Norwegian version of this page

CANCELLED! Symposium and launch of Santal Collection website

Through the new website, the Santal ethnographic collection and Reverend Bodding’s documentation of the objects are for the first time available to the public in full.

Group photo in black/white.

Pioneers of the Santal Mission Benagaria, Santal Parganas.

This event is cancelled due to the prevailing corona situation.

With a population of probably more than ten million, the Santals are one of the largest adivasi (indigenous) groups in South Asia. Santals are constitutionally recognized as a tribe, and consider themselves among the continents early settlers.

The Santal collection of the Museum of Cultural History is the most comprehensive of its kind anywhere in the world and comprises around 1000 ethnographic and more than 4700 archaeological objects.

The majority of the items were collected by Reverend Paul Olaf Bodding who worked in India from 1890 until 1934 as a missionary for The Santal Mission. Bodding was an outstanding researcher within the fields of linguistics, ethnography and oral history. The vital importance of his academic work for the recording and preservation of Santal language and culture is widely recognized. Bodding regarded the collection of ethnographic objects as an integral part of his documentation of the Santal way of life.

The website is in three languages (Santali, English and Norwegian).



Symposium, 13:00–15:00: The Santal Mission legacy


  • Ruby Hembrom, Founder and director of Adivaani (first voices):

P.O. Bodding and the Santal people

  • Oddvar Holmedal, Missionary for Normisjon in Santal Parganas (retired):  

P.O. Bodding: A broadminded missionary. The situation for the Santals then and now in a development perspective.

  • Tone Bleie, Professor at the Arctic University of Norway and leader of Scandinavian-Santal Heritage Initiative:

The historical importance of Benagaria Mission as an Indo-Scandinavian and Santal Heritage Site: who could manage it?

Launch of Santal Collection website, 16:00–18:00

  • Welcome, Håkon Glørstad, Director of Museum of Cultural History
  • Presentation of the website, Øivind Fuglerud, Professor at Museum of Cultural History
  • Salutations and commentaries:
    • Ruby Hembrom, Founder and director of Adivaani (first voices)
    • Tone Bleie, Professor at the Arctic University of Norway and leader of Scandinavian-Santal Heritage Initiative
    • Tor S. Haugstad, Chief Consultant at Sunnaas Rehabilitation Hospital
    • His Excellency the Ambassador of India
  • Refreshments
Image may contain: People, Tribe, Folk dance, Adaptation, Event.
Santal village festival.


Øivind Fuglerud
Published Mar. 6, 2020 7:53 AM - Last modified May 11, 2022 1:56 PM