New Delhi, Aug 6: 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.

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.



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Mumbai, Jul 22: Allegations of ill-treatment by a man against his own family members do not fall under the ambit of cruelty against a woman in her matrimonial home, the Bombay High Court has said.

The HC made the observation in an order dated July 18, a copy of which was made available on Monday, while quashing a March 2013 FIR (first information report) lodged by a woman against her parents-in-law, brother and sisters-in-law -- residents of Mumbai -- alleging cruelty and harassment.

A division bench, in the order, noted that peculiarly the woman did not make any allegations against her husband, and described the entire case as nothing but a "complete abuse of the process of law" and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section related to cruelty to women in matrimonial home.

The bench of Justices A S Gadkari and Neela Gokhale maintained the FIR was a "proxy litigation" lodged by the man through his wife against his own family members to settle a property dispute.

The court noted this was a "peculiar case" where the woman has alleged her in-laws of committing an offence under section 498A of the IPC without a single allegation against her husband.

Section 498A pertains to harassment of a woman by her husband or any relative of the husband.

The court, in its order, said the allegations of harassment and cruelty made by the woman against the petitioners are "quite general and vague".

"Undoubtedly, she (complainant woman) has given a list of incidents of cruelty in the FIR. However, the instances are also of a nature that do not fulfil the ingredients of section 498(A) of the IPC," the HC observed.

Some of the alleged ill-treatment is aimed against the husband and not even the complainant herself, the bench pointed out.

"Allegations of ill-treatment by a man against his own family members do not fall within the scope and ambit of section 498(A) of the IPC," the court clarified.

The woman, in her complaint, had alleged her in-laws used to pick fights with her husband on petty issues to drive him and her out of the house.

She further claimed her in-laws did not allow her to use their kitchen appliances, barred her from accessing their residence's terrace and garden, and would ask the domestic help not to do her household work.

The court said the present case was a "complete abuse of the process of law."

"The FIR is nothing but a shot fired by the man from his wife's shoulder to espouse his own cause of his interest in his father's property. We, thus, have no hesitation in holding that the FIR is filed with an ulterior motive for wreaking personal vengeance on the petitioners," it maintained.

The judges were critical of the gross abuse of IPC section 498A.

"The police machinery has been used for realizing private interest of the complainant and her husband. The present case is a classic example of gross abuse of section 498(A) of the IPC," the bench noted.

"Surprisingly, these allegations against the petitioners (in-laws) are made by the complainant-wife at the behest of her own husband. Although Section 498A envisages cruelty inflicted upon a woman by a relative of the husband, it is rare to see such allegations aimed at the relatives dehors (without) any accusation against the husband," the court observed.

The petitioners' advocate had claimed the FIR was an outcome of a property dispute among the family members.

The court pointed out that the history of civil litigation between the couple and the man's family demonstrates his personal interest in settling scores in respect of a property.