The Santal historical heritage, the Bodding Symposium


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Introduction: asking difficult questions

Can you imagine that the largest and most valuable collection of your saga manuscripts, Viking ships and other iconic remains from the Viking era – not to speak of your most exquisite collection of folk culture were owned by a foreign museum[1]?

When posing this hypothetical entry question to several of my countrymen their unison reaction is one of utter disorientation.  The idea is hardly imaginable and when truly contemplated – preposterous. This question with its rhetorical edge is however not outlandish.  The reactions provoked, suggests that public memory in Norway about our own long country’s colonial past has faded. read more

Tone Bleie is Professor of Public Planning and Cultural Understanding at the University of Tromsø, in Northern-Norway.   She has worked and published on minority and indigenous issues in South Asia in a range of capacities over three decades and lived in Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, the US and Norway. Bleie is the Head of the newly formed Scandinavia-Santal Heritage Initiative (SSInherit).  The Bodding Symposium is one of the current initiatives under this umbrella initiative. Another is an ongoing book project, which aims at rewriting the history of the Scandinavian-Santal pastoral enlightenment legacy – making the book readable and available for audiences in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe.Her email address is:

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