World Literature, Translation And Peace Building

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By: Dr Mohammad Aleem, Editor-ICN Group

We need more books, libraries, schools and auditoriums than any other time of history.

NEW DELHI: What wondered me that even after reading about them after almost many thousand year, those words had not lost its sheen and deep meaning. I did not find difficult in any way to connect with those people who lived a different life in a different age and time.

It is one of the many examples which I can cite and put here. I do recall other great literary masters like Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Dickens, Shakespeare, Saki, Maupassant, Tagore, and many others. Of late, I have read the Nobel Prize winner, Turkish writer, Orhan Pamuk. His books helped me in knowing about the Turkish people and their culture. I can say that it helped me to come closer to a different people with their different tastes and minds.

The literary masters I have quoted here represent many languages like Russian, English, French, Turkish and Bengali. It is just a few examples and I can extend easily into a long one. I do live in a country where people speak more than twenty two officially recognized languages and more than thousand dialects.

All words of wisdom, which is scattered so wide on the literary horizon can’t be brought closer until it is not done by the translation. Many reputed institutions in India like Sahitya Academy and National Book Trust of India have done commendable works in this field of translation. It helped in understanding the fellow citizens well. It cemented the friendship and loving relationship between the different communities.

Very lately, I have written some serials for All India Radio under the commissioned category. Its name are Death of IvanIvalivitch by Leo Tolstoy, Daughter of the Captain by Pushkin, Biography of Maxim Gorki, Guldasta,  a series, based on some of the best short stories of the world written in many languages and from many continents.

The purpose of giving you the example of these radio works is just to emphasize about the need of the translation and how it helps in knowing each other as a human being. Until, we do come to know about each other closely, one can’t expect to know about every other thing like culture and history.

Translation is really a very effective tool for forging the friendship between various backgrounds of people. It helps in achieving the task of peace building in this deeply divided human society all over the world in a much more comprehensive way than any other art forms.

I quote here, American actor and playwright, Ossie Davis. He says: “Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change – it can not only move us, it makes us move.”

Jacqueline Netto-Lyman, Executive Director of the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust, Sri Lanka, writes in his article, titled, “Building Peace through Creative Means”:

“Arts and culture in peace building have always been used as a medium to ease the tensions associated with strife, as a catalyst for reconciliation among and within communities, and as a vehicle to drive peaceful co-existence & intercultural dialogue. Artistic and culturalof people. It helps in achieving the task of peace building in this deeply divided human society all over the world in a much more comprehensive way than any other art forms.

“Peace building is a term describing interventions that are designed to prevent the start or resumption of violent conflict by creating a sustainable peace. Peace building activities address the root causes or potential causes of violence, create a societal expectation for peaceful conflict resolution and stabilize society politically and socio-economically.

The exact definition varies depending on the actor, with some definitions specifying what activities fall within the scope of peace building or restricting peace building to post-conflict interventions.”

The tasks included in peace building vary depending on the situation and the agent of peace building. Successful peace building activities create an environment supportive of self-sustaining, durable peace; reconcile opponents; prevent conflict from restarting; integrate civil society; create the rule of law mechanisms; and address underlying structural and societal issues.

To accomplish these goals, peace building must address functional structures, emotional conditions and social psychology, social stability, rule of law and ethics and cultural sensitivities.

It was a time when the Soviet Union played a crucial role in bringing out the best literary works of the Russian language to the people of the world. But as it fell, and new Russia emerged, they dumped that plan completely. Now, we do no longer feel much closer and connected as we used to feel in those days.

It helped in strengthening the people of the two great nations not only culturally, but economically and also politically. It raises here a pertinent point that if we want to achieve lasting peace, we must put a comprehensive focus on these peace building measures. We need more books, libraries, schools and auditoriums than any other time of history.

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