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The Ethics of Translation

By Chandan Gowda

A linguist narrated an anecdote that I haven’t been able to forget. A translator in medieval China complained of budget cuts for the work of translation: “In earlier days, a hundred translators worked together, in one large room, to translate a text. This number is now reduced to forty.” Besides the charms of collective authorship of translated texts, in contrast with the modern figure of the solo translator, the anecdote had held up the value of translation in China.

Translations open up pathways of imagination between cultural communities. While their value appears obvious, a few cautionary observations, especially with reference to contemporary English translations from Indian language, might be worth recalling.

Since great stories about village India or tribal India, to name just two spheres of experience, are likely to be written in Indian languages, only translations, in English or Indian languages, can come to the rescue of curious minds. More generally, an interest in the best works of Indian literature and political thought can be presumed to exist, either now or at another point in time. So far, so good. Read more

Source: Bangalore Mirror


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Have you written a children’s story inspired by Asia?

The Scholastic Asian Book Award (Saba) is a joint initiative between the National Book Development Council of Singapore and publishers Scholastic Asia that “will recognise children’s writers of Asian origin who are taking the experiences of life, spirit, and thinking in different parts of Asia to the world at large”.

Since its inception in 2011, the biennial award has been responsible for publishing English language works by authors from all over Asia, including India, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

The best manuscript wins S$10,000 (RM31,000) and will be considered by Scholastic Asia for publication; the authors of the first and second runners-up manuscripts will be offered advice by Scholastic Asia on editing and submitting their works for publication. Read more

Source: Star2.com


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Indian author moots confederation to settle Kashmir issue

Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday released a book that calls for a confederation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh but without undoing the partition as the only way to address poverty and resolve the Kashmir dispute.

“Regional cooperation with a focus on human security problems, on movement of people and on trade without unreasonable restrictions” was the need of the hour, Mr Ansari said at a function in Mumbai, apparently agreeing with the book’s argument.

“The common traits in cultural traditions and historical narratives need to be transmitted to younger generation through conscious promotion rather than prevention of cultural exchanges, films, and other cultural activities,” Mr Ansari said in his appeal to the governments and civil societies in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Mr Ansari made these comments while releasing August Voices, a new book by Indian peace activist Sudheendra Kulkarni, which calls for an India-Pakistan-Bangladesh confederation. Read more

Source: DAWN


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Book Review: Full Marks for Trying: An Unlikely Journey from the Raj to the Rag Trade by Brigid Keenan

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Having recently passed a Waterstones’ window that advertised a book based on a hideously abused childhood with the words: “Seriously honest! Feel his pain!” it was a relief to read Brigid Keenan’s assessment of her own past. “It seems to me now that my childhood was the exact opposite of a misery memoir,” she says; “it was almost too happy, too sheltered, too cosy.”

It’s a relief, of course, to read that, but at the same time quite daunting. Is it possible to produce a readable memoir that’s full of joy? The answer is “Yes”. Keenan writes feelgood books. I’ve devoured Diplomatic Baggage and Packing Up – both memoirs of her time as a diplomatic wife in India and eastern Europe – and this account of her childhood and early career in the 1960s is another compulsive and humorous read.

We sometimes read autobiographies to find bits that resonate with us. This one chimed with me more than most. There was barely a page where I wasn’t wanting to email Keenan to tell her: “But I did that! My mother did that!” I’ve met her occasionally, both of us being journalists with only five years between us, but I never realised the similarities that are paraded through these pages. Read more


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New Release: Abdul Gani Bhat’s ‘Beyond Me’ captivates, jolts the reader

The former Prime Minister of Jammu Kashmir, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was on Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru’s mission Kashmir in Pakistan to explore possibilities to work out a peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute but Nehru died while Sheikh was in Pakistan, former APHC Chairman and Muslim Conference leader, Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat writes in his autobiography ‘Beyond Me’.

In his 264-page book published by Gulshan Books Kashmir, Bhat writes that the war between India and China – the most humiliating war to recount amid noises ‘Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai’ eventually brought Jawahar Lal Nehru’s ivory towers tumbling down in pieces to earth.

“Nehru’s sense of history was sharper than a few others around. He understood that belligerence against the neighbouring China and Pakistan at the same time could spell a disaster in the entire region and thus in deference to Anglo-American diplomatic persuasion as well preferred a strategic dialogue with Pakistan on Kashmir dispute. The dialogue happened to produce no solution as usual,” he writes in the book that he has dedicated to Qurat-ul-Ain and her mother Tasleema and that encapsulates his life upto 1987.

The book divided into 15 chapters is being released at a simple function in Srinagar on Friday. Bhat writes things changed when National Conference (NC) founder, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was released from captivity. Read more


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Book Review: Garrisoned Minds: Women and Armed Conflict in South Asia

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As a journalist one has covered and read stories galore about rape, atrocities by the armed forces and militants and suppression of women in the name of religion, caste, but reading Garrisoned Minds underlines the brutality all over again.

