Looking for voices: The landscape of literary translation in India leaves much to be explored


Here is a question. How many of these names would appear familiar to a moderately avid Indian reader: Suren Talukdar, Mau Das Gupta, Dhansri Swargiary, Chhatarpal, Susheela Punitha, Sharifa Vijliwala, Damodar Khadse, N Damodara Shetty, Rattan Lal Shant, Jaymala Danayat, Devendra Jha, K C Ajayakumar, Naorem Khagendra, Shankar Pradhan, Shakuntala Baliarsingh, Balbir Parwana, Madan Saini, Tarashankar Sharma, Tala Tudu, Sarita Sharma, Gowri Kirubanandan, L R Swamy and Suhail Ahmad Farooqi?

The 22 people named above won the Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize 2015. Every year, since 1989, the Akademi has been awarding prizes to the best translation in the languages that came to be recognised by it over the years. With the prestigious Sahitya Akademi stamp, one would assume that the award would bring recognition and also put the spotlight on the original author, apart from setting a stage for a discussion on bhasha literatures and their translations. But this occasion rarely sees focused media coverage and mostly remains a missed opportunity. In 2015, seven of the translations originated from Bangla (translated into Assamese, Bodo, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Santhali and Urdu) and Hindi (translated into Bangla, Dogri, Gujarati, Konkani, Nepali, Rajasthani and Sanskrit); two Malayalam titles found their way into Kannada and Telugu while two in Dogri were translated into Kashmiri and Sindhi; one title each from Kannada, Marathi, Tamil, Odia, Telugu and English were translated into English, Hindi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil and Marathi respectively. Read more

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