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Akademi pat for Santhali writer

For the last 17 years, Mangal Majhi has been trying to promote Santhali literature and culture through book fairs and various programmes. Today, he feels his earnest endeavours have been honoured.

The humble publisher and bookseller is the proud recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award 2013, which was declared in New Delhi on Monday, for his lucid translation of Haradhan Adhikary’s Bengali novel Bhagya Chakra into the dominant tribal tongue.

Though 67-year-old Majhi’s translated book, titled Malang Anal, was written quite sometime ago, it was picked up by the Akademi jury for the 2013 award. Another Santhali writer and poet, Arjun Charan Hembram from Odisha, has received the Sahitya Akademi Award in poetry.

“I am happy beyond words. We have worked hard to promote the Ol Chiki script and Santhali literature wherever and whenever possible. We have promoted ourselves at the Jamshedpur Book Fair for many years and have even organised our own tribal book fair in Karandih. The objective was single: people must know about the language and the literature it can spawn,” said Parsudih resident Majhi.

He added: “Haradhan Adhikary’s Bhagya Chakra is a novel with a message. It is the story of an ordinary girl and her extraordinary journey of life. I strongly felt the urge to translate his book.”

Majhi, who also has a mechanical engineering diploma to his credit and has worked with Tata Steel in the past, is busy with his second work of translation — Romila Thapar’s Early India.

This is, however, a project under the National Translation Mission looked after by the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore.

Majhi’s objective is to come up with more and more literary translations in Santhali. Works of William Shakespeare is in queue.