Sora

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Sora, or Savara, is one of nearly twenty scripts created by Dr. Prasanna Sree for indigenous and minority groups, mostly in Andhra Pradesh. In each case, the design of the script reflects some iconic feature of the culture of that linguistic community. She writes:

Sora is a Munda language spoken in northern Andhra Pradesh in the northwest of India. Sora is spoken mainly in the districts of Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada. There are also Sora speakers in neighbouring areas, and in other parts of India, such as Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Assam. According to the 2001 census, there are 250,000 speakers of Sora.

Savara is one of the significant tribal habitats having common tribal groups in adjoining Orissa state. Their habitats are found in the forest and hill tracts of Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam districts, in a region full of lofty hills, darting mountain streams and deep gaping valleys, and terraced rice fields.

The Savara tribe people are remarkable irrigation engineers. They have a certain sense of village planning, for their houses are aligned in parallel rows which reflect orderliness. The Savara triabal people are believed to be the descendants of the Sabaras referred to in the Aitareya Brahmana, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

The Sora script is based on the culture’s artwork. Sora paintings are traditionally painted on the walls of the houses to mark special events such as birth of a child, a good harvest, or a marriage. The sacred idital paintings, using white chalk paste, were always painted in the darkest rooms of the house, and were used to contact and appease the dead ancestors of the tribe. The common design element in the script, then, is a single unit of such a picture.

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