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Indian Institute of Technology Madras

Modern Indian Writing in Translation

Indian Institute of Technology Madras and NPTEL via Swayam


It is often argued that the best Indian literature is to be found in the various Indian languages. This course offers a choice selection of significant modern Indian literary works, produced in regional languages, from writers ranging from Tagore to Salma in English translation. These landmark works offer literary snapshots of modern Indian histories, folklore, societal structures such as class and gender, and the aspirations and struggles of men and women who have lived and live through diverse Indian spaces across the length and breadth of the country. The course offers in miniature a “salad bowl” (Ashis Nandy) of Indian literary works in translation that illustrate the complexities of Indian identities, and encourages students to probe concepts such as modernism, regionalism, the contemporary, and representations of history, class, and gender in modern Indian writing in translation.
Objectives of the Course:
• To introduce the student to the polyphony of modern Indian writing in translation.
• To understand the multifaceted nature of cultural identities in the various Indian literatures through indigenous literary traditions.
• To compare literary texts produced across Indian regional landscapes to seek similarities and differences in thematic and cultural perspectives.
• To explore images in literary productions that express the writers sense of their society.
• Wherever possible a comparative study of the original and the translated texts to see the process of negotiation that constructs, and is constructed in, the English language translation.
• To encourage the students to explore texts outside of the suggested reading lists to realize the immense treasure trove of translated Indian literary works.
INTENDED AUDIENCE : Engineering studentsPRE- REQUISITES : NilSUPPORT INDUSTRY : English Department



Week 1 : Introduction, Rabindranath Tagore, “The Hunger of Stones” [Bengali]Week 2 : Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, “The Blue Light” [Malayalam]Week 3 : Anna Bhau Sathe, “Gold from the Grave” [Marathi]Week 4 : Manto, “Toba Tek Singh” [Urdu]Week 5 : Gulzar, “Crossing the Ravi” [Hindi]Week 6: Amirta Pritam, “Stench of Kerosene” [Punjabi]Week 7: Perumal Murugan, “The Man Who Could Not Sleep” [Tamil]Week 8: Girish Karnad, Nagamandala [Kannada]Week 9 : Girish Karnad, NagamandalaWeek 10: Sundara Ramaswamy, Tamarind History [Tamil]Week 11: Sundara Ramaswamy, Tamarind HistoryWeek 12: Indian Poetry in Translation

Taught by

Prof. A. Divya

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