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Translation tribute to Kirtan Ghoxa

- Sankardev’s religious text to be rendered into 14 Indian languages

Guwahati, June 17: The Kirtan Ghoxa may be a household name in Assam but it is still shrouded in obscurity when it comes to the rest of the country.

The Assam government, in a bid to popularise this religious text written by Vaishnavite saint Srimanta Sarkardev in the country, has decided to get it translated into 14 Indian languages.

Revealing this during a book release event at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra here today, state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “We have undertaken a huge project of translating Kirtan Ghoxa into 14 different languages of the country. This will popularise the book. Jyotshna Rout has already been given the responsibility of translating it into Odiya as a beginning of the project.”

Rout has translated Maharathi, an Assamese novel penned by litterateur Chandraprasad Saikia, into Odiya. She said the translation would be complete within this month but it may take a few months for the book to hit the markets.

The Kirtan Ghoxa, along with the Nam Ghoxa written by Madhavdev, has been the subject of extreme reverence in Assam for centuries, with copies of the text being kept in the sanctum sanctorum of all naamghars. It has 26 sections and 31 kirtans or narratives about Lord Krishna.

“Although the stories of the Kirtan Ghoxa are based on Bhagavata Purana, Sankaradev customised it for this region. He localised it and made it more Krishna-centric,” said Ismail Hussain, a scholar on Sankardev.

The education minister, who is also the chairman of Publication Board, Assam, today released 43 books published by the board. Release of such a huge number of books in a single day by the board, which has been lying dormant for almost a decade before Sarma assumed charge as its chairman, has come as a relief for the state’s bibliophiles.

Sarma said the board had published around 1,000 books during the past six decades and, now, under his leadership, it was going to publish another 1,000 books within four years.

“To do this we are undertaking policies like involving school students in the writing process. We will also offer financial assistance up to Rs 1 lakh to 100 selected writers annually to write books,” he said.

“Today is the birth anniversary of Jyoti Prasad Agarwala. While people in Assam observe only his death anniversary, we decided to release these books on this day to recall him,” Sarma said.

He said the state government would also start the process of translating the writings of Agarwala into various languages, while adding that the government had also discussed translation of Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha’s works with his family members.

Litterateur Nagen Saikia said this day had started a new chapter for the board.

Folklorist Birendranath Dutta said, “Once, the board started a revolution in the publication industry in Assam. But its activity had declined sometime ago. Publication of these books is good news for us.”