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Tagore and translations: Why his works hold indomitable influence in literature

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TAGORE

New Delhi, Aug 6 (IANS) A progressive writer, visionary, a social thinker, a philosopher, an educationist – Rabindranath Tagore was a polymath. And it is this vastness that fascinated author Radha Chakravarty to take translate Tagore’s writings from Bengali to English.

As of today, Chakravarty is credited with translating eight works of the Nobel Laureate including “Essential Tagore” (with two others), “Gora”, “Boyhood Days”, “Chokher Bali”, “Farewell Song: Shesher Kabita”, “The Land of Cards: Stories, Poems and Plays for Children” and others.

August 7 is Rabindranath Tagore's 77th death anniversary

Tagore and translations: Why his works hold indomitable influence in literature

Chakravarty had no formal training in Bengali. Her father had a transferable job which took her to different parts of India apart from West Bengal.

“But Tagore always remained as an influence at our home, no matter where we were. It was my grandfather who used to read out stories of his, that is how I started knowing about him,” Chakravarty, a Professor of Comparative Literature and Translation Studies in Delhi’s Ambedkar University, told IANS.

Chakravarty, the wife of former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty, recollected her first encounter with Tagore’s writing was “Sahaj Path”. However, it was “Kabuliwalah” that drew her closer to the writer.

“I couldn’t realise how and when Tagore became a part of my life. I started reading more and more of his writings. What captivated me more was his choice of simple language and clarity in thought and approach,” she said.

But what really made Tagore a part of her life was the emancipation of women in the 19th century that reflected in his writing, which was not so prominent in the works of other writers, Chakravarty explained.

“His characters – be it Binodini of “Chokher Baali” or Labanya of “Sesher Kobita”, all had a distinct identity who tried to break societal norms and stood up for their freedom of expression, they had a question in their mind, they were rebels in their own way,” she noted

However, it was not Tagore that Chakravarty translated first.

“While teaching English literature in Delhi University I was simultaneously doing research work on many other Indian literary figures. I was approached by an upcoming publishing house to do a translation. And the first book happened which was a compilation of the works of 20 contemporary authors,” she said.

“Chokher Bali” was her first translation of a Tagore work and what appealed her to take it up was the enigmatic personality of female protagonist, Binodini.

“The character has multiple layers in her. The book was far ahead of time. The characters challenged the convention and family bounds. This further inspired me to take up his works and translate,” she stated.

Talking about translation, Chakravarty said that it acts as a major medium in strengthening cross-cultural bonds, adding that the scenario in the literary space has changed quite a lot compared to what it was few years ago.

“Now the publishers are welcoming it, which earlier was not there. The publishing houses would never show much eagerness in printing a translated work; it would take quite some effort to convince them, but now it is changing,” she added.

While translations on the one hand take regional literature to the world, Chakravarty highlighted on the several factors that need to be considered before taking up a literary work, particularly maintaining the ethos and values of the original writing.

“The time period of a book matters lot. The book talks about a scenario which existed in 19th or 20th century but the translated work will be read by 21st century readers. Therefore, the language has to be simple which can connect to the contemporary readers,” she explained.

Chakravarty pointed out that a linguistic barrier will always exist when it comes to translating from one language to English or from any other vernacular language, adding that translation is interpretation rather than mechanical transformation.

“Translating certain terms are often difficult like some expressions or words associated with culture or traditions which don’t have any alternative. There is a dilemma on how to put that in English. This is often pretty time-consuming,” she commented.

Although the non-translated words are always defined in summary, Chakravarty added that the certain original words bring in a different flavour to the translation.

“If something is left unexplained it adds mystery and generates curiosity among the readers to know what that particular word would mean. It pushes your imagination and in the process one gets a chance to learn a new word as well,” she said.

(Somrita Ghosh can be contacted at [email protected])

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Climate change will worsen disparities, may increase support for Naxals: Report

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Maoists Naxal

Bengaluru, Oct 16 : As the effects of climate change on livelihoods become more pronounced, especially for people involved in agriculture and fishing in South and South-East Asia, support for rebel groups and the Naxalite movement is likely to shoot up, according to a new report.

There is evidence that climate change will worsen socio-economic and political disparity in the region as those in power will get to decide who gets the limited resources and how much, the report, co-authored by researchers Pernilla Nordqvist and Florian Krampe while working for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), has said.

