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Nobel Prize to an Indian Writer?:

Corruption of the Intellectuals

An Indian poet - a former Secretary of the Indian Sahitya Academi - Mr.Satchidanandan was in the news on the day the Swedish poet Tomas Transstrˆmer was conferred with the Nobel Literature Prize. He was not in the news for getting the Nobel, but for having lost in the Nobel-race. He was one of the 18 nominated candidates. Satchinandan?!!! Is he at last going to be the chosen one, who would one day carry forward the legacy of Rabindra Nath Tagore, who received this Prize in 1913? After him Prem Chand has not received it; Nirala, Prasad, Sumitra Nandan Pant, Mahadevi Verma, Maithili Sharan Gupta, Agyeya, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Muktiboth - none of the stalwarts came anywhere near it. From various other Indian languages there were Sharat Chandra Chatterjee, Bankim Chandra, Bimal Mitra, Sheshendra Sharma, Ananthamurthy, Ramchandra Rath, Seetakant Mohapatra, Sri Sri, Manto, Krishna Chandra, Rajinder Singh Bedi and many other deserving writers, who were never considered for a Nobel. Telugu poet Sheshendra Sharma, with his profound knowledge and understanding of Indian folklore, and his ability to formulate the depth of his literary intensity into words, could have been a very serious contender for such an honor, alone on the strength of his "Aadhunik Kavya Shastra" entitled "Kavisena Manifesto", but he never chased fame as such. Naipal received a Nobel, but he is neither an Indian, nor has he ever written a book in an Indian language. Other Indians like Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai etc, who have been conferred with major international literary awards, have been writing in English, which makes it apparent that an important language like Hindi has got no place in an environment, which motivates the Nobel Committee to award a literary prize , and where a language like Malayalam would not really matter. But then Tagore also wrote in Bangla. How did then he receive it? The answer is: because the English translations of his work were made available to the Nobel Committee. It is another matter that these translations, as can be expected, were not accomplished by a native English speaker, since at that time there were no Bangla-English translators, who could have done justice to the work of Gurudev, so the translations were done by Tagore himself, and it is a well-known fact that his translations were not completely satisfactory, but still Gurudev received the prize, which he, undoubtedly, deserved well. The Nobel Committee in its citation had also made a mention of the translation having been executed by Tagore himself: "Because of his profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English words, a part of the literature of the West". It can be said that once upon a time justice had in this context - been done to a very rich repertoire of Indian literature, a phenomenon, which has not repeated itself in the past 99 years. Now let us have a look at the procedure for becoming eligible for a Nobel Literature Prize, and the people, who can nominate a writer for this Prize. Such persons are:

Members of the Swedish Academy and of such other academies, institutions and societies, which are similar to it in construction and purpose;
Professors of literature and of linguistics at universities and university colleges;
Previous Nobel Prize Laureates in Literature;
Presidents of those societies of authors that are representative of the literary production in their respective countries.

It is worth mentioning here that any writer from any country can - in principal - reach the stage of getting nominated on the basis of a recommendation from any University/College Professor of Literature and Linguistics. In such circumstances Satchitanandan is placed in a very happy situation. No wonder then that he has left behind all the other, past and present, Indian writers, who never got nominated for a Nobel Prize.

The most important reason for the nomination of Tagore was his closeness to many famous writers from America and Europe, which becomes evident from the fact that the foreword of the English translation of his "Geetanjali"ù was written by none other than W.B.Yeats. None can raise a finger at the credentials of Tagore as a poet or musician, but Gurudev's standing as a great litterateur only in India would not have been sufficient for him to get nominated for a Nobel.

In this context one cannot doubt Satchinandans proclivity in becoming "world-famous in Delhi and Kerala"ù by getting himself translated not only into English, but also into many foreign languages. He has been translated into Tamil, Bangla, Hindi etc., and also in French, German, Italian et al. The icing on the cake is that he has translated many famous German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Russian, Arab, Israeli writers, who have already received or are expecting a Nobel Literature Prize. The number of his foreign travels is countless. Uday Prakash and Alka Saraogi also travel to foreign shores, especially to Germany, but only because they are genuinely adored there. Satchidanandan is probably adored there by now, but could it be only because of his literature? Why it could not be Kurup or Keshav Dev or Vijayan or Bashir in his place? Nowadays every Indian knows the benefits of networking, and if this networking is done sitting in an executive's chair, it makes things all the more easier.

