A Springtime for Hindi Poetry in Translation
Translation, we all understand, is the most intimate act of reading, and intimacy is a dangerous zone. It is heartening indeed to watch how sincerely the youngest among the Hindi bilinguals have taken up the challenge of translating the most distinct of Modernist Hindi poets into English, the ‘sootradhar bhasha’ of our times. Earlier Apoorva Narain had translated the best of Kunwar Narayan for a collection published by Rupa five years ago. Then Sahitya Akademi brought out the translations of Kedarnath Singh’s selected poems- Benares and Other Poems- translated by many translators including Vinay Dharwadker, Harish Trivedi and K Satchidanandan edited by K Satchidanandan and In 2013 Rahul Soni came up with his translation of ‘Magadh’ (Srikant Varma) and this year Harper Collins publishes his translation of the selected poems of Ashok Vajpeyi (1959-2015) A good translator, like a sensitive lover, must awaken all layers of poetry: rhetoric, logic and silence, without disrupting the delicate tissues that hold them together as one complete unit. Rahul seems to be sensitively aware of this basic fact about the art and craft of translation.