National

Can many languages make one Indian literature?

Jaipur, Jan 25 (IANS): | Publish Date: 1/25/2019 12:00:00 AM IST

Indian literature stands at a junction of diverse cultures, languages and histories but their inter-connectedness is seldom seen. An aptly-titled session "One Indian Literature" at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) featured literary stalwarts deliberating on the diversity within Indian literature - and the connecting factors lying theirin.


Harish Trivedi, professor of English at the University of Delhi, and author of "Colonial Transactions: English Literature and India", observed that there are certain advantages as far as writing in English in India is concerned but, he said, "let the other languages also bloom and prosper".

Priyamvada Natarajan, Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University, said: "We have the power as Indians to redefine what English is to us."

Natarajan elaborated on the importance of translation in establishing greater social equality.

"The more stories and narratives are written in different languages that get access either through English or through translation, the better the chances of enabling a shift in the power balance, because then, all people feel that they all have a voice," she said.

She also emphasised the importance of writers knowing there will be a readership for one's writing whilst acknowledging that some write simply because they have a creative compulsion to express themselves.

"Most of them are writers who want people to read what they are writing," she said.

Naveen Kishore, the owner of Seagull Books, affirmed his willingness to create a "Library of Modern Literature" to further boost the recent upsurge in literary translations and support their passionate and growing readership.

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