The first ever direct translation from Chinese to Tamil, ‘Even if I adorn; there's none to behold', by Indian diplomat Sridharan Madhusudhanan was released on Saturday by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon at a function held at Delhi Tamil Sangam here.

The book ‘China's Sangam Literature: Introduction and Direct Translation' [‘Vaari Choodinum Paarppavar Illai: Kavi thogai – Chinaavin ‘Sanga Ilakkiyam'. Arimugamum, Neradi Thamizhakkamum'], brings an important Chinese literature to India.

Mr. Menon gave the first copy of the book to People's Republic of China Embassy Minister Wang Xuefeng.

The book is about the Chinese Classic Book of Poetry (Shi Jing, pronounced ShizhChing), which is the earliest extant book available in the Chinese literary history. It is an anthology of 305 poems by anonymous poets in three categories: folk, festive and prayers. Confucius (551 B.C. to 479 B.C.), who is supposed to have made the anthology, mentions these poems in his works and dialogues.

Mr. Sridharan is at present working as Director at the SAARC Division at the Ministry of External Affairs here. An Indian Foreign Service officer who has served for about nine years in Beijing and Hong Kong has written this book under his pen name ‘Payani', meaning travel and traveller in Tamil.

Unlike other books which have so far been translated from Chinese to English and thence from English to Tamil, this book is the first ever direct translation. The book also highlights some of the surprising similarities between the ancient Chinese literature and the Sangam literature of ancient Tamils. This is an important book not only to the Chinese, but also to anyone wanting to know more about China, Chinese society, culture and literature for over 1,000 years.

Mr. Menon, who can speak Chinese, lauded the efforts of Mr. Sridharan in bringing out this book and said this would help in better understanding of the culture of the two countries.

Mr. Wang Xuefeng expressed the hope that this would be the beginning of translation of other literary works in Chinese to Indian languages.

ICCR Chair Professor of Indian Studies at National University of Sigapore, Dr. A. R. Venkatachalapathy, novelist P.A. Krishnan, writer Mu. Ramanathan of Hong Kong, Kalachuvadu Pathippagam Publisher Kanna and Delhi Tamil Sangam Secretary R. Mukunthan were among those who offered felicitations to the author.

More In: Delhi | News