Mannu Bhandari. Uday Prakash. Mridula Garg. Akhilesh. These are the proud names of Hindi literature, and they and more, feature together in the first-ever English edition of Hans, which was launched at the ongoing 27th World Book Fair by senior journalist Mark Tully and author Mridula Garg. Hans, a monthly Hindi literary magazine, has had its place of pride in the Hindi literature world. Many leading Hindi writers of today have been associated with the magazine. Now with an English diversification they can be read by an even wider audience. “We have such great literary writing in Hindi, on par with world literature. We always wondered as to why the reach is restricted to just an Hindi reading audience? We read a lot of world literature in translation, but we can’t say the same for Hindi writings,” says Rachana Yadav, Managing Director Hans Akshar Prakashan. “The idea was to take these great works to a large English speaking audience — which can’t access Hindi works. The dominant image and idea in their head is that Hindi literature and writings are ‘cheap’ and populist, whereas English writings are ‘higher’.”
The first edition of the English Hans, priced at Rs 100, has 13 stories culled from the first year of its relaunch in 1986 till 1991. The next edition will take on the best work from the next five years, and so on. The underlying idea was to carry on the stellar work that was pioneered in the Hindi edition.” Hans was the home and starting point for many big, contemporary names, including Uday Prakash, Narendra Nagdev. Maitreya Pushpa and Ajay Nawaria. The magazine also gave a huge platform to women writers. We had a very stringent selection idea as well, as to whom and what we published, which helped setting a benchmark for the literary world at large. My father, the late Rajendra Yadav had started the work on this English diversification,” says Yadav.
The English Hans, has brought together established translators such as Ruth Vanita, Ira Pande and Rakshanda Jalil. “ We would like to increase the frequency of the English edition in the subsequent years,” says Yadav, who took over the mantle of Hans from her father five years ago.