‘Translation’ takes Centre Stage at Jaipur Literature Festival 2023

22 January, 2023 | Pragati Singh

Jaipur National

Jaipur LF - Translating Words, Translating Worlds – hosted by British Council

Geetanjali Shree’s Booker Prize winning translated work has shone the spotlight on the
importance of translation and what it can do for Indian language literature and take it to
global audiences. The ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival 2023 features a variety of sessions
addressing the history, language, and importance of translation, as well as how the world is
evolving in the space of dialects and their translations, and how it has aided in the formation
of literary minds.
One of the key upcoming sessions at JLF – Translating Words, Translating Worlds –
hosted by British Council deciphers the role and opportunities from translation for India’s
multilingual literature. The panel on the 4 th  day of the Jaipur Literary Fest ’23 focuses on
different aspects of the industry: editors, translators, prose and poetry writers. The panel
includes Juri Baruah (representing project Write Assamese), Deepa Bhasthi (representing
project PEN Translates) and Garfield Dsouza and Sanah Ahasan (representing project
Language is a Queer Thing) and would be moderated by Preti Taneja.
The panel is a result of the ongoing India/UK Together, Season of Culture – a programme
of Arts, English and Education that celebrates India’s 75 th  anniversary, as outlined by India
and UK Prime Ministers. One of the Season’s themes is ‘India’s Multilingual Literature – The
Global Opportunity,’ which aims to showcase India and the UK’s diversity, create
international opportunities for emerging writers, and build international networks and
showcase the shared heritage in literature.
JLF 2023 witnessed the release of “Lata: A Life in Music”, Ira Pande’s English translation of
Hindi writer-poet Yatindra Mishra’s award-winning biography of the legendary singer Lata
Mangeshkar, titled ‘Lata: Sur-Gatha’. At the festival, Meena Kandasamy spoke with award-
winning writer Manasi Subramaniam about the two-thousand-year-old text Tirukkural.
Kandasamy spoke about the significance of Tirukkural in Tamil culture, as well as its anti-
caste identity that contrasts with the Manusmriti, during the session. The discussion centred
on the significance of female intervention in ancient text translation. At the festival,
discussion also took place about The Paradise of Food. Translated into English by the
winner of the 2022 JCB Prize for Literature Baran Farooqi, the book follows the journey of a
middle-class Muslim family over a fifty-year period using the kitchen as a metaphor. As they
discussed the book with Pragya Tiwari, Creative Director of Oijo Media and co-founder of
the Indian History Collective, Jawed and Farooqi delved into this saga of food, lust, loss, and

Alison Barrett, Country Director, British Council India, said, “Each artist, irrespective of
background, geography or ethnicity, deserves to be available to audiences wherever they
are. Language barriers deprive not just artists and authors from reaching their audiences,
but also people from understanding newer cultures, thoughts and worlds – whether real or
fictional. We are happy that the translation ecosystem is getting stronger – taking Indian
multilingual literature to global English-reading audiences and are delighted to be at JLF
watching these opportunities unfold.”
On the 2 nd  day of the JLF’23, British Council also hosted a session on Developing a Market
for Translations, a roundtable at the Jaipur BookMark, the B2B section of the Jaipur
Literature Festival ’23. With the world’s attention focused on it, the Indian publishing industry
has grown rapidly with the goal of creating a meaningful B2B platform for publishers. As part
of the International Publishing Fellowship, the Roundtable provided the opportunity to
interact with the rest of the publishing industry.