It goes without saying that the real worth of a text can be gauged only through its original version. Possibly some Member of the Nobel Committee might have liked the English translation, or the translation in some other foreign language, of one of his books, which might have been rendered by one of his friends, naturally on the basis of mutuality. But how many other Indian writers may have got an opportunity to network on the strength of his/her post in a semi-government establishment? Satchidanandan has, after all, been the Secretary of the Central Sahitya Akademi, the illustrious Indian Academy of Letters. He has, by virtue of his high position, has been close to those people who matter. By virtue of occupying an important post in this Academy one gets the right to assess the writings of others, one can grant largesse to some and receive favors in exchange. If the bureaucrat is a writer, there will be a horde of people willing to translate his work. Sitakanta Mahopatra, the former Head of the National Book Trust, has been translated on such a huge scale in Indian languages that only a Prem Chand or Tagore can equal his record. Then there are "scholars" of foreign languages and literatures, who would readily agree to translate the work of a highly placed person in a foreign language, or get it done by someone, who has studied a particular foreign language. Such "scholars" of various foreign languages, who have close proximity to the cultural diplomats of different countries, get such bureaucrat-writers into the circle of their high-ranking and influential foreign-friends, thus paving the way for their friends to get "international recognition."

Satchidanandan has, in this context, had close relations with some academics of dubious character, one of whom is one disreputable Prof. Pramod Talgeri, who has been indicted for serious financial misdemeanor by the Central Vigilance Commission of India, who have also advised the Ministry of Human Resource development to express the displeasure of the Government of India to Talgeri, and also advise the University Grant Commission not to appoint him in the University System anywhere in India. Although the Sahitya Akademie has denied having anything to do with Talgeri in response to a query under the Right to Information Act, 2005, still Talgeri has been advertising in the website of International Multiversity (it is difficult to fathom, what is so international about this "vercity"), Pune that he is bringing out a tome in cooperation with the Sahitya Akademie, a claim, which he has not given up till date. We will come to the fate of this tome later, but even now, after having retired from the post of Secreatry, Sahitya Akademi, of which he still is a Member, Satchinandan is an associate of Talgeri in a so-called "National Translation Mission."

We will come to this association also later. Satchidanandan's style of functioning in the Academy has shown that he promotes only those people, who can trade favors with him. When it comes to literary translations, he himself would offer his own services, especially if these are translations from or into a foreign language. Keeping company with dubious characters and being dubious are two different things, but when one, in association with these dubious characters, himself indulges in dubious activities, then it becomes something very serious. If someone misuses public funds, and misuses his authority for personal aggrandizement, then it becomes not only morally wrong, but also punishable under the Indian Penal Code. I will change the topic, before ruminating further on this subject. Noted Swiss writer Franz Hohler had visited India in 2005 for reciting his work at different places; he was in big metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, and also in small towns like Karnal, Chandigarh, Ambala, Shimla, Panipat etc. After returning to Switzerland he published a piece of writing in a leading newspaper of Switzerland, viz. "Die Berner Zeitung"; it was titled "Katharina in India." He had not exchanged thoughts only with the intellectuals from different fields, but also with common readers of literature. In his article, which he later also published in an essay-collection, he had expressed surprise that everywhere he went in India the people asked him one question: Should a writer also necessarily be a good human being? He was baffled over this question, since in the Western world one does not correlate the personal lives of celebrities, be they leaders or writers, with their professional lives. But India is different. Chiefly because in each and every genre of their writings most of our writers like to have a track overflowing with preachy sermons. That is a reason for the public, who has lost faith in their leaders, bureaucrats, police, and in the whole system, to look up to their writers as paragon of virtues. Hence the reading-public, which is not aware of other "auctorial virtues" of our authors, reveres them. Now we have to see whether someone can raise a finger at Satchidanandan only for his self-indulgent deeds during his tenure as a Secretary/Member in the Sahitya Akademi. When I mention Sahitya Akademi here, it should mean Satchidanandan, because the episode, which I am going to recount now, has its origins in the time of his reign in the academy.

