SCRIPT FOR SURVIVAL: THE CASE OF INDIAN SINDHI

Abstract

According to the Indian Census of 2001, there are over thirty-one lakh mother-tongue speakers of Sindhi in India. An unofficial estimate of the number of Sindhi speakers in India is almost double the official figure. It is well-known that a large number of ethnic Sindhis in India do not declare Sindhi as their mother tongue. In the absence of a Sindhi speaking region, Sindhis are scattered all over the country and learn to communicate with their local interlocutors in languages other than Sindhi. Whatever the actual number of Sindhi speakers, a very small number of Sindhis in India receive education through the medium of Sindhi. Although Sindhi is a recognized national languages, it is taught in very few schools in the country. Over the years, since 1947, Sindhi has become largely a spoken language. All attempts at enthusing native Sindhis to learn to read and write their language have been unsuccessful. The primary reason for this situation appears to be the script in which Sindhi is written. This paper examines the question of the survival of the Sindhi language in India and critically evaluates the role of the choice of script in this struggle for survival.

C.J. Daswani