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Hindi literature: For Premchand, Good Literature Was About Truth and Humanity

The great Hindi writer remains as relevant today as he was more than a century ago.

Born 137 years ago on July 31 in Lamhi, a village near Varanasi, Premchand (1880-1936) wrote about things that have always existed but had hitherto been considered beyond the pale of literature – exploitation and submission, greed and corruption, the straightjacket of poverty and an unyielding caste system. Son of a post office clerk, he was named Dhanpat Rai (literally meaning the ‘master of wealth’), yet he waged a lifelong battle against unremitting genteel poverty. Reading and writing, always the stock in trade of a good kayastha boy, coupled with acute social consciousness and an unerring eye for detail turned him – with a literary career spanning three decades which included 14 novels, 300 short stories, several translations from English classics, innumerable essays and editorial pieces – into a qalam ka sipahi, a ‘soldier with the pen’.

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Speaking in tongues: Literary translation as a work of art

Dividend by language, united by translations, literature from various Indian states, as well as from regions across the world, is now within easy reach of the Indian reader. As former editorial head of Pan Macmillan, translator and founder of Ponytale Books, Pranav Kumar Singh observes: “A country’s literature is part of its soft power. Today, most Indian languages have become just a medium of communication in urban Indian households, and English has become the language of reading. Therefore, it is important to translate the best of Indian literature not only for the benefit of native non-readers, but also for the growing readership in English, both in India and abroad. With the increasing prominence of India globally, a time will come when translations will play an important role in creating an understanding of the Indian experience. On the other hand, despite everything, there will be a resurgence of Indian languages, and a consequent need for both academic and general interest reading material. Therefore, there is need to look at translations both ways.”

“One bit that needs more exploring,” adds writer, columnist, translator and head of Amnesty International India, Aakar Patel, “is the publishing of Indian languages in the Roman script. Turkey made the transition easily. What is the benefit of this? In the modern world, though mobile phones and tablets can use most scripts, it is still simpler to use the Roman. Advertising in India uses Roman-Hindi. The turn of literature will come soon.’’ Patel, like Pranav Kumar Singh, is among the few editors in the country who have the ability to straddle more than two languages with equal ease. “I am a Gujarati,” says Patel. “My favourite poet is Narsinh Mehta, and though I can recite ‘Ozymandias’ or some of Eliot’s stuff, I am moved most by [Narsinh] Mehta’s Nag Daman on the boy Krishna. I began learning Arabic many years ago and did not get far, but because the script became familiar, I began to read Urdu. There is essentially no difference between Urdu and Hindi because the grammar is the same and north Indians who familiarise themselves with the Perso-Arabic script will be surprised to know that there is hardly any difference between Urdu and Hindi.” Read more

Source: Sunday Guardian Live

 


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India: Penguin Random House signs a new co-publishing deal with Manjul Publishing for local language translation

Vaishali Mathur appointed to Head of Language Publishing and Rights

Penguin Random House in India has announced a new co-publishing partnership for local language translation with Manjul Publishing House and the appointment of Vaishali Mathur to Head of Language Publishing and Rights.

Under the partnership with Manjul Publishing, Penguin Random House titles will be made available in Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi in the first roll out phase. An initial list of about 50 titles will be released over the course of 2016, growing to a wider range in the coming years.  This list will encompass both adult and children’s titles across fiction and non-fiction, and consist of both newly released titles and some of Penguin Random House’s most popular perennial bestsellers. To drive this initiative, Vaishali Mathur will take on the newly created role of Head of Language Publishing and Rights.  Alongside her current role as Executive Editor for commercial publishing, Vaishali will take on a wider responsibility for further language sales as well as rights deals to language publishers in India and worldwide.

“It has long been Penguin Random House’s aim to provide books and content for a large range of readers, not only throughout India but also across the globe,” said Penguin Random House India CEO Gaurav Shrinagesh.  “Through this new strategic partnership with Manjul Publishing and the appointment of Vaishali to oversee our translation and rights sales, I am delighted that we will now be able to expand the reach of our authors’ works across languages and territories.”

