Translation is a desperate act, but culturally imperative and worth every attempt, on the part of the translator, to mediate between a canonical author and an eager reader when they are divided linguistically. Even as it seems quite disconcerting to me to be linked up with the fellow-Indian poet Jibanananda Das (1899¬1954) in a sahridaya bhdba only with the help of an English translation of his poems by Joe Winter (an Englishman), I must make peace with my postcoloniality, leaving aside as useless the speculation if I could have been more fortunate with an Oriya or a Hindi translation of the poet, which some people may argue to be more “authentic”. Quite a few of Jibanananda’s poems in English translation are already available in the form of books and online, often done by native speakers of English. But I have enjoyed reading-must confess-Naked Lonely Hand, discovering in this anthology of translation a treasure-house of Jibanananda’s poetic wealth, which the poet c4~t!o!llbothB~ngal and the West.
January 2007, volume 31, No 1