|𑢹𑣉𑣉 𑣎𑣋𑣜, हो जगर, ହୋ ଜଗର, hōō jagara|
|1,421,418 (2011 census)|
|Official: Warang Citi Secondary: Devanagari, Latin script, Odia script, Telugu script|
Official language in
Ho (IPA: /hoː dʒʌgʌr/) is a Munda language of the Austroasiatic language family spoken primarily in India by about 1.04 million people (0.103% of India's population) per the 2001 census. Ho is a tribal language. It is spoken by the Ho, Munda, Kolha and Kol tribal communities of Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Assam and is written with the Warang Citi script. Devanagari, Latin script, Odia script and Telugu script are sometimes used, although native speakers are said to prefer a Ho script. The latter script was invented by Ott Guru Kol Lako Bodra.
The name "Ho" is derived from the native word "𑣙𑣉𑣉" which means "Human being".
Around half of all Ho speakers are from West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand, where they form the majority community. Ho speakers are also found in East Singhbhum district in southern Jharkhand and in northern Odisha. Ho is closer to the Mayurbhanj dialect of Mundari than the language spoken in Jharkhand. Ho and Mundari are ethnically and linguistically close but the regional identity of the speakers is distinct. Some researchers and scholars state that Ho and Mundari are two sister languages.
The lexicon of the language reflects close association with nature and living proximity with birds and beasts which is typical for tribal languages.
The Roman, Devanagari and Warang Citi scripts have been used in the field of teaching and learning. In 1953, the department of Education, Government of Bihar set out instructions to all the Divisional Inspectors of schools. The government maintained that ‘the pupil-teachers whose mother tongue is other than Hindi should be given the option of maintaining their records in their mother tongue. In every junior Training School besides Hindi, a second mother-tongue as accepted in Government resolution no.645ER of 10 August 1953 should be invariably taught.’ The plan has been to provide education in their mother tongue at the primary level.
Since 1976, the Ho language is being imparted at intermediate and graduate courses in different colleges under the Ranchi University. The university opened a separate department named Tribal and Regional Languages in 1981.
In erstwhile Bihar, the Information and Mass Communication department regularly published Ho articles, folk stories, songs in devanagari script in a weekly named Adivasi Saptahik. The Tribal Research Institute conducted a Study of Ho Dialect.
There are significant initiatives inculcated in development of Ho language. A pioneering work was started at Ete Turtung Akhara, Jhinkapani to study and develop the Ho language under the leadership of late Lako Bodra with the help of Adi Sanskriti evam Vigyan Sansthan. The institute published a book in 1963 entitled Ho Hayam Paham Puti in the Barang Chiti lipi script and introduced the letters of Barang Chiti, Kakahara.
Sindhu Surin reworked and propagated Owar Ankawa- a reformed script of barang chiti. This has been popularized and disseminated by the institution called Sindhu Jumur.
A.Pathak and N.K. Verma tried to compare the Warang Chiti lipi with the script of Indus valley in their book the Echoes of Indus valley. Sudhanshu Kumar Ray in his ‘Indus Script’ described that the script Barang Chiti resembles the script of Indus that was discovered by Ashok Pagal and Bulu Imam in the caves of Aswara hill near Baraka village.
Xavier Ho Publication, Lupungutu has been publishing a series of books in Devanagri script. Fr. John Deeney wrote Ho Grammar and Vocabulary in 1975.
4. Change of Status/Course due to important event like linguistic states reorganization: In post-independence era by state reorganization, Ho speaking region bifurcated and demography scattered into Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal. Post independence state reorganization, therefore, was of little help in the development of Ho language.
A new state Jharkhand came into existence in November 2000. In its effort the state government has recently recommended Ho language to be included in the eighth schedule of the Constitution. There is hope in the initiative taken by the government as regard to the development of the Ho language in future.
The University Grants Commission of India has already recognized Ho as a language and literature. Now, UGC is conducting National Eligibility Test examination in Ho language under the "'subject code 70"' in Tribal and Regional Language/Literature group. In Odisha and Jharkhand, Education in Ho at the primary level was introduced in 20 and 449 schools respectively and about 44,502 tribal students are pursuing their studies in the language.
Besides education, Ho has also got its due recognition in the world of mass media. For the last few years, All India Radio (AIR) has been airing songs in Ho from the AIR centres in Keonjhar, Rourkela and Cuttack besides Baripada in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha state. Regular programs in Ho are broadcast from Chaibasa and Jamshedpur AIR centres in Jharkhand. Similarly, from Ranchi AIR centre in Jharkhand, regional news bulletins are broadcast two days a week Friday and Sunday.
Odisha government and Jharkhand government has been continuously making demands of HO language for inclusion in Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. Ho peoples are also making continuous efforts to fulfill their demands as to be included in 8th scheduled. BJP Rajya Sabha MP and Union petroleum and steel minister Dharmendra Pradhan has also submitted a memorandum demanding that the government of India to include Ho in the Constitution to give it an official status .The same request has also been made by the Department of personnel, Jharkhand. Former Home minister Rajnath singh also assured for Ho language to be included in 8th scheduled of constitution and Minister Rajnath Singh assured to take appropriates steps to fulfil the demand, said union minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
The students who are enrolling in Ho language which has been provided by Ranchi University, Ranchi and Kolhan university, Chaibasa are getting jobs in archaeological centres and works as translator. After passing class XII, the students can pursue UG Course in Ho language in Ranchi university, Ranchi. Similarly, Odisha government has also been providing education to Ho tribal students in Ho language called as Multi-lingual education system and the tribal youths are getting jobs as teacher in Ho language and earning good salaries for multilingual education of odisha.