The academy has some vital projects pertaining to translation of foreign literatures into Indian languages and vice versa. And there is this most important Central University in Hyderabad, called English & Foreign Languages University, for the study of and research on foreign languages and literatures (earlier named Central Institute of English & Foreign Languages), where the University Grants Commission established a unique Centre for Translation & Interpretation in mid-90s. The Centre was there in 1997, but there was no significant work to be performed, since basically it was a research centre. In an ambience, where the higher education was getting commercialised in India, it was generally expected from higher educational institutions that they would generate their own funds, a newly appointed Head of Department found it to be a suitable opportunity for the Institute to generate funds for itself by translating foreign literatures into Indian languages. The money generated through this scheme would not have gone into anybody's pockets, but it would have been a book-transfer from one government department to another government department. Hence this Head of Department wrote a letter to Satchidanandan introducing his department, with the information that his department had the necessary means, infrastructure and expertise to execute this particular task, mainly the translation of foreign literatures into Indian languages; hence his Centre would like to work together with the Academy on certain projects. The reply to the communication came in 10 days, in which it was suggested by Satchidanandan that the Akademi would like to have concrete proposals; and it was also explained that the basic function of the academy was to get literature from Indian languages translated into foreign languages, and not vice-versa, though they also had a project for translation of foreign literatures into Indian languages. It sounded logical, since the funds of the academy came from the pockets of Indian tax-payers, it was the first right of Indian authors to get benefited from the activities of the academy.

Satchidanandan wanted concrete proposals. Mainly for the translation of Indian literature into foreign languages. In September 1997 the said Head of Department sent him concrete proposals after having wide-ranging discussions with his colleagues from other Departments. He was told that there were many such scholars of foreign languages and literature in the Institute, who can skilfully translate literature from a particular foreign language into their mother tongue; these scholars would also remain in constant touch with their colleagues from foreign countries, and at every stage of translation their assistance would be sought, so that the idiom of a source language could be kept intact in a target language. The concrete proposals contained the offer to translate one novel of Nirmal Verma from Hindi into Russian, a novel of Jayant Dalvi from Marathi into Russian, a novel of Shivani from Hindi into German, a novel of O.V.Vijayan from Malayalam into German and 25 Telugu stories from Telugu into Russian. He was also informed that a colleague was in the process of selecting stories of Peddibatla Venkat Subbiah for translating them into French; he was also asked that in case he wanted to get English literature also translated, then there were 12 Telugu authors, who could be translated into English. The proposals were solid and concrete. The names of the authors and the titles of the novels and stories were also sent to him. It required a lot of diligence and toil on the part of the topmost scholars of India in the field of foreign languages and literature.

The letter was sent to the academy in 1997. This was a golden opportunity for the academy to engage such qualified scholars for their translations, which would have preserved the wholesomeness of the source language in all its glory. Did the Academy take advantage of this opportunity? This question becomes all the more important in view of the fact that the money spent by the academy on translations would not have filled the coffers of the translators, but would have remained with the government, and the government servants of the academy should have grabbed this chance with both hands. Obviously the meaning of government here is "public"¬, and these "public servants" should have, in public interest, adopted a positive attitude in this case. But what actually happened was opposite of this. The Academy did not reply to this letter for 4 months, whereas the University teachers from CIEFL were able to make many concrete proposals to the Academy in just one month. In January 1998 a reminder was sent to the academy. Satchidanandan answered after sometime that the academy was going through a process of restructuring, and the proposal would be submitted to the new "Governing Council" in March 1998. On not hearing anything from the academy another reminder was despatched in June. There was no answer for the next 6 months too; another reminder was sent with the request to give a final reply, although those who had offered their services to translate literature had understood that the academy was evading a reply due to some dubious reasons, and Satchidanandan was not in a mood to get things done for free. The reply was on expected lines. The reply was received in January 1999; Satchinandan did not directly say "no" to the offer, but used bureaucratic jargon to sabotage the proposals. His letter is reproduced here: You may have come to know that we have opened Translation Centres in four cities in India to do the specialised work on translation. We have also launched a project of 100 classics in translation in collaboration with the National Book Trust, India. Our translation work will be handled entirely by our regular channels and these Translation Centres. However, you may send names and addresses of experts in your Department with the source and target languages that they can work in so that we may make use of their services whenever necessary. We will write to you in case we find proper publishers and distributors outside India for books in German and Russian. Such exchanges will have to be approved by our Executive Board and should be part our Cultural Exchange Programmes. The books, languages and translations will be chosen only by the Sahitya Akademi.

