95 NOT OUT
by Arun Babani
The Hindwasi Sindhi weekly, a zabardast spokesperson of the community is in its 95th year of existence, only five years away from completing an unbeaten century. This mouthpiece is where Sindhis chat, learn, share and celebrate. This amazing entity, born in 1917 in Sindh has been through two World Wars, the Freedom struggle, the subsequent Partition and the migration of 10 lakh Sindhis. It has witnessed and reported on the last sixty years of a Sindhi's resurgence, resettlement and reinvention. The grand old man is still going from strength to strength and recently came out in it's brand new avatar: The Hindwasi.com. Yes, Hindwasi is now available at a convenient click of a finger on the internet. Thus, the Hindwasi is the most glorious chapter of Sindhi history, having survived so much and coming out a winner. A fine example of the community's character of surviving against all odds.
This dignified phenomenon in it's mid nineties, has been guarded by the veteran Sindhi freedom fighter Shri Mangharam Sipahimalani for over five decades and is now being nurtured and powered by a young and dynamic lady in her mid fifties. Ms. Shoba Lalchandani, who is currently at the helm of affairs at Hindwasi is quite excited about her role as the caretaker and editor of the oldest Sindhi journal. Ms. Lalchandani has been associated with it since the last twenty years in various capacities and has been editing it since the past three years. She has obviously brought her own colors and fragrances to the tabloid by introducing quite a few changes which have resulted in the overall improvement of the journal.
The first thing she did was to profile the many unsung Sindhi heroes of the community by writing about their lifetime achievements in various fields of Sindhiyat. There was an urgent need for honoring and acknowledging genuine soldiers of Sindhiyat, who have gone unnoticed for various reasons. Another agenda she has set for herself is to raise the standard of quality in the contents. In this regard she has been constantly appealing to writers and poets to send in newer and fresher creations. Thirdly, an important but difficult task Shoba has addressed is to attract the younger generation of Sindhis to the value of Sindhiyat. She has invited them to write and share their views on subjects that attract and appeal to them. In this direction the editor has introduced a full-page column on the entertainment industry. But, Ms. Shoba Lalchandani is not yet satisfied with these few progressive changes and improvements. She has further plans up her sleeve. For one, seeing the demand for Sindhi books Shoba has plans to serialize a few Sindhi classics for the younger lot. She also has a plan to introduce matrimonial space in the magazine for young Sindhi match-making. Apart from this she is planning to introduce some pages every week in Devnagiri as well as in English. Besides these changes in the editorial content Shoba has a strategy for the marketing and distribution of the magazine as well. She is trying to make the magazine available on railway platforms, airports and other prominent places on the same day, thereby increasing the circulation which today is around 13000 copies. Over and above this Shoba is trying hard for a better look for the magazine by bringing out better layouts and more color pages. So with the support from her distinguished husband Shri Ram Lalchandani who is also the Art director of the magazine, very soon we will see a better edition of Hindwasi.
Probe her about the future and she says, “I assure you about the continuity of Hindwasi at least upto my life time. And then I'm preparing a few youngsters like my children and daughter-in-law. Hopefully this will not only survive another hundred years but will grow bigger, better and stronger…!” Insha Allah..Awal Khair.