“The climate-conflict linkage primarily plays out in contexts that are already vulnerable to climate change and violence, and where income is highly dependent on agriculture and fishing,” Nordqvist told IndiaSpend in an email.

Human activities have already caused warming of 1 degree Celsius as compared to pre-industrial times, according to the latest report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). By 2030, or latest by mid-century, global warming is likely to reach 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Close to 2.5 billion people live in South and South-East Asia, where poverty rates have been declining substantially, thanks to years of strong economic growth in countries such as India. However, the region is also prone to the fallouts of climate change, with glaciers in the Himalayas melting and several island-countries facing rising sea levels. Floods, cyclones, heat waves and droughts are now a frequent occurrence and are expected to intensify in the coming years.

“The region is highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change and also has a recent history of political violence,” Krampe told IndiaSpend.

Nordqvist and Krame examined 2,000 peer-reviewed studies on the relationship between climate change and conflict and narrowed down on 21 of the most authoritative works for their report, which was published in September 2018.

Their findings from India show that rebel groups and government forces both find recruitment easier when drought is around the corner.

The IPCC report also adds that climate-related risks to livelihoods, food security, health, water supply and human security are projected to increase as the planet warms by 1.5 degrees. With a 2-degree rise, the risks will intensify.

In some areas affected by the Naxalite conflict, the worsening of livelihood conditions has been related to the increased intensity of ongoing civil conflicts. During a drought, or a potential drought, there is an increased risk that rebels and government actors recruit or cooperate with civilians in exchange for livelihood and provision of food.

Naxalites could use climate-related events to gain power in an ongoing conflict, and rebel groups more generally could increase their use of violence against civilians to ensure their groups’ food security, according to the report.

“They violently remove local farmers from their land to ensure enough cropland and agricultural supplies for their own use. The risk of violence seems especially high in rural areas, where government control is scarce and the local population is dependent on the support or protection of rebels or other armed actors,” Nordqvist said.

As climate change pushes up migration, it introduces the possibility of riots in urban areas over resources, the report said. Highlighting the case of riots in Tripura in northeastern India, it said the effects will be most felt in areas where there are already low levels of socio-political stability.

“Many of the climate change problems are trans-national. The Brahmaputra, for example, flows through three countries and is seeing frequent flooding. There is no question that countries will need to cooperate and tensions like the ones between countries India and Pakistan will make this difficult,” Krampe said.

There is some research on the relationship between climate change and conflict in countries such as India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the report said, adding that there is little understanding of how climate change could be driving conflict in places such as Afghanistan and Myanmar.

Elsewhere in South-East Asia, in some coastal areas of Indonesia the reduced income opportunities from fishing have been linked to a rise in piracy-related activities.

But the impact does not end there.

In Pakistan, for instance, the Islamist group Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JUD) was able to increase its stronghold in Sindh province after the group participated in relief activities following extreme floods.

The IPCC report also warns that those living along coasts and populations dependent on agriculture will be the worst hit by climate change, which will push up poverty rates in coastal areas and in developing countries.

However, “Not everyone affected by climate change will join a rebel group but this also relates to the failure of the governments to respond to disasters,” Krampe said.

At the same time, not all areas will see conflict in the face of climate change. Some might even see a greater cooperation in the aftermath of a natural disaster. These regional dynamics are evolving, however, and their contours will only become clearer with time.

(In arrangement with IndiaSpend.org, a data-driven, non-profit, public interest journalism platform. Disha Shetty is a Columbia Journalism School-IndiaSpend reporting fellow. The views expressed are those of IndiaSpend. Feedback at [email protected])

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Higher food prices jack up India’s September wholesale inflation

“The prevailing market price for most kharif crops at major mandis has remained lower than the MSP, suggesting procurement hasn’t picked up.”

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wholesale inflation

New Delhi, Oct 15 : India’s inflation rate based on wholesale prices accelerated 5.13 per cent on year in September, from a 4.53 per cent increase in August, as prices of primary articles and food items rose, official data showed here on Monday.

In September last year, the WPI had stood at 3.14 per cent.

“The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly WPI, stood at 5.13 per cent (provisional) for the month of September, 2018 (over September, 2017), as compared to 4.53 per cent (provisional) for the previous month and 3.14 per cent during the corresponding month of the previous year,” the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said.

