Late Shri A. J. Uttam
"Uttam" (Assandas Jethanand Uttamchandani) was born in Hyderabad, Sindh on 10 Dec 1923, He was an outstanding progressive Sindhi writer, critic, research scholar, journalist and essaysit, very well known for outspoken, consistent, well studied and documented opinion. In fact he was called the walking encyclopedia of Sindhi literature. He had to his credit about 50 short stories and 1000 essays on literature, criticism, culture, history and politics. Some of them are translated in different languages. He has won literature awards of Akhil Bharat Sindhi Boli & Sahit Sabha, Priya Darshni Academy, Ram Buxani Foundation, Indo-Soviet Nehru Peace Prize with a fortnight visit to Soviet Russia.
Uttam was one of the pioneers of Sindhi progressive literature and movement for recognition of Sindhi language in the eight schedule in Indian Constitution and for spreading Sindhyat (literature language and culture) in India after partition through various literary organizations and periodicals. For this purpose he resigned from his Government job in 1960 on the bifurcation of Bombay in 2 states. He has been running Naeen Duniya literary magazine and publication since 40 years and has encouraged about 50 new writers. He was the first to start the new tradition of giving remuneration to writers for their writings. He also gave awards for the cause of Sindhyat for about 10 years to the litterateurs and artists for their contribution to Sindhi language, litreture and art.
In fact he started his public and literary career before partition in 1941-42 when he courted one-year imprisonment in the freedom struggle and wrote about 20-30 short stories and articles. He formed a literary organization in Hyderabad Sind in 1946, which held weekly literary study classes. He continued his mission of serving his country and literature, language and culture after partition until he left for heavenly abode on 3rd January, 2005.
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.