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The Translators’ Team on their Favourite Regional Literature

The Translators’ Team is is one of the foundational pillars of The Blahcksheep. Since May 2022, our first-time translators have translated various submissions on The Blahcksheep digital platform in multiple regional and global languages.

Courtesy of our wonderful translators, you can now read pieces on The Blahcksheep in Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Assamese, Bengali, Nepali, Marathi, and Korean here.

We asked our translators’ team about their favourite regional literature, a book they’d recommend and why. Here are some of their responses:

Aadrit 2

সুনীল গঙ্গোপাধ্যায় তাঁর এক কবিতায় লিখছেন:“শুধু কবিতার জন্য, আরো দীর্ঘদিন বেঁচে থাকতে লোভ হয়। মানুষের মতো ক্ষোভময় বেঁচে থাকা, শুধু কবিতার জন্য আমি অমরত্ব তাচ্ছিল্য করেছি।

আমি প্রথম কবিতা শিখি চার বছর বয়সে আমার দিদিমার কাছে । সেই থেকে আজও, প্রতিনিয়ত সাহিত্যের সাথে আলাপ, যুক্তি-তক্ক । কিন্তু একটি রুগ্ন কবিতার বই আমার কাছে থেকেছে সবসময়‌ – “ভানুসিংহ ঠাকুরের পদাবলী” । হ্যাঁ । সেই যে কিশোর কবি চ্যাটারটনের কথা শুনে অনুপ্রাণিত হয়ে ১৬ বছর বয়সী রবীন্দ্রনাথ বৈষ্ণব পদাকর্তাদের ছন্দের অনুরূপে রচনা করলেন ২০টি কবিতা (সংযোজনে আরো ২টি) ব্রজবুলি ভাষায় ।

এই কবিতাগুলির প্রত্যেক পংক্তিতে, রাধা-কৃষ্ণের প্রেমাখ্যানের আড়ালে, আবছায়ার মতো চির-উপস্থিত ভানুর নিজের প্রেম উপলব্ধির কথা যেইখানে বাইরের প্রেমিক অন্তরের জীবন–দেবতার সাথে মিলে মিশে একাকার । যখন জীবন অভিসারে সত্য মরীচিকার মতো দুরে সরে যায়, তখন আশার বাঁশি শুনি ভানুসিংহের কবিতায় ।

— Aadrit Banerjee, Bengali Translator

Sunil Gangopadhyay once wrote : “It is for poetry alone, that I wish to live forever more, continue with this toilsome mortal human existence – for poetry only, I have forsaken immortality”.

My Dida (grandmother) had first introduced me to the wonderful world of poetry when I was just four years old. Since then, I have been intoxicated by the vast ocean of literature, that has become an inseparable part of my life. There is one book of poems in particular that has stayed with me, and always will. It’s called Bhanusingha Thakurer Padabali or Songs of Bhanusingha Thakur.

The book consists of a total of 22 poem-songs which Tagore composed in the Brajabuli language, at the age of 16, under the pseudonym of Bhanusingha, aspiring to become like the Irish poet Chatterton. In these poems, behind the theme of Radha-Krishna’s love affairs, is hidden Tagore’s own philosophy and interpretation of love wherein the lover and the Jivan Devata, the God within, merges into one. The book has been an inspiration, a vehicle of intimacy with literature and with myself. It has given me hope during times when all around me was loveless and dark.

About Aadrit: Born and brought-up in Kolkata, he loves to dream! He is presently pursuing his undergraduate degree in English Hons. from the Ramjas College, University of Delhi. Passionate about the art of writing, Aadrit has several accolades to his name in the fields of creative writing and journalism. He takes a great interest in studying Tagore, in academic research, and poetry and loves to eat, sleep, doodle and paint.

Elda 3

दो लोग की शुरुआत 1947 में भारत और पाकिस्तान के विभाजन की चर्चा से होती है। हालांकि, यह मानवता की कमी के बारे में अधिक है। यह विश्वासघात और वफादारी से संबंधित है। विषय प्रेम और घृणा है। यह “विविधता में एकता” के हमारे झूठे दावों से संबंधित है। पुस्तक संक्षिप्त लेकिन सटीक वाक्यांशों के साथ स्पर्श-और-जाओ कहानी कहने का एक अनूठा प्रयास है। आसपास के विवरण की मात्रा अत्यधिक नहीं है।

पुस्तक की जानकारी ने मुझे यह समझने में मदद की कि हिंदी एक अविश्वसनीय रूप से सुंदर भाषा क्यों है और गुलज़ार मेरे पसंदीदा लेखक क्यों हैं।

Elda Gavril, Hindi Translator

Do Log begins by discussing the 1947 split of India and Pakistan. But it is more about our lack of humanity. It deals with treachery and loyalty, love and hate. It discusses our false assertions of “Unity in Diversity.” The book is a unique attempt in touch-and-go storytelling, with brief but precise phrases.

The information in the book helped me understand why Hindi is an incredibly beautiful language and why Gulzaar is my favourite author.

