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"Saar Sansaar" is a Vorstellung of Dr. Amrit Mehta for those lovers of world literature, who want to read their literature in Hindi - in an undiluted form, where the original text does not come to them through the filter of English. This is a modest effort to restore Hindi it's rightful glorious place in the world, whereby Hindi readers do not have to depend on some English and American translator to decide for them, what kind of literature from various foreign languages they should read.
With this issue "Saar Sansaar" is entering its 22nd year, and with this we are introducing 4 new translators, 2 translate from Russian, one from Arabic and one from Greek. The authors included in this issue are Zakariya Tameer from Syria, Subahi Fahnavi from Jordan, Alexander Khurgin from Russia, Wolfgang Dietrich Schnure from Germany, Ladislav Balek from Slovakia, Yorges yo-finos and Manos Hadijidakis from Greece. The serialized Biography of Günter Grass by Volker Neuhaus is also there. The Russian Translators are Vinay Kumar Ambedkar and Subhash Kumar Thakur, the Arabic translator is Akhtar Alam and Greek translator is Anil Kumar Singh. With the addition of these 4 new translators the number of new translators produced by SAARSANSAAR jumps to 92. All of them are teachers or research scholars from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. We welcome them in our "Saar Sansaar-family" and also wish them and all our readers, once again, the reading of the best of literature in this New Year.
The second issue of this year is again a Czech Special Issue. It is dedicated to our translator Prof. Dagmar Markova, who has not only translated 2 literary texts, but has presented Czech history in her own literary style. She has presented some of the Czech kings in a very interesting manner, has treated them at par with ordinary folk, and has done an in-depth analysis of their psyche – from a very original perspective. She has even made fun of them, that too in her own Hindi – also with an Indian, global and contemporary approach. This issue presents Prof. Markova in the avatar of a writer, and she has proved her capabilities in the field of original writing. Then there are translations of two texts, one each by Arnost Lustig and Pavel Kohout. I rate Lustig's tale as one of the most poignant stories written about the atrocities inflicted upon Jews by Nazis during the second world war period. In this story Lustig, who himself was a victim of Nazi cruelties in their concentration camps, has described the sufferings of those prisoners, especially of children, in a metaphorical and philosophical language. The other text is an extract from Pavel Kohout's novel "The Diary of a Revolutionary". I have already mentioned a number of times that Prof. Markova is one of the very few translators, who translates not only from her mother-tongue into Hindi, but also from Hindi into her mother-tongue. And she doesn't do it in the capacity of a professional translator, but selflessly, for the love of India and Hindi, and of course, for the literature of India and Czech Republic. No other foreign scholar has served the cause of Hindi like her. When requested to write a few words about herself, her reaction has been very humble. Our readers can see it for themselves:
What can I write about myself?
The truth is that my contact with Hindi was just by chance.
I have been brought up in a small Czech town, which came under Hitler's occupation during the war. My parents were teachers. I did my schooling in this small town. Every day I used to travel by bus in order to reach my school. Learning foreign languages had always been my passion. I learnt German during the earlier years of war, after many years I again learned it, and became quite proficient in the language. I was taught Latin, Russian and French in the middle school. (It is a pity that I have forgotten 99% of My Latin and 90% of French). A tutor used to teach me English.
My English teacher sometimes used to give me English books for reading. Incidentally, in the last year of her teaching, before I did my matriculation, she gave me a book on India. I used to read it while I was walking on the footpath. I did not want to return the book. It would not be proper to disclose the title of that book. My father also had some translations (Thakur, Ramayan). I read these books too.
I had to decide about my future education. An uncle told me that there was an opportunity to study Hindi/Sanskrit at the Charles University in Prague. Then there was the question of getting admission. I had an intense desire to study Hindi, but more intense was my desire to live in Prague and then work there after finishing my study. I always loved Prague. Apart from that, one could also study Persian, Turkish and Bhasha Indonesia. I was ready to study even these languages for the sake of living in Prague. It was my good fortune that I got admission in the Hindi Department.
This wish was fulfilled. It took some time to get my second wish fulfilled, i.e. of living in Prague. But that is another story.
Our Hindi Professor was a nice person. He was Czech and had laboured hard for studying Hindi, and he used to teach with a lot of enthusiasm. The beginning was good. Simultaneously I also studied Urdu. I iearned many things from my Professor. I had immense respect for him and he was very keen that I must study Hindi grammar, do research in this area. I was not very keen on studying grammar. It is essential to study grammar for better understanding of a language, but what shall I do with this in future? For me any language is a medium for getting connected, for making different people aware of each other's cultures. I did not think that grammar would serve this purpose. It is, of course, necessary to read source literature for working on grammar. For the sake of grammar I started with Upendra Nath Ashq's tale "Pinjra", Jainendra Kumar's "Apna apna bhagya" and a story by Yashpal, the title of which I do not remember. All these 3 stories depicted real Indian life. I was very much inspired by these stories. I was thinking that if there is no other way left, then I will prepare my diploma thesis on grammar, but later – literature, Modern literature. But later the situation changed. I wrote my diploma thesis on the stories of Prem Chand and a proper thesis on "Women's problems in the post-47 Hindi Novel." I have been living in Prague since 1969. Even though I was doing so many things during my service period, still I was never away from India and Hindi. The first story , which I translated into German, was Rajendra Yadav's "Biradari-Baahar", and the one translated into Czech was Kamleshwar's "Doosre". I translated four novels into Hindi, and have lost count of the number of stories I translated.
From the very beginning I had a desire to translate Czech literature into Hindi. It was childish, as my Hindi was not so good at that time. I wanted to translate whatever I liked in Czech (I was always attracted towards Czech language and literature). Without knowing much about the culture of the land it would have been futile to translate into or from Hindi. The social conditions and mentality of the people in different cultures are not same. It cannot be the aim of a translation to represent only the literature of another language and country, but it has also to make aware the target reader the past and present situations of the source culture. Thus one has to have a good understanding of the other culture to fulfil this condition. In this respect "Saar Sansaar" is a peerless magazine, which publishes translations from different literatures. I am grateful that I got a chance to publish in this journal.
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