50 modern Tulu short stories make it to English

The cover page of the book on Tulu poem translated into English ‘Ladle in a Golden Bowl’.   | Photo Credit: H_S_Manjunath

In the constant travel of Tulu literature to English since past four years, its 50 modern short stories have been translated to the universal language.

B. Surendra Rao, a scholar and a retired professor of History at Mangalore University who passed away last year, and K. Chinnappa Gowda, a former Vice-Chancellor of Karnataka Folklore University and a scholar, have translated them. Incidentally when Mr. Rao breathed his last in Mangaluru on December 10, 2019 the duo had completed their translation. Now Mangalore University has shown interest to publish the latest work, the seventh one in the series, of the two scholars.

With their latest work named as ‘Heartbeats’ the two former professors have translated approximately 2,000 pages of Tulu literature to English continuously since 2017.

Earlier they had translated 114 modern Tulu poems, Ladle in a Golden Bowl (2017), A Tale of a Landlord’s Household which was a modern Tulu novel ‘Mittabail Yamunakka’ by late D.K. Chowta (2017), an anthology of 60 Tulu folktales, The Rainboy (2018), and an anthology of 22 Tulu work-songs and 53 dance-songs, When the Moonlight is very Hot (2018). Later they translated the first Tulu novel, Sati Kamale, by late S.U. Paniyadi (2018) and translated a short story in Tulu by late Polali Sheenappa Hegde as Tale of Narayana the Impostor (2019).

Incidentally the first sentence in the draft of the introduction to their latest work written before the demise of Mr. Rao read: “This anthology of modern Tulu short stories, which we have chosen to name Heartbeats, is perhaps the last of the genres of the Tulu riches which we have been trying to introduce to non-Tuluva readers through English translation...”

Mr. Gowda told The Hindu that the choice of short stories made in the seventh work was governed by their own aesthetic dictates. The stories in the ‘Heartbeats’ have complex responses to the ideas of change - some radical, some more guarded. “We have merely taken them as the heartbeats of our society, as so many responses to living,” he said.

According to the translators, the anthology documented the socio-cultural changes that have come about in the lives of the Tulu-speaking people in the coastal region over a period of 100 years and the ways in which sensitive minds have responded to them. The stories selected have addressed the prevailing problems including poverty, untouchability, illiteracy, dowry, drunken bout, exploitation and such other social evils and the ways in which people fought against them. Its authors (original writers) have upheld the dignity of women, the need for socio-economic equality, and the dignity of individuals irrespective of their caste and creed, and peaceful co-existence.

In addition to five short stories selected from the first phase of developments in the 1930s, they have also selected 17 stories by 13 women writers and some stories by four Muslim writers whose stories become important for understanding the cultural uniqueness that exists among the people speaking Tulu and Beary languages.

The Vice-Chancellor of Mangalore University P.S. Yadapadithaya said that the university will publish this latest work.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 7:46:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/50-modern-tulu-short-stories-make-it-to-english/article32588616.ece

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