Monday, April 27, 2009

A Pun on the Present

Kolatkar's famous poem ` The Butterfly' in Jejuri is a metaphor for time which vanishes in front of your eyes. The butterfly,

It has no future.
It is pinned down to no past.
It's a pun on the present.
it opens before it closes
and it closes before it o

where is it?

I experienced something similar. Its three years already since I joined the MS University in 2006. Time has vanished like Kolatkar's butterfly.

My life has changed for sure as the entries in the blog will show.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 29, 2009

This is a good month for apocalyptic thoughts. The heatwave is drowning us all. In the begining of April or as early as late February, we had tempratures like 43 degree centigrade. Global warming is bring the world to an end.

Apart from the tedious work of assessing answer books, I am watching a handful of Hollywood stuff. I saw films like Perfume: A Story of a Murderer, Pursuit of Happyness, Pride, American Gangster, Vacancy, The Peacemaker, Juno, The Last Shot, Disturbia, The Invasion, From Dusk to Dawn: The Hangman's Daughter, The Ghost Rider, 300 and Enter the Dragon. Watched films after a long time. Enjoyed many of them. Perfume: A Story of a Murderer is quite interesting and Pursuit of Happyness is extremely touching. Watched Enter the Dragon after a long time and I feel Jackie Chan and other Kung Fu madness cant replace that intensity and eyes of the Dragon.The Ghost Rider and From Dusk to Dawn: Hangman's Daughter are among the worst films I have seen.

The Election days are about to get over, thank god for that. It is one of the worst election periods I have ever none. All mud slinging matches are predictable and boring. No real issues are raised in the campaign as usual and the fictional issues ( Ram Temple etc) are utterly irrelevant. The BJP's aggressive marketing has nothing to sell and the Congress has bad marketing and nothing to sell. Conclusion: NDA might have a small edge over the UPA ( if there is still something of the sort) but I dont think anyone can get a comfortable majority. I remember the results of the 2004 elections being declared when I was in Mumbai with Ashwini who was pregnant. We had stayed in a hotel near SNDT as she had to appear for her MFA exams. Routing of the BJP was something of relief then. Lets see what happens in this election.

Thankfully, we did not have any election duties. Otherwise it is another pain in the neck.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Literature and Evil

It is disgusting how Kabir is so so socially relevant today. It means that our society hasn't changed in six centuries. We still discriminate, hate and kill on the basis of caste, creed and religion. It is shameful. But then so is Shakespeare. Julius Caesar is still remains a textbook for me in politics. Probably because this animal called man doesn't change much. It is Osho, I think, who said that the world changes, man remains the same. Can literature change man? There are so many today, who in spite of overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary, believe that literature can bring about change in human nature. Gunther Grass's From the Diary of the Snail believes that Change occurs usually at snails pace. The Political is finished and the enigma of Evil is what it was. The Yaksha of the Mahabharata is not very pleased with the answers we have been giving. The Sphinx refuses to drown herself and Oedipus can only pluck out his eyes and banish himself. Crime and genocide waits for none.....

Do we need to revisit Nietzsche, the Prophet of Darkness, in the 21st century too?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Aging Caliban

I was in Pune for a national seminar on Indian Writing in English and in English translation and guess who came for the key note address? Our good ole' Nemade! He is the Asharam Bapu of Marathi literature. I saw him for the first time. He looked so pitiable that if I had seen him earlier, I would not have said nasty things that I have said about him. He was gloriously inane and went around flogging around the non-existent bush for an hour or two and said absolutely nothing. He said hilarious things like,`Bilingualism is a disease. Monolingualism is health' and such similar things. Well, he said all these things in English. This guy has made his living teaching English and chairing the Tagore Chair of comparative literature at the University of Mumbai. He did his MA in English, instead of Marathi. I think it is hypocrisy that is a disease and not bilingualism or multilingualism. An Aging Caliban is a pitiable creature, especially when he goes round in circles like a dog trying to catch his own tail. I felt sorry for him. May God of Tukaram confer peace upon him and may he be reborn in the 17th century in his next birth.

Otherwise the conference was as good as or as bad as any other conferences of the kind. The older teachers of English looked like as if they were teaching a fifth standard classroom and the younger teachers were equally superficial in their pursuit of more fashionable trends. Boring. I don't see any hope for the Eng. Lit academia.

My paper was on a comparative analysis of Indian Writing in English and in English translation from the point of translation studies. My paper provoked a lot of discussion. According to Madhurita it was because people understood my paper.The discussion, however, was not regarding my paper but on basics of translation. The same old debates regarding `loss' of translation, transcreation and how will you translate... kind of elementary things. I said the idea of `loss' or `gain' in translation is relative to the position of the observer. If you know the source language then a translation from that language will probably always look like a loss and if you don't know the source language, that is you are the person for whom translation is done, than any translation however `bad' is a gain. People are unable to understand relativity. They think their location is absolute. Then there were questions regarding `transcreation' and I replied that there is no need to float this word as the idea of creativity and divergence from the source text is already implict in the term translation. Then there was this senior gentleman who claimed to have read `the latest' in translation studies and that there was this term `transcreation' which was applied to freerer versions. I said that I did not mind if someone uses this term but I do not see the point of using it and that ` rewriting' is a pretty good term as it is more inclusive of various forms of cross cultural interactions. I also said that the term translation has many meanings and was more of a metaphor a trope. The senior gentleman who had read the latest did not understand what is a metaphor or trope. So much for his seniority and his latest reading of translation theory.

There were questions about the role of translator and strategies of translation. I replied that how one translates will depend on why one wants to translate and who you are translating for. Madhurita asked me which analogy or trope will I use for translation between two bhashas. I said that the Sahitya Akademi uses the term `aadan pradan'. I said that translation between the bhashas does not mean that there is no inequality between the languages and I gave example of the Bengali and the Odiya languages. Come to think of it, a metaphor for translation between the bhashas can be ` cross border terrorism'.
Wink But overall, I enjoyed my trip as I could catch up with friends and relatives.