Saturday, May 11, 2013

R.I.P Jai Chandiram

(26 December 1937 - 11 May 2013)

Jai Chandiram, beloved and respected by her wide circle of family and friends, remained throughout her life highly passionate about women’s rights, the arts, and education. 

A Doordarshan trail-blazer, she stepped into the national television broadcasting arena in 1961.  Jai’s career started with broadcasting to a small audience in Delhi but her legacy spread into many facets of television broadcasting with roles including Producer; lead player in the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment (SITE); Director of the Pune Institute of Television; Station Director, Ahmedabad; Station Director, Delhi; Channel 3 Director; and Deputy Director General of Doordarshan.

She received her Bachelor’s degree from Lady Irwin College in Delhi, studied at Briarcliff Manor in New York as an exchange student, and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the School of Journalism and Communications, University of Florida.

Jai was deeply caring and loving towards her friends and associates spread all over the world. She had a passion for all things cultural which she carried with her at all times. People close to her could feel her good vibrations and energy.

As the first Asian President of International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT) for two terms, Jai delved passionately into women’s rights on many levels culminating in the highly respected annual IAWRT Asian Women’s Film Festival that has given women filmmakers an arena in which to showcase gender issues while documenting the socio-cultural environment, religion, family and self. This film festival generates participation from women directors across the world.

On 26 April 2013, Jai was awarded the IAWRT Lifetime Achievement Award.

In an email, her friend Sally Cloninger captures the essence of what it was like to know Jai: I think of you nearly every day but especially yesterday on International Women's Day… I hope you know how important and inspirational you are for me. Because of your generosity and leadership I was granted entry into your world of global women's media and social change. So many of the wonderful collaborative projects that I hold still so close to me, were with you. I will never forget our times in KL, at AIBD, on Old Klang Road, in Manila, in Bangladesh, and in Delhi. I cannot think of any other friend who has influenced me so much and I hold you close in my heart in these days ahead…I am thinking of you with love and images of peace.

She devoted extraordinary talent and energy to develop the use of media in education at Central Institute of Education – NCERT, Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU), Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting and Development (AIBD) in Kuala Lumpur; Deccan Development Society, Hyderabad, among other institutions.

She passed without a struggle accepting her future with composure and dignity.

Jai was born on 26 December 1937, into a Sindhi family in Model Town, Lahore, to Mr Hotechand and Mrs. Janki Chandiram. She is survived by a loving family including a brother, Suresh Chandiram; an older sister, Minnie Jaisinghani; a younger sister, Gita Bhatia; three nephews, and four nieces.