China Releases First Translations of Tagore's Collective Works

K J M Varma/Beijing
China Releases First Translations of Tagore's Collective Works

China today released the first ever Chinese translations of the collective works of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, a rare honour to the famed poet who enjoys iconic status among generations of Chinese people.

In all 33 volumes containing 16 million words covering his poetry, essays, novels and drama sections were released ahead of Tagore's 155th birth anniversary at the China Radio International (CRI) which broadcasts in Bengali besides a host of Indian and international languages as Indian and Bangladeshi diplomats also attended the function.

Considering his popularity, Tagore's works have been widely translated in China mostly from English translations but this is the first time his entire works barring songs were translated into Chinese directly from Bengali.

Eighteen Bengali scholars from CRI, state-run Xinhua news agency, Chinese foreign ministry, Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and the Central Communist Party School worked on a five-year project to complete it.

"'The Complete Works of Tagore' is of great significance for the researches concerning works of Rabindranath Tagore and south Asian culture in China," said chief translator Dong You Chen who studied Bengali in Russia's Leningrad University in the 1960s.

He was deeply influenced by Tagore after reading some of his novels in his early years.

"His humanism not simply confined to India but also China and the rest of the world appeals to Chinese greatly," he said speaking to the media on the sidelines of the meeting.

"Tagore's prose and his poetry are perhaps mostly regarded. His works are frequently noted for their rhythmic, optimistic and lyrical nature," he said adding that all the translators honestly followed the great poet's theories while translating his works.

Tagore, who had visited China thrice, has a fanatical following in the country with several devoting their lives to learn Bengali and English to translate his works.

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