Lady Brabourne College, Department of Sanskrit, Bengali and Hindi in collaboration with the Higher Education Department, Government of West Bengal organised a two-day National Seminar on Discovery Through Translation: Subaltern Studies on 17 and 18 August 2023 at the college campus.
The seminar focused on the changing social patterns and the life of the common masses which are depicted in translations vis-a-vis the multifaceted discourses of subaltern studies.
The first day of the seminar began with the students of Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata singing Mangalacharanam. The seminar was inaugurated with a lighting-the-lamp ceremony by the Principal of Lady Brabourne College, Dr Siuli Sarkar, Professor Dr Ratna Basu, Former Prof of Sanskrit, University of Calcutta, and other professors.
Dr Siuli Sarkar lights the lamp to inaugurate the seminar Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata
Principal, Prof Dr Siuli Sarkar addressed the audience with a welcome speech and emphasised the importance of translation studies in today's time, speaking greatly about the marginalised community and Dalit literature.
The keynote speaker on the first day of the National Seminar was Prof Dr Ratna Basu, Former Prof of Sanskrit at the University of Calcutta. She started her speech with a beautiful Sanskrit verse and described translation as a 'recreation' and not a 'repetition' of any literary work. Prof Basu mentioned how translation goes back in time to the 8th century and how it is immensely relevant in today's world.
She mentioned how the Upanishads were translated from Sanskrit into Persian by, or, it may be, for Dara Shukoh, the eldest son of Shah Jehan, an enlightened prince, who openly professed the liberal religious tenets of the great Emperor Akbar. Later it was also translated into Latin by Anquetil-Duperron and named The Oupnek'hat which stoked the interest of Europeans in ancient Indian cultures. She concluded her speech by highlighting the influence of culture on translations across the world and over the centuries.
On Day 1, Prof Sudha Singh from Delhi University spoke about the self-translation of Rassundari Devi's Amar Jibon and Sharmila Power's writings. Prof Sabyasachi Dev talked about translation & its limitations to reach among marginal and Dalit people. This session was chaired by Prof Tanuja Majumder of Presidency University.
In the next session chaired by Prof Ratna Basu and Prof Arun Hota of WBSU talked about the theory of translation. Sri Devendra Debesh, Eastern Regional Director of Sahitya Akademi expressed his thoughts about problems faced by the translator during translation.
Prof Mau Das Gupta in the first academic session of Day 1 Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata
On August 18, the second day of the discussion cycle, in the first academic session, Prof Mau Das Gupta showed how stories of Upanishads reflect the stories of the Dalits or marginalised people in the writings of Hazari Prasad Dwivedi. Dr Mrinmoy Pramanik went on to raise the fundamental question of the importance of translation in understanding Dalit literature. He also expressed that Dalit literature has managed to find its way into mainstream literature only through translation.
The chairperson of the session, Prof Gopa Dutta, highlighted the dissent voyage in the system. 45 teachers and researchers present in the discussion cycle presented 45 excellent research papers where the issues of translation, translation of Dalit literature, the politics of translation, the theory of translation, etc. were discussed.
Prof Sayantan Dasgupta delivers the closing speech on Day 2 Lady Brabourne College, Kolkata
In the closing speech, Prof Sayantan Dasgupta of the Department of Translation Studies of Jadavpur University discused how translation can be integrated into society in a new way. Their school's efforts in the area of translation of literature is commendable.