Then why so much delay in replying? If the permission was to be sought from the new "Governing Council," then where was the hurry to show so much interest in the first place? Then some words and formulations in the reply hint at the dubious designs of the academy, e.g. the availability of proper publishers outside India, cultural exchanges, approval of the executive committee, selection of books, languages and translations only by the academy etc. etc., which shows the academy did have projects, but had not cared to look for any publishers and distributors. Every Indian would like to know the meaning of the term the way it is being implemented - "cultural exchange¬ù" the biggest beneficiary of which can be people like this former Secretary of Sahitya Akademi and his ilk. They would also like to know the names of those people, who are using public money for such jaunts in a country, where more than a half of the population is malnourished. It would also be interesting to know, how many foreign travels Satchidanandan has undertaken under this programme. If the academy had an intention to interfere in every aspect of this highly specialized job, it could have much earlier made its intentions clear, so that some of the highly regarded Professors of the University did not have to waste their time and would have kept their idealism under lock and key. All this happened over 15 years ago. The academy, till now, has not informed the Centre, whether it has found any publishers and distributors outside India. The fact is that it hasn't really found any, actually nobody even tried to find. Then what was this whole hullabaloo about? One can make a guess (without any iota of doubt) that not a single translation has been rendered (it is not known to us, if Satchidanandan has accomplished any), therefore no publishers, distributors have been found. But would it not be a wonder, if one would have really found a buyer in the market for a product, which has not even been produced, and that too from a seller, who has no standing in the market. But one doesn't have to rake one's brains to guess that Satchidanandan must surely have got his stuff translated.

Now let us come back to his dubious alliance with a dubious character like Pramod Talgeri. In the 90s Talgeri had started a translation project in association with Sahitya Akademi "a spectacular project" entitled "Translating India"ù - which would contain 25 Hindi and Marathi translations of German texts on India by famous German writers, philosophers et al ; these books were to be launched on 15th August 1997. The books would contain 25 texts each, some of them 40-50 pages long. The foreword of these books was going to be written by noted Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyee and Ananthamurthy, a former Chairman of the Akademi, and Heimo Rau, a former Director of Goethe Institute (Max M¸ller Bhavan), New Delhi. The authors selected were Herder, Max M¸ller, Hegel, Friedrich and Wilhelm Hegel, Schopenhauer, Karl Marx, Hubert Fichte, Peter Sloterdijk, Lion Feuchtwanger, Gustav Merink, Wilhelm Halbfa√É≈∏, Willy Haas, G¸nter Grass, Dieter Rothermund, Detlef Kantowsky, Ingeborg Derwitz, Heinrich Weizss√ɬ§cker, Goethe, Brecht, Rilke, Heine and Joseph Winkler. A list containing the names of translators was also kept ready, and these were: Mahesh Dutt, Vishnu Khare, Ujjwal Bhattacharya, Madhu Sudan Joshi, Jyoti Sabbharwal, Pawan Surana, Amrit Mehta, Jayant Vohra, Suresh Sharma, Nirmal Gupta, Vijay Chhabra, Girdhar Rathi (a sub-ordinate of Satchidanandan in the Akademi) and Kedar Nath Singh. The one question one would certainly like to ask here would be as to what was so sacrosanct about the date fixed for the launch, viz. 15th August 1997. This date was really sacrosanct for we Indians, It was a day for celebrating the golden jubilee of the independence of India from British rule. On 27th January 1997 Akademi had, in association with Talgeri, also organized a workshop in Pune's Fergusson College, which was inaugurated by Shripad Joshi, keynote address was read by Arun Sadhu. The supposed Marathi publisher of the supposed book Aniruddh Kulkarni had given an insight into the translation scene in Marathi, various sessions were chaired by Ashok Kelkar and Dilip Chitre, and Karin Rausch and Rainer Lotz. Theoretically all those who were working with the Akademi and Talgeri, were creme de la creme from the academic, literary and translator community of India.