So disturbing are some of the essays that it is not possible to read them at one go. The book follows 12 journalists across the conflict zones of South Asia—Pakistan, Nepal and India (Kashmir and the Northeast). The impact of 13 long years of war in Afghanistan is evident in neighbouring Pakistan.

The editors, Laxmi Murthy and Mitu Varma, have done well to begin each section with the historical context of a conflict. It is a bold book because it names and exposes the armed forces as well as extremists who tortured and raped women. For women, breaking the silence has severe consequences and without support, few women dare speak out. Read more


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No place for language chauvinism in India

”Is English really an Indian language?” Does this need a debate?

Many believe it does not, for English has been part of life in India. Some still dub it as the language of the elite while many find English as a language of opportunity. To cut the long story short, English’s place in India, after 70 years of Independence, continues to make for riveting discussion. That’s exactly what happened when an elite panel at Odisha Literary Festival (OLF) 2016 took up the topic and dissected it on the first evening of the two-day festival.

Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee, with his rich experience as a teacher of comparative literature and years with Sahitya Akademi as well as National Book Trust, put things in perspective by saying the official position of English in India is confusing. Constitution does not recognise it as an Indian language though Sahitya Akademi gives away an award every year in English language. On the other hand, two of India’s top literary awards Jnanapitha as well as Saraswati Samman keep English out of their ambit, he said. Read more

 


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Singapore’s Kitaab announces the first Seemanchal International Literary Festival to be held in India

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Literary festivals of various hues have been creating a revolution of ideas across India in the last few years. However, most literary festivals take place in metro cities and resort towns. This is going to change with a new literary festival being launched in India by the people of the Seemanchal region of Bihar.

profile-pic-180by180The Seemanchal International Literary Festival (SILF) is an international literary event organized by Kitaab International, Singapore, in collaboration with Insan School, Kishanganj, Bihar.The first edition of SILF is scheduled to be held on 17-18 November, 2016 at Insan School campus in Kishanganj to coincide with the golden jubilee celebration of the Insan School, one of the well-known educational institutions in the region.

SILF is the brainchild of Singapore-based journalist, writer, publisher, and founder of Kitaab, Zafar Anjum, who hails from Kishanganj.

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Essay: With Missionary Zeal

By Devraj Kalsi

When parents admit their child to an English medium school run by the Catholic community, the primary objective is to instil in the child discipline and moral values, gain access to the best environment to gain proficiency in English, and develop a liberal mindset that prepares the young mind to face the challenges and complexities of the modern world. The pupil is told again and again that he is here to imbibe the best. But as the young impressionable mind enters the teenage years, the school authorities find an irresistible opportunity to start talking about issues that should not arise inside a secular campus. The missionary institution, though it behaves secularly as much like any elected government in the country, ends up vitiating its professional pursuits with personal agenda.

Although I learned to see God as a more amiable persona in the Catholic school, it wasn’t too long before I realised that this was the beginning of a subtle crash course to preach the merits of their religion. My first awakening happened when I was told to love God more than fear Him. Usually, in traditional North Indian households and many others perhaps, there is a deeply ingrained, though flawed tendency to view the creator as a temperamental dictator who can turn your life upside down any moment. His power is something to be feared all the time.

Here was the first opportunity to view the Omniscient as someone who has created me to enjoy his creations and I should, therefore, be fond of Him all the time – just like a friend to reach out to. From the ivory tower, the creator was brought down to my level – just for me. I did feel an urge to share dreams and desires and wishes without nursing doubts that He would deny those to me. God himself became a temptation for me. The relationship with Him developed along friendly and compatible lines; I saw Him as user-friendly because human qualities were given priority and the complexities and conflicts between believer and provider had been fairly rationalized and sorted out through prayers and monologues.

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Not War, Not Peace: A book that helps you ask the right questions about the Indo-Pak conflict

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Not War, Not Peace: Motivating Pakistan to Prevent Cross-Border Terrorism

By George Perkovich & Toby Dalton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Pages: 695

The authors of ‘Not War, Not Peace’ couldn’t have timed the India release of their book better. Perkovich was in India immediately after the Uri terror strike which led to the death of 19 soldiers, and even as he argued that there was a low probability of New Delhi ordering a ground-based military operation against a nuclear-armed Pakistan, the Indian army launched “surgical strikes” in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

These events, however, do not take anything away from the value of the book which is analytical in nature and does not come with any definitive recommendations. For example, it identifies four objectives for any Indian military action: first, satisfy the domestic political-psychological need for punishing Pakistan; second, motivate Pakistan to act decisively against terrorists; third, deter Pakistan from escalating the conflict; and fourth, bring the conflict to a close that does not leave India worse off had it not chosen that military option. Read more