Sunday, May 2, 2010

Letter of reckoning

Translating Kafka into Tamil is no mean achievement, even more so if it involves a complex father-son relationship…

He's a lover of languages, fluent in German, French, and English and, of course, his mother tongue, Tamil. Teaching German at the Goethe-Institut (Max Mueller Bhavan Chennai) up to seven days a week, and heading the long distance learning program in cooperation with IGNOU, keep him very busy. As if his life wasn't hectic enough, P. Seralathan has translated Franz Kafka's Letter to the Father from the original German text (Brief an den Vater) into Tamil. The Tamil translation is entitled Thandaiku.

Seralathan says he was inspired to translate Letter to the Father for the potential of “Kafka's words [to] make us look at the power wielded by Indian parents over their children”.

In a rare departure for contemporary Indian or Tamil literature, this book explores the son's pent up remorse towards his father. It is not to say that a son in India cannot feel this for his father, but according to Seralathan, “it's something that is not really discussed openly in our patriarchal society.” To write explicitly about this experience is very uncommon to say the least. For some readers it may perhaps be considered even disrespectful.

Full report here Hindu

No comments:

Post a Comment