Smiles Tears and More .. Rachakonda Narasimha Sarma, Visakha Covers ‘n’ Crafts for Samatha Publishers, Visakhapatnan, 2016, pages 214, Price Rs.100/-
A text translated into English is a gift to a reader who does not know the source language like Telugu in which the text it is originally written. Literary translation is a unique field of creative activity. There is no readily acceptable or available theory for literary translation. It is undertaken as a labour of love which, in and by itself, is a reward. The primary objective of literary translation is to present a text in another language to the reader in a language which he knows.
Dr Radhakrishnan has reminded us that all Indian literature is one although written in many languages. In our country for effective transmission the pan-India medium is English, which we have accepted as an India language. In a multi-lingual nation, to bring together the many strands of our culture and strengthen national integration the need for literary translation can not be overemphasized.
Dr Rachakonda Narasimha Sarma, a poet himself and a lover of poetry in his mother tongue, has done yeoman’s service in translating eighteen poets whose poems he has read in the Telu newspaper Andhra Bhoomi. The poets arranged as they are dealt with are: Ambika Ananth, Elanaga, Sarva Siddhi Hanumantha Rao, Haima Srinivas, Turaga Janaki Rani, GVS Nageswara Rao, C.Narayana Reddy, Peddanna Marabathula, BVV Prasad, Y. Ramakrishna Rao, Devarakonda Sahadevaao, Sailaja Mitra, Sikhamani, Avantsa Somasundar, I. Srilaxmi, MBD Syamala and Bulusu Venkateswarlu. The most significant this is the this work has been dedicated to Dr.Avantsa Somasundar.
Here are four poems as samples of Dr Sarma’s gusto for literary translation:
The jasmine flowers smiled,
like the shining wedding rice
vaidehi held in her hand
for dropping on the head of the Lord.
The Double jasmine flowers smiled
as Sita did,
while blushing at the playful pranks of her companions
The Hibiscus flowers smiled,
Even as the cheeks of Sita flushed,
when pronouncing her husband’s name.
The Coral flowers smiled
as Sita did,
when first she saw her husband to be.
In the early hours on the ninth day
of the first month of spring,
flowers of every kind
had willingly learnt
the charming graces of Sita the new bride,
(Telugu : Poola Navvulu – by Bulusu Venkateswararulu) (page 35)
Surcease of Sorrow
A certain discontent
spreads itself like fog
in the chambers of my heart.
the wooden peg of past failures
are bundles of failures,
wounding the surrounding air;
anguish in the shape pf a cauldron of mercury
is heated up in the furnace of painful thoughts.
Enters on the scene –
a baby with a beautiful smile
bathed in the fragrance of jasmine flowers
wafted through the window –
the sorrow ceases at once.
(Telugu : Taapa Semanam by Elanaga) p. 38
(A few lines from the Telugu original have been omitted in the translation with the permission of the author)
The Name of Love
When digging into the past
results in a river,
do not dig.
When display of religion
leads to chopping heads,
do not display.
Ready I am
for shaking hands with any one
if I can unite
two opposite shores into one.
If man were a tree,
the mind of a branch,
and cordiality a fresh flower in full bloom,
the name of “love”
should lose itself on the lips
in dance and song.
Love is a lack of fear
That is why love always wins.
(Telugu: Prema Namam by Garimella Nageswara Rao) page. 68
The Sunrise in our Village
The Sun arrives like a conqueror
tearing open the dark womb of the quiet night.
The mountains which till then
seemed too close to one another
like congealed shadowed
are now seen to move apart farther and farther,
glittering like streaks of sacred ash
on the wrinkled foreheads of the four quarters,
Tender and delicate leaflets
adorning the edges of the branches
a re draped now in the morning light.
Dense clumps of Palmyra trees
standing guard all around our town
seem to move about on frenzied haste
jostling against each other
vying as if to catch the rising sun.
Awestruck in the ensuing confusion
and ashamed as if caught red handed in a crime
the young Apollo is seen to blush
till his face is red-red as a beet.
Arrived though with splendour and pomp
and able no longer to show his face to others
he hides himself
behind the dishevelled leafy tresses
shyly shrinking himself to the size of a bud
and wipes his bloodstained face
with tender sprouting leaves
and cool beads of dew
on the soft blades of grass
and settling himself down by slow degrees.
And then the sweet carols of the birds-
verily the embodied essence of happiness
with wings fluttering in joy
the birds invite the sun
with music reverberating
in the ecstatic hearts of the four Quarters
Clearing the throat as it were
the birds join in a vast chorus
pouring forth a million songs
and the trees in turn are shedding
profuse handfuls of flowers
while the banks adjoining the brook
play the “Bhoopala”: tune on the flute.
With ponds unfolding layers of shyness
and making delightful dulcet sounds in an amorous undertones
peacocks dancing with a joyous heart
lotuses with the seductive allure of their obeisance
and bevies of beautiful belles
with arms uplifted in sacred offering
of shining flowers,
and wafting into the air
love songs with artless innocence,
the sunrise in our village
is a symbol of prominence
on the forehead of the race
sanctifying the hearts of the village folk
with the dust from the feet of the rising sun.
The sunrise in our village
is a perennial creeper of resplendent light
a testimony to the unbroken stream of human life
and the untrammelled fullness of consciousness;
rejuvenates the world with nectar of gentle speech
and shines with the lustre of inseparable friendship.
(Telugu: Maavoori Sooryodayam, pages 95-97: Avantsa Somasundaram from The Human Touch and other Poems, 2012)