Translation as Reparation
S Deepika
WOLVES AND OTHER STORIES by Bhuwaneshwar Seagull Books, India, 2021, 76 pp., 499.00
October 2022, volume 46, No 10

Saudamini Deo’s English translation of short stories by Bhuwaneshwar Prasad marks a significant event in Hindi literature. Not only does it reinvigorate a chronically under-appreciated Hindi writer in a new language, but it also attempts to rewrite the story of Hindi modernism as seen through the lens of non-canonical texts. In working through some of the elisions in Hindi modernism a la Bhuwaneshwar, Deo’s translation broadens our understanding of the diverse metaphorical possibilities inherent in the act of translation itself. Like all translations, Wolves and Other Stories is an act of renewal and resurrection, but unlike most translations, it is also an act of reparation, of righting an error. The present collection of Bhuwaneshwar’s 12 short stories, translated into English for the first time, comes across as one of those few gratifying instances of belated literary justice made possible through translation. But who was Bhuwaneshwar Prasad, after all?

Once hailed as the ‘future of Hindi literature’ by none other than Premchand, Bhuwaneshwar Prasad has virtually disappeared from the Hindi canon today. A writer of the 1930s, Bhuwaneshwar’s slender sheaf of very short stories and one-act plays (written during 1930-45) marks a decisive shift in Hindi literature from neo-romanticism (Chhayavad) to a kind of modern writing

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