May 23, 2024

Alfaaz Ki Mehfil

By Satya Prabhakar
Year of Publication – 2022

I am very pleased to write this introduction to Satya Prabhakar’s Alfaaz Ki Mehfil book of his translation of more than a hundred and fifty selected Urdu couplets. A translator’s work has been described as someone who builds bridges between languageswith the literal meaning from the original ‘trans’-across; and ‘latio/latus’- ferry or bring- and Satya, in his book, manages to bring across the beauty of Urdu very well. In both prose and poetry there is a lot of debt owed to translations – and translators. One can readily applaud Samuel Putnam for his wonderful English translation of Don Quixote, possibly the first modern novel, written by Spanish author Cervantes.

Similarly the Mahabharata – translated from Sanskrit and the epic poems of Iliad and Odyssey, translated from Greek, and the Shahnameh, translated from Persian (includes the stirring exploits of Rustom and Sohrab) are other remarkable works enjoyed across the world. Rumi’s Masnavi – one of the greatest poems of the Persian language, is another example where it was Nicholson’s translation in eight volumes that has led to Rumi being such an oft quoted poet in all parts of the world.

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