Stray Thoughts of a Strange Being

What is common about an Uncommon being? What is uncommon about a Common being? How long it will take an uncommon to be common? or How soon uncommon becomes common? Strange are the ways of the world. But we live with it. How strange we are? If all of us are strange we are a common lot. Isn’t it? Keep bumping into this blog, accidentally or intentionally: result is the same? Is it? Or not? Are you saying that: Who cares? Yes, nobody cares, but we crave for caring. Craving for caring demands caring from you. If you need care, you need to care. Let us stop juggling and lets play juggalbandi. The play between the writer and the reader to create Leela, where everybody gets immersed.

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Two more publications

  1.  Tharakeshwar V.B., ‘Visualizing Kannada in the Context of Postmodernity and Postcoloniality


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Bhoota Kola

Mahisha Bhoota

The Bhoota that is ferocious: Mahisha


Recently I had an occasion to witness past/spirits/gods coming on Dalit bodies and others in the villages listening to this. The  interesting aspect of this particular programme that i attended was that one of my friends and former colleague at Kannada University-Hampi, an Associate Professor of Development Studies, was part of the bodies that received cluster of Spirits. In fact he was the one who was bearing the important spirit on that day and advising/listening to the problems of that particular family/community.

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Links to Details of some of my Publications (Articles in Books and Journals)

1. Tharakeshwar, V.B. 2009. “Translating Tragedy into Kannada: Politics of genre and the nationalist elite”. In Decentering Translation Studies, Wakabayashi, Judy and Rita Kothari (eds.), 57–74.

2. Translation in Translation: Colonialism and Caste in Mysore, an Indian Princely state, V.B. Tharakeshwar, Kannada University, India, pp. 129-147
3. Empire writes back? Kannada travel fiction and nationalistic discourse / V.B. Tharakeshwar in Travel writing and the Empire, Published in 2003, Katha (New Delhi)
see details of the book:
Reviews and news related to the publication:
Reference to this article:
4. Translation Practices in Pre-colonial India: Interrogating Stereotypes by V.B. Tharakeshwar published in Translation Today, Vol.3, No. 1&2.
5. Translations into Kannada in the 10th Century: Comments on Precolonial Translation by Tharakeshwar V.B. in Translation Today, Vol.2, No.1.
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A Few of My Kannada Articles

I have uploaded some of my Kannada articles here:

Simplify the complicated and Complicate the simplified

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First printed Kannada Book?


A Grammar of the Kurnata Language


Last month I went to Kolkata to visit National Library to look for information on translation of social science materials into Kannada in the last 200 years or so. This was my second visit to the Library but third proper visit to Kolkata. Earlier I had gone to the library to gather information on translation of Kannada texts into other Indian Languages. I was so busy with my work in my earlier two visits to Kolkata, I couldn’t visit Serampore.       

You might ask what is so special about Serampore. Answer is this was the Karma Bhoomi of William Carey. Now again you might ask who is this?       

William Carey (1761-1834) was a missionary; one of the founder members of English Baptist Missionary Society; is also called the “father of modern missionaries”. He in Serampore, which is around an hour journey from Kolkata, laid the foundation for typesetting of many of the Indian languages including Kannada.  A Grammar of Kurnata Language might be the first ever book that was printed and published. This book was authored and published by William Carey at Serampore.       

This time it was inevitable for me to visit Serampore. I had met a friend in one of the seminars who works in that college. This time in my field trip to National Library I was not alone. Dr. Usha of Kannada University, Hampi, my co-investigator in the project, was also with me. She was also interested in visiting Serampore. With the help of Mr. Kumarappa, a well known Horanaada Kannadiga; a translator of repute between Bengali and Kannada; the librarian of Kannada section in the library, our work was accomplished smoothly. When I told him about the visit to Serampore he immediately expressed his willingness to undertake the trip. Finally four of us, including Mr. Kumarappa’s wife, decided to visit Serampore, William Carey College, especially William Carey Library.       

But my friend Dr. Swati Datta, who works in the college, told me that there would be student union elections in the college on that day. Given West Bengal’s party (that too cadre based parties) rivalry between Communists, Congress and Trinamool, even the small student union election in a college will be a highly charged event. But we had made-up our mind: Now or Never. It was very difficult for us to locate the college in Serampore, it was neatly tucked away in a bylane. Once we approached buildings that were in dilapidated conditions, we thought the college must also be somewhere here. There was a heavy police bundobust outside the college; it was like a M.L.A. or M.P. election in our part of the country. The political party camps with posters and flags, supporters, activists of the party were in large number outside the gate. But we were able to get into the college without any trouble, when we showed our University identity cards and told the police that we would like to meet the Principal. One of the staff of the college took us from the gate to the Principal’s chamber. The principal was very cooperative, she rang up the William Carey librarian from her office and asked her to help us out.       

