Mumbai: Cheti Chand Celebrations For Sindhis Come With Demand For Television Channel In Their Language

Mumbai: Cheti Chand Celebrations For Sindhis Come With Demand For Television Channel In Their Language

On Saturday, at a Cheti Chand function organised by the Cuffe Parade Residents Association (CPRA) at Colaba's Radio Club, guests signed a petition to the Prime Minister, demanding an exclusive channel in their language.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 12:01 AM IST
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Mumbai: Cheti Chand Celebrations For Sindhis Come With Demand For Television Channel In Their Language |

Mumbai: As Sindhis celebrate Cheti Chand, their New Year, they have started a campaign for a 24-hour Sindhi-language television channel run by the national broadcaster, Prasar Bharati.

On Saturday, at a Cheti Chand function organised by the Cuffe Parade Residents Association (CPRA) at Colaba's Radio Club, guests signed a petition to the Prime Minister, demanding an exclusive channel in their language.

The signature campaign will be supported by the 30 Sindhi Panchayats or associations and areas with many Sindhi speakers, like Chembur, Khar, and Ulhasnagar. The community has said that the channel is a Constitutional obligation as Sindhi is listed in the eighth schedule as one of the 22 official languages.

The function at Radio Club was attended by Rahul Narwekar, Speaker and Member of the Legislative Assembly, former corporator Makarand Narwekar, and Arvind Sawant, Member of Parliament.

Sindhi Sangat, a Mumbai-based cultural group leading the campaign, had set up a table at the function. Hanshu Pardiwala of CPRA said that there were nearly 900 guests at the function. "Many of our non-Sindhi guests also signed the petition," said Pardiwala.

The demand for a television channel dedicated to Sindhi language programmes has been a decade-long demand. A writ petition filed in 2015 in the Delhi High Court by late jurist Ram Jethmalani for Sindhi Sangat, asking for a Doordarshan television channel in the Sindhi language, was recently disposed of without any recommendations to the government.

In 2011, Prasar Bharati said that it was not feasible to set up a television channel for a linguistic group that had only 2.6 million speakers (according to the 2011 census).

Asha Chand of Sindhi Sangat said that the community needed a television channel to preserve their language and culture. "We are telling people that when they go to celebrate Cheti Chand, sign the petition and save Sindhiyat," said Chand.

Doordarshan Girnar, a Gujarati-language channel, has half-hour slots for Sindhi programmes thrice a week. Marathi television channel Sahyadri offers a 30-minute programme once a week.

A private television channel broadcast from Kutch, which had programmes in Kutchi and Sindhi, has closed down, leaving Sindhi speakers with a few YouTube channels and local cable television.

Doordarshan currently runs services in 17 languages and has recently added channels in Urdu and a regional station for Arunachal Pradesh. Sindhis are questioning the government claim that a new television channel is not financially viable.

The campaign is expecting to collect 500,000 to 6,00,000 signatures from 100 towns and cities across the country. Sindhi Sangat also plans to file an appeal against the Delhi High Court order

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