Bangalore Book Festival 2012 kicks off in style at Palace Grounds

Three Jnanpith recipients on Friday underlined the need of translating important regional language works to make them available to pan-Indian readers.

At the inauguration of the Bangalore Book Festival 2012, they observed that lack of translation mechanism was the reason or domination of English over regional languages.

Speaking on the occasion, Jnanpith winner Sitakant Mohapatra said that translation was important to show that the country had produced great literary works, which rivalled great literature elsewhere. “Translation is the most important thing to create pan-Indian readership,” he said.

Noting that the best creative works were being produced in regional languages, he said they failed to get recognition as they have not been translated into other Indian languages and English. “Had the works of Gopinath Mohanti and Takazhi Shivashankara Pillai not been translated, they would have remained unknown to the outer world.”

Mr. Mohapatra pointed out a major problem was finding good translators who have mastery over both the languages to bring out the essence of the work. Mutual translation of regional language works would help in creating a treasure trove of literature. Agreeing with Mr. Mohapatra, another Jnanpith recipient, M.T. Vasudevan Nair noted that every language has its unique characteristic because of its cultural richness. Despite that, languages grow by opening themselves to other languages of the world and Malayalam was no exception.

Taking exception to litterateurs adopting English as their language of communication, Jnanpith recipient Chandrashekar Kambar said this was why a colonial language was now dominating regional languages. “Now is the time to introspect and correct the mistake.”

Noting that, creative works, especially literature, was facing threat from both the state and religious zealots for speaking the truth, Kendra Sahitya Akademi chairperson Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari said literature has advocated truth and justice from time immemorial and attempts were being made to suppress writers.

Shivarathri, a play by Dr. Kambar, Edege Bidda Akshara, a compilation of writings by Devanur Mahadeva, and a translation of some Malayalam works were released on the occasion.

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