We reached the place, explained to the library staff the purpose of our visit, then things went on smoothly, we first visited the museum and then the stock section. Once we laid our hands on the 1817 book: A Grammar of Kurnata Language, our happiness knew no bounds. Mr. Kumarappa was saying that he has touched the book that was touched by William Carey. They allowed us to take a photograph of the first few pages. But I was not happy with it, as I wanted the whole book to be copied in my digital camera. We were not able to locate the other Kannada book, the translation of parts of New Testament into Kannada. But the title page was on display in the museum, I captured it in my camera. We purchased some books that were on the mission, the letters of William Carey and related issues and left the place with utmost satisfaction.       

The college was located on the river bank of Hooghly (Bengali name for river Bhagirathi, the tributary of river Ganga). We visited the river bank spent some time there to capture it in our digital camera. Then we moved towards another colonial (French) settlement. That is a different story.        

Outside William Carey Library

Outside William Carey Library: Dr. Usha, Mr. Kumarappa and his wife


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Irresponsible Quarrelling channels

Yesterday a Telugu news channel started saying that there was a conspiracy behind Y.S. Rajashekar Reddy’s tragic death. Soon other two channels also followed suit.  The source of the story was a website of a magazine (The Exiled) run from Russia, the story in the website claims that it is a speculative report. After a brief lull following All Party Meeting at Delhi on Telangana issue on 5th of this month, Andhra Pradesh started burning. This time the main target was not public property, but the private property of Reliance company, as the story from The Exiled claimed that Ambani brothers are behind the death of  YSR.  Petrol Bunks, Reliance Fresh, Reliance mobile towers were the main targets. Some Congress leaders were openly behind the vandalism. Some of them even called for the bundh in their own constituencies/towns. By midnight it was clear that the story from The Exiled is not to be believed as it is a yellow magazine. The website was off the net yesterday night itself.

Other Telugu channels condemned the channels which were responsible for giving wide publicity to trash, which resulted in agitation all over the state. Today the channel wars have begun. The party/political leader and channel nexus was clearly visible. The opposition leader Chandrababu Naidu, claimed that Congress, specifically, YSR’s son Jagan is behind the tamasha, as Jagan wants to be the CM. A channel which is owned  by YSR family started continuously assassinating the character of Chandrababu Naidu. The “law and order” agents of the state in the evening arrested the editors of a news channel and cases were filed on 3 other channels under Cable Network Act.

The politicians started using the whole incident to steer the public opinion in a particular direction that would benefit them. The Telangana activists claimed that these issues are deliberately created to divert the attention from the Telangana issue. Now the issue of “Freedom of Press” is raised by some channels and journalist fraternity. The employees of the channel also went on Rasta Roko yesterday night. Still some of the Congress leaders are supporting the channels that aired the news which lead to violence.

But nobody is talking about the responsibility of the “Fourth Estate” or the Political parties. There seems to be no political party in AP, it seems to be the play of individual interests and loyalties, the press and the channels seem to be playing the game too.

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Source Culture Oriented Translation studies

While devising a syllabus for a P.G. programme course on “Introducing Translation and Intercultural Studies” we were trying to list the dominant approaches in Translation Studies. First, we listed “Target culture oriented Translation Studies”, which would cover mainly Polysystem theory approach and sociology of translation studies. Soon after that we were tempted to add another topic “Source Culture oriented Translation Studies”, then we began to wonder what it means? who has done this kind of research? The answer was negative.

Generally it is target culture which decides  what is to be translated into its language. When the source culture decides these are the texts/discourses that need to  go into certain languages/cultures it is seen as unnatural act of translation (at least that is what Sujeet Mukherjee says in his book- Translation as Discovery and other Essays). It might appear unnatural, but is not so, if you look at Missionary translations (whether Christian or other religions which permit translation of their sacred texts or important texts), Who decides to translate? What about institutions which are there  to promote a particular ideology or individual, it is they who decide to translate texts into “all the languages of the world” which they want to target. Otherwise the notion of target language, target culture, target text wouldn’t have arisen.  Somebody is targeting something, whoever it is, that is the source culture. The agency of the translation in these cases clearly lies on the source culture not so much on the “target culture”. Then where is the question of calling translation from Indian languages into English, other foreign languages or other Indian languages that is carried out by the source language translator as unnatural?

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