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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Translation And Multiculturalism: A Global Call

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By: Dr. Neeru Tandon

“We may have different religions, different languages, different colored skin, but we all belong to one human race” wrote Kofi Annan the seventh UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize Winner on the most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity. The shared culture is a blessing and this can be achieved through translation of varied cultures. In translating texts we actually translate the cultures, this is voiced in the keynote address by Dr. Ratan Bhattacharjee, an Affliliate Faculty of Virginia Commonwealth University. Cultural differences should not separate us from each other but rather cultural diversity brings a collective strength that can benefit all of humanity.

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Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for others. We may have different cultures religion  and languages but this was the main focus in a dynamic three-day event held from 20th to 22nd February 2024, on ‘Translation and Multiculturalism’ in the Department of English at VSSD College, Kanpur, orchestrated a thought-provoking International Seminar on Translation and Multiculturalism. The inauguration marked the launch of the India Reads Movement, highlighted by Prof. K Elango’s insightful address and the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with ELTAI, followed by the lively address of Prof Ratan Bhattacharjee and MOU with Kaleidoscopic Indian American Society (KIAS,) ushering in a new era of collaboration in the realm of translation studies. The Global Collaboration with VSSD College and Champions India Reads Initiative with MOU Signings at Translation and Multiculturalism Seminar opened a new vista of thinking and research. The Journal Illuminati in collaboration with KIAS is a landmark of research with academic luminaries from India Europe and America agreeing to contribute to it.

Distinguished guests, including Prof Vivek Dwivedi and Principal Prof. Bipin Kaushik, graced the occasion. I as the Convener felt proud to set the stage for the impactful discussions ahead. Neetu Singh, Joint Secretary of the Board of Management at VSSD College, provided guidelines for the sessions, emphasizing the importance of the linguistic and cultural exchange in the globalized world. The seminar’s second session featured a keynote address by Prof. Ratan Bhattacharjee, exploring the role of translation in promoting multiculturalism and advocating for its significance in cross-cultural understanding. Dr. B.R Agrawal chaired the session, ensuring a smooth flow of discourse, while Rajesh K Yadav effectively moderated the discussions.

The subsequent session focused on “Indian Epics in English Translation,” adopting a lightning talk format. Dr. Nita Dave Jain chaired the session, guiding the audience through engaging discussions. Prof B D Pandey, Prof Shravan Kumar, Prof Nisha Gupta and Prof Anjita Singh gave enlightening talks. This session was ably moderated by Dr Fatima Ashna.  Prof. R P Pradan, at the seminar’s conclusion, delivered a heartfelt vote of thanks, expressing gratitude to all participants, esteemed guests, and organizers for their invaluable contributions. Under the adept coordination of Dr. Pratyush Chandra, the International Seminar on Translation and Multiculturalism has not only provided a crucial platform for scholarly discourse but has also become a beacon of global collaboration. The distinguished presence of luminaries such as Dr Naveen Mohini Nigam,Prof. Arvind Dixit, Dr. A B Jaiswal, Prof. Manoj Awasthi, Prof. Anand Shukla, Prof. Nandlal, and Prof. Dobal added an unparalleled level of prestige to the occasion.

The overwhelming response to the seminar, with over 500 registrations from five different countries and enthusiastic participation from more than 40 institutions in India and abroad, has solidified the program as a genuine success. This international convergence of minds not only underscores the global resonance of the discussions but also highlights the substantial impact of exploring themes in translation studies and multiculturalism on a worldwide scale.

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Moreover, the anticipation is palpable as more than 100 research papers are set to be presented in the next two days, adding depth and richness to the ongoing intellectual exchange. Dr. Pratyush Chandra’s deft coordination and the active engagement of a diverse and international audience contribute significantly to the seminar’s triumph, leaving an indelible impression on the exploration of linguistic and cultural nuances in the contemporary world. The seminar stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and the shared commitment to understanding and celebrating our diverse global heritage, it is absolutely necessary for effective and empathetic communication between different cultures. Translation, therefore, is critical for social harmony and peace.

As HOD and Convener I felt it necessary to  raise the slogan ‘READERS ARE THE LEADERS  to focus the importance of myth and culture of India including the  teachings of Ram which is now spreading  worldwide, and with the translation of the Bhagavad Gita into 59 languages, the entire world can internalize the exemplary values of Ram Krishna. The emphasis was on the projects of translating Indian epics that would enhance India’s soft power, presenting a glimpse of the country’s rich culture and history, inspiring people worldwide to learn about India. Professor Neetu Singh, Joint Secretary of the Management Board at VSSD College, provided guidelines for the sessions, highlighting the significance of linguistic and cultural diversity in the global context. She emphasized that our culture is based on principles of equality, tolerance, and the concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is one family). The best way to promote our culture is through translation, sharing it with people around the world. MOU for running India Reads Campaign in VSSD College; Kanpur was signed in the presence of ELTAI Patron Prof. Elango who was the chief guest in the inaugural session today.

The book written by Dr. Shyam Babu on Ekatm Manav Darshan translation done by Dr. N. M. Nigam as ‘Integral Humanism’ was released. The book was highly praised by the guests as being so relevant to current times. Eminent guests present were Dr. Shyam Babu, Prof. Nita Jain, Prof. B R Agrawal, Prof. Nivedita Tandon, Prof. Nisha Gupta, senior faculty of VSSD College were present. In a word the Conference on Translation and Multiculturalism roused interest in a global level. The young researchers are enthused to do their future projects on this area. The wonderful assistance from  the young learners Vanshika Chaudhary, Samya Gupta , Researcher Shreya and students of earlier time Dr Shravan Kumar now Dean of Humanities of Uttaranchal University made the congregation a huge success.

The significance of translation in our everyday lives is more multi-dimensional than we realize. Yes, English is a language that is pretty much everywhere. It is the third most widely-spoken language in terms of native speakers. This equals about 330 million people. If you include the people who can speak English as a second language, it is probably the most popular language in the world. But there is also the need for translating texts from various other Indian languages. There is a vast body of North East literature and language which is yet to reach a broader panorama in India and abroad. Translators will take note of this aspect for connecting different Indian cultures. (The author is a Ph.D, D.Litt and currently working as the HOD. English in VSSD College Kanpur and may be reached at profreerutandon@gmail.com)

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