Punjab Notes: Books: translations, dictionary for children and poets – Journal



The translation may be as old as the language. She emerged as the human need to communicate with others who did not share her language was overwhelming. Co-speakers do not need translation between them because what they speak is directly understood. It is always intended for those who are extraterrestrials in the linguistic sense of the term; they speak a different language. A different language invariably implies a different culture of which it represents the soul or absence of the soul.

Different cultures must interact, and translation is the most effective way to transport literary and cultural expressions from one society to another. In other words, translation is a story of intercultural communication and interaction. It is through translation that the thoughts, experiences and ideas of one society are transferred to other societies, which triggers a process of intercultural fertilization. It helps a wide range of things such as commerce, business, political relations, and conflict resolution, for example. At a higher level, the translation of literary works has been / is a powerful way of bringing cultures together, facilitating the sharing of what is shareable in a specific culture. The great literary compositions were / are accessible to the greatest number thanks to the translation. We are no exception.

Waseem Gardezi’s book of translations, titled ‘Rung Rus’, published by Sanjh Publications, Lahore is a good sign. Gardezi is a good writer and translator. The book contains a selection of world news translated into Punjabi. There are fourteen selected stories from various cultures, which represent an impressive array of famous fictional writers such as Hermann Hesse, Knut Hamsun, Naquib Mahfouz, Ernest Hemingway, Mikhail Sholokhov, William Faulkner, Franz Kafka, Joseph Heller, Guy de Maupassant , Aldous Huxley, Erskine Caldwell and Ray Bradbury. Along with the translation we find concise biographical notes on the authors, carefully prepared by Gardezi. Notes are used to briefly introduce great writers to Punjabi readers. The quality of the translations is good as they reflect a serious effort to convey the original narratives of the Punjabi stories as well as evoke a cultural vibe subtly hidden beneath the surface. The language is not very far from speech and its flow makes them very readable without losing the literary embellishments. ‘Rung Rus’ is a pleasant read. Don’t miss it.

The dictionary is something we all know. Every literate person needs at some point a dictionary of their own language or a foreign language. Language is a mysterious product if it is a product at all; he is always bigger than his speaker imagines. The language is never fully exposed to its speakers because it reveals itself to everyone according to their needs. And the individual need is always infinitely less than what his tongue can satisfy. The language has the capacity to become larger than what its speakers know about it at any given time. Subsequently, he hides more than what he reveals. The dictionary is one of the tools with which we try to measure its length and width. But even the most comprehensive dictionary of a language cannot capture its full spectrum. The moment a dictionary comes out of the printing press, language launches new words and phrases due to the ever-self-generated and self-expanding power of language. But the dictionary is always what opens the window on the secrets of the treasure that is this language. Among other things, a student is one who constantly needs a dictionary. Teaching and learning in school, college and university is hard to imagine without the help of a dictionary. Even children need it to learn the language and improve their expression.

Realizing such a need, Suchet Kitab Ghar, Lahore has published the ‘Punjabi Baal Dictionary’ edited by Maqsood Saqib. The publisher relied on Bhasha Vibhag Patiala’s Primary Punjabi Dictionary to prepare the dictionary in question. The dictionary gives the meaning of words as well as their use, which sheds light on how words can be used in writing. For some strange reason, the dominant alphabetical order was ditched in favor of a new one, but no convincing explanation was given for such a drastic move. This can make the word search long and therefore tedious. Our children are more comfortable with our alphabetical order based on Arabic.

“In this dictionary, are listed the words that school children use or can use”, explains the editor. The statement is partly correct as there are words that are addressed to higher level students. On the title, for example, we have the Punjabi words “Ukka” (totally, completely, completely), “Ukka Pukka” (total, all, in full, lump sum), which overtake most children in the urban area. The dictionary is a good book that meets one of the crucial needs of our children, which has long been ignored. It will be very useful for children, especially for high school students who are offered Punjabi as a subject of their choice. Schools must have it in their libraries. Your personal library will be poorer without it.

Have you heard of Bahawalnagar? It’s a sleepy town on a few people’s radar. But in reality, it’s an interesting neighborhood sandwiched between two rivers, Hakra and Sutlej. Unfortunately, the two have dried up. The first went extinct due to natural causes, but the last was sold to India by one of our foolish rulers for a pittance. Hakra supported a vibrant society, which was part of the Harappa civilization at the time. With the sale of Sutlej came a fulcrum, which tipped the future against the region by depriving it of a vital source of economic activity, water. Defying all forecasts, it can boast of a precious agricultural production. Fortunately, the whole region has been deeply influenced by our giant and mystic poet Baba Farid on a literary and spiritual level. Saghir Tabassum, poet and writer, attempted to capture the literary history of the region in his book “Asaan Chup Nahi Vattni Dharti Te” published by Print Media Publications, Lahore. The book “is a historical and critical assessment of the Punjabi literature of Bahawalnagar…”, says the author.

The point is, it’s a story of poetry. Dozens of poets have been included. Each entry has the poet’s biographical note followed by a sample of his representative verses. The book is a collection of poems that deal with various experiences that evoke the ethics of a particular region. The book is a laudable effort. – [email protected]

Posted in Dawn, December 13, 2021



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