On the experience of translating Rabindranath Tagore’s Raktakarabi into Santali: Lecture by Boro Baski – West Bengal

The main aspects of the lecture held on 23rd February, 2013

What are practical problems I faced while translating the play, for instances Bengali terms, thoughts, feeling etc. Tagore’s play ‘Raktakarabi’ which was written almost 90 years ago and still relevant with modern time, why is it also relevant to Santal world view especially with their life and nature, despite the belief that the Santals who live at the opposite pole of the ‘main stream’ society according to modern development indicators.

Why some of the characters portrayed in the play are so similar to Santal personality!  How, the rhythm of the popular song of the play ‘Poush toder dak dileche…’ is so similar with the rhythm of the drum that is played during Santal traditional marriage. Many such issues have been discussed in the lecture and many have been kept open that need to be addressed.

The lecture met with overwhelming response. Some of the prominent persons attended the lecture were Prof. Ranjit Bhattacharya, former director, Anthropological Survey of India; Dr. Jeanne Openshaw, Edinburgh University; Dr. Kathleen O’Connell, Toronto; Mrs. Ranu Dattgupta, Santiniketan ; Prf. Ronald Kurt, Germany; Dr. Martin Kaempchen, German writer and Tagore scholar; Dr. Dukhia Marandi, Visva-Bharati (VB) university; Mr. Gokul Hansda, Prof. Kumkum Bhattacharya, Mr. Snehadri Shekhar Chakraborty and Mr. Sibu Soren, Santiniketan and many more students from the VB university and the villages of Ghosaldanga and Bishnubati. Dr. Amrit Sen, secretary of the ‘Patha Chakra’, VB university organised the seminar and Dr. Dhaneswar Majhi, the head, Department of Santali presided over the lecture.

Source: Boro Baski, message 2-3-2013

Dr. Boro Baski works for the community-based organisation Ghosaldanga Adibasi Seva Sangha in West Bengal. The NGO is supported by the German NGO Freundeskreis Ghosaldanga und Bishnubati. He was the first person from his village to go to college as well as the first to earn a PhD (in social work) at Viswa-Bharati. This university was founded by Rabindranath Tagore to foster integrated rural development with respect for cultural diversity. The cooperation he inspired helps local communities to improve agriculture, economical and environmental conditions locally, besides facilitating education and health care based on modern science.

He authored Santali translations of two major works by Rabindranath Tagore, the essay “Vidyasagar-Charit” and the drama Raktakarabi (English “Red Oleanders”), jointly published by the Asiatic Society & Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters) in 2020.

Other posts contributed by Dr. Boro Baski >>

Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust
Registration under Trust Registration Act 1982
P.O. Sattore, Dist. Birbhum
West Bengal-731 236

For inquiries on Santal cultural and educational programs, please contact:
Mob. 094323 57160 or borobaski@gmail.com

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