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Looking at the world, from one language to another

At The Morning Standard, we curate the best of the upcoming translated titles that attempt to look at the world through a myriad of renditions.  

Published: 21st January 2021 07:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th January 2021 02:09 PM   |  A+A-

books, book

For representational purposes

Express News Service

A translated text can make you step into a democratic zone, free of limitations imposed by a certain language. Here, new words take you towards unexplored territories and place you amid diverse cultures. At The Morning Standard, we curate the best of the upcoming translated titles that attempt to look at the world through a myriad of renditions.  

Fifty-five Pillars, Red Walls (Pachpan Khambhe Laal Deewaarein) originally written by Usha Priyamvada in Hindi and translated by Daisy Rockwell, is an iconic work of modern Hindi fiction. The book depicts the emotional life of a single woman in Delhi in the 1960s through Sushma, the protagonist. Fifty-five Pillars...  is a realistic sketch of a woman’s desires suppressed by her struggles. (Speaking Tiger). 

Fragments of Happiness (Seemayein Tootti Hain), by Shirlal Shukla, translated from Hindi by Niyati Bafna, is also rooted in Delhi. Durgadas, an ordinary businessman, apprehended for murder, and his friends and family are left to have to deal with the gruelling circumstances. The book outlines how ordinary people learn about their own power and helplessness when coming face-to face with the intent of others. (Speaking Tiger).

Again, an awaited translation in Hindi this year is I Haven’t Seen Mandu (Maine Mandu Nahin Dekha). Originally written by Swadesh Deepak, the memoir is one of the most powerful first-person accounts of mental illness. Jerry Pinto as the translator once again delves into the theme of mental illness as his highly-acclaimed Em and the Big Hoom, drew heavily on his family’s struggle with his mother’s bipolar disorder. (Speaking Tiger).

Pinto has also translated Battlefield (Ranaangan) by Vishram Bedekar from Marathi. A tragic love story, originally published in 1939, is set when the world was on the brink of World War II. Herta, a Jew rejected for her race in Hitler’s Germany, and Chakradhar Vidhwans, a Marathi man insulted for his skin colour, fall in love but could not be together. (Speaking Tiger)

A woman’s struggles once again takes centrestage in the 1920 Bengali classic Shikshita Patitar Atmacharit by Manada Devi. Translated by Arunava Sinha and now published as An Educated Woman in Prostitution: A Memoir of Lust, Exploitation, Deceit, the book features Devi’s life story, from belonging to an upper-middle-class Calcutta family to eloping with her lover at a young age. She is abandoned after getting pregnant, and has to take refuge in a brothel, but emerges as one of the most powerful women in Bengal of the times. (Simon & Schuster)

Kaajal Oza Vaidya’s Krishnayan, originally written in Gujarati has been translated with the eponymous title by Subha Pande. The bestseller, which sold over 200,000 copies since its release in 2006, establishes Lord Krishna in his final moments, reminiscing about the four women — Rukmini, Satyabhama, Draupadi, and Radha — in his life. We also understand these women’s perspectives, portrayed tenderly and intensely. (Westland)

Another intense novel is Anti-Clock by VJ James, translated by Ministhy Nair with the author and published as an eponym. The book ruminates on life and death, and makes the reader think about what it means to live with a desire for revenge. (Penguin Random House)

Interestingly, Adam by S Hareesh, translated by Jayasree Kalathil, a collection of nine stories, also underlays death as dark humour. The author won Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award in 2016 for the acclaimed work. (Penguin Random House)

Upcoming Titles

I Haven’t Seen Mandu translated from Maine Mandu Nahin Dekha by Jerry Pinto
Adam translated by Jayasree Kalathil
An Educated Woman in Prostitution translated by Arunava Sinha



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