The New India Foundation (NIF) has launched a new fellowship promoting the translation from ten different Indian languages into English.
Earlier this month, the NIF announced the four recipients of the inaugural NIF Translation Fellowships. Based in Bengaluru (more commonly known as Bengalore in English), the NIF aims to publish scholarly work on the history and culture of the modern state of India. While the foundation has spearheaded the publication of several books on India’s culture and politics through its Books Fellowship program, this is the first year the NIF has offered its Translation Fellowship.
“Languages are repositories of regional cultures, histories, and identities, and the NIF Translation Fellowships aim to make these more accessible to newer audiences,” said one of the fellowship’s trustees, Niraja Gopal Jayal, in a statement announcing the new fellowship.
In the fellowship’s inaugural year, four translators were provided with nearly $8,000 each to translate a total of three historically significant non-fiction texts into English. The NIF plans to rotate the Indian languages represented in future iterations of the fellowship, in order to ensure that the fellowship produces a diverse range of ideas and scholarship.
The NIF awarded fellowships to the following individuals:
- Venkateswar Ramaswamy and Amlan Biswas will work as a pair to translate a text from Bengali (the diaries of Indian anthropologist Nirmal Kumar Bose)
- N.S. Gundur will translate a text from Kannada (Allama Prabhu and Shaiva Imagination by D.R. Nagaraj)
- Rahul Sarwate will translate one from Marathi (Marxvad: Phule-Ambedkarvad by Sharad Patil).
Over the course of the next six months, the fellows will work on researching and developing translations of the above works.
Not all of the fellows are translators by trade. Sarwate, a historian, was in part inspired to translate Patil’s work into English after attending a seminar in which none of the other attendees present were aware of Patil’s scholarship. “I dearly hope that this translation will open up fresh ways of recovering and engaging with India’s variety of intellectual and political pasts,” Sarwate wrote in a piece for Scroll.in, an English and Hindi-language news publication.