PESHAWAR: Panelists at a monthly study circle asked writers to enrich Pashto literature through translation of world sublime literary pieces.

They said that Pashto writers had translated few pieces from world literature in the past and most earned widespread reputation for the quality contents and skills of rendition from other languages.

“Most Pashto authors in the early 20th century started translating great world poets and writers including statesmen, philosophers, historians and fictionists from English and other languages that cast great impact on Pashto literary traditions,” they said.

The event was arranged under the auspices of ‘Bibliophile’s Corner’ at the main hall of Government Superior Science College (GSSC) Peshawar the other day. Students, teachers and writers gathered to discuss ‘Iateraaf’ a Pashto translation of world classic by noted writer Dr Hanif Khalil, originally authored by Leo Tolstoy. Students and teachers from surrounding colleges also attended the event.

Study circle discusses translation of Leo Tolstoy’s book

Opening the event, Prof Yasir Ali Shah Yasir said that the main objective of launching of study circle a few months ago was to instill critical sense among students and motivate them to revive reading habit to build a positive worldview.

“The book under discussion is in fact the first ever Pashto translation of a renowned Russian author, which has earned appreciation from Pashto literary circles. The book has been translated in major languages and the Pashto version spreads over about 134 pages carrying autobiographical accounts of the author,” he said.

Prof Shahab Aziz Arman, chaired the event, said that translations from world classics always helped readers to enlarge their scope and played a significant role in shared legacy of human sublime thoughts and ideas.

He said that Dr Hanif Khalil should be credited for enriching Pashto literature with rendition of Tolstoy’s world classic.

Prof Nadir Shah said that great fiction authors produced inspiring creative works and most books written in Russian language could be described being complex, difficult and long but the Pashto version of the Tolstoy’s ‘Confession’ ran into only over 100 pages along with the translator’s foreword.

“Tolstoy’s description is focused on his personal view regarding atheism. After through study of Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, he had come to the conclusion that theism was inevitable for satiating spiritual being and the religion of Islam offered the best option,” he said.

Prof Ahmad Saeed urged students to read world classics so that they could get treasure trove of great authors at global level. He said that the lone rational for translating world sublime thoughts in one’s own language was to enrich it and help avid bibliophiles to widen their mental scope.

Later an interesting questions and answers session was held in which the panelists responded to the queries of participants to their entire satisfaction. Prof Salman Anwar, Prof Qadir and Prof Abdullah Shah Fahad also spoke at the event.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2023

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