Translating Contexts, Transforming Cultures: A Bengali Adaptation of Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Vāḍā Cirebandī

Arti Nirmal, Sayan Dey


The concept of translation is usually limited within the frontiers of languages, often conceived as words and phrases. It restricts the diverse possibilities of going beyond textual translation to analyze contextualtranslation, or “transcontextualization”. This argument attempts to realize a (normally) unrealizable perspective on translation through Sohag Sen’s Bengali adaptation of Mahesh Elkunchwar’s play Vāḍā Cirebandī (The Old-Stone Mansion, 1985), an adaptation which encompasses both the text and its context(s). The criticism of colonial legacies in postcolonial India, as unraveled through the rural-urban divide in this play, does not portray identical obstacles and grievances in Elkunchwar’s Maharashtra and Sohag Sen’s Bengal. Keeping different contexts in mind, this paper will elaborate the manifold ways in which transcreation/transcontextualization exposes the problem of generalized textual representations. It will also reflect upon the diverse ways through which transcontextualization incorporates geographical and ontological variants within specific spatio-temporal zones. Keywords: translation, practicalize, postcolonial, transcontextualization, spatio-temporal.

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