Late Sundri uttamchandani
Sundri uttamchandani was born on 28th Sept 1924 at Hyderabad Sindh. Hyderabad was the capital of Sindh before the conquest of Sindh by British. Though it lost its position as a capital city but, it continued to be a thriving centre of education literature and culture. All reform movements were rooted in its soil. At the very young age, Sundri was exposed to a vast repertoire of folk and mythological tales which were narrated by her parents to her and other children of the extended joint family. During her youth the freedom movement was sweeping across the country and she could not but be drawn to it. While still in college she translated a story “Bhadur Maao Ji Bahadur Deeah” (A brave daughter of a brave mother). This was her initiation in the literary field.
Her Story” Bhoori” (A doll) brings out in stark relief the beauty of yester years, who due to ravages of partition of the country has lost her enchanting looks but is radiant with inner beauty born out of dignity of labour and assured demeanor to shoulder economic responsibilities to feed her family, thus standing shoulder to shoulder with her husband, ushering in gender equality without being sounding stirringly feminist . Her story “HI SHAHAR” (This City) is everlasting portrayal of a meek Nepali watchman in a lower middle class apartment building in this city as a vast ruthless and soul less machine, unmindful of the personal loss or tragedy. In early sixties a Publisher of ‘KAHANI’ magazine had organized a short story competition in which many stalwarts of the time participated and Sundri’s short story “KHEER BARIYA HATHRA” won the first prize
As a part of Progressive Writers’ movement she has written on erstwhile Soviet Union, “NAEEN SABHYATA Jo DARSHAN’ and Bharat Roos ba Banh Beli (India Russia two comrades in arms) for which she won the coveted Soviet Land Award. She has inspired many women writer to contribute to Sindhi literature and will continue to inspire future generations.
Born of illustrious parents can be intimidating as well as challenging. As the daughter of Uttam and Sundri Uttamchandani, distinguished names in Sindhi literature and leading figures in the “Sindhist” movement, Asha has had to make her own mark in the Sindhi community.
From childhood, Asha’s parents groomed her in various arts such as music, dance and drama and Asha excelled in every field. However, over the years, she built a reputation for herself as ‘master of ceremonies’ par excellence as she conducted various cultural and entertainment programmes at both national and international levels. Today, she is a successful cultural events organizer for her community and passionately promotes Sindhi language, literature and culture through such events and other activities.
In 1980’s and 1990’s, she began her individual efforts to promote Sindhi language through audio media under the banner of Jai Sindhi Publications, which published three books containing short stories in Sindhi written by Sundari Uttamchandani and released an audio tape of her poems - ‘Hugao’.
Driven by the power and the potential of Sindhi audio books, a new concept in Sindhi language, Asha’s passion to promote Sindhi literature and language grew. She soon released another audio tape of short stories, ‘Hee Shahar and other stories’. In the year 2000, Jai Sindhi publications produced a video titled, ‘Sindhi Sahit ji Timurti’ a documentary on the three literary figures of Sindh, Shri Gobind Malhi, Kirat Babani and A. J. Uttam.
Today, Asha has brought together like-minded people through formation of a non-profit organization, ‘Sindhi Sangat’, which is dedicated to organizing cultural Sindhi programmes globally and spreading Sindhi language and literature through the use of the Internet.
Amongst Asha Chand’s several achievement, she is well known within the Sindhi community for her interactive multimedia CD-ROM “Let’s Learn Sindhi” which is a computer-based training (CBT) program or an 'electronic' book for self-learning. It is a powerful tool that helps to understand and speak Sindhi and also to read and write Sindhi in its original Arabic script. This is available on Sindhisangat.com
Currently Asha is promoting Sindhi through her Sindhi TV Programme, Sindhi Surhaan on DD Gujrati (Every Saturday – 10 pm) & on DD India (Every Sunday – 1 pm). Her efforts began in March 2006 and she has never looked back since. She is simultaneously working towards a Sindhi channel from the Indian government. (Read more on Sindhisangat.com)
Asha admits to having the immense support of her husband, Chand Punjabi, who she says has always been her pillar of strength.