“I am extremely enthused with this opportunity to bring Penguin Random House’s extensive catalogue of Indian and International books to the readers of local languages across the country,” said Mathur. “With this program we will be able to reach out to a larger readership and provide our authors with a wider canvas.”

 

 


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For Hindi literature, Hans writes a story of grit and revival

Hans has quite a rich history and a formidable literary reputation.

It was founded in 1930 in Varanasi by none other than Munshi Premchand, who was called ‘Upanyas Samrat’ (the king of novels) and had Mahatma Gandhi as its editorial adviser. From the very beginning, the magazine has enjoyed an anti-establishment reputation, always inquisitive and provocative. In the editorial published in the first edition of the magazine, Premchand, stated its objectives thus: “Hans will play a major role in inspiring the countrymen to mobilise themselves against British rule.”

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Indian PM Modi hails Mauritius for enriching Hindi literature

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday hailed Mauritius for enriching Hindi literature through its contribution and said the language has occupied a special place in the world.

On the second leg of his three—nation visit, Modi wished the people of Mauritius on behalf of nearly 125 crore Indians on the occasion of the country’s National Day. Continue reading


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Is Hindi literature back in fashion?

The rise of online publishing and social media may inadvertently be beneficial for Hindi authors and its readers: The Hindu

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Kitaab interview with Dr. Usha Bande

downloadDr. Usha Bande is an Indian writer and critic who lives in Shimla. She writes in Marathi, Hindi and English and translates short stories from Marathi into Hindi. She has several research papers and more than a dozen books to her credit including Writing Resistance: A Comparative Study of Women Novelists. Her most recent work is a collection of short stories, A Box of Stolen Moments (Lifi Publications, 2014).

Kitaab recently interviewed her through email.

When did you start writing short stories? 

Long back.  I was in school when I wrote my first story but it was never published. In fact, I did not know where to send, how to send and all that. I mean tricks of the trade. In 1960s we were not much aware and smart as youngsters today are. Anyway, I wrote a small piece in Hindi for a story writing competition when I was in college; it was published in Navbharat Times and I got a third prize. It motivated me but again there was a gap of several years. My first real story which got published in English was “Painter Sahib”, included in my collection A Box of Stolen Moments. And I like this story as it has a kind of soft touch to it. It is partly real.

Tell us about some of the interesting stories in this collection and what inspired you to write them?

A very relevant question, indeed though a little difficult to answer! Continue reading


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Hindi-Urdu Sahitya Award Committe organises 25th International Literature Festival in Lucknow

The 25th International Literature Festival organised by the Hindi-Urdu Sahitya Award Committe in association with the UP Sangeet Natak Academy , is dedicated to writers of Hindi and Urdu literature, Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Majrooh Sultanpuri. The inaugural ceremony on Saturday witnessed the presence of famous personalities from the field of art, literature and politics.  Continue reading


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We don’t have one “national language” in India, but several: Shashi Tharoor

Shashi_TharoorThe unnecessary controversy over the use of Hindi by the government in official communications and social media revealed two essential truths about our country. The first is that, whatever the Hindi chauvinists might say, we don’t have one “national language” in India, but several. The second is that zealots have an unfortunate tendency to provoke a battle they will lose – at a time when they were quietly winning the war. Continue reading


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Hindi on the Hudson

Sometimes my son asks in English: “Baba, what does duniya mean?” It means the world, beta, the world that I have lost. The world of Hindi: Amitava Kumar remembers his lost world of Hindi

Amitava_KumarMy son, who was born here in New York four years ago, doesn’t speak Hindi—but I have taught him the first few lines of the Kishore Kumar song Hum to Mohabbat Karega, Duniya Se Nahin Darega.

I have often explained to him the meaning of the words, but sometimes he asks in English: “Baba, what does duniya mean?”

It means the world, beta, the world that I have lost. The world of Hindi.

I have recorded my son singing the song and played it on WhatsApp for my sisters who haven’t seen him for a very long time. I think they would be amused if they also heard him say, when I’m putting him to sleep, “Chuppchaap so jaao.” Continue reading