Welcome to Parabaas Translation. This page has been developed with the main aim of carrying English translations of work by major Bengali authors. On a wider scale, the plans are to develop this page as a complete resource for Bengali Literature including information regarding writers, translators, publishers, language, fonts and word processing tools. [More...]

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Apropos Somdatta Mandal's translation of the three "Lalu" stories:

Would you believe that the late Rajendranath Majumdar once lived on a huge tree, with rooms and pillars leading to it, in Bhagalpur? At least that is what I have been told by my grandparents and my father. Nothing has changed much, in fact, my father, at 85, still faithfully preserves this 200+ year old building as it was then. Rajendra-dadu was everything that his brothers and sisters were not. He was DARING. He was also brilliant, intelligent, and fought for independence, regularly embarrassing the local British masters. Tales of his derring do have been chronicled by the great Sarat-dadu. In fact, Rajendra-dadu had later on taken sannyas, and was last seen in Hardwar in his old age. I do not know if he had traveled on to the Himalayas.

I believe Devdas was written in our house at Adampur, Bhagalpur. It is well known that Bibhutibhushan wrote his epic novel Pather Panchali at Adampur. "Bonophul" also used to live in Bhagalpur.

I am so grateful that you have published the translations of "Lalu" (I will tell my father immediately).

Shankernath Mazumder
Published December, 2006

After looking at Sue Darlow's beautiful pictures of Nirad C. Chaudhuri, I started browsing the Parabaas Translations page and found Presenjit Gupta's translation of Joy Goswami's poem: Things recalled at Night.

Reading that brought back to me the lovely evening at Cornell University only a couple of weeks ago where we had Joy Goswami reading some of his poetry. He began with Things Recalled (in the original Bengali) and then there was a reading of this English translation of Gupta's by another person. I had always thought that the best readers of poetry (even their own) were those with strong, persuasive voices. But Goswami defied all that. He has such a gentle voice (and manner) and yet he had us all spellbound. The words wafted out to us and the darkening evening skies only added to the soothing last lines of the poem. Suddenly the funeral pyre did not seem all that terrifying. He also read several other poems but I found this first one that he read the best. I had always thought that only a Richard Burton could do for a perfect poetry recitation, but I've changed my views now.

Thanks for a great translations site. And while I'm at it, may I recommend another wonderful read to the other visitors: A Wife's Letter. This translation [of Tagore's short story] captures the spirit of the original in a way that answers some of the questions raised in the periodic discussions we often have in literary circles of the virtues and vices of the translated poem or story.

Alaka Basu
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Published September 30, 2003

Just a brief note to say that I enjoyed reading Ketaki Kushari Dyson's article How hard should we try? - Questions of detail in literary translation . Her perceptive, illuminating discussion confirms my long-held conviction that a good translator needs to be equally competent in both languages, and that, in most cases, mere technical competence is not sufficient, indeed a great deal more is needed. In Ketaki K. Dyson's case, one enviable advantage is that she is a poet herself, besides being equally at home in both languages, incredibly well-read, and therefore quite equipped to detect resonances which would be missed by others. I have read her other articles in Parabaas as well.

Amit Raychaudhuri
Alexandria, VA, USA
Published September 30, 2003

aami bengali noi, kintu ektu boojhte pari.[I am not a Bengali, but I can understand a little.] I have enjoyed Ashapurna Debi's short story Grieving for Oneself translated by Prasenjit Gupta. In a way, though my mother-tongue is Gujarati, I have read some of her works in the original and had the opportunity to meet her in Delhi when she came there to receive her Gyanpeeth Award. Her style is lucid and simple. Her choice of subject is unparalleled. Though I read it by chance in Parabaas, I shall try to read other stories and articles whenever I can. Anyway, khoob bhalo laglo..

Digambar Swadia
Published September 30, 2003

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