CHENNAI: After losing a contract to translate and publish his much-celebrated debut novel, Aazhi Soozh Ulagu (ocean-ringed world), over his comments praising PM Narendra Modi, noted writer Joe D’Cruz has found himself a new translator and publisher to bring out his work in English.
D’cruz had entered into a contract for the translation of Aazhi Soozh Ulagu with Delhi-based Navayana. However, after his comments on social media that spoke glowingly of Modi, publisher S Anand and translator V Geetha of Navayana withdrew the contract.
Oxford University Press has now agreed to bring out the novel, with translator G Geetha on board.
“I am not a follower of a cult, or a member of a political party. I believe that a certain ruler would be good for my country, and I expressed my opinion,” said the writer. “For the current situation in the country, I feel (Modi) is a good leader. In case the performance of a leader goes down, so will people’s faith in the person — nothing is unchangeable. I do not speak for myself, I speak for what I think is good for the people,” he said.
Mini Krishnan, Editor-Translations, OUP, said, “We had been following his work and enquired about Aazhi Soozh Ulagu, but by then he had already signed up with another publisher.” Two months after Navayana withdrew, Krishnan approached D’Cruz.
Geetha has translated Hephzibah Jesudasan’s Putham Veedu and Vannanilavan’s Kadalpurathil into English. “I think the book is a really important work and not much has been written about the communities he writes about, it is a new effort. I found the book interesting and that was enough for me to take it up.” Should the personal political views of an author matter in the publishing of his literary work? Krishnan said, “In this case, Joe expressed a preference which had nothing to do with his writing. U R Ananthamurthy began by militating against tradition but in his later novels he explores the very traditions he rejected.”
“We cannot really bring out the difference in Madurai slang and Tirunelveli slang in an English translation. But Geetha is very dedicated, and I have faith that we can bring out most of the original flavour,” said D’Cruz.