A college student looks around at the piles of books towering around him and something catches his attention. He shrugs off his heavy backpack and reaches out to pick up a book. The books jacket looks vaguely familiar,and the Marathi title reads,The Three Mistakes of My Life. He picks up another familiar-looking book,but this time the title is Meluhache Mrityunjay,the Marathi translation of Amish Tripathis book,The Immortals of Meluha.
These days,a lot of people read Marathi translations of popular English books, says Umesh Patil of Marathi publishing group Gyanganga. While the student pores over books,Patil is busy stacking them up on the shelves at the Pune Book Fair,which started yesterday.
Weve brought all sorts of Marathi books cookery books,self-help books,old literature,new fiction,non-fiction and biographies. Of course,we have also brought translations of mainstream English bestsellers, he says. He is excited about the book fair,during which he expects to come across many Marathi readers.
Even if so many people have started reading English books,many still prefer Marathi books. The trend has changed. Earlier,collected short stories and novels in Marathi were very popular,but these days,it is these translations of English bestsellers that are popular. People know about the works of popular authors such as Sudha Murthy and Chetan Bhagat,and want to read their books,but are more comfortable reading in their mother tongue. Biographies and historical books are also very popular among Marathi readers, he says.
Opposite the Gyanganga stall is the Sahitya Akademi stall. Set up by the Ministry of Culture to promote national and regional literature,the organisation supports works in 24 Indian languages. For the book fair,it has brought award-winning literature from as far as Tamil Nadu to Kashmir,translated in Marathi for the ease of local readers.
We want to motivate people to read more and read better. We also want to bridge the gap between language and beautiful literature. If we can translate an award-winning Bengali book to Marathi,so many more people will enjoy the book, says R S Patil,an officer at Sahitya Akademi. Books such as Eka Panditache Mrityupatra (originally written in Telugu by P Gopichand) and Paili Jag (originally written in Bengali by Sunil Gangopadhyay) have been translated in Marathi and are available at the stall.
For those interested in Hindi,there is a stall by Central Hindi Directorate,which is offering detailed compilations of Hindi glossaries and dictionaries. We have Hindi to Urdu,Hindi to Tamil,Gujarati and several other languages. Many come to us with a wish to learn Hindi or improve their vocabulary. After all,Hindi will never go out of fashion in India, says Ashok Verma,who is manning the stall.
Pune Book Fair will continue till October 20 at Ganesh Kala