Bengaluru

Challenge in translation is to bridge the gap between sensibilities, says Vanamala Viswanatha

first copy:  Jnanpith award winner Girish Karnad releasing the English translation of the 13th century Kannada classical  text translated by Vanamala Viswanatha (right), in Bengaluru on Monday.

first copy: Jnanpith award winner Girish Karnad releasing the English translation of the 13th century Kannada classical text translated by Vanamala Viswanatha (right), in Bengaluru on Monday.

The English translation of the 13th century Kannada classical text by Raghavanka Harishchandra Kavyam (The Life of Harishchandra), published by Murty Classical Library of India (MCLI) and translated by Vanamala Viswanatha, was released here on Monday by Jnanpith recipient Girish Karnad.

The function was attended by the who’s who of the city’s literary fraternity.

Daunting task

On the daunting task of translating the classical text, Ms. Viswanatha likened it to the plight of “Hanuman carrying the entire mountain to bring one plant to save Lakshmana”.

A translator needs to relocate a text from the past and contextualise it. “It has to leap across time, place and sensibilities,” she said, adding that the toughest thing in the translation is to bridge the gap between the sensibilities in two languages.

There was a huge applause from the audience when Ms. Viswanatha read out a passage from the original work about various kinds of nets used for hunting, and her translated version of that. “All these nets are our contribution to literature!” she said. Ms. Viswanatha, who is also exponent in Gamaka (musical rendering of classical texts), rendered a part of the original work. While translating, the shatpadi form of the classic (six-line metre style) took the form of champu (a mixture of many styles), she said.

Noting that Raghavanka was from north Karnataka, Sudha Murty, member of the MCLI editorial board, said her mother introduced Harishchandra Kavyam to her when she was 10 years old to teach her against compromising with the truth. “I have transferred the same to Rohan; you are seeing the result today,” she said, about her son, Rohan Murty, who is responsible for initiating the MCLI project.

‘Part of mosaic’

Sunil Sharma, professor of Persian and Indian Literatures, Boston University, and member of the MCLI editorial team, said HarishchandraKavyam would be an addition to the mosaic of literary work that exists in India’s regional languages.

Reading out a few lines from the work, Parimal Patil, member of the MCLI oversight committee, said that though it was a story, he grew up with The Life of Harishchandra which made him look at himself critically. “There is a particular richness in biographical writings, whether it is of the legendary kings or historical ones,” he said.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2022 11:39:48 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/Challenge-in-translation-is-to-bridge-the-gap-between-sensibilities-says-Vanamala-Viswanatha/article17046949.ece