One reason why Indians are more familiar with literary masterpieces of the West than with those of Indian languages is lack of translations from and into the languages of the sub-continent. However, this may not be a problem for long for Gujarati readers.
Gujarat Vidyapith has launched a special project named, ‘Anuvad Pratisthan’, under which popular literary works of around one dozen Indian languages will be translated into Gujarati. Not only that. In the second phase of the project, the Vidyapith plans to translate popular Gujarati literature into other Indian languages as well. The project is the brainchild of Gujarat Vidyapith’s Chancellor, Narayan Desai.
“The aim is to bring to the Gujarati reader translations of acknowledged literary works of other Indian languages. To begin with, we have chosen the works of Oriya writer, Varsha Das,” said Chhaya Trivedi, national coordinator of Anuvad Foundation, Gujarat Vidyapith.
Literary works in other Indian languages such as Kashmiri, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malyalam and Urdu to mention a few, will also be translated besides works in Oriya.
“When we read regional literature, there is also an exchange of cultural knowledge as literary works throw light on the habits, rituals, and traditions of people speaking that language,” Trivedi said.
People associated with the project are themselves considering translating short stories, one-act plays, poems and novels from other Indian languages into Gujarati. In the second phase of the project, there are plans to translate popular Gujarati works into other regional languages.
Gujarat Vidyapith registrar, Rajendra Khimani, said that ‘Anuvad Pratisthan’ is a long-term project. The Vidyapith is looking for translators who can translate a literary work directly into Gujarati to retain the flavour of the original.
To help find translators easily, the Vidyapith has also taken steps to prepare an encyclopedia of translators living in Gujarat and other places.