Who knows, maybe the editors did not like his name.

His first poem was published in the Pachimbangla magazine (a monthly mouth piece of the West Bengal government) in 1972, under the pen name of Saridharam Hansda.

The name of the poem was Mujibur. This Santali poem was well received by readers. It was written in the backdrop of the language movement in Bangladesh.

Hansda’s pen name, Saridharam, was given to him by two people. One of them is Lalchand Murmu, a primary school teacher from Kumarda village. The second was Shyamcharan Murmu, the then-MLA of Jharkhand Party from Binpur Assembly.

His grandfather’s name was Dharam. Lalchand and Shyamcharan added the word Sari before Dharam in order to coin his pen name.

A Writer Who Can Sing

Hansda’s father was a skilled folk singer. Every evening his father sang Santali traditional songs. He learned some of them from his father. He also learned jhumar songs from Rakhahari Mahato.

As a result of his musical knowledge, he got a job in the Information and Culture Affairs Department and started working for the government of West Bengal in 1985.

Financial security gave him the opportunity to devote more time to literature. He started editing a magazine named Sarjam Mahal from 1986. He also worked for Santali literary magazines such as Hudis (1986) and Sagen Saonta (2005), as a sub-editor.

Literary Works

His first book of poetry “Jitkar Terang Sar” was published in 1999, fourteen years after getting a job. Then, one by one, his books started getting published. They are as follows:

  1. Taker(Poetry)-2005
  2. Gidra Baouli (poems for children, 2007)
  3. Parsi Galang Mala (poems, 2009)
  4. Dombe Baha (poems for children, 2011)
  5. Silgao (poems, 2011)
  6. Arwal Umul (poems, 2014)
  7. Teram Rasa (poems for children, 2015)
  8. Jiyon Arshi (short stories, 2016)
  9. Angra Sengel (drama, 2017)
  10. Baha Sutam (songs, 2017)
  11. Jagwana (poems, 2018)

His unpublished books are as follows:

  1. Sar Sagun (poems)
  2. Hans Hasil
  3. Badoli Koinda Kowak Rapachag
  4. Halang Galang Sakam (folk songs)
  5. Kisar Gorob (drama)
  6. Alakjari (drama)
  7. Galang Lekhan Mala Teyaro (drama)
  8. Amge Inj Dom Barij Kidinj (drama)

His writings have been published in many literary journals and magazines like Hor Sambad, Sili, Pacchim Bangla, Tetre, Sagen Saonta, Jirihiri, Disha, Chiti Sakam, Kherwal Jaher, Mantar, Sandhayni, Jiwi, Aven Sakowa, Sikariya, Akal, Khandrand, Sarjam Mahal, Rimil, Hudis, Kherwal Jarpa etc.

Awards And Felicitations

He has received numerous awards and other such honours from governmental and non-governmental organisations. Some of the notable ones among them are:

  • Poet of the year by the All India Santali Writers Association (2009).
  • Bal Sahitya Puraskar by Sahitya Akademi (2013) his book of poems, “Dombe Baha”.
Saridharam Hansda receiving the Bal Sahitya Puraskar. Photo credit: Saridharam Hansda, Facebook.
  • Sahitya Sammanana from the Tribal Development Department (2013). He was felicitated by chief minister Mamata Banerjee for the same.
  • Sarada Prasad Kisku Memorial Award by the Santali Academy (2016).
  • Jiwi Award by Jiwi Magazine Committee (2017).
  • Babulal Murmu Adibasi Award by the All India Santali Writers Association (2017).

Currently, he is involved with the All India Santali Writers Association and the magazine committee of Sagen Saonta. He lives with his family at Jhargram and continues to be one of the foremost proponents of Santali literature.

Article by Subhajit Murmu, assistant editor of Juwan Gatey

Featured image has been taken from Saridharam Hansda’s Facebook page.
You must be to comment.

More from Subhajit Murmu

Similar Posts

By Adivasi Lives Matter

By Akshay Horo

By Kriti Atwal

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below