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Damodar Khadse wins Sahitya Akademi prize

The Marathi literary world received a shot in the arm with the Sahitya Akademi’s recent announcement of its prizes in the Best Translation category, in New Delhi, on Monday.

Pune-based author-translator Damodar Khadse bagged the prize for his adroit translation of noted Marathi litterateur Sadanand Deshmukh’s visceral and topical award-winning 2004 novel on the plight of Vidarbha farmers, Baromas ( Forever ), into Hindi. Mr Deshmukh himself was awarded the Sahitya Akademi prize for his book.

The 67-year-old Dr Khadse is among the 23 translators selected by the Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi, whose translated books are to be feted later in the year.

But what makes his award unique is the fact that the Akademi has awarded the prize for the Hindi translation of a Marathi novel only twice in the last 25 years.

In 1990, Moreshwar Tapaswi won the award for his translation of VS Khandekar immortal 1959 classic Yayati , and again, in 2012, to Ramji Tiwari, for his rendering of Vishwas Patil’s 2005 historical novel on the life of Sambhaji into Hindi.

“It was a challenge and a pleasure tackling Mr Deshmukh’s book as I had to unravel the syntax written in a dialect spoken by the farmers of Vidarbha region. I was in close consultation with Mr Deshmukh as I wanted to render the rhythm and cadences of the novel as faithfully and flavourfully as possible in the Hindi language,” said an ecstatic Dr Khadse, a former banker, remarking that he was honoured that the Akademi had picked his translation for the prize.

“This will immeasurably help in foregrounding Marathi literature besides making a great novel accessible to vast multitudes of Hindi readers,” said Dr Khadse, who has more than 30 poetry and prose collections in Hindi to his name besides numerous renderings of Marathi works in Hindi. No stranger to translating complex works dealing with social problems, one of Dr Khadse’s particularly noteworthy translations is that of Laxman Mane’s searing 1980 award-winning autobiographical work Upara ( An Outsider ), considered by many to be a watershed in Marathi Dalit literature.

Besides serving as chairman of the Maharashtra Rajya Hindi Academy, Dr Khadse was also part of the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Hindi committee in 2009.

The translation prize carries an amount of Rs 50,000 and a copper plaque, which will be presented to the translators of each of these books, at a special function to be held later in the year.

Baromas was turned into a Hindi feature film in 2012, directed by Dhiraj Meshram and featuring passionate performances by veteran actors like Seema Biswas and Benjamin Gilani. Retaining much of the novel’s power, the film dealt sensitively with the agrarian crisis and the resultant farmer suicides engulfing the region.

The Akademi has awarded the prize for the Hindi translation of a Marathi novel only twice in the last 25 years

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 5:46:17 PM |

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