Aligarh: “Translation knits India together as a nation as it brings different languages together. It enables to engage diverse modes of imagination and perception and various regional cultures thus linking lands and communities,” said eminent historian and emeritus Professor Irfan Habib.
He was speaking as the Chief Guest at the inaugural function of a two-day UGC SAP DRS-II National Seminar on ‘Violence of Translation: Assessing the Impacts’ organised by the Department of English at the Arts Faculty Lounge.
Prof Habib added that Indian literature owed much to the free translations and adaptations of epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata.
He pointed out that translations of literary works and knowledge-texts such as discourses on medicine, astronomy, metallurgy, travel, philosophy, religion and poetics from Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit, Persian and Arabic had kept the Indian cultural scene vibrant and enriched our awareness of the world for long.
Prof Habib discussed translations of Kalidasa’s Shakuntala and how Indian literature, culture, philosophy and knowledge systems would have been impossible in the absence of translations.
The guest-of-honour, Prof Tharakeshwar V B (The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad) said that translations in India have been drawing terminological distinctions and coherent rationale, but it has only been for the last two to three decades that translations have led to violence.
Prof Mehr Afshan Farooqi (University of Virginia, USA) spoke on the bashing faced by translators in various countries and how translators have lived in an inferior status as they are widely believed to not produce any original work despite giving new approaches while translating ideas of important themes.
Speaking on the translations of epics like Ramlila; Prof Svetlana Ryzhakova (Russian Academy of Science, Moscow), who also attended the programme as the guest-of- honour said that translators need to be aware that these epics are integral part of the Indian consciousness and translations in various languages need to be integrated with stories driven by ethical values.
Presiding over the function, Prof Masud Anwar Alavi (Dean, Faculty of Arts) said that the seminar will yield scholarly deliberations, which will be highly beneficial for students and researchers.
In the welcome address, Prof M Rizwan Khan (Chairman, Department) of English said, “In India, we keep translating unconsciously from our mother-tongues when we converse with people who use a language different from ours.”
Prof Vibha Sharma proposed the vote of thanks.
Phd students, Zainab Fatima and Maryam Tariq Usmani conducted the programme.