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Translated Treasures for your Bookshelf!

India has twenty-two official languages and many dialects spoken across the country. As we gear up to commemorate International Translation Day on 30 September, we bring a selection of classics translated from Indian languages to English which promise to introduce readers to great writers who would be lost without their translators.

Celebrate the beauty of translation as we open the doors to diverse stories from Marathi, Sanskrit, Assamese, Bengali, and Hindi. While the books represented are a tiny representation of the classic works in these languages, we hope it gives you a flavour of the region and helps you appreciate our diversity.

 

Shyamchi Aai
Shyamchi Aai || Sane Guruji

Translated from Marathi by Shanta Gokhale

In the words of author Sathya Saran, ‘Shanta Gokhale’s translation carries within it what I believe is the spirit of the original. The prose runs softly like a smooth flowing river that, even as it meanders its way through tricky terrain, manages to avoid any hurdles.’

Narrated over the course of forty-two nights, Shyamchi Aai is a poignant story of Shyam and his Aai—a mother with an unbreakable spirit. This evergreen children’s classic is an account of a life of poverty, hard work, sacrifice and love.

 

Tales from the Kathasaritsagara
Tales from the Kathasaritsagara || Somadeva

Adapted from Sanskrit by Rohini Chowdhury

Do you know the story of Phalabhuti, who narrowly escaped a grisly fate?

Or of the kind-hearted Jimutavahana, who was willing to give his life to save a snake from death?

Or of young Shringabhuja, who married a rakshasa’s daughter?

These are just some of the many tales that make up Somadeva’s Kathasaritsagara, a classic work of Sanskrit literature that is full of memorable characters. Within the pages of this book, you will encounter demons and demi-gods, faithful guards and foolish villagers, golden swans, magic pots and even automatons made of wood!

 

Taniya
Taniya || Arupa Patangia Kalita, Meenaxi Barkotoki

Translated from the Assamese by Meenaxi Barkotoki

From the pen of Sahitya Akademi-winning Arupa Patangia Kalita’s comes her only children’s novel to date — Tainya. A timeless classic in Assam, the book has been masterfully translated in English by veteran Assamese translator Meenaxi Borkotoki. 

Told in a non-linear format, the book traces Taniya’s journey from the foothills of Bhutan to her final resting place. The antics of this Bhutanese cocker spaniel captured in Kalita’s unmatched storytelling style tugs at all the right heart strings making it quite impossible for you not to react as you read long. An endearing story, the novel is a must-read for pet lovers and readers of Indian literature in translation, alike.  

 

Timeless Tales
Timeless Tales || Vijaydan Detha

Translated from Marwari by Vishes Kothari

Giving a new lease of life to Vijaydan Detha’s ‘Batan ri Phulwari’, Vishes’s is a hand-picked compilation of the much-loved Rajasthani folktales—a fourteen-volume collection written over a span of nearly fifty years.

Retold in Detha’s magical narrative style complete with imagery, this selection offers some of the oldest and most popular fables from the Thar Desert region. Discover tales of handsome rajkanwars, evil witches, exploitative thakars, miserly seths, clever insects, benevolent snakes and more.

 

Another Dozen Stories
Another Dozen Stories || Satyajit Ray, Majumdar Indrani

Translated from Bengali by Indrani Majumdar

A tribute to Ray’s immaculate literary genius, this collection of short stories brings alive the magical, bizarre, spooky and sometimes astonishing worlds created by Satyajit Ray.

Featuring an extraordinary bunch of characters, the book contains Ray’s original artworks that will leave you and the little ones asking for more!

 

A Winter's Night
A Winter’s Night || Premchand

Translated from Hindi by Rakshanda Jalil

The ten stories in this book are an ideal introduction to Premchand and his concerns and ideas that remain relevant to this day.

The world in the book is inhabited by people like Halku, forced to spend the bitterly cold winter night in the open, without a blanket; Kaki, the old invalid aunt, ill-treated by her own relatives; and Shankar, reduced to being a bonded labour for the sake of a handful of wheat. Premchand describes their plights with unflinching honesty. Yet all is not hopeless in this world. There is also little Hamid, who buys tongs for his old grandmother rather than toys for himself; Ladli, who saves her share of puris for her blind aunt; and Big Brother, trying in vain to remember the strange names of English kings and queens.

 

Our all time favourites for World Book Day!

Classics are timeless reads that bring you comfort, nostalgia, and warmth to invigorate and inspire you from time to time. This World Book Day, we’re bringing you our favourite books that will stay with you for a lifetime!

 

Navarasa by A.N.D. Haksar 

Navarasa
Navarasa || A.N.D. Haksar

 

According to Indian aesthetics, “rasa” is the sap or juice that permeates our culture, art, and helps to direct our basic human feelings. The Natya Shastra, an ancient Hindu text, first made reference to the Navarasas; our art, dance, theatre, and literature are all founded on these nine human emotions. For the first time, 99 verse translations of the nine rasas of old Hindu history are presented in Navarasa: The Nine Flavors of Sanskrit Poetry, coming soon.