“Build up inflation rate in the financial year so far was 3.87 per cent compared to a build up rate of 1.50 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year.”

On a sequential basis, the expenses on primary articles, which constitute 22.62 per cent of the WPI’s total weightage, rose 2.97 per cent, from a decline of 0.15 per cent in August.

Similarly, the prices of food articles rose. The category has a weightage of 15.26 per cent in the WPI index.

The cost of fuel and power, which commands a 13.15 per cent weightage, increased at a slower pace of 16.65 per cent from a growth of 17.73 per cent.

The expenses on manufactured products registered a rise of 4.22 per cent from 4.43 per cent.

On a year-on-year (YoY) basis, onion prices declined by 7.88 per cent, whereas potatoes became dearer by 68.81 per cent.

In contrast, the overall vegetable prices in September rose by 39.41 per cent, against a rise of 41.05 per cent in the same month a year ago.

Further, the data revealed that wheat became dearer by 6.09 per cent on a YoY basis while prices of pulses were up 0.74 per cent, though paddy became expensive by 2.03 per cent.

The prices of protein-based food items such as eggs, meat and fish went up marginally by 0.83 per cent.

The price of high-speed diesel rose by 11.88 per cent on a YoY basis, petrol by 10.41 per cent and LPG by 17.04 per cent.

“The WPI inflation for September 2018 revealed a negative surprise, printing 30 basis points higher than our forecast. Moreover, a lagged correction in the sub-index for crude oil is likely to result in the revised print for this month, exceeding the initial 5.1 per cent,” said Aditi Nayar, Principal economist, ICRA.

“The considerable uptick in the YoY WPI inflation in September 2018 relative to the previous month was driven by primary food and non-food items and minerals, whereas the other major indices recorded a sequential dip, partly driven by the base effect.”

According to Devendra Kumar Pant, Chief Economist and Senior Director (Public Finance), India Ratings and Research, “The prevailing market price for most kharif crops at major mandis has remained lower than the MSP, suggesting procurement hasn’t picked up.”

“The future inflation trajectory would depend on the response of mandi prices with respect of new MSP, and the movement of crude oil price and value of currency.”

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Gujarat Ministers go out with invites for tallest Sardar statue unveiling

If Chief Minister Vijay Rupani went to Uttar Pradesh to invite his counterpart Yogi Adityanath, his deputy Nitin Patel just returned from neighbouring Maharashtra after inviting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for the event.

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Sardar statue

Gandhinagar, Oct 15 : As the countdown for the unveiling of the tallest statue in the world by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun, Gujarat Ministers have fanned out across the country with invites for Chief Ministers for the big show on October 31.

Dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Statue of Unity with a height of 182 metres that has been claimed to be the world’s tallest. It will be unveiled on Patel’s birth anniversary.

As the Gujarat Chief Minister, Modi had on October 31, 2013 laid the foundation stone for the project. Built at a cost of Rs 2,389 crore, the statue stands 3.2 km downstream of the Narmada dam on the islet, Sadhu bet.

The Gujarat government wants this unveiling to be a grand event.

If Chief Minister Vijay Rupani went to Uttar Pradesh to invite his counterpart Yogi Adityanath, his deputy Nitin Patel just returned from neighbouring Maharashtra after inviting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for the event.

Similarly, the only woman minister in the cabinet, Vibhavriben Dave, just visited Tripura. Agriculture Minister R.C. Faldu has been tasked to invite the Assam Chief Minister.

Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama just returned from his trip to Haryana while Food and Civil Supplies Minister Jayesh Radadia has been sent to Uttarakhand. Energy and Petrochemicals Minister Saurabh Patel is now visiting Bihar with an invite for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja returned from his trip to Himachal Pradesh. Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Ishwarbhai Parmar is in Goa for the purpose.

Forest Minister Ganpat Vasava is in Tamil Nadu, Dilip Thakore has been sent to Naveen Patnaik’s Orissa, Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel to Jharkhand, Ishwarbhai Patel to Arunachal Pradesh and Kishor Kanani has been sent to Meghalaya.

The construction of the statue is almost finished, with the work going on at a fast pace and final touches being given right now.

According to the government, the project is expected to bring in huge revenues in the form of tourism in the tribal region of the state.

The statue will have a museum on the life of Sardar Patel at the base and a viewing gallery, from where the visitors can see beyond the Narmada dam.

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