A German-Hindi workshop was held in the last week of March, 1997 in Talgeri's Department in the JNU, New Delhi. It is weird that as per the assertion of Sahitya Akademi, they have never organized any symposium, workshop etc. with Talgeri (all these lies need to be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation). Hindi tome's title had also been decided in the Roman script: cunni hui german lekhon men bharat, in an outrageously erroneous Hindi. From this title it is not difficult to guess as to what treatment would have been meted out to our national language Hindi if this tome had been published.

This statement may sound astonishing, but the fact remains that these two much bragged about tomes were never published, nor will they ever be published, despite the boast of Akademi's associates of later publishing the translations in many other Indian languages, even though Talgeri is blowing his own trumpet on the website of International Multiversity, Pune that he is doing this project in association with the Sahitya Akademi 15 years after the fixed date of the launch of the book, without having translated a single word. Why will these books never be published?, - because the Akademi has, in the meanwhile, denied the existence of any such project. It has washed its hands off the whole scandal. Before you start wondering as to from where I got all this information, let me make it clear that it was me, who was the Head of the Centre for Translation & Interpretation (later Centre for Translation Studies) at the Central Institute of English & Foreign Languages; I am privy to some of the information by virtue of interacting directly with Satchidanandan, and some of the information I have received by asking questions under the Right to Information Act, 2005. In 2010 the academy has sent me the information that they have never done this project with Talgeri or his Centre for Literary Translation; moreover, they have, in the last 16 year, never planned the publication of any book with Hindi translations of German texts. Their replies give the impression that in the Academy nobody knows about a person named Talgeri.

But Satchidanandan is even today working together with this Professor in some "National Translation Mission." One can come to only one conclusion after going through the facts: either of the two, either Akademi or Talgeri, is lying. But somewhere the public money has been pilfered. And we have already seen that both the parties do not have clean hands. Satchidanandan has been a party to another scandal of organizing a workshop with Talgeri. This workshop had been organized in the Max M¸ller Bhavan, New Delhi, on which the Akademi had spent Rs. 1, 92,314 in January, 2001. This workshop had been organized to discuss the Hindi translation of G¸nter Grass' book "Mein Jahrhundert"ù; I was the translator of this book. The startling fact was that the Akademi was bestowing this honour on a person, who was never in their good books, nor did he ever translate German literature into Hindi through the filter of English. The more amazing fact is that I had, in very strong language, refused to participate in the workshop, but I was cajoled into it after much genuflection on the part of the organizers. But at the last moment I was forced out of the workshop after getting a negative report on my Hindi translation of the book from some "German-Hindi scholar." Neither was I given a reason, nor was the name of the "scholar" disclosed to me. I have, in the meanwhile, already established through publications in 2 different German journals that it was a conspiracy. The Akademi got into such a perilous situation due to this faux pas that they had to furnish false information to me on this subject: that the aim of this workshop was to get the poetry of G¸nter Grass translated into different languages of India from eminent Indian poets with the help of German experts. The conspiracy-angle becomes evidently manifest from this reply. Firstly because "Mein Jahrhundert" ("Meri Shatabadi"¬ù in Hindi, which had later been profusely eulogized by many well-known writers and critics) was not a book of poems, it was akin to a diary, and secondly, I would like to ask, since when have I become an eminent poet? But the most disgusting fact is that the tomes in Hindi and Marathi, which according to the planning of the Akademi and Talgeri's Centre for Translation, should later have been followed by Bangala, English and Malayalam versions, were not at all published and will never be published. It was a farce, enacted by the two worthies playing a game in collaboration with many established names from the world of literature and academics, in order to destroy a humble translator, who never compromised his ethics to find favor with the establishment. Should I feel honored, my lords?!!! The persons, who participated in the workshop, were: H.H. Satchitanandan, Dilip Chitre, Alokranjan Das Gupta, Vishnu Khare and Kunwar Narain (all of 5 as translators), Ratna Basu, Shyamal Das Gupta, Hans Harder, V.K.Annakutty Findeis, Rajendra Dengle, Barbara Lotz, Rainer Lotz, Lothar Lutze, Jayashree Joshi, Girdhar Rathi, Anil Bhatti and Ujjwal Bhattacharya. But the gathering of these august personalities has not produced the promised results, which could justify the lavish party, which was thrown in the name of Indo-German friendship, and the huge bill for which was footed by Satchidanandan. It was not a fraud played only on the humble translator, but also a fraud on India and Indian languages, which has been proved earlier.

