Indian literature to be translated into Arabic

By Aroonim Bhuyan, IANS

Dubai : As part of its efforts to boost cultural diplomacy with the Gulf, India is planning a project to translate major Indian literary works into Arabic.

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“We propose to translate major Indian literary works – fiction, non-fiction and poetry – into Arabic as part of our larger vision to improve ties in the cultural area in the Gulf,” India’s Ambassador to the UAE Talmiz Ahmad told IANS.

Around 20 to 50 Indian titles are being planned to be translated a year in the next couple of years.

The translation project is one of the three-pronged approach the Indian embassy in this Gulf nation is taking in the literary area to boost cultural diplomacy.

“We are also planning to significantly increase India’s participation in the annual Abu Dhabi Book Fair – maybe double or triple the number of Indian publishers who participated in this year’s fair,” the ambassador said.

In the 18th Abu Dhabi Book Fair held March 11 to 16, 32 Indian publishers participated as a group with special support from the UAE government.

The UAE government gave 30 percent concession in the stall rentals to the Indian participants and even waived off their visa fees.

The third plan is to invite noted Indian litterateurs for dialogues with their Arabic counterparts.

“We intend to invite eminent Indian writers for literary dialogues with Emirati and other Arabic writers. As different creative people, they can explore and examine contemporary issues with universal themes particularly with regard to gender-related issues, globalisation and poverty,” Ahmad said.

The Indian embassy will partner with the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) in this cultural diplomacy mission.

“ADACH has two entities – KITAB, which organises book fairs, and Al Kalima, which sponsors translations from different languages – and together we hope to implement the projects,” the ambassador said.

From the Indian side, he said, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Federation of Indian Publishers would partner the embassy.

A series of events like film festivals, painting exhibitions and an India-UAE fair will be associated with these projects, he added.

“There has been a sense of mutual neglect in the cultural area between the two sides for long and we hope to bridge this gulf through this initiative,” the ambassador said.