Schoolteacher Saubhik De Sarkar based in Alipurduar has been selected for the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award for translating a book on Dalits written by Telangana author Y.B. Satyanarayana.
My Father Baliah, a “family autobiography” penned by Satyanarayana in 2011, has been translated as Amar Baba Balaiah by De Sarkar.
Satyanarayana, who is from Hyderabad, had written the book that narrates the tale of a Dalit family in southern India, from pre-Independence to post-Independence era.
“I found the book, which speaks of four generations of a Dalit family, very heartrending. After repeatedly reading it, I felt it deserves to be translated to reach readers in Bengali,” said Sarkar.
He added that on Saturday evening, he was taken aback to receive an email from the Akademi that said he was selected for the award.
A resident of Aurobindanagar of Alipurduar town, Sarkar is also a popular poet in north Bengal.
“I have been writing poems since 1995 and have been appreciated. But getting selected for the Sahitya Akademi award is something different. It will encourage me to write more and also explore more literary works so that I can translate them into Bengali,” said the 46-year-old.
He added that the act of translation helps him get a better understanding of various societies and issues and make his readers understand them too.
Earlier, he had translated poems of Rudhramoorthy Cheran, a Tamil poet from Sri Lanka.
“Through his poems, I learned about the ramifications of the civil war which razed the country,” he said.
Apart from translating Satyanarayana’s book, he has also taken up the task to translate short stories of Latin American writers.
“It will be published as a compilation at the upcoming Calcutta Book Fair,” Sarkar said.