Problems and Prospects of Translating Indian Literature: With Particular Reference to Geetanjali Shree's Ret Samadhi

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Pankaj Bala Srivastava


Many of us have read Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Voltaire, Anne Frank, Marquez, Murakami, Borges or even Valmiki, Kalidas, Tagore, Kabeer and Premchand only in translation. Some things are mislaid in translation, but the gains are enormous. Translations brighten the rich literary world of Indian languages and literature. 'Ret Samadhi' (2018), a Hindi-language novel by Indian author Geetanjali Shree, is deftly translated by Annie Montaut into French as 'au-delà de la frontière' (Beyond the Border, 2020) and Daisy Rockwell into English as 'Tomb of Sand' (2022) for a global audience. Tomb of Sand became the first novel translated from an Indian language to win the International Booker Prize of 2022. The story is not driven by plot but by language. It has an exciting and rhythmic use of words, making it challenging for many people to understand, and its translation into any language is difficult. The translation is founded on the idea that the essence of a document may be abstracted from its meanings and replicated in the particular ways of another language. The paper examines translators' specific linguistic and cultural challenges while translating Ret Samadhi. It assesses the effectiveness of different translation strategies employed by various translators in conveying the original text's meaning and style. The study also investigates the impact of translation on the reception of Ret Samadhi in different cultural contexts and explores the prospects of translating Indian literature in future. The present paper also underscores the significance of translation in promoting intercultural dialogue and understanding and enhancing the global reach of Indian literature.

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