A window to outside world

Mohd. Tasleem Muntazir
Book Name: Aalami Nasri Adab – Ek Intihaab
Editor: Ashar Najmi
Published by: Esbaat Publications, B/202, Universe Darshan, Pooja Nagar Road, Naya Nagar, Mira Road (East), Dist. Thane- 401107. Maharashtra, India.
Pages: 1512
Translation is the window through which we can view the outside world. Also, we can say that it is the bridge connecting people to understand each other’s lifestyle, culture and civilization and to be aware of their current affairs. The book under review titled Aalami Nasri Adab: Ek Inti?haab (The World Prose Literature: a selection) is the work of translation published by Esbaat Publications, Thane, Maharashtra.
Spreading over more than 1500 pages in three volumes, this compilation contains prose literature translated from 72 languages of 85 countries of seven continents into Urdu. It has fiction, drama, harlequinade (chup-swaang), essay, memoir and interview.
While selecting the writings of this special number, different linguistic regions were preferred over names and efforts were made to represent as many regions, languages and their related cultures as possible. So, this compilation is introduction to many nations, cultures, and concepts of life, Ashar Najmi who has compiled this book, has said in his introductory comments on the book.
Mr Najmi who has been providing quality literature to readers for years by the medium of his literary Urdu journal ‘Esbaat’ had carried on his mission even under the stressful conditions resulted out of CoViD-19 and brought out several publications since 2019 which include his two Urdu novels ‘Us Ne Kaha Tha’ (He Had Said) and ‘Sifr Ki Tauheen’ (Insult to Zero) besides this special issue of ‘Esbaat’.
“Until recent past, the concept of translation was limited to the linguistic realm, that it is the process of transmitting a piece of literature from one language (source) to another (target) but when the knowledge and research moved ahead to further levels it came to fore that the meaning is not related only to language and text but also shared by the author and reader”, Ashar Najmi has said in his editorial titled as ‘Tarjame Ki Sharhyaat’ (Interpretations of Translation) in volume first which consists of prose literature from the countries in East Asia (China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia) and South Asia (India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan). He has discussed in detail the trinity of author, text and reader highlighting the importance of each with reference to their relation to translation. Referring to American linguistic Eugene Albert Nida’s definition of translation from his book ‘Signs, Sense and Translation’ that the translation is to reproduce the closet natural meaning of source language information in target language, firstly in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style, Najmi has added that translation creates a natural relation between the source language and the target language (receptor).
In another editorial (volume second) under the heading “Tarjame Ki Rail Gaadi Aur Nobel Terminus’ (The Train of Translation and Nobel Terminus) while sharing his viewpoint on the status of Urdu language and literature he has raised a point, “According to a BBC report, Urdu is the language of 100 million people worldwide. The question arises as to why Urdu has not yet received the Nobel Prize for literature?” Terming the lack of interest in associating our language, literature, geography and culture with languages and cultures of the outer world as one of the reasons, he has underscored the need to share our great literature with the readers of other languages in the country and with foreign readers quoting that through translation we transmit not only text but also the culture.
‘Post Colonial Writing and Literary Translation’ by Maria Tymoczko, America (Urdu translation by Farhat Eh’saas) has been included in volume third as the guest editorial.
The contents are chaptered by region as East Asia, South Asia (Volume I), South-East Asia, Western Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Northern Europe (Volume II), Southern Europe, USA, North America, South America, West Africa, East Africa, North Africa, South Africa, Central Africa and Australia (Volume III). A brief introduction to the region is given at the beginning of each chapter. Also a brief introduction of the writer and translator is given with their writings.
The languages of Indian subcontinent, whose translation of prose literature have been included are Hindi, English, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannad, Gujrati, Punjabi, Kashmiri, Udiya, Konkani, Manipuri, Rajasthani, Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, Sindhi, Assamese, Pashto, Balochi, Saraiki, Hindko and Pothwari.
Ved Rahi’s Dogri short story ‘Ik Ha Chitrakar, Ik Ha Raja’ (Once There was a Painter and King) translated into Urdu by Ashar Najmi as ‘Ek Tha Raja, Ek Tha Musavvir’ and Amin Kaamil’s Kashmiri short story ‘Kokar Jang’ (The Cockfight) translated into Urdu by Irtikaaz Afzal as ‘Murgh-baazi’ are part of this glorious special number.
A book that everyone who loves literature, whether a reader, student or a teacher, would like to read and keep on their bookshelf as a reference book.