Beyond the written word

Updated: 18 December, 2018 11:09 IST | Dalreen Ramos | Mumbai

Translation takes centre stage at the fourth edition of a student-run literature festival

The TISS Literature Festival will have an open-mic event this year
The TISS Literature Festival will have an open-mic event this year

On International Translation Day, we wrote an article that traced the art of translating literary works in India and explored the relationship that a translated text shares with its author and its translator.

It was then that Professor Udaya Narayana Singh, who helmed the National Translation Mission, had pointed out that the act couldn't be measured simply in terms of what is gained and lost, and the interpretations vary. This year's edition of the TISS Literature Festival aims to shed light on these nuances.

"People usually perceive language in written form. And because of this, a lot of our oral tradition is lost. We believe that the idea of literature per se is not something that is written," says Yaniam Chukhu, the literary secretary of the festival. Another aspect that Chukhu highlights is the common tendency to view translation as changing text from one language to another - she says that the process is also applicable to the evolution of formats. "We will be exploring the journey of literature as it is translated from oral form, to written, and then to screen," she explains.

(From left) Jimmy Chishi, Bhaskar Hazarika and Tai Tungung
(From left) Jimmy Chishi, Bhaskar Hazarika and Tai Tungung

Thus, the two-day festival this year is divided into various themes. On the first day, JNU professor Ghazal Jamil will deliver a talk on the theme Smashing Patriarchy, where she will speak about the challenges contemporary feminist writers face. Jimmy Chishi, an artist from Nagaland, will conduct a shadow puppetry workshop - fusing the culture of Andhra Pradesh with his home state. National Award-winning Assamese filmmaker Bhaskar Hazarika will delve into the dynamics of how a manuscript is adapted to screen and Hindi professor Tai Tugung from Arunachal Pradesh will conduct a session on speaking from the margins.

As opposed to other literary festivals being turned into commercial ventures, this one promises to reflect the voice of students, and student performances will also be part of the event. Ankit Dwivedi, a PhD scholar at the institute who has trained in storytelling in England, will also be conducting a workshop. With preparations still on, Chukhu hopes that attendees can celebrate the journey of translation. She adds, "It is a sincere attempt to promote literary culture in the campus. And we don't even have a target audience. There is no bar and everyone is welcome. I guess, that's the whole point of calling it a festival."

ON: December 22 to 23,
AT: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Eden Gardens, Deonar.

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First Published: 18 December, 2018 10:30 IST

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