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India in Translation through Hindi Literature

A Plurality of Voices

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Edited By Maya Burger and Nicola Pozza

What role have translations from Hindi literary works played in shaping and transforming our knowledge about India? In this book, renowned scholars, translators and Hindi writers from India, Europe, and the United States offer their approaches to this question. Their articles deal with the political, cultural, and linguistic criteria germane to the selection and translation of Hindi works, the nature of the enduring links between India and Europe, and the reception of translated texts, particularly through the perspective of book history. More personal essays, both on the writing process itself or on the practice of translation, complete the volume and highlight the plurality of voices that are inherent to any translation.
As the outcome of an international symposium held at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2008, India in Translation through Hindi Literature engages in the building of critical histories of the encounter between India and the «West», the use and impact of translations in this context, and Hindi literature and culture in connection to English (post)colonial power, literature and culture.

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Part III: Practices of Translation and Writing Experiences

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SUSHAM BEDI Looking in from the Outside: Writing and Teaching in the Diasporic Setting This paper looks into certain questions related to translating and imparting culture as a writer and educator. It focuses on the dual role of a diaspora writer in translating her culture to the adopted country as well as exporting the re- constituted culture back to her native country. It raises questions about Indianness, cultural and linguistic identity, gender and societal issues and changes caused by living in a different geographical space. I am looking at these questions as an outsider trying at the same time to be an insider, as an observer as well as a participant. In other words, being at “home and in the world,” while playing many roles. Being a writer also affects my teaching and both conditions are in a way interconnected as I bring a sense of telling and getting a story in the classroom. It also effects the selection of materials – a preference for historical, political and literary. I have looked into my own no- vels and short stories and into my experience as a Hindi teacher at Columbia University to answer some of these questions. A writer reveals multifaceted truths of her/his times and her/his society; the main challenge lies in authentically depicting those truths. A diaspora writer must unearth and excavate the truths of two societies, her current one and that of her/his place of origin. Thus, as a diaspora writer, my responsibility is twofold: to the place...

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