Marathi take on Arctic life
First of its kind Inuit novel gets a Marathi and Hindi translation through a collaboration between Mumbai University and University of Quebec
Marathi and Hindi literature enthusiasts will soon be privy to a glimpse into the daunting life of the Inuit community, popularly and wrongly referred to as Eskimos, with the launch of a first of its kind Inuktitut (language of the Inuit community) novel which will see a Marathi and Hindi launch this weekend.
An image of the Arctic from the novel. Pic/Robert Frechette
In a collaborative project between the University of Quebec, Canada, and the Department of French, Mumbai University, the novel Le Harpon du chasseur has been translated into Marathi and Hindi, after the department HOD Vidya Vencatesan read the novel’s French translation on a visit to the Canadian university in 2012. “I realized there is so little we know of their [Inuit] culture and life. In fact, out of ignorance we refer to the Inuits as Eskimos, which in their language, translates to ‘ice’,” she says ahead of Saturday launch.
Daniel Chartier from the University of Quebec will speak on Inuit culture this Saturday at MU
Written in Inuktitut by Markoosie Patsauq in 1969, the novel marked the first time that the Inuktitut language was committed to paper, a departure from the language’s oral-only tradition, says Vencatesan.
Dr Sanjay Kumar has translated the novel into Hindi
Dr Jayant Dhupkar is its Marathi translator while its Hindi version is by Dr Sanjay Kumar. Both belong to the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad.
The novel plunges the reader into a world of the stark Arctic Circle, where cruel nature and wily predators play a chilling role in the life of protagonist Kamik as he ventures out to hunt.
“It was challenging to translate an Inuit book’s French version into Hindi’ it had so many cultural layers,” says Kumar over the phone. “I’ve tried to retain the original flavour by keeping some words as is, like the hole in the ice used for fishing, which is called ‘Aalu’.”
Mumbai University vice chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh will release both translations on January 16 at the University’s Fort campus, followed by a lecture by Daniel Chartier, professor at Quebec University and holder of the Research Chair on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic.
“We are reviving our university press and would like to release our publications on the lines of the Harvard and Oxford university press. Translation of literature serves as a great way for cultural exchange and the University will continue with this trend,” says Deshmukh.