About Elda: Currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in bioscience from Jaipur, she is an enthusiastic individual who likes to explore new things. She likes art, literature and trying out new hobbies. Her short term goal is to have a working experience in every field possible.

Anshu 1 scaled

मैले हालैमा छूडेन काबिमो द्वारा रचित उपन्यास फातसुङ पढ़े I उनी कालेबुंग निवासी लेखक हुन् I लाप्चे भाषामा ‘फातसुङ’ शब्दको अर्थ हो ‘माटोको कथा’ I यसको साथ लाप्चे जातिहरु कालेबुंगको सबैभन्दा पुरानो बासिन्दाहरु भन्ने मानिन्छ I लेखक जिउले यो उपन्यास नेपाली भाषामा लेखेका छन् तर खास दार्जीलिङ्गे शैलीमा I यस उपन्यासलाई आजित बरालजिउले अंग्रेजीमापनि अनुवाद गरेका छन् र शीर्षक छ ‘सोङ अफ द सॉइल’ I यसमा लेखीएको कथालाई म सधै सम्झनामा राख्नेछु कारण लेखकले सहजतापुर्वक पहाड़मा बसेका नेपाली जातिका पिड़ा बारे लेखेका छन् I यस उपन्यास विशेषगरि १९८६ को गोर्खालैंडको आनदोलन बारे लेखिएको छ I

Anshu Chhetri, Nepali Translator

I read a novel called Fatsung recently by Chuden Kabimo, a writer based in Kalimpong. The etymological meaning of the word ‘fatsung’ in the Lepcha language is the ‘story of the soil’. Also, Lepchas are said to be the oldest inhabitants of Kalimpong before the mass influx. The writer has written the novel in the Nepali language with a unique dialect of the Darjeeling hills. It is also translated into English by Ajit Baral with the title Song of the Soil. The story will stay with me for a long time as it talks about the long struggle of the small hill community to have a land of their own. The novel is set against the Gorkhaland agitation of 1986.

About Anshu: She is pursuing her M.Phil. in English Literature at the University of North
Bengal. She is currently reading Figuring by Maria Popova, a phenomenal book about the
great minds of the past generation.

Tejas

મારા માટે ગુજરાતી સાહિત્યની સૌથી યાદગાર વાર્તા દરેક ગુજરાતી શાળાના હાઈસ્કૂલના વિદ્યાર્થીઓને શીખવવામાં આવતી એક ટૂંકી વાર્તા છે ‘થીગડું’, જે સુરેશ હરિપ્રસાદ જોષીએ લખી હતી. જ્યારે હું વિદ્યાર્થી હતો ત્યારે મેં તેને પહેલીવાર વાંચ્યું, અને ત્યારથી જ તે મને પ્રિય છે.

તે ઘટ અને પ્રેમની એક ઘનિષ્ઠ અને અંગત વાર્તા છે જેનું ઉદાહરણ  વાર્તામાં એક કાપડના થીગડુંથી આપવામાં આવે છે. તે વાચકને સંભાળની અને કથાકાર તેની પત્નીને સ્વર્ગમાં ગુમાવ્યા પછીના પ્રેમને સમજે છે. આ બહુ સુંદર રીતે લખાયેલું છે અને પ્રેમ અને સંભાળની નાની વસ્તુઓ તમારા જીવનને કેવી રીતે બનાવે છે અને વાસ્તવિક સંભાળની તુલનામાં કેવી રીતે ભવ્ય હાવભાવ નિસ્તેજ છે, તેનું ચિત્ર આ વાર્તા દોરે છે.|

Tejas Khandelwal, Gujarati Translator

One of the most memorable pieces of Gujarati literature for me is a short story taught to high school students in every Gujarati school, titled થીગડું (Thigdu) by Suresh Hariprasad Joshi. It has been a personal favourite ever since I first read it as a student. 

It’s an intimate and personal story of loss and love, exemplified by a patch of cloth (meaning of the word Thigdu!) sewn to repair the protagonist’s coat. It’s beautifully written and paints a picture of how small things in love can make your life, and how grandiose gestures are pale in comparison to genuine care. 

About Tejas: A chef-in-training, originally from Surat, Gujarat; he is currently studying in Lucknow. He works as a freelance editor and proofreader for multiple clients and publication houses. As a polyglot, he is proficient in almost 7-8 languages, and also keen to master some more. He spends most of his time reading literary materials and improving his craft of writing.


More about the Translators’ Team: The Blahcksheep aims to democratise the publishing industry and make the written word accessible to all. But we need your help to make this happen!

If you believe in our vision and would like to contribute to it in any way, please drop us a mail at @theblahcksheep@gmail.com We also look forward to your suggestions and feedback on how we can improve our translations.

Call for Translators: If you are a translator, who’d be interested in doing pro bono translation work with us (with due credits, of course), please fill this Google form. We will write to you with the next steps once you’ve signed up.

If you know a family member, colleague or friend who’d like to translate with us and join the team, please share this Google Form with them. We’d be glad to get in touch with them.

Looking forward to your love, enthusiasm and blahs, of course! Be he(a)rd.

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