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A rare double for Isaac

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Popular: From the cover of the book.
Popular: From the cover of the book.

C. Gouridasan Nair

Book on decentralisation co-authored by him has been translated into Spanish and Portuguese.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: To be translated into a foreign language is a dream come true for any writer. Especially so if the work would go beyond the confines of academia and reach the people at large in languages far removed from one’s own. And what if one’s book gets translated simultaneously into two languages with reach that transcends continents? It is that rare double that Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac has achieved with Local Democracy and Development: People’s Campaign for Decentralised Planning in Kerala, which he co-authored with Richard W. Franke, Professor of Anthropology at Montclair State University, U.S.

Dr. Isaac was pleasantly surprised when some months ago a friend informed him that the book had been translated into Spanish and Portuguese and that he had been told by a university teacher in Paris that she was using it to teach decentralisation. Dr. Isaac had no clue as to how the book had found its way to the groups that had brought out the translations.

The veil of mystery got lifted when he made enquiries with LeftWord, the English publishing arm of the CPI(M), while in New Delhi and was told by none other than the party general secretary Prakash Karat that a Latin American group had approached him for permission to publish translations of the book and that LeftWord, which holds the copyright of the book, had permitted its translation into Spanish and Portuguese for a token sum.

The books, titled ‘democracia local y desarrollo: compana popular de planificacion descentralizada de kerala’ in Spanish and ‘democracia local I desenvolupament companya popular de planificacio descentralitzkada de Kerala’ in Portuguese reached Dr. Isaac about a week ago thanks to the efforts of the university teacher in Paris.

“I am excited, in equal measure for the fact that it is rarely that somebody gets translated into a language such as Spanish which is spoken across Latin America and for the even more gratifying prospect of our experiment in democratic decentralisation in Kerala being studied in such far-off places,” Dr. Isaac says.

The book had brought Dr. Isaac much pain only two years ago at the height of the factional feud in the State CPI(M), it being cited as one more evidence of his ‘links’ with the CIA. “Those are bitter memories that these translations and my realisation of their political significance have simply erased,” Dr. Isaac says.

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