By Prof. Dr. Satish Rohra
The population of Sindhi speakers in India was estimated to be around 22 lakh in the year 1991. Another study claimed that there were around 30 lakh speakers, while a third survey found out that there were around 50-60 lakh Sindhi speakers in India. To sum it up, on an average, only 0.5% of Sindhi speakers out of the total population of India which is more than one million since the Sindhi language has been included in the Constitution of India, it is the duty of the Central and State Governments to take measures to promote it. The State Government has established Sindhi Sahitya Academy Centers in some of the cities of India, where there are a large number of Sindhi speakers, viz. in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
The counseling committee of the Central Sahitya Academy and the Central Institute of Indian Languages in Mysore are both engaged in the promotion and upliftment of the Sindhi language by organizning various programs. Apart form this, there are certain independently run private organizations which are contributing a lot towards the development of the language, in almost every city. So the issue of major concern here is that, in a nation, whose 0.5% of the total population has Sindhi speakers and where a number of organizations are active towards its development and promotion, so much can be still done for its upgradation!!
But unfortunately, most of our positive efforts are directed and spent not towards 'what should be done?', but towards 'something should be done.'
In my opinion, no other regional language of India has such a large number of organizations or centers working for its development, in proportion to the percentage of the total population. But it is our misfortune that we often miss the trees for the wood and do not pay much heed to the positive changes taking place. What else could be the reason for there not being a standard Sindhi dictionary, or a recognized grammar of the language, or a distinct form / script for writing the language, or a pictorial colorful periodical for children, or a central library for obtaining Sindhi literary books, or a fixed place for buying those rare classics or for that matter a theatre showing Sindhi movies or even a good Sindhi movie being made........?
Sindhology is definitely working towards most of these issues, but the efforts of this institute alone are not sufficient. Other organizations too need to join hands and come forward.
We are neither short of organizations nor of means to attain our goals. But what we lack is that clarity of vision and of thoughts, that determination and that will power which is capable of re-planting that uprooted plant of our language and culture, which has come to us from alien land(s).