Let us not now get back to the issue of translating literature from Indian languages into foreign languages! In February, 2011 I had once again sought some more information from the Sahitya Akademi under the Right to Information Act, 2005:

How many translations of works of foreign language literature have been published in the last 15 years? The titles of the original and translated books may also be supplied along with the names of the translators.
Were these books translated from source or filter languages? A list of such books with the names of the translators may be supplied.
How much remuneration is/was paid to the translators, and how much expenditure has been incurred under this item in the last 15 years?
What has been the contribution of Shabdana Centers for Translation in this respect. How many translated books have been published by these Centers since their opening? Kindly supply a list of the books and the total money spent by the centers separately till 31-12-2010.
How many seminars/conferences etc. have been organized in these Centers, and how much money spent on them? Please also supply a list of the participants in these seminars.
Are the books translated from foreign languages assessed by experts? If yes, please give the names of experts from different source languages? What is the criterion for selecting an expert? Do you have a panel of such experts? If yes, then supply a list.
Who was the expert, who assessed the Hindi translation of G¸nter Grass' "Zunge zeigen" in the year 2001?
In the 7th question I had mistakenly given the incorrect name of the book, it should have been "Mein Jahrhundert." In fact "Zunge zeigen"ù is also Grass' work, but it was translated by Vishnu Khare. If the Akademi had nothing to hide, then it could have furnished the names of the evaluators of both the translated books, but the 6th and 7th questions have not at all been replied to. The answers to other questions are as follows: The 1st and 3rd questions have been mixed up. The names of source and target languages are missing; the names of translators are missing. There is no mention about the original or filter languages. The only straightforward information provided is that Rs. 6,77,165 were spent on the translation of these books.

In reply to second question the titles of 18 books have been mentioned, and the reply has originated from the Accounts Department for English books (My question was about literature from foreign languages, and the Akademi considers English as an Indian language). One out of these 3 books has been translated from Spanish into English (Shouldn't this job have been left to the native speakers of English?), a French book has been translated into God knows which language, and the poetry of SAARC countries has been translated by none other than Satchidanandan, into God knows which language, but my guess is that the target language must have been English. The information provided is evidently incomplete. There is complete silence on the literature from foreign languages and the identity of their translators.

In the reply to the 4th question it has been stated the Shabdana Translation Centre at Bengaluru has in the last 14 years, i.e. from 1997 to 2010, published 23 books, and on 20 books only the translation costs work out to over Rs. 500,000. Printing costs and other expenditure are extra. For the translation of certain books up to 85,000 have been paid to certain persons, but some translators have received a paltry sum of 8 to 10 thousands only. From source languages 8 books have been translated from Kannada, 5 from Telugu, 2 from Tamil, Marathi and Malayalam, and one each from Urdu, Assamese, Odishi, and Bangala. The target languages, into which these books have been translated, are English, and Telugu (5), Malayalam and Tamil (3) and one each into Hindi and Marathi. There is no mention of any foreign language anywhere, whereas in 1999 I had been told a lie that the Sahitya Akademi had opened 4 Centres for translations of specialised nature, and this was stated in the context of translating Indian literature into foreign languages. This is what the august academy of letters is doing in our country, in which under the leadership of the Nobel-Candidate Satchidanandan such scams of gargantuan dimensions have taken place. The people of this country have a right to know as to how much money has been spent on this centre of supposed excellence called Shabdana Translation Centre. And what is this new National Translation Mission?, where Satchidanandan and Talgeri have again been appointed to do some more "good" to the country?

In reply to the 5th question I have been informed that the Shabdana Translation Centre of Bangalore has organized from 1997 to 2010 five symposia in Bengaluru, Ootkamand and Shimoga, which have cost the academy approximately Rs. 700,000.

