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A Study of YouTube Cartoons Translated In Santhali (In Context to Tom and Jerry)

Sumedha Chaudhury*

Assistant Professor, Amity School of Communication, Amity University, Jharkhand, Ranchi

*Corresponding Author:
Sumedha Chaudhury
Assistant Professor, Amity School of Communication, Amity University, Jharkhand, Ranchi
Tel: 9835311286
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: December 13, 2021; Accepted Date: December 27, 2021; Published Date: January 03, 2022

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Santhali is one of the major tribal languages of Jharkhand. To connect it with animation and specifically with mass communication, a study on the Santhali dubbed Tom and Jerry series was conducted in December 2020 among the tribal mass communication undergraduates of Ranchi city. The purpose was to understand their perspective in terms of watching a well-known cartoon series in regional language. However, the opinion differed from person to person as most are still into watching the English version or those missed with Hindi and English. But handful of them who had seen in Santhali denoted it funny and loved Jerry more than Tom.


Santhali; Tom &Jerry; Cartoons; Ranchi; Mass Communication Students


Tom and Jerry, a popular cartoons series since ages was initially broadcasted in instrumental music with few English dialogues. But with the passage of time and advent of internet phase, people started translating or dubbing it entirely in Hindi, Hinglish (Hindi mixed with English) and regional languages. In this context, a study on the tribal mass communication undergraduates of Ranchi city was conducted regarding the episodes of this cartoon uploaded on YouTube from January 2019 to December 2020 in Santhali language [1].

The purpose behind carrying out the research was to see the interest of a particular genre of college goers towards one of the tribal languages of Jharkhand. Regional languages symbolize cultural identity which in turn represents the roots of an indigenous community [2].

Cultural identity is the identity or feeling of belonging to a group. It is part of a person’s self-conception and self-perception and is related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social group that has its own distinct culture. In this way, a cultural trait is both characteristics of the individual but also of the culturally identical group of members sharing the same cultural traits.

Santhali as Scheduled Language

Languages in India are classified into assorted cubicles. According to Article 344 (1) and Article 351 of the Eighth schedule of the Constitution of India, 22 languages are recognized as scheduled languages. Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santhali which were Non-scheduled languages, were declared Scheduled languages in 2003 by the 92nd Amendment. Language promotes the flow of communication and dissemination of messages in human society. Democracy requires the dynamic participation of every citizen and media plays a vital role in ascertaining the same. The sociolinguistic reserve of India is unimaginably enormous with an intricate array of languages, having firm presence throughout its population [3]. The Indian media is majorly functional in form of press, radio, television, satellite and the new age converged media help to maintain a relationship with the people and its elected chosen representatives. The challenge media in India faces is to make available the required technology and to communicate through a variety of languages.

In 2004, Santhali was included in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution as a scheduled language. Their dialect belongs to the Munda-Austro-Asiatic group and is derived from old Kherwali language, spoken mainly in Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Assam, Bihar, Tripura and Mizoram. The aboriginal Santhali’s developed 'Ol Chiki' as their script in the first half of the 20th century approximately in 1925. The script was developed by the dedicated Santhali linguist Raghunath Murmu [4].

YouTube is the largest Over the Top (OTT) platform of the digital universe. It has acted as a potent media for content creators. Google’s Video sharing platform has been highly supportive in promoting Santhali films and music videos, audio- visual news and current affairs [4].

Tom & Jerry

Tom and Jerry was the creation of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, two American animators working at Metro-Goldwyn- Mayer. Together these animators produced 114 shorts between the years of 1940 and 1958. Tom and Jerry feature a cat, Tom, and a mouse, Jerry, who are caught in an endless chase. It always seems that Jerry can outwit Tom, and in the process, a massive amount of violence is dealt between the characters. It appears though that they are not able to live without each other. This is evident in their displays of kindness between one another spread throughout the series. This concept of a “cat chases mouse” provided a solid foundation for the creation of hundreds of animated shorts and movies. Production of the animated series was taken up by various animators following the Hanna-Barbera era [5].

