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Germany: In early May, Rabindranath’s birth anniversary will be celebrated with just routine fanfare. The big anniversaries are over: 150th birth anniversary (2011); the centenary of the English Gitanjali (2012); and the centenary of Tagore’s Nobel Prize (2013). Seminars have been conducted all over the world, many funded by the Indian government, at least two dozen anthologies collecting the speeches and essays of Tagore experts have been published, Tagore’s works have reprinted to an extent which amazes everyone. His works also have seen a good number of new translations from Bengali. My own book, Rabindranath Tagore: One Hundred Years of Global Reception, co-edited with Imre Bangha, attempted an overview of the poet’s standing in the world today.
Now that the Tagore Season has been completed with a good measure of success, it may be the time to take stock. What have I achieved as a translator of Rabindranath’s poetry from Bengali to German which I see as my main contribution?
German translation of Rabindranath began almost as early as English translation. While the English Gitanjali appeared in 1912 in London, the German Gitanjali followed in 1914. Yet, these two translation ventures had a totally different cultural significance. In Great Britain, Rabindranath was a poet from the colonies using the language of the colonizers who succeeded in expressing himself on the level of literature. In Germany, the German translation carried no such ideological and political baggage. In the German perception, Rabindranath was not the poet of a colonized nation speaking to the colonizers; rather, he was a voice from the mystic east speaking to the mysticism — and mysteries-seeking West.
He was seen in the context of German Indology which began in the early 19th century simultaneously with and inspired by German Romanticism. German Romanticism had discovered India as a land of philosophy and wisdom. Hence, the German public of the early 20th century saw in Rabindranath an exponent of the philosophy and wisdom of India, not primarily a poet. More importantly, the sympathetic German public saw in Rabindranath a fellow-Romantic and considered his Romanticism as the entry point through which to understand and appreciate him.
Thus, translating Rabindranath from Bengali to English and translating him to German are two very different exercises. In Anglo-Saxon countries, Rabindranath Tagore is a poet of renown because he did write in English and did receive the Nobel Prize for a book written in English. He is part of the colonial and post-colonial discourse, and his literary work can be viewed in the context of Commonwealth literature.
Such contexts do not exist in Germany. Moreover, in present-day Germany, the romantic mould has become somewhat suspect after an excess of misguided emotions during Hitler’s Third Reich. Tagore, the mystic poet, is still alive in the memory of elderly people who were told to read him by their parents. These parents had witnessed the enthusiasm surrounding the Indian poet in Germany in the 1920s. This lack of a contemporary cultural context makes it an arduous task to create a new — truer, more genuine — image of the Indian poet through translations from the Bengali original. The one valid claim for his rediscovery is that he is a figure of world literature. So far, the translations done from the English to German did not substantiate such a claim. Hence, in German such a claim had to be established and proven anew through philologically correct and literary satisfying translations from the Bengali original. This has been my task during the last twenty years in which six volumes of my poetry translations from Bengali to German have appeared in Germany.
I have done all my translations, without exception, while living at Santiniketan which I call my Indian home since 1980. It was clear to me that I could do them only in Bengal, not outside, certainly not in Germany. Here at Santiniketan, I have the atmosphere and the social environment with its emotions and habits, its nature and its sounds which provide the backdrop of many of the poems and songs that I have translated. This helped me to first understand and then re-create the deeper intuitions and the emotionality of these poems. Further, Santiniketan provides me with the expert help I need in order to know every shade of meaning and get the interpretation of the poems and songs just right.
On the one hand, I am here enjoying good Tagorean fellowship. But on the other hand, I am alone and lonely as a translator into German. No one in Santiniketan can understand and appreciate my translations. West Bengal, therefore, has neither expert praise nor expert criticism for me. The academic community here hardly knows that for the last twenty-five years I have been translating one poem after another, filling six volumes. The community neither joins in my ecstasy that my work gives me, nor comforts me when I am faced with what I call the ‘tragedy of translation’.
Let me, very briefly, give you some details of my translation predicament. In contrast to German, the Bengal language can dispense with the definite and indefinite articles as well as with certain pronouns which instead can be expressed through endings. Auxiliary verbs, too, are incorporated in the verb endings. This makes Bengali curt, compressed, often wonderfully sententious encapsulating one dictum within a few syllables. Try to translate Gele hata in just two words! In English as well as in German it needs a full sentence with an auxiliary clause. German does not have the same gift of brevity. Translating a Bengali line of verse often needs two lines in German. Hence, if you want to fashion a Tagore poem into a German poem, certain judicious compromises regarding the wealth and exactitude of meaning must be admitted.
The claim to create a new poem demands from the translator to deconstruct all the components of the Bengali poem into a “mass” of meaning, rhythm and moods and then rebuild the German poem from that same material. Each line and each sentence needs to undergo the same slow transformation in the mind of the translator. If this progresses happily and that means, if my mind becomes fully attuned to the mind of the creator, Rabindranath, then there is nothing more fulfilling, more intoxicating, than translating poetry. This is what I referred to as the ecstasy which a translator enjoys.
