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regular-article-logo Thursday, 13 June 2024

Need to pay attention to regional languages, no conflict with English: Writer Geetanjali Shree

We have to make other languages stronger and must be paying attention to regional ones which are languishing, says the International Booker Prize winner

PTI Calcutta Published 12.02.23, 08:07 PM
Geetanjali Shree

Geetanjali Shree File picture

Acclaimed Hindi writer and International Booker Prize winner Geetanjali Shree feels that there is a need to pay attention to regional languages, which have no conflict with English as a medium of literature.

She also emphasised on "direct translation" of various literary works into regional languages.

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"It is not a debate about English versus others. English is useful for historical reasons. We should not dislike the language. We have to make other languages stronger and must be paying attention to regional ones which are languishing," Shree told PTI at the Spanish pavilion in the 46th International Kolkata Book Fair on Saturday.

The 66-year-old writer is the first Indian author to win the prestigious International Booker Prize for her Hindi novel 'Tomb of Sand', a family saga set in northern India about an 80-year-old woman who travels to Pakistan to confront the unresolved trauma of her teenage experiences of Partition and re-evaluates what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman and a feminist.

The author, who is now on a multi-city tour in the country, said, "There should be direct translations, more infrastructure support in India as there are not many translations into regional languages." The Delhi-based author has penned five novels and several short stories so far with her first story being Bel Patra (1987).

Speaking on Spain which is the theme country at the Kolkata book fair this year, Shree said the visit of a delegation of Spanish publishers and other stakeholders to the city and vice versa will "bolster our cultural ties".

"We hope that translations into Spanish from works of Indian writers and poets will happen in the coming days," she said.

Notably, Ambassador of Spain to India Jose Maria Ridao had recently said India will be invited as the focal country at the Madrid International Book Fair in 2025.

Speaking about enthusiasm among people at the book fair, Shree said "what is good is that there are so many youngsters, so much curiosity (among them) about books. (They are) coming here, browsing and picking up a lot of books at stalls. This is wonderful." Describing the Kolkata book fair as one of the oldest ones in the world, she said "it is an institution.....amid the strife in today's world, we are celebrating culture which brings people together." To a question about the threat from e-books to the printing world, she said, "Many people love reading books even though online books have takers among youth."

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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