Literature Review

Cartoons and comics are often closely associated with humour. However, while most cartoons are certainly humorous, humour is not a denying feature of comics at large (Zanettin, 2010). The word ‘comics’ can in fact be considered a misnomer since as Heer and Worcester argue, ‘the term suggests a humorous intent that is inconsistent with the actual content of many, perhaps most, comic strips, comic books and graphic novels.’ So, while many comics genres exist which are not humorous at all, humour cuts across formats and genres in comics as in written texts and cinema. According to the online Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary the noun ‘cartoon’, apart from its technical and original sense of ‘preparatory drawing’ and as a shorthand/synonym for ‘strip cartoon’/ ‘comic strip’ and for ‘animated cartoon’, can be denoted as ‘a drawing intended as satire, caricature, or humor’. In cartoons where humour depends on the opposition between visual and verbal scripts and unless the drawing is manipulated, the verbal component is responsible for carrying the weight of the humorous response in a translation [6-8].

In recent years, there has been increasing research on political cartoons across disciplines. This has made political cartoons a potent interdisciplinary research field crossing different research boundaries such as education, sociology sciences, psychology, health research, pragmatics and communication [9]. This growing research interest demonstrates that political cartoons have become a distinct and established genre within media discourse. The goal of the genre is to construct practical criticisms and provide political commentary aimed at reorienting the public. Historically, the origin of editorial cartooning is associated with Benjamin Franklin who was said to have first published editorial cartoon in an American newspaper, portraying the famous caption “Join or Die” depicting an image of the snake dissected and labelled into different colonies. Different studies have focused on different variables. For instance, examined the process of composing editorial cartoons in terms of the roles they serve in society. Lamb considers political cartoons as critical artifacts used to lampoon political leaders and their contemptible policies.

Tom and Jerry need no introduction. The series is a sensation and the characters have been ruling the hearts of millions of children as well as adults. The original series started from 1940 continuing till 1958 after that there have been various spin offs. The real chap behind naming the cat and mouse characters was an animator named as John Carr [10]. He actually won a competition to suggest the names of the characters which won him $50. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera formed the most successful partnership in the animation category. The duo didn’t rest on their fame and success but went out to make their own studio that gave us Scooby-doo, The Flintstones, Smurfs, Topcat and other numerous icons. People have been saying that Tom and Jerry are both silent characters but we all know that they have been uttering lines including the line which has been haunting me for decades. Remember the episode where Jerry causes a big explosion and soot-blackened Tom rises from the debris proclaiming “Won’t You Believe It.

Research Problems

1) Why do mass communication undergraduates watch the popular cartoon series ‘Tom and Jerry’ in Santhali on YouTube?

2) Does watching this cartoon programme promote any cultural development?


1) To find the impact of regional language in a popular cartoon series on YouTube

2) To observe the response of mass communication undergraduate students of Ranchi city towards watching a cartoon shown in Santhali

Research Methodology

Focusing on the primary data, a comparative study on various cartoon episodes of Tom and Jerry series in Santhali, Hindi, Hinglish and English were done on YouTube from December 15 to 31, 2020. It was ensured that these were those cartoons which were uploaded from December 2019 to December 2020. Simultaneously, tribal undergraduate mass communication students in St. Xavier’s College, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee University and Gossner College in Ranchi city were contacted to understand their perspective on cartoons and prepare the research topic. Longitudinal or Vertical study research design was followed wherein Trend study was adapted. Taking Survey as research method, questionnaire was prepared on Google form in English language and circulated among the respondents. Selection of respondents was based on convenient sampling. Accordingly, the conclusion was drawn. Secondary data was covered in Literature review [11].

Data Analysis and Interpretation (Table-1.1)

Yes No Total
40 0 40 students

Table 1.1: Have you watched Tom and Jerry cartoon series in the past one year?

Out of the 40 mass communication undergraduate students of Ranchi city, all tribal students have seen Tom and Jerry cartoon series in past one year (Table-1.2).

English Santhali Hinglish Hindi Total
23 4 4 9 40 students

Table 1.2: If yes, which language do you usually prefer to watch?

When asked about which language they had watched these cartoons, 23 students said they watch in English, 9 students in Hindi while 4 students each in Santhali and Hinglish respectively (Table-2).