The tragedy is that a translation is never finished. A poem may be complete and perfect, but never the translation of a poem. The translation has to be truthful to itself, as a German poem, and truthful to the original, a Bengali poem. This is walking a tightrope from which I may fall off on the right or the left any moment, sometimes without noticing it.
A special challenge is the translation of rhymed verse-endings. In Bengali, rhyme comes easy as only few endings exist, while rhyming in German language is more demanding as the endings are more in number and more varied. Rhyming had once been the norm in German poetry; modern poetry uses it, too, but less frequently. However, when translating Rabindranath, I cannot abandon rhyme altogether. For example, translating a poem like Sisu without rhyme would mean missing the point — the fun, the banter, the childlikeness — of the poem altogether. Even many Gitanjali poems will be only half as enjoyable and effective without rhyme, as with rhyme. This means that rhyme has to be made a part of the translation effort. This is a tremendous challenge. Rhyme must come naturally and easily, without twists in the sentence structure. But that is not too easy either, otherwise a verse might degenerate into a mere pun on words, a Kalauer. The need for rhyme drastically reduces the freedom of choice of words and increases the need for compromises regarding the wealth and exactitude of meaning. I see the work of a translator of poems as a special call. You must be something of a poet yourself to be excellent. At least, you should rise to become a poet in the process of translation, assembling the elements of the Bengali poem into a new resplendent and self-confident structure. Often I felt an extraordinary union with the poem and with its creator, Rabindranath. In these moments I was aware that translating Rabindranath’s poems means communicating with the poet’s imagination and spiritual persona in a more intense, more intimate way than merely reading his poems. In such moments I feel an almost aching happiness that I am not a mere reader but a translator of Rabindranath’s poetry.
My translations are done. I now devote my time to my own writing which is clearly suffused by the philosophy and poetic vision of Santiniketan’s Gurudev. In a certain manner, my writing is a continuation of my translation work. It is a contemporary interpretation of Rabindranath’s universe of ideas and emotions for modern German society.
The writer is a German scholar based in Santiniketan. His last book is Anubhave anudhyane Rabindranath; Karigar 2016.
When you become a mother, you tend to forget about your own needs because you are so focused on your child. With the baby keeping you busy all day and night, your skincare takes a backseat. It's not always changes in skin texture and looks post-pregnancy are a bad thing, but not taking care of your skin may lead to acne, melasma, stretch marks, puffy eyes, and even dark circles. Syed Nazim, Dermatologist, Aesthetic and Hair Transplant Surgeon, Royal Lush Skin Clinic Saket, New Delhi, shares simple and easy tips for you to follow, to get a glowing post-pregnancy.
* Cleansing: As you sleep, your skin goes through a renewal cycle, by dispensing toxins and debris. So you only need a light-textured cleanser to wash your face with a face wash that is suitable for your skin type.
* Steam: Take steam for 2-3 days a week, it will help you to open up your clogged pores.
* Scrub & face pack: Use a face scrub, to remove the dead skin cells, scrub your face for like 5 minutes and wash it with normal tap water. It will help you to make your skin softer and radiant, leave the mask until it dries off.
* Toner & moisturizer: Apply toner to your face, look for clarifying toners that rebalance your pH to maintain the pH value of your skin. In the end, you only have to moisturize your face, to give hydration.
* Steal baby products: Baby products are always mild in nature so that the baby's sensitive skin doesn't have to compromise. They are created to lock moisture in babies skin. So, you can also use them. Whether it's a body oil, lotion or cream, apply some on your skin every time you're applying them on your baby. If you do this, you can flaunt your skin, this way, you don't have to dedicate a specific time every day for your skincare.
When you become a mother, you tend to forget about your own needs because you are so focused on your child. | Photo by Jenna Norman on Unsplash
* Keep all skincare needs in one place: Organize all your skincare products in one place, this organization will help you way much better than anything. Make use of your "me time" and devote it properly to pamper yourself.
* Streaming your routine: Make a proper timetable, for your week how many days you are going to deep cleanse your skin in a week.
If we talk about the baby skincare routine this is important too. As the baby's skin is too sensitive and they are interacting with such a harsh environment -- pollution, high temperature etc. Don't worry there are some simple and easy enough tips. Here, what you should know, with regards to bath, diapering, selecting items and that's just the beginning.
* Bath time: Babies need two to three baths a week in warm, not hot water to stay clean. The initial step to an extraordinary child shower is to track down the ideal temperature. Tip: Fill the bath without any more than 2 to 3 creeps of water. To keep your child from getting cold while you wash them, routinely pour cupfuls of water over their shoulders.
* Diaper Basics: There are a lot of things you'll have to do for your little one when they're an infant, like changing your baby's diaper regularly, cleaning tenderly however completely each time with child wipes. Make the surface saturated yet dry simultaneously as well. There are countless myths around diaper rashes that it is caused because of the usage of diapers. But no, it is due to a lack of attention and knowledge about the correct time to change the diaper. Else it will get worse for your child.
