Monday, Aug 08, 2022

Awaiting Discovery: World’s 7th-Most-Spoken Language, Yet Bengali Literature Has Very Little Translations

For years, Bengali has had dominance among other Indian languages when it came to literature translated into other languages. For the late 19th and early 20th century writers, the examples of Bengali writers getting translated in other Indian languages are more than literature from other Indian languages getting translated into Bengali.

Mahasweta Devi
Stalwart: Mahasweta Devi Photograph: PTI

Written in 1977, Gaon Buro is the story of an old man on a journey to meet a seer who supposedly has all the answers to the problems on Earth. On his way, he meets people who ask him to get solutions for their problems as well from the seer.

Amar Mitra, who had been writing short stories in Bengali since the 1970s, had earned quite a reputation for himself in literary circles by the 1980s, which fetched him invitations to writers’ conferences outside the state. However, Mitra had one problem. None of his stories was translated. It is why he could not present his work at these conferences outside West Bengal.