There are literary charms all over the Katha office. Mostly, Katha published them. Mostly, Katha made them for kids. There are books in English. There are books in Hindi. There are translations from all over the country, with a much needed emphasis on the north east. But then, if you pay close attention, you will find books that Katha published some time ago, that are authoritative readings on the area that Katha works in. The people at Katha work in educating children, training teachers and publishing books. Katha works with government school teachers, teaching them to teach holistically, using activities. There are dedicated teams working on textbooks, working in classrooms, even creating illustrations so the child’s eyes want to stay on the page. A Katha publication catches my eye in the office. It is called, “Translating Power”. I am at the edge of my seat as I begin to read them.
Saugata Bhaduri has edited Translating Power beautifully. He quotes
"All translation practice and theory is based on a theory of culture – on the relation between self and other, identity and difference. That is to say: implicit to the act of translation are a set of assumptions about the ways in which linguistic forms carry cultural meanings"
Of course, I am not alluding here to translation, as the literal act of communicating the words of one written language to another alone. Saugata helps me clarify in another excellent quote:
“Each text is unique, yet at the same time it is the translation of another text. No text can be completely original because language itself, in its very essence, is already a translation – first from the non verbal world, and then, because each sign and each phrase is a translation of another sign, another phrase.”
I am reading Sukhjit’s Chandri, translated from Punjabi, by Hina Nandrajog and P S Anand. The Fauji’s helplessness is palpable. The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that you can never simultaneously know the exact position of an object without impacting its speed and vice versa. This is also true when different sections of society come together, as they do, all around us. A social organization that aims to effect children and communities positively must be cognizant of every step it takes. In this series of articles about the various departments of the organization, I hope to take you through some of the insightful work that Katha does.
Contributed by Rohini Manyam Seshasayee, an intern at Katha