* Awareness of Products: Always read the product label before purchasing products for your infant. It's ideal to avoid chemical and alcohol-based products. Use products that are made explicitly for infants.
The baby's skin is too sensitive and they are interacting with such a harsh environment -- pollution, high temperature etc. | Photo by Jill Sauve on Unsplash
Newborn babies are so delicate, requiring a lot of care and attention. A single mistake or slip of mind can make things worse. Keep your infant's skin saturated, as well, so consistently have a stockpile of moisturizers around. But excessive oil can cause cradle caps, and dryness can create painful scenarios. If your child is facing such issues you need to consult a certified dermatologist.
(Article originally published on IANS life) (IANS/MBI)
Keywords: temperature,sensitive,babies, skincare,child,products
A couple of years ago, finding a strand of grey hair meant visiting the parlor to cover it up. Women and men refused to admit their age, and refused to let it show. Be it moustache, eyebrows, or hair on the head, it was dyed a luscious black, or reddish-brown for those who wanted to go natural. Today, the trend of coloring hair has nothing to do with age. Young boys and girls sport bright colors and hairstyles, which is now a marker of how modern one can be.
This notion of modernity associated with neon streaks and an almost gothic look originates from the ancient Egyptian civilization, where it was considered fashionable to look different from the natural features one was born with. Kohl, lipstick, perfume, and makeup were the inventions of those who hoped to live even after death. Likewise, they were the first people to discover hair dye. Initially, they dyed their hair black, to cover the grey. They used compounds that were extracted from plants, but some of them were lethal. So, they took to extracting the color from fermented leeches.
This was when a chemical was discovered to gently lighten hair color instead of completely bleaching it, and since then, there have been varying degrees of blonde and brown hair. Image credit: Photo by Jessie Dee Dabrowski on Unsplash
When bleach was discovered, women used it to achieve a yellow color, which became known as the sign of prostitutes. The focus shifted to naturally red hair when Queen Elizabeth took the throne, as she suffered from a genetic mutation which caused this. Red heads became more common in Scotland and Ireland, and everywhere else, black hair was still the norm.
When William Perkins discovered mauve during an experiment that went wrong, the concept of mixing two or more chemicals together to create a dye became well-known. So colorless chemicals were developed and mixed in varying ratios to dye hair. When the movie Platinum Blonde was released, the trend of having pale hair increased greatly. People began to go blonde everywhere. This was when a chemical was discovered to gently lighten hair color instead of completely bleaching it, and since then, there have been varying degrees of blonde and brown hair.
Youngsters prefer to sport bright, flashy colors, like teal, blue, purple, and even pink. Image credit: Photo by Tom van Kessel on Unsplash
With the arrival of pop-culture and its influence on the world, these mundane colors are reserved for the elderly. Youngsters prefer to sport bright, flashy colors, like teal, blue, purple, and even pink. Every time a new star sports a different color, the trend sparks interest in others, and sweeps across the globe like a wildfire. Hair dye has come a long way since the time of the Egyptians in the first century. Two thousand years hence, it has the potential to grow into so much more.
Keywords: Hair Color, Hair Dye, Egyptians, Perkins, Pop Culture
The history of Daryaganj goes back to the era of Mughal dynasty, and so its history is as old as the old city of Shahjahanabad, now Chandni Chowk. Interestingly, this market was known as Faiz Bazaar in the Mughal era and was considered as an important commercial place.
In fact, at that time this area was very posh, and had beautiful houses on both sides of a stream from a hauz (meaning, water storage tank) flowing down the centre. Not only this, trees were lined up for shade and it looked like a marvellous garden had been turned into a market.
Also, there used to be Lohe ka Pull which used to connect shops lined on both sides of the market starting from Delhi Gate to the Iron Bridge, but now the pull no longer exists. Well, there's no doubt that the old city of Shahjahanabad was beautiful crafted!
One of the most beautiful things about Daryaganj is its famous book market, known as the Sunday Patri Kitaab Bazaar. Sunday is specifically added here because the book market takes place only on Sundays, that, too, from 9am till 6pm.
Booksellers set up their shops on Patri (footpath). Hence, the name is Sunday Patri Kitaab Bazaar. Photo by Flickr.
In this market, you can find all kinds and genres of books at cheapest rates. In fact, some booksellers sell books according to kilos, and this is really astounding to see. From stationery to art supplies, you can find everything here and that, too, in a lot of variety.
It is interesting to see that some of the shopkeepers of Daryaganj book market are selling books from the past 50-60 years. Not only this, Daryaganj book market is also famous for its branded electronic goods and science lab equipments.
Apart from this, you can also find some of the lost traces of British rule, which once existed in India, in this market in the form of coins, photographs, and even their personal belongings. There is absolutely no doubt that Daryaganj book market offers a lot more than books, as it offers glimpses of the past.
So, if you are someone who is not just into books but also colonisation of India, then you must visit Daryaganj book market and experience a mixture of past and present!
Keywords: Daryaganj Book Market, Books, Old Delhi, Chandni Chowk, India, Mughal Dynasty.