As part of their efforts to promote Sindhi as well as the community’s culture, NGO Sindhi Sangat and some members of the community are waiting this week for the Delhi High Court to hear a petition they filed seeking a 24-hour Sindhi TV channel on Doordarshan.
From making a mobile application to teach Sindhi to offering tablets as prizes for language-related competitions held for children, the NGO and others of the community have been taking steps to promote the language and culture. Asha Chand, founder and trustee of Sindhi Sangat, said she has been involved in such programmes since 1999. Mumbai, Kalyan and surrounding areas have an estimated population of about six to seven lakh Sindhis.
“In 2007, we wrote letters and met I&B ministers along with senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, seeking a 24-hour DD Sindhi TV channel. While Jethmalani filed a petition in the Delhi High Court…I&B ministry asked Prasar Bharati to look into it as it is an autonomous body. This case is likely to be heard on April 11, and senior lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani will represent the community,” said Chand.
“…we are focusing on kids between three to eight years by way of a competition. The competition is basically one in which kids have to sing nursery rhymes in Sindhi and send it to us. Around 20 kids are selected and the prize is an iPad Mini. The videos are uploaded to our Youtube channel,” she added.
The NGO founder said she has convinced many schools to teach Sindhi from the primary level onwards. “The Sindhi script is important as it is a means to access our trove of literature,” she said.
Gitanjali Chaturbhuj Kalro, who works closely with the Sangat, said the NGO realised the community has no state, city or village of its own. “So the least we can have is a 24-hour TV channel, through which we can communicate with the community across the country,” said Kalro.
Kalro said community meetings are held in areas such as Sion, Khar, Bandra and Chembur.
When contacted, Mahesh Jethmalani said he could not comment on the matter as it is sub-judice.