15 January, 2021

From Atop The Golden Boughs

Kalidasa’s six seasons sing out with immortal joy. Haksar’s exquisite translation cries out for being read by all for a necessary dip into India’s classical culture.

From Atop The Golden Boughs
outlookindia.com
2018-05-18T12:22:28+05:30

Some years ago Sheldon Pollock, master-scholar, philologist and historian, issued a dire warning about the state of scholarship in Sanskrit and other classical Ind­ian languages. They were in terminal decline, he warned; a nearly three millennia tradition of learning, knowledge and scholarship was drawing to a close. The pundits, vidvans and munshis are disappearing and with them will vanish an enormous amount of knowledge about India’s ancient languages. The attempts of Indian universities and colleges to keep these traditions alive have been feeble.

Good translations play a huge role in this situation. The ancient originals, in danger of being unread and unappreci­ated, could be translated into any mod­ern Indian language or into Eng­l­ish, the lingua franca of contemporary India. They can open the eyes of the young to the marvels of the past and lead, hopefully, to an enlightened und­er­standing of India’s history and culture.

A.N.D. Haksar, diplomat and scho­lar-turned-translator, has been helping this cause with...

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