The Academy has a lot to hide. In their replies its officials have oftener resorted to untruths. Many ridiculous excuses have been given, like they have not received my letter, whereas the evidence of the receipt of the letter in the academy is obtainable.

This whole scandal is nothing less than the infamous 2G-scam. Mr. Satchidanandan has not only facilitated the establishment of certain Translation Centres for a particular type of literary translations, which, in his own words, would have translated Indian literature into foreign languages and vice-versa, after having spurned the offer of a free package from the preeminent scholars of translation studies and foreign languages without any valid reason , but also slighted a reputable institution of this country and its teachers. He has wasted their time and misused the money entrusted to him to promote his personal agenda. He has sacrificed the interests of the literature and literati of his country to promote his own vested interests, and distributed largesse to his favourites with the funds of his fiefdom called Sahitya Akademi. From 1997 till now he has not been able to get a single book of an Indian author translated into a foreign language, except perhaps getting his own work translated, and then he has translated the work of those who matter. The affairs of the Sahitya Akademi should be investigated by the CBI in national interest. How long the country is going to tolerate the corruption of the intellectuals? If we look deeply into this scandal, then the question arises, who is going to be affected adversely by this scam? The Indian writers, undoubtedly! But will they ever speak out? But most of our intellectuals – in order to protect their own petty interests – act de facto as the slaves of the establishment. I have yet to meet those, who behave differently.

In the end, I will once again come to the question, which Franz Hohler was asked repeatedly during his stay in India: Should a writer also necessarily be a good human being? Supposing that Satchinandan, sometime in future, is crowned with a Nobel Literature Prize, would we Indians feel proud of him? Despite the fact that India is no England and Satchitanandan is no Stephen Hawking?

A NOVEL MOVEMENT IN FAVOR OF INDIAN LANGUAGES

"Saar Sansaar" in collaboration with "Swatantara Varta", a Hindi daily being published simultaneously from Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam and Nizamabad, has started a movement in India, which will go a long way in making available selected exciting texts from different languages to readers in all the languages of India. Since independence and much before that English has played the role of the intermediary language for translation of foreign languages literatures in India, which meant that the Indian readers could read only that literature, which was published in UK or USA, in English, or, if they are fortunate, in their mother tongue.

In the last 9 years 'Saar Sansaar' has published foreign literatures translated directly into Hindi without the filter of English, sometimes publishing texts which were not published even in the original language. The process of replacing English as the filter language had started in these years; some of the texts published in 'Saar Sansaar' have already been translated into Telugu, Urdu and Punjabi. And why not? After all the translation from an Indian language into another Indian language will be more authentic, owing to linguistic and cultural affinity among all the Indian languages.

Now, when entering the 10th year of its publication 'Saar Sansaar is institutionalizing this process by giving it a concrete direction. 'Swatantara Varta' will be publishing every Sunday, for one year, an Austrian or Swiss story/poem/essay exhorting its readers, who include a fair number of writers and translators from other languages, to translate any of these texts into their mother tongue and publish the same in a magazine publishing literature in their mother tongue. Hyderabad is a melting pot of Indian languages, where 5 languages, viz. Telugu, Urdu, Hindi, Kannada and Marathi are spoken by a large segment of population, while many other communities have made Hyderabad their home in large numbers.

Apart from becoming a partner in this noble movement of promoting Hindi as an intermediary language for translation of foreign language literatures, the 'Swatantara Varta' has announced cash prizes and citations/certificates for best translations in each Indian language.

The first year will be devoted to Swiss and Austrian literatures, where focus will be on eminent modern authors like Karl-Markus Gauss, Zdenka Becker, Marianne Gruber, Erwin Riess, Andreas Weber and Margit Schreiner (Austria), and Franz Hohler and Rudolf Peyer (Switzerland), who are likely to visit India in near future. The translators will also be provided an opportunity to recite the translated texts along with the writers of the original, when they would be on a visit to India.

This movement has started on 26th December, 2004. The first text with the exhortation to the translators of other Indian languages has already appeared in the Sunday Edition of 'Swatantra Varta' on this date.

