KATHMANDU, May 22: Yangesh, 29, doesn’t have a second name, and he likes it that way. Perhaps so because he was called “Bhagawan” by the emcee at his book launch, quoting the Hindi author Uday Prakash. “Translators are Bhagawan, so says Uday Prakash.” And Yangesh translated his book Mohan Das from Hindi to Nepali.
But modest Yangesh claims he’s merely a mediator, a facilitator.
And his single name is his personal choice. “It’s a matter of personal preference,” he proclaims. He has no qualms with those who write their names, surnames, ethnicity and even “gotra,” for that matter. But in a country where caste, class and birthplace determine the kind of treatment you get, he loathes it. But he’s not running away from his identity.
“My identity is in my genes. Besides, one word can’t carry my identity,” Yangesh says.
Besides, what´s in the name, anyway?
The young writer, with an old pen, translated the much-praised short work by one of the most prolific Hindi writers. “Ajit Baral of FinePrint gave me the book to ask if I was interested in translating it to Nepali, and I loved it.”
And it took him three months to translate the original Hindi text that contained a large chunk of Awadh dialect.
Uday Prakash, known for his style, has his book translated in eight different languages already. In Nepal, his book in Hindi didn’t garner as much popularity. “So I thought it deserved some regard,” Yangesh says.
The book, based in India, is a short story on a rural young boy who searches for an opportunity and identity. “It´s a struggle of an individual which can represent a whole community, and it largely matches our own socio-political structure, especially during these days when we see a new paradigm shift in the Nepali society,” Yangesh talks of his translated book.
The most fascinating thing Yangesh felt about the book was the strong depiction of descriptive social structure in India. And the best part of the book is when “the writer pauses to explain the background of contemporary society.”
“The book may seem like a social story, but for me it’s all about politics. The system is the villain here. The character is a Dalit, but the story is not of Dalits.”
In the 1970s and even 80s, a great number of books were translated from different languages to Nepali. The book bazaar today doesn’t see such a number. Yangesh thinks it is because “English grew in us. There’s no need for translation.”
For his book, the translation was hard in those parts where traditional Awadhi expressions are used. Awadhi is an indigenous language mostly spoken in parts of Bihar and UP in India and most of the western Tarai in Nepal.
“It was hard to have a literal translation into Nepali. If you literally translate, it might not sound sweet to the ears. So you may have to localize it, but you don’t want to misinterpret what the writer has to say,” the young translator says.
Translation depends on the individual, his emotions, background, priority, and understanding. Because of the background of the translator and his limitation of understanding, he can’t change the notion or the emotion of the writer. “But I could totally relate to the character that Udya Prakash has portrayed in his story,” Yangesh declares.
An ardent follower of non-fiction, Yangesh has started devouring fiction lately. But he believes that non-fiction makes more sense to him than fiction. “You have to understand the society and how it functions. Non-fiction tells you that. Fiction can’t guarantee understanding. It’s a pleasure to read and portray certain aspects of life, but not make someone understand life.
“Fiction can spark but non-fiction can obliterate.”
A film fanatic, he draws the relationship between literature and film as a medium of art and expression. “It’s not the same, but not different either, and the limitation between the two is exceedingly decreasing,” Yangesh says.
Thanks, Yangesh and the whole team of FINE PRINT !
It´s a great attempt to add a new brick in Nepali Literature.
Why not try to translate Nepali creations to Hindi, English or other languages for the international readers ?
Since, MOHAN DAS is already in Motion Picture now. It decrease the charm of the real text, in my opinion. I´m must awaiting the MOVIE to be released in Nepal or find out the DVD. Today I finished reading the Novel. I found i