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Translating Gurudev for Urdu lovers

Neha Das, Jan 1, 2013 DHNS:

Widening Range

Jamia Millia Islamia has taken up the task of translating works of Rabindranath Tagore to Urdu. The department of Urdu has taken up the responsibility of translating 10 books comprising Tagore’s important writings. Prof Khalid Mahmood, Head of the department, said, “It has been decided in the research committee meeting of Tagore Research and Translation Scheme to translate Tagore’s selected poems, fiction, essays, articles, plays, important letters, interviews and travelogues. We have been granted Rs 96 lakh by the Ministry of Culture, for this two-year project.”

According to Khalid, it is a huge responsibility on the shoulders of the University. Khalid remarked that “The history of Jamia is glorious and we are hopeful that translations done under the scheme will become a part of history and be remembered by the Urdu speaking people.”

The first step that Jamia took was to arrange a workshop in this connection. It was held to translate Tagore’s fiction work, poems, including ‘Gitanjali’ and ‘The Gardener’ and important essays and articles. Also meetings of the Advisory Committee are also taking place for doing authentic translations.

The works of the Nobel laureate is world-known. Along with poetry, novels, dramas, his short stories are also highly regarded. Tagore was also an accomplished musician and painter. He wrote 100s of songs, these comprise ‘Rabindra Sangeet’, which is now an integral part of Bengali culture.


Talking about retaining the essence of Gurudev’s work, Khalid accepts it as the biggest challenge. “I would say that it is impossible to retain the essence of Tagore’s work from his native language, Bengali. We wanted the Urdu reading people also to know about his writings. The native language is always the soul of one’s work. But, their are various

novels in the market that are translated. This is why we are able to read novels originally written in foreign languages. It was also important for us take up this challenge for Urdu reading people who are followers of Rabindranath Tagore.”

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