The second day of Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi’s Festival of Letters 2012 covered a varied field, comprising interactions with Raji Narasimhan, Mridula Garg, Shafi Shauq, Vanita, and Sagari Chhabra. These sessions were held at the UT Guest House.
In the evening tomorrow there was a special session with poet, journalist and lyricist, Neelesh Misra in the English Auditorium of Panjab University.
Raji Narasimhan, who has written and translated extensively, spoke about the intricacies of translation. She has her own take on the subject and believes that “translation should read like a translation; it id not original and cannot be original.” In her opinion, a translator must highlight the differences between two lingua cultures, drawing from the experience of both. Translation is a “celebration of this experience.” However, a translator must understand the texts, its essence and tone; only then will the activity be a rewarding one. Raji’s strong viewpoints led to a lot of animated discussion but she remained firm in her convictions.
Mridula Garg, who was introduced by Vandana Shukla, has been a firebrand writer and still continues to draw attention wherever she goes. her best known work, which also became ver controversial, was “Chitkobra” with which she shot into the limelight. Garg has a subtle sense of humor and a tongue-in-cheek manner of narrating a story. she gave a lucid account of her evolution as a writer and read from her novel “Miljul Man.” she was a contrast to the soft-spoken and gentle Vanita, who writes in Punjabi. Vanita recounted how she was trained in music and dance and only turned to poetry later in life. The themes that inspire her are related to women’s issues but she does not express her viewpoint directly. she uses myth and legend to tell the truth slant. In conversation with Vanita was Balpreet who works as an anchor for a TV channel.
Shafi Shauq, known for his writing in Kashmiri, Urdu and English, was introduced by Mohamad Aslam as a very versatile person who has written in several languages including Urdu, Kashmiri and English. Shauq, who has written as may as forty-five books and writes for twelve hours everyday, endeared himself to the audience with his gentle humour. He regaled the gathering with a lucid account of his younger days as an activist steeped in Marxist ideology. in the University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Shauq was the one whose efforts had led to the establishment of the Dept of Kashmiri. His poems in Kashmiri, Urdu and English were greatly appreciated by the audience.
Sagari Chhabra is a theatre person who writes poetry in English and also has made award-winning documentaries. Some of the poems she read in English were read in Punjabi translation by Atamjit. Both were highly applauded. A social activist, Sagari has been involved in several human rights issues. Her writing is on political themes like Gujarat, the nuclear warfare, global warming, etc.
The evening session was devoted to Neelesh Misra, poet, lyricist, journalist, author and radio story-teller. Neelesh kept the audience spell-bound with the recitation of his poems and stories from his Yaad-Sheher collection. He was accompanied by Sanju Kapoor, who supported the narration with the strumming of his guitar in sync with the story. Neelesh writes for Bollywood and TV films, too. He has a Band called Nine and sang a few selected lyrics.