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Writing in Regional Languages

  • May 17, 2011
  • Maya
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Via DNA

After being felicitated on Friday for receiving the Tagore Literature Award for her work Badlondian Bahaaraan, Dogri writer Santosh Khajuria did not mince words in holding Dogri-speaking people responsible for what she called the “sorry state” the language has been reduced to.
“Just like those who negate their mothers once they reach the pinnacle, these people seem to feel ashamed to speak their own language,” she said, adding, “This can end up killing our traditional languages and we may lose a really rich trove of our cultural legacy in the process.”
So, is translation the only way out of this situation? Khajuria admitted wryly, “I don’t know. Maybe we should look at translations into other Indian regional languages and not English alone.”
While Brajnath Rath who got the award for Samanya Asamanya (Odia) felt translations should be encouraged as it will help writers cast their net wider, S Ramakrishnan, who won the award for Yaamam (Tamil) lamented the lack of good translators in India.
“Lack of good translators means that regional writers are constrained even if we have to get our works translated,” he said, adding, “Do you think Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s magical realism would have reached global audiences if it weren’t for the brilliant translation?”
I’ve written 23 books and get to hear nothing. One of my books was translated into English and I was amazed at getting 29 letters from readers in a week,” said Debabrata Das who picked up his first award ever for Nirbachita Galpa (Assamese).
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