English respondents Santhali respondents Hinglish respondents Hindi respondents Total
5 students: 1 student: 2 students: 4 students: 40 students
I prefer original voiceover rather than dubbed. Comfortable It is easy to watch Find it relatable  
5 students: 2 students: 2 students: 3 students:  
 I've never searched for its videos in other languages and actually don’t know if there are Santhali dubbed versions. To protect the Santhali language Comfortable Fun and entertainment purpose.  
5 students: 1 student: 2 students:
I'm used to watch online videos in English. It's easy to understand and is more relatable.  -- Easy to grasp and the contents are relatable.  --
5 students:        
To feel the originality of the character.  --  --  --  --
3 students:  --  --  --  --
I find it appealing.  --  --  --  --

Table 2: Why do you watch in this specific language?

Answers varied when the students were questioned which language, they prefer watching these cartoons in (Table 3- 5).

Totally Not exactly Not at all Can’t say Total
8(Santhali:4 students, Hindi:4 students) 14(English:12 students, Hinglish:2students) 6(English:6 students) 12(English:5 students, Hindi: 5 students, Hinglish: 2 students) 40 students

Table 3: Does this preference signify cultural development?

Always Rarely Often Can’t Say Total
26 students 6 students 6 students 2 students 40 students

Table 4: Do you agree that such translations in tribal languages should continue?

30 seconds 1 minute More than a minute Beginning to end Total
0 0 19 students 21 students 40 students

Table 5: For how long do you watch such cartoons?

Inquired about the duration of watching such cartoons at a pace, maximum students including 21 students said they watch from beginning to end. However, none marked on the options of watching for 30 seconds or a minute (Table-6).

Jerry Tom Both Total
19 students 13 students 8 students 40 students

Table 6: Which character is your favourite in Tom & Jerry?

Among the characters Tom and Jerry, most of the target audience finds Jerry as favourite (Table-7).

Humour Anger Lonely Feels like being in company of family and friends Total
19 students 0 0 21 students 40 students

Table 7: What kind emotion does Tom and Jerry influence on target audience?

Asked about the emotional impact of watching such cartoons, most of the respondents felt they are in company of their family and friends with 21 out of 40 students marking the option followed by 19 students marking on the humour angle. However, none marked anger and loneliness which refers that they don’t get negative vibes by while watching Tom and Jerry cartoons (Table-8).

Upto a certain extent Absolutely Never Don’t know Total
18 students 12 students 0 10 students 40 students

Table 8: Is YouTube, the correct place to catch up?

Out of the 40 students, most students out of 40 students said upto a certain extent YouTube is the correct place to catch up (Table-9).

Tom Jerry Total
18 students 22 students  

Table 9: Which cartoon character is your favourite?

Among the cartoon characters Tom and Jerry, students are fonder of Jerry with 22 out of 40 students marking the option (Table-10).

Translations help people who are not fluent in tribal language learn more. We should take ideas from other countries cartoons and develop our own be it in regional or official language. The cartoon series produced in our country are all based on a kid defeating the antagonist. Every episode has same story. While the cartoons of other countries have humour, comedy, strong storyline and morals. Santhali translations of Tom & Jerry cartoon will be just awesome to watch because I believe that the comedy part in Santhal movies are too funny and are watched on loop. Will be desperately waiting for this. Total
20 students 15 students 5 students 40 students

Table 10: Any other message?

As many as 20 out of 40 students wrote that translations help people who are not fluent in tribal language learn more which indicate that any kind of translations benefit in learning a tribal language.

Conclusion/ Findings

The first research question was that why do mass communication undergraduates watch the popular cartoon series ‘Tom and Jerry’ in Santhali on YouTube? To which the 4 undergraduate students watching Tom and Jerry series in Santhali language felt it is comfortable to understand. Also, it protects Santhali language while others said it is easy to understand and is more relatable. Answers of Question number 2 were analysed for this reason.

The second research question was does watching such cartoons promote any cultural development14 out of 40 students said not exactly while 4 Santhali respondents marked the first option totally for culture development. Answers of Question number 3 were analysed in order to come out with the findings.


1. The study had to be restricted to only undergraduate students of mass communication. It could not cover students pursuing bachelors in animation as not all the mentioned educational institutions within Ranchi city offer the latter.

2. The duration of watching the cartoons in one year was intentionally taken as it covered Pre-Covid, Covid and Post- Covid phase. Most of the cartoons dubbed or translated in Santhali were noticed to be done during this period.

3. As everything is more into online mode due to Covid fear, Google form was generated for the data collection. Not all respondents were available for face-to-face interaction.

4. Target audiences residing in rural areas were not included.


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