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As true to Bible as possible, in Bengali

The first Bengali translation of the complete Bible from India was published on Friday. Mangalvarta Bible is a 40-year endeavour by two writers, Father Christian Mignon and Sajol Banerjea.

The Bible, published by Xavier Publications at Chitrabani Society, is made up of 3,500 pages and will also be available in Bangladesh. Mignon, a Jesuit priest, Biblical scholar and translator, and Banerjea, a poet and teacher, set about translating the holy book in 1967. As the number of pages kept on increasing, the Bible had to be published in three volumes to make it handy.

“Of the two types of translations, literal and literary, we chose the second,” Banerjea explained. “Literal translation has marred Bengali versions earlier and so, we decided to avoid it. Our goal was to make the text as natural, limpid and pleasant as possible,” he added.

Father Mignon, a Belgian who came to India in 1949 and gradually became a specialist in Biblical matters, said the translation was the “nearest equivalent to the original text”. Their work together had become a profoundly “satisfying and rewarding experience, based on mutual respect”, the authors said.

According to the publishers, Mangalvarta Bible is the first complete Bengali translation of The Bible published in India.

It contains, besides all the books of the Hebrew Bible, published by William Carey and his successors, all the books that have been accepted as integral parts of The Bible by the Catholic Church.

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