Asma Saleem awarded Sahitya Akademi’s award for translation

By TCN News

Panaji, Goa: Prominent scholar and litterateur Mrs. Asma Saleem was awarded Sahitya Akademi’s award for her Urdu translated book Safar at a ceremony in Panaji on August 20.

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The Sahitya Akademi translation awards presentation ceremony was held at the Kala Academy’s Dinanath Mangeshkar hall. The welcome speech was delivered by the secretary of Sahitya Akademi, Mr Agrahar Krishnamurti. The president of Sahitya Akademi, Mr Sunil Gangopadhyay presided over the function.

Asma Saleem honored with Sahitya Akademi award

The chief guest for the function was eminent Malayalam writer, M T Vasudevan Nair. The vice-president of Sahitya Akademi, Mr Sutindar Singh Noor presented the vote of thanks.

Translators of 23 languages were awarded for their contribution on the occasion including Asma Saleem, the translation award winner in Urdu, 2009.

Asma Saleem, born in 1969, in Delhi has done M.Phil in Urdu. Besides Urdu she knows Hindi and English and also Persian and Punjabi. She started her career in journalism with Rashtriya Sahara magazine (Urdu) in 1991 but soon chose to become a freelancer. She co-edited a bilingual (Hindi and English) quarterly magazine Freelancer/ Yayawar for sometime covering literature, art, drama and other fine arts. She has written extensively on literary, socio- cultural and civilizational issues, particularly concerning women and youth with equal commmand in Urdu and Hindi for leading Urdu and Hindi newspapers and magazines like daily ‘Qaumi Awaz’, ‘Navbharat Times’ and ‘Hindustan’.

cover of ‘Safar’, Amrita Pritam’s poems translated into Urdu by Asma Saleem

As a translator, besides this award winning work of translation of Amrita Pritam’s poetry into Urdu entitled ‘safar’, she has also many other works of translation to her credit.

This work of translation captures the aesthetic and spiritual core of Amrita Pritam’s poetry, while rendering its Punjabi ethos into plain colloquial Urdu that is much more empowered to bring out the live tissues of the magical rhythm of meaning of the original.

While sharing her experience of translating Amrita Pritam’s poetry Ms.Asma said that “Sunehrey is a landmark poem that waited to be rendered into Urdu till I humbly attempted it. In this poem the experience of love transcends the narrow confines of human self and soares high into becoming an experience of the cosmic upliftment of human soul. Love breaks open the hard material shell of ‘I’ and flows into the vastness of the universe. This poem optimizes the transformation of the personal into universal where the angst of a loving heart accompanied with all its sufferings reflects the experience of all other loving hearts, beyond all the boundaries of body, mind and time. The longing for union with the beloved takes the form of a longing for being one with the cosmic self and this longing again becomes the metaphor of self realisation.

As a translator, I have had the experience of a mysterious transformation that the source text has to inevitably undergo through the process of translation. This is particularly so in the case of translating poetry. The resonances, echoes and other sides of the meaning that are woven into a poem’s soul and are impossible to be rendered into any other language. Punjabi has impacted Urdu in its making in many ways but inspite of this closeness, many specific Punjabi cultural codes and idioms that are woven into Amrita’s poetry play truant to a translator. This led me to recreate the essence of the poem into simple idiomatic Urdu that comes closest to the Punjabi original.”

List of awardees: Kasturi Desai (Konkani), Jitendra Kumar Bargohayan (Assam), Ujjal Singha (Bengali), Gobinda Narjhari (Bodo), Goswami (Dogri), Trideep Suhrud (English), Ramnik Someshwar (Gujrati), Bhalchandra Jayashetty (Hindi), D N Trinad(Kannad), Shad Ramjan (Kashmiri), Bhalchandra Jha(Maithili), K Radhakrishnan Veriyar (Malayalam), S Brajeshwar Sharma (Manipuri), Jaiprakash Sawant (Marathi), Om Narayan Gupta (Nepali), Dharindar Panigrahi(Oriya), Shah Chaman (Punjabi), Arjun Singh Shekawat (Rajasthani), Late Prem Narayan Twivedi (Sanskrit), Jhamu Jhugni (Sindi), Bhuvana Natrajan (Tamil), Prabhakar Mandara (Telugu), and Asma Saleem(Urdu).