Losing the Politics in Translation: Reading Radical Bengali and Hindi Plays in American Classrooms

Arnab Banerji

Abstract


The selection of modern Indian plays on the American market is very limited. In order to expand the available selection of texts for my classes, I decided to translate plays from Bengali and Hindi to English. The process included amongst other considerations negotiating the major roadblock of translating culture. This paper explores how cultural considerations with regard to one’s target audience affect the translation exercise and the perception of the translated text. Using the translations of Utpal Dutt’s Kākdvīper Ek Mā(A Mother from Kakdwip) and Jana Natya Manch’s (JANAM) Dī.Ṭī.Sī. kī dhā̃dhlī(The Corrupt Trappings of DTC) as case studies, the paper illustrates the challenge of translating the political immediacy and relevance of the original to a language and culture that is temporally, socially, and culturally removed. The paper also discusses various strategies that could be adopted to circumvent the problem of losing the original’s dramatic edge and its performative context in translation. 

Keywords: Bengali Group Theatre; Translation; Bijan Bhattacharya; Tagore; Utpal Dutt; Street Theatre; Political Theatre; JANAM; Safdar Hashmi.

 


Full Text:

PDF

References


Bandyopadhyay, Samik. "Introduction." Dutt, Utpal. Uṯpala Datta nāṭaka samagra. Kolkata: Mitra and Ghosh , n.d. i-xvi. Print.

Banerji, Arnab. "Rehearsals for a Revolution: The Political Theater of Utpal Dutt ." Southeast Review of Asian Studies, Vol. 34 (2012): 222-230. Print.

Barton, John and Mark Batty. "Translation in the Theatre II: Translation as Adaptation." Chew, Shirley and Alistair Stead. Translating Life. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1999. 397-411. Print.

Bhattacharya, Bijan. "Nāṭyacintā." Nāṭyacintā (1981): 2. Print.

Bhattacharya, Bijan. Nabanna. Kolkata: Dey’s Publishing, 2000. Print.

Brecht, Bertolt. "The Baden-Baden Lesson on Consent." Brect, Bertolt. Collected Plays. London: Methuen, 1997. 21-43. Print.

Cardwell, Douglas. “The Well-Made Play of Eugène Scribe.” The French Review Vol. 56, No. 6 (May, 1983): 876-884. Web.

Carlson, Harry G. "Problems in Play Translation." Educational Theatre Journal, Vol. 16, No. 1 (Mar. 1964): 55-58. Web.

Chattopadhyay, Soumen. "Nāṭya pariciti." Dutt, Utpal. Uṯpala Datta nāṭaka samagra. Vol. 5. Kolkata: Mitra and Ghosh , n.d. 5 vols. Print.

Das, P. "A Prologue to Bengali One Act Plays." Indian Literature, Vol. 17, No. 3 (July-September 1974): 23-28. Web.

Dutt, Utpal and Arnab Banerji. "A Mother from Kakdwip." Translation . Los Angeles : Unpublished, 2016. Document. Web.

Dutt, Utpal. "Kākdvīper Ek Mā (A Mother from Kakdwip)." Dutt, Utpal. Utpal Dutt Natok Samagra. Kolkata: Mitra o Ghosh, n.d. 534-544. Print.

Ghosh, Arjun. A History of the Jana Natya Manch: Plays for the People. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2012. Print.

Ghosh, Parimal. "Rise and Fall of Calcutta's Group Theatre: The End of a Political Dream." Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 47, No. 10 (March 10, 2012): 36-42. Web.

Gloviczki, Peter Joseph. "Sensemaking and shared grief in the social media age." Sagan, Olivia and Eric Miller. Narratives of Loneliness: Multidisciplinary Perspectives from the 21st Century. London: Routledge, 2017. Print.

Hall, Peter and Mark Batty. "Translation in the Theatre I: Directing as Translating." Chew, Shirley and Alistair Stead. Translating Life: Studies in Transpositional Aesthetics. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1999. 387-396. Print.

Hashmi, Moloyashree. "Drama Has to be Created and Crafted, Even On the Streets." Seagull Theatre Quarterly 16 (1997): 57-71. Print.

JANAM. "Dī.Ṭī.Sī. kī dhā̃dhlī." Nukkad Janam Samvad, Vol. 6 January-June 2003: 41-43. Print.

Karnad, Girish, Badal Sircar, and Vijay Tendulkar. Three Modern Indian Plays. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989. Print.

Klass, Dennis. Encyclopedia of Death and Dying . n.d. 5 February 2018. Web.

Lal, Ananda. The Oxford Companion to Indian Theatre. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004. Print.

Langworthy, Douglas. "Why Translation Matters." Theatre Journal, Vol. 59, No. 3, Theatre and Translation (Oct. 2007): 379-381. Web.

Lofland, Lyn H. "The Social Shaping of Emotion: The Case of Grief." Symbolic Interaction, Vol. 8, No. 2 (1985): 171-190. Web.

Matthews, Dakin. "Translating Comedias into English Verse for Modern Audiences." Paun, de García and Donald R. Larson. The Coemdia in English: Translation and Performance. Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 2008. 37-53. Web.

Robinson, Peter. "Translating the 'Foreign' ." Robinson, Peter. Poetry & Translation. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press , 2010. 129-151. Print.

Sarkar, Pabitra. “Jatra: The Popular Traditional Theatre of Bengal.” Journal of South Asian Literature Vol. 10, No. 2/4 (Winter, Spring, Summer 1975): 87-107. Web.

Sen, Sova. Smaraṇe bismaraṇe: Nabānna theke lāl durga. Kolkata: M.C. Sarkar and Sons Pvt. Ltd. , 1996. Print.

Sivanarayanan, Anushiya and N.T. Rajkumar. "Translating Tamil Dalit Poetry." World Literature Today, Vol. 78, No. 2 (May-Aug., 2004): 56-58. Web.

Svich, Caridad. "Some Thoughts on Garcia Lorca and the Arts of Tradition ." Theatre Journal, Vol. 59, No. 3, Theatre and Translation (Oct. 2007): 377-379. Web.

Tagore, Rabindranath. “Hāsyakautuk.” Rabīndra-Racanābalī. 10 May, 2018. Web.

Tęcza, Agata. "How to cope with word plays, puns and cultural references in translation. An analysis of the The Simpsons' episode titles into three languages." de Haro, Pedro Aullón and Alfonso Silván. Translatio y Cultura. Madrid: Dykinson, S.L., 2015. 465-473. Web.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.