Kalidasa probably lived in the fifth century of the Christian era. This date, approximate as it is, must yet be given with considerable hesitation, and is by no means certain. No truly biographical data are preserved about the author, who nevertheless enjoyed a great popularity during his life, and whom the Hindus have ever regarded as the greatest of Sanskrit poets. We are thus confronted with one of the remarkable problems of literary history.
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Contributions made by translations to the spread of literature sometimes go far beyond usual human imagination and exceed almost all expectations. The role of translation in the making of world literature has been not just substantial but spectacularly phenomenal. Our accessibility to literatures in languages other than those we know ourselves is entirely dependent on the art of translation, though we often tend to forget that.
The general readership may be indifferent, rather insensitive to the enormous contribution made by translation to the spread of literature, sometimes going far beyond usual human imagination and exceeding almost all expectations. The book, Translating the Orient: The Reception of Sakuntala in Nineteenth Century Europe , has been written by Dorothy Matilda Figueira, who knows many languages and has pleasantly and sometimes not so pleasantly surprised the Sankritists worldwide by carefully looking at multiple translations of the text.
Her exploration leads us to know the distortion of Indian ethos as a fallout of that engagement. Jones was so charmed by Abhijnanasakuntalam that he first translated this Indian nataka from the 4th century Gupta period into latin and later retranslated it into English in His English translation of Abhijnanasakuntalam took the literary world of Europe by storm and generated a great deal of influence on the intellectual, cultural and literary sensibilities of the 19th century Germany, France and Italy in particular.
There were obviously many constraints European readers had to cope up with. First, they were quite ignorant about Indian cultural, historical, linguistic and aesthetic background. Second, they were almost completely clueless about the Sanskrit canon.
Thirdly, Shakuntala epitomised a paradigm of a literature whose relationship with world literatures was still a matter of speculation and extrapolation. Despite these constraints, this nataka was received with such euphoria and jubilation by its 19th century European minds that it not only precipitated the translations as cited above, but also virtually inaugurated what we now know as Orientalism.
Figueira tells us that for the first time no Persian intermediary was sought for the the translation of Shakuntala and it has the distinction of being the first Sanskrit drama which was made available to the Western literati. For Figueira, this paradigmatic text set the tone for an exhilarating discussion of the religious, philosophical and aesthetic dynamics of Indian exoticism.
On the other hand, conceptualised as an ideological tool, the exoticism stands inextricably linked with racist practices. Rather than separating culture, language and even history of two races, exoticism for her engages with the political, cultural and erotic aspects of two races. Figueira here makes both a cogent and provocative argument that goes on to undermine probably the most significant theoretical assumption behind the still predominant postcolonial perception of Orientalism and colonial translation practices that precipitated the growth of Orientalism.
Above all, she identifies Shakuntala with national consciousness as has been made amply clear by the title of the book itself. Romila Thapar whose Shakuntala : Texts, Readings, Histories appeared exactly eight years later and generated tremendous impact in the domain of both Humanities and Social Sciences wrote her book with a different preoccupation.
After seemingly thorough analysis, she concluded that people have, during the last two centuries, completely forgotten the Shakuntala of Mahabharata, a woman who stood for emancipation and fearlessly asked for her rights. And they only remembered and approved the Shakuntala of Kalidas, a woman known for her submissive mindset and subservient attitude. The imperatives of a bourgeois nationalism have to keep the idea of a subaltern woman away. Thapar challenges here only the inclusive nature of our nationalism.
Otherwise, she harbours misgivings about the legitimacy of our nationalist thought as well. In her concluding remarks, the category of the nation has been subtly put into the bar of judgment as has been routinely done in India by academic scholarship of different persuasions from the mids onwards.
Not only subaltern and marxist historiography but also dalit and feminist discourse have subjected the concept of nation to serious scrutiny, suggesting that an upper caste, middle class, male figure, or an elite constitutes the idea of nation. This is to say that the nation does not represent the interests of the poor, the dalits, the women and the lower castes — the subaltern of India.
There is much merit when a distinguished Indian mathematician and a connoisseur of classical mind, Wagish Shukla says that Thapar has misunderstood the rationale which defines the drama and so has done tremendous disservice to the body of Shakuntala studies with her own set of distortions. Friday, 05 June Home Sunday Edition Agenda Books. Trending News. Protests turn subdued after new charges in Floyd case. Dwayne Johnson takes a dig at Donald Trump. Sonu Sood offers help to 28, underprivileged people affected by Cyclone Nisarga.
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POETRY AND THE DRAMA
The term Shakuntala means one who is brought up by birds Shakun. There are references stating that Shakuntala was found by Rishi Kanva in forest as a baby surrounded by or as some believe being fed by birds, after being left by her mother, Menaka. His place in Sanskrit literature is akin to that of Shakespeare in English. His plays and poetry are primarily based on Hindu mythology and philosophy. Where can one find a down load of english translation of Shiv puran by kalidas.
Sakuntala of Kalidasa – English Translation
Contributions made by translations to the spread of literature sometimes go far beyond usual human imagination and exceed almost all expectations. The role of translation in the making of world literature has been not just substantial but spectacularly phenomenal. Our accessibility to literatures in languages other than those we know ourselves is entirely dependent on the art of translation, though we often tend to forget that. The general readership may be indifferent, rather insensitive to the enormous contribution made by translation to the spread of literature, sometimes going far beyond usual human imagination and exceeding almost all expectations.
Plots similar to the play appear in earlier texts. There is a story mentioned in the Mahabharata. A story of similar plot appear in the buddhist Jataka tales as well. In the Mahabharata the story appears as a precursor to the Pandava and Kaurava's lineages. In the story King Dushyanta and Shakuntala meet in the forest and get estranged and ultimately reunited. Their son Bharata laid the foundation of the dynasty that ultimately led to Kauravas and Pandavas. Manuscripts differ on what its exact title is.