Tuesday, October 25, 2011

English Tapasvinī – Translator’s Foreword/ Harekrishna Meher

Original Oriya Epic Poem By : Poet Gańgādhara Meher (1862-1924)
Complete English Translation By : Dr. Harekrishna Meher

[Translator’s Foreword has been taken from pages vii- xii of my English Book
‘ Tapasvinī of Gańgādhara Meher ’
Published by : R.N. Bhattacharya, A-217, Road No.4, HB Town, Sodepur,
Kolkata-700110, India. First Edition : 2009, ISBN : 81-87661-63-1]
For Introduction, please see,
‘ Tapasvinī of Gańgādhara Meher : A Critical Observation ’ :
Link :

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Translator's Foreword
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From modern perspective, Translation or Transcreation has earned a prominent place in World Literature. For mutual interaction of feelings and sentiments among various languages and literatures of the world, translation plays a significant role. Through translations, comparative studies among literatures of different languages are possible. By this process, sphere of literatures becomes wide and within the reach of those people who even do not know the original language from which the translations are available. Sans translations, there is no scope of familiarity or mutual identifications among various languages and literatures. In any language, translation work is not easy or simple. Translation should exactly follow the meaning of the original or source language.

Translating a literary work, especially poetry is not only tedious, but also expressive of knowledge and calibre of the translator. Translation is a rare art which cannot be accomplished by all. From external view-point, translation work may seem very simple; but it is not really so. A person, who experiences or renders one language into the other, can understand the pains and importance of the translation-job.

In composing original poems that have spontaneous expressions from one’s heart, generally no impediment or barrier appears. But in translation, the matter becomes contracted or limited to the arena of particular words, and there is no scope of bouncing the boundary, if the job is done faithfully and satisfactorily. Owing to some internal stimulation of thoughts, sometimes, in translation also, there occurs no hindrance in manifestation of spontaneous wordings. In addition to preservation of original meanings, originality in wordings of translation and its presentation-style also deserve attention of the readers. Such things have been experienced in my translations. In this matter, I like to express a few lines with an humble approach.

To translate the Oriya Mahākāvya ‘Tapasvinī’ of Poet Gańgādhara Meher into Hindi and English, a plan was in my mind in October 1982. As a result, this epic poem was completely rendered into both the languages during the first half of 1983. Later on, minor changes have been made in a very few places. My desire to render this work into Sanskrit was in the heart internally. After active participation in 10th World Sanskrit Conference held in Bangalore in January 1997, I was very much encouraged to completely translate Tapasvinī into Sanskrit. After that without any delay, by translating this kāvya into Sanskrit during February-March of 1997, I have got great satisfaction and internal bliss. In all the translations, internal strength of divine blessings has given me immense inspirations.

My both Hindi and English Versions of Tapasvinī were then specifically mentioned and advertised by the Editorial Board of “Meher Jyoti” in August 1983 Special Issue (p-29), published by Meher Kavi Club, Kavi Bhavan, Barpali on the occasion of 121st Birth Anniversary of Poet Gańgādhara Meher. Later on, some passages of both the translations were published in ‘Suntimes’ (Bhubaneswar), ‘Saptarshi’ (Sambalpur Univ.) and ‘Jhańkār’ (Cuttack). Further, several passages of my tri-lingual translations with long discussions have been published in ‘Bartikā’, Vishuva Special 1999, Literary Quarterly of Jajpur, Orissa. My Hindi Rendering of Tapasvinī has been published by Sambalpur University, Jyoti Vihar, Orissa in the year 2000 and the book has acquired wide acclamations. On the Internet, a few passages of translations have been published in my personal website (
http://hkmeher.blogspot.com), also in ‘Muse India’, Literary English e-journal, Sept.-Oct. 2008 Issue (www.museindia.com/viewarticle.asp?myr=2008&issid=21&id=1258).

In all the three translations of mine, interest of rhyme has been freely adopted. Style of translation in all the three is mostly alike. It can be observed from an example presented below. In Canto-IV of Tapasvinī, philosophy of life has been beautifully expressed in the mouth of River Tamasā. In the pen of Poet Gańgādhara, the Original Oriya lines composed in melodious ‘Chokhi rāga’ runs thus (For readers’ convenience, here presented in Devanāgarī script) :

‘बने बने भ्रमि भ्रमि
गण्ड कुहुके न भ्रमि
बहु बाधा अतिक्रमि
स्वच्छ जीबने,
अन्धार दुःख न गणि
आलोक सुख न मणि
चालिछि दूर सरणी
नत बदने ।
जनम करुछि सफळ,
तोय दाने तोषि तीरबासी सकळ ॥’

These lines in my English Version :

‘Wandering over several woods wide,
never wavering astray
by illusion of any gorge,
surmounting many an impediment
in my life limpid,
never deeming darkness
as a distress,
never thinking light
to be a delight,
for a remote way
ahead I’ve continued to forge
with my head humbly bent.
Gratifying every bank-dweller
with offering of water,
fruitfulness of my birth
I’m realizing worth.’

These lines in my Hindi Rendering :

‘घूमती फिरती वन-वन में
गण्ड-कुहुक में न उलझ,
कई बाधाएँ करके पार
अपने निर्मल जीवन में,
न दुःख मान अन्धकार,
प्रकाश न सुख समझ
चली हूँ दूर रास्ते नम्र मस्तक ।
जन्म कर रही हूँ सार्थक
नीर-दान से निरन्तर
सभी तटवासियों के मानस में तृप्ति भर ॥’

These lines in my Sanskrit Version :

‘भ्रामं भ्रामं वने वने
गण्ड-कुहकेषु न भ्रमन्त्यहं
विलङ्घ्य विविध-बाधा-निवहं
सुविमले मम जीवने,
ध्वान्तं न दुःखं गणयन्ती
आलोकं न सुखं भावयन्ती
दूर-मार्गमग्रे सरामि नम्रानना निरलसम् ।
दधामि सार्थकतां जन्मन:
सन्तोषयन्ती नीर-दानैरात्मनः
सकल-कूल-सन्निवासिनां मानसम् ॥’

In all the three translations, though it is not possible to keep in tact, the original rhythmic eloquence, metrical charm and musical sweetness, still endeavours have been made here to preserve in my own words, the original sense of the poem without any deviation. All the renderings are literally authentic. Success of my efforts lies in the hands of the literature-loving readers and critics. Suggestions and opinions are cordially welcome.

After a long span, my English Rendering of Tapasvinī in book-form is seeing the light of the day. On this occasion, I extend my gratitude to the editors of the journals and magazines where my translations have attracted the view of the wise readers. Hearty thanks are due to my friends Dr. Bharat Chandra Nath (Reader in Sanskrit), Prof. Kamalakanta Behura (Reader in English) and Dr. Baba Mishra (Reader in History) for their cordial inspirations.

In my literary activities, encouragements of my wife Śrīmatī Kuntalā Kumārī Meher are unforgettable. My sons Sarbeswar Meher (IT Engineer) and Sureswar Meher (UGC Research Fellow, JNU, New Delhi) have helped me in preparing the manuscripts and deserve my blessings with thanks. I am very much thankful to Sri R.N.Bhattacharya, Kolkata, who has eagerly and encouragingly published this book for its wide circulation all over India and abroad.

Harekrishna Meher

Date 01-01-2009
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