It could have been a record of sorts anywhere in the world. "Saar Sansaar" has intoruduced 51 new translators, who translate directly from their source language into Hindi. The following is a list of the translators introduced by us:

NAME LANGUAGE RESIDENCE
1.Rizwanur Rehman Arabic New Delhi
2.Gufaran Mustafa Persian New Delhi
3.A.Charumati Ramdass Russian Hyderabad
4.Jagadish Prasad Dimri Russian Hyderabad
5.Jagjit Singh French New Delhi
6.Swadesh Gupta Russian New Delhi
7.Devendra Singh Rawat Chinese New Delhi
8.Yogesh Bhatanagar Russian New Delhi
9.Anand Kulkarni German Pune
10.J.V.D.Murti German Hyderabad
11.Girdhar Sushil Vatsa German New Delhi
12.Shashikant Guglani German Chandigarh
13.Ishwar Singh Dagar German Hyderabad
14.Pratibha Sharma German Patiala
15.Rajiv Shungloo German Hyderabad
16.Jagrup Yadav French New Delhi
17.Nirupama Rastogi Vasandani French Hyderabad
18.Ramdass Akella Russian Hyderabad
19.Geza Bethlenfalvi Hungarian Budapest
20.Lakshmi Haribandi Russian Hyderabad
21.Abdul Halim Persian New Delhi
22.U.Bhattakoti Chinese New Delhi
23.Marian Billy Slovak Bratislava
24.Atul Kuksal Slovak New Delhi
25.Sridevi Herlekar French Dharwar
26.Ramesh Kumar Dhote Russian Vijayanagaram
27.Pankaj Malaviya Russian Chandigarh
28.Vinay Totawar Russian Hyderabad
29.Pawan Surana German Jaipur
30.Pratibha Shukla Russian Bhopal
31.Astri Ghosh Norwegian Oslo
32.Indukant Angiras Hungarian Chandigarh
33.Rosy Singh German New Delhi
34.Akhlaq Ahmad 'Aahan' Persian & Pushtu New Delhi
35.Krishna Chatterjee Gupta French Kolkata
36.Kumar Kaustabh Russian New Delhi
37.S.A.Rehman Arabic New Delhi
38.Vandana Jha Persian New Delhi
39.Sanjay Persian New Delhi
40.Badal Ghana Chakravarty German New Delhi
41.Madhuri Bajpai German Mumbai
42.Arvind Koratkar French Hyderabad
43.Khurshid Imam Hebrew New Delhi
44.Janashruti Chandra Japanese New Delhi
45.Sushant Kumar Mishra French New Delhi
46. Ravikesh Korean New Delhi
47. Priti Pant Spanish New Delhi
48. Vasant Kumar Singh Spanish New Delhi
49. Ashish Agnihotri French New Delhi
50. Babli Moitra Saraf Italian New Delhi
51. Sadashiv Khaware Russian New Delhi
52. Vijay Kumar Persian New Delhi
53. Kiran Chaudhary French New Delhi
54. Zulfikar Ali Persian New Delhi


The Editors of "Saar Sansaar" on the basis of the preferences shown by the readers have selected 19 best texts appeared in 5 years from 1996 to 2000: (These are not in order of merit):

TEXT LANGUAGE AUTHOR
Lugano Italian Giovanni Orelli
Café de Voyager French Corinna S.Bille
Baqayan ki Jhadi Russian Alexander E.Kuprin
Devi Chinese Chang Ming Liu
Zurich men Ajanabi German (Switzerland) Raffael Ganz
Saat Paise Hungarian Moritz Sigmond
Thos Pramaan Arabic (Lebanon) Saeed Taqiuddin
Raani ke Din Norwegian Gru Dahle
Mahilayen Hungarian Kafka Margit
Chashma Chinese Lao Sha
Paap German (Austria) Zdenka Becker
Nanha Atithi Persian (Afghanistan) Hussain Fakhri
Ispaat ka Gala Russian Mikhail Bulgakov
Vyakti ka Ant Arabic (Egypt) Ehsan Abdul Khaliq Kuddus
Hotel men ek Raat German Siegfried Lenz
Curfew French Paul Eluad
Saare kitne achhe hain German (Switzerland) Franz Hohler