THE ROMANIZED SINDHI STORY
PIONEERING OF Standardized Roman Sindhi Script
Version as improved,approved,adopted and recommended for Global sindhi use, at a Summit Conference of several renowned Sindhi language professors, scholars and linguists of India, at “Sindhu Bhavan”, Ahmedabad, India on 29-30 March 2010.
By: Arjan T Daswani, Singapore (Project Coordinator)
Tel SINGAPORE (65) 6854 0798
Some friends and well wishers asked me to elaborate on the story of this project. I do so hereunder to the best of my ability:
Origin of the Script:
My senior Mr. G L Chandiramani of www.chandiramani.com Mumbai writes as under:
"Actually my first article on Romanized Sindhi was published in Hindvasi in August 1997. Vikram Shahani helped me with the chart in Arabic and Devnagiri scrip. It was full of mistakes. I realized that the future lay in evolving something out of existing computer keyboards. I got an excellent comment from a reader. He wrote “2 cats are already fighting over a piece of sweet; where has this crow come from?” Until today I give credit to the commenter. In 2OO6, Poonam Malani Mumbai helped me to make an alphabetical chart with hand written Devnagiri and Arabic script. I have still preserved it. Then I proceeded with the translations. It was my point of view, that children and elders both should find something interesting So there was folklore for children and short stories and jokes for the grown ups. Before Singapore International Sindhi Sammelan 2007, Arjan Daswani of Singapore took the mantle of introducing this work at the Sammelan which he did, though no immediate results were visible, a seed was planted."
– G. L. Chandiramani Mumbai. – www.Chandiramani.com
Year 2006 – When I was appointed by Alliance of Sindhi Associations of Americas Inc (ASAA, now AGSA or Alliance of Global Sindhi Associations Inc) as their voluntary Coordinator overseeing their 14th International Sindhi Sammelan hosted at Singapore in the year 2007 by Singapore Sindhi Association, late Dada Govind L Chandiramani approached me requesting for exposure of his version of Romanized Sindhi script at the said Sammelan. I sought opinion and consent from late Mr Kishore Lala, then Vice President of the Alliance, who immediately not only consented but also assured me that he would speak to Alliance’s Chairman, Mr Prem Lalvni, and make sure to get Alliance’s support. Presentation was done at Singapore Sindhi Sammelan 2007. I approached the hosts of the Sammelan, whose official Mr Chatru Vaswani was kind to have made 300 copies of Dada Chandiramani’s 13-page Roman Sindhi catalogue at his own cost and he distributed them amongt the visiting Sindhi delegates from all over the world. The feedback obtained showed the need for improvement in the script and also inclusion of audios, as otherwise, unique Sindhi sounds would be mispronounced by the learners of the Roman Sindhi Script. This was conveyed to late Dada Chandiramani immediately after the Sammelan.
Year 2008 – Late Dada Chandiramani again sought my support and at this time I took up the project seriously. I requested my friends Prof Dr Devendra Kodwani of U.K and Col. (Ret’d) Ram Gulrajani of Chennai, both of whom joined in the project and together with Dada Chandiramani, we formed into FOUNDING COMMITTEE OF FOUR. The Committee then studied Roman Sindhi scripts of several other developers, had discussions with some of them, consulted some renowned Sindhi language linguists and professors of Indi, and finally arrived at Standardized version of Roman Sindhi script. This took up whole year of 2008.
Year 2009 – Late Dada Chandiramani suggested that the Standardized version of Roman Sindhi script be presented at LA Sindhi Sammelan 2009. The Founding Team agreed to that and as I was then one of Board Directors of the Alliance, on that subject, I approached Dr Dayal Meshri, then the Alliance’s President and on his advice I prepared a Resolution which Dr Meshri put through at LA Sammelan, assisted by Mr Mohan Dadlani and Mrs Kamal Lala, (both officials of the Hosts) and with Grace of God, the resolution was approved by a large majority of the world wide Sindhi delegates present.
Year 2010 - Prof Dr Baldev Matlani of Mumbai, a supporter and well wisher of the project, advised that we should call for a Summit conference of Sindhi language profesors, scholars and linguists of India. This was done with the help of Mr Prem Lalvani, Alliance Chairman and Dr Meshri, Alliance President, with whose consent and followed by Arjan’s request, his colleague Dr Defender Kowari requested Dada Lahti Khilnani, Director of Indian Institute of Sindhology, Adipur India, to arrange a Summit conference which Dada Khilnani well organsied at SINDHU BHAVAN, Ahmedabad, India on 29-30 March 2010.
The conference was declared open at 9.30 AM sharp on the 29th March 2010. Here, after day long discussions and deliberations, the script with, slight improvements for the better, was finally approved, adopted and recommended for Global Sindhi use, by all present, unanimously. That was a successful event for our hard wodk.