 

The Monkey’s Wounds by Hajra Musroor

The Monkey’s Wound and Other Stories
The Monkey’s Wounds || Hajra Musroor

A compilation of sixteen short tales by Hajra Masroor called The Monkey’s Wound and Other Stories serves as an example of her unyielding voice, her piercing depictions of the bitter realities of life, and the wounds and traumas of women’s inner lives. The tales are taken from her renowned compilation of tales, Sab Afsanay Meray, and are translated from the original Urdu. They are tales that showcase Masroor at her finest.

 

The Sacred Wordsmith by Raja Rao

The Sacred Wordsmith
The Sacred Wordsmith || Raja Rao

 

Raja Rao’s best works, including his autobiographical Prefaces and Introductions, are collected in The Sacred Wordsmith. The book includes a number of his well-known acceptance speeches, such as those for the Sahitya Akademi Award and Neustadt International Prize, as well as other well-known writings, including “The World is Sound,” “The Word,” “Why Do You Write?” “The West Discovers Sanskrit,” “The English Language and Us,” and “The Story Round, Around Kanthapura,” a fascinating, unpublished account of the creation of his well-known first novel.

 

The Postmaster by Rabindranath Tagore

The Postmaster by Rabindranath Tagore
The Postmaster||Rabindranath Tagore

 

Poet, novelist, painter and musician Rabindranath Tagore created the modern short story in India. Written in the 1890s, during a period of relative isolation, his best stories—included in this selection—recreate vivid images of life and landscapes. They depict the human condition in its many forms: innocence and childhood; love and loss; the city and the village; the natural and the supernatural. Tagore is India’s great Romantic. These stories reflect his profoundly modern, original vision. Translated and introduced by William Radice, this edition includes selected letters, bibliographical notes and a glossary.

 

Selected Stories by Saadat Hasan Manto

Manto's Selected Stories
Selected Stories|| Saadat Hasan Manto

 

The gentle dhobi who transforms into a killer, a prostitute who is more child than woman, the cocky, young coachman who falls in love at first sight, a father convinced that his son will die before his first birthday. Saadat Hasan Manto’s stories are vivid, dangerous and troubling and they slice into the everyday world to reveal its sombre, dark heart. These stories were written from the mid 30s on, many under the shadow of Partition. No Indian writer since has quite managed to capture the underbelly of Indian life with as much sympathy and colour. In a new translation that for the first time captures the richness of Manto’s prose and its combination of high emotion and taut narrative, this is a classic collection from the master of the Indian short story.

 

Lifting the Veil by Ismat Chughati

Ismat Chughtai
Lifting The Veil||Ismat Chughtai

 

At a time when writing by and about women was rare and tentative, Ismat Chughtai explored female sexuality with unparalleled frankness and examined the political and social mores of her time.
She wrote about the world that she knew, bringing the idiom of the middle class to Urdu prose, and totally transformed the complexion of Urdu fiction.
Lifting the Veil brings together Ismat Chughtai’s fiction and non-fiction writing. The twenty-one pieces in this selection are Chughtai at her best, marked by her brilliant turn of phrase, scintillating dialogue and wry humour, her characteristic irreverence, wit and eye for detail.

One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan

Perumal Murugan
One Part Woman||Perumal Murugan

 

All of Kali and Ponna’s efforts to conceive a child-from prayers topenance, potions to pilgrimages-have been in vain. Despite being in aloving and sexually satisfying relationship, they are relentlessly houndedby the taunts and insinuations of the people around them.Ultimately, all their hopes and apprehensions come to converge on thechariot festival in the temple of the half-female god Ardhanareeswaraand the revelry surrounding it. Everything hinges on the one night whenrules are relaxed and consensual union between any man and woman issanctioned. This night could end the couple’s suffering and humiliation.

But it will also put their marriage to the ultimate test.Acutely observed, One Part Woman lays bare with unsparing clarity arelationship caught between the dictates of social convention and the tugof personal anxieties, vividly conjuring an intimate and unsettling portraitof marriage, love and sex.

 

Loom of Time by Kalidasa

Loom of Time by Kalidasa
Loom Of Time||Kalidasa

 

Kalidasa is the greatest poet and playwright in classical Sanskrit literature and one of the greatest in world literature. Kalidasa is said to have lived and composed his work at the close of the first millennium BC though his dates have not been conclusively established. In all, seven of his works have survived: three plays, three long poems and an incomplete epic. Of these, this volume offers, in a brilliant new translation, his two most famous works, the play Sakuntala, a beautiful blend of romance and fairy tale with elements of comedy; and Meghadutam (The Cloud Messenger), the many-layered poem of longing and separation.

Also included is Rtusamharam (The Gathering of the Seasons), a much-neglected poem that celebrates the fulfillment of love and deserves to be known better. Taken together, these works provide a window to the remarkable world and work of a poet of whom it was said: Once, when poets were counted, Kalidasa occupied the little finger; the ring finger remains unnamed true to its name; for his second has not been found.

 

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