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VOW Book Awards 2024 Shortlist- Hindi Translation Category


Of the twenty-two languages in the eighth schedule   viz  Assamese,   Bengali,   Gujarati,   Hindi,   Kannada, Kashmiri,   Konkani,   Malayalam,   Manipuri,   Marathi,   Nepali,   Oriya,   Punjabi,    Sanskrit,   Sindhi,   Tamil,   Telugu,   Urdu  , Bodo,   Santhali,   Maithili and   Dogri ,  the Valley of Words has been privileged to shortlist writers from seven languages  :  Gujarati, Assamese  Tamil, Bangla , Punjabi, Konkani and  Marathi .  In  addition, we have    translations from English into Hindi, which makes it a total of eight languages for   the  knowledge verticals : translations from Bhashas of Bharat into Hindi and English. VoW believes that English is also an Indian language , and in the Vox Populi debate at VoW in 2019 , the overwhelming majority of the house concurred with this opinion  . It was pointed out that English  is the language of the judiciary , the associate official language of the Union and the official language in several states in the NE and   most of the Union Territories .  

Here are some very short synoptic remarks on    best translations received this year  , with the hope   our readers who have a connect with a language spoken in the homes of  their grandparents – on either the maternal or paternal side- should make it a point to read   the translation   as well as the original –even if it takes longer , for while it is great to be a five trillion dollar economy by the end of the decade , we also have to be careful and alert about not losing out on our own heritage and culture , of which language is such an important part. This column will cover the five translations into Hindi and over the next few days , we will also cover the translations into English .

 

The list    for Hindi ( as indeed all our shortlists ) is   arranged in the alphabetic order as one of the five books in each of the categories will be the recipient of the prestigious REC VoW Award later this year ( 16/17 November) at Dehradun.

The first book is  the Hindi translation  by  Subhas Nirav  of  Ambar Pariyan in Punjabi  by Baljinder Nasrali which examines the theme of love, longing, belonging , and the inevitable tension between  what individuals aspire for versus societal expectations . It also explores the future of marriage in a post-modern world. Nasrali teaches Punjabi at Delhi University , and many of his works are now part of the syllabi in universities in Punjab and NCR.

 

Next on our list if Mazda kay Jadugar . This is Naved Akbar’s brilliant  translation of Ashwin Sanghi’s acclaimed  narrative spread over thirteen hundred years – starting from the arrival of a fleet of boats  carrying eighteen thousand  frightened souls  at the port of Sanjan in Gujarat in 720 CE. Chanting Sanskrit-like prayers, the high priest consecrates a sacred fire to thank their god, Ahura Mazda, leading them to a new home and hope. He uses a mysterious substance to spark the flame, but few know of its miraculous properties or provenance. Much like the plot in  Da Vinci code of Dan Brown , the  Parsi scientist Jim Dastoor is abducted from his Seattle laboratory and whisked away to Tehran for the reigning  Ayatollah believes Jim is the key to uncovering the ancient relic known as the Atharvan Star which has the potential of changing the course of history . Deftly navigating between time and geography, The Magicians of Mazda travel  backwards, through the epochs of Islamic jihad, Macedonian revenge, Achaemenid glory, messianic birth, Aryan schism-to the Vedic fount from where it began.

 

The third offering   is Mannat aur Anya Kahaniya by Damodar Mauzo, translated from Konkan by Ramita Gurav . This collection of short stories by the Gyanpeeth Awardee mirrors life in the vicinity of the author’s home , and captures the political. Ecological, social, cultural, religious and linguistic tensions in the  transforming landscape of Goa in voices of its ordinary citizens : drivers, peons, maids, bus conductors, homemakers and professionals . The book is extraordinary for it also lets butterflies, birds, cats and dogs as well as the trees and flowers offer their reflections on the growing consumerist culture which is enveloping everyone and everything .

 

The life and legacy of Gopal Krishna Gokhale – the mentor to  Mahatma Gandhi   by Govind Talwalkar has been  translated from Marathi by Damodar Khadse . Gokhale wrote flawless English, and his addresses both to the Indian National congress  and the Imperial Legislative Council  are well documented. There is also no dearth of material on him in Marathi . The gap for the Hindi readers has been addressed in this seminal translation. Gokhale’s rise, and subsequent marginalisation in the Congress also reflects the changing politics of the time – for as the Congress became a mass movement , the constitutionalist and moderate approach of Gokhale and his group  was considered to be rather tame by the extremist faction of the Congress .

 

Last , but not the least is ‘Dhimi Wali Fast Passenger by Mark Tully, translated from English by Prabhat Singh . Tully needs no introduction – either to the English or the Hindi readers – for he is perhaps the longest foreign correspondent resident in India. His fine understanding of the nuances of Indian social and political landscape is  unparalleled.  Singh has done a fine job in translating this set of stories from …These are stories set in  eastern Uttar Pradesh , and each of these  narratives makes a point : whether it is the establishment of a temple dedicated to Sant Ravi Das, or a protest movement by an ex-headmaster to  resurrect an abandoned railway line  and  an atheist’s conversion to life as a Buddhist monk and much more !

Incidentally the name for English in Hindi is Angul, and I realized  this when I received a testimonial from the  then Chief Minister of Uttarakhand  ( Narayan Dutt Tiwari)  in Hindi , complimenting me for  presentations in Angul to investment meetings in the UAE !  



 

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REC- VoW Book Awards 2024

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