Besides many observers, all the official invitees named below were present and took active part at the Conference:
Dr Dayal Meshri Alliance President, USA – (He chaired this meeting)
Mr. Prem Lalvani Alliance Chairman, USA (He Co-chaired the meeting)
Prof Baldev Matlani, PhD, Heed of Sindhi Dept University of Mumbai
Prof. Murlidhar Jetley, PhD, retired Sindhi professor from University of Delhi
Prof K.B. Lekhwani, PhD, Western Regional Languages Centre, Pune
Prof Satish Rohra PhD, from Indian Institute of Sindhology, Adipur (Kutch)
Mr. Lakhmi Khilani. Indian Institute of Sindhology Adipur Kutch
Mr. G L Chandiramani, Mumbai (Founder/Adviser on Romanized Sindhi Committee)
Col. Ram Gulrajani (Retd) Chennai (Adviser on Romanized Sindhi Committee)
Prof Devendra Kodwani, PhD, UK (Technical Coordinator Ronanized Sindhi Committee)
Mr. Arjan Daswani, Singapore (Coordinator on Romanized Sindhi Committee)
SUMMIT CONFERENCE HELD AT “SINDHU BHAVAN”AHMEDABAD - MARCH 9-10 2010 - LEFT TO RIGHT: PROF. KANHAIYALAL LEKHWANI PUNE, PROF. MURLIDHAR JETLEY DELHI, PROF. BALDEV MATLANI MUMBAI, DR. DEVENDRA KODWANI UK, MR PREM LALVANI, CHAIRMAN ASAA USA, DR. DAYAL T. MESHRI, PRESIDENT ASAA USA, COL. (RET’D) RAM GULRAJANI, CHENNAI, DR. SATISH ROHRA, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SINDHOLOGY ADIPUR KUTCH, MR. ARJAN T. DASWANI SINGAPORE (PROJECT COORDINATOR) AND MR LAKHMI KHILANI, DIRECTOR, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF SINDHOLOGY ADIPUR KUTCH. MR. GOV1ND L. CHANDIRAMANI OF MUMBAI, THE ORIGINATOR OF THE BASE ROMAN SINDHI SCRIPT, WAS ABSENT IN THE PHOTOGRAPH BUT APPEARS ELSEWHERE AT THIS WEBSITE.
At the conference, the FOUNDING TEAM OF FOUR vowed to render their voluntary services to the project for “Life” and the Team was named as “THE FOUNDING COMMITTEE OF FOUR “LIFE” MEMBERS”.
Before dispersal of the attendees, on the 30th of March, a PRESS RELEASE was issued which appeared briefly in local Sindhi newspapers the clippings of which are also displayed elsewhere on this website. A group photograph of the official attendees of the Summit Conference is also displayed at this website.
NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS OF AHMADABAD SUMMIT CONFERENCE PRESS RELEASE ISSUED ON AND APPEARED IN AHMEDABAD SINDHI NEWSPAPERS OF 30TH MARCH 2010.
The Founding Committee then immediately got to work and put up tutorials, supported by Audios, at this website hosted on 31 December 2010, and that has come up to be the virtual Sindhi language website for learning how to Write, Read and Speak the Sindhi language, and which operates without fees to the users and is benefiting all Sindhis who want to learn Sindhi language world over.
Following are the comments from Col (Ret’d) Ram Gulrajani
"Looking back, I remember Arjan once telling me to go to Chandiramani’s site and read the Romanized Sindhi he has used to write some articles and messages. I was impressed and told Arjan that though there is room for improvement, the first effort is certainly laudable. Arjan thereafter doggedly pursued the matter and worked on it with a zeal unmatched at his age. He found many wayfarers from the net who put in their suggestions, but left when things became hot and serious. The scholars were apprehensive whether this approach of re-clothing Arbi Sindhi with Roman attire will really work. Many gave their opinions but most were meant to dissuade us than to encourage us. Arjan stood his ground and found two lieutenants in me and Devendra Kodwani to support him to the hilt. As it turned out, Ahmedabad conference on 29.30 Mar ’10 was an historical event when all important Sindhi scholars and academics of Sindhi community of India finally approved our efforts with negligible modifications."
— Col. (Retd) Ram Gulrajani Chennai.
Another (backbone) colleague Dr. Devendra Kodwani, PhD, UK, wrote as under:
"On this website, the new Romanized Sindhi script will be very easy to learn. To support the learning and use of the new script audio-visual lessons introducing the Sindhi sounds and corresponding Roman script are being launched which would be available free of charge for everyone to view. The website will also provide short articles, stories and poems written in the new script. The new script chart is also being uploaded here which will be available for download. The website will also start building up a depository of Sindhi words in Roman script with aim to associate each word the meaning in English and audio of the word. The website will have link where the users and well wishers would be able to provide feedback on any possible improvements on the script and/or the functions of this website."
– Devendra Kodwani UK (PhD).
The Core Committee:
Our of four Founding committee “Life”members, Dada Govind L Chandiramani left us for his heavenly abode on 26 December 2011. There only three “Life” members remain in the Founding Committee at this time. Further to that, 2 more Sindhi volunteers joined in the year 2011 to assist the project. One of them is Mrs Kajal A Ramchandani, a senior lecturer at Jai Hind College Mumbai, who helped in editing 10000 worded dictionary which is uploaded at this website and also has conducted several workshops on teaching of Sindhi language based on audio supported tutorials on Sindhi language through Romanzed Sindhi Script that are uploaded at this website. And the second person is Dr Vijay Bhatia from Pennsylvania, PA, USA. He gives voluntary technical assistance on this website in several fields. That makes core Committee of five at this time. Additionally, Dada Kamal Mirchandani of Sindhu Academy, Fremont, Bay Area, San Francisco CA USA, helps since year 2012 as volunteer; he, supported by his team, conducts Sindhi classes at Bay Area, based the Tutoials uploaded on this website. He has also conducted Workshops on teaching and learning of Sindhi language based on Tutorials on this website, at several locations of the world. Photographs of the current Core Committee, plus volunteer Dada Mirchandani, are here: Postscript: At this time I wish to state that some one from Sindh, Pakistan told Arjan Daswani Singapore, over phone that they would prefer some adjustments in the Roman Sindhi Script, for e.g. Our script has dropped out Q and use only K for that sound, they want Q to be brought back in the script. Arjan has told them that our effort should be to organize a Conference on this subject between Sindh and Hind Governments and discuss all over on 2-nation basis and decisions can be made there. Arjan Daswani Singapore.
(Project Coordinator and Board member of the Alliance)
Phone & Fax: (65) 68540798 and 66988594