Presenting Bangla Literature to foreign audience
Literature has a universal and unified vision, message and agenda for the world in varied vernaculars. All literature, whether it be poems, essays, novels, or short stories, helps us understand human nature and different social conditions which affect all people. The essence of literature promotes human understanding which in return cements our bondage with others.
We need literature in order to connect with our own humanity. Literature is important and necessary for peace and prosperity. From the aesthetic point of all literature has a universal connection because of its relations with mankind and nature. Therefore, it is quite natural that any good piece of world literature will have an impact on any thoughtful mind. When the humans are coming closer everyday why not literature? Our writings say more loudly than our words.
It is a remarkable trend all over the world to bring world literature into the grasp of all people around the world to foster equal understanding. Therefore, the promotion of literature is a growing trend among the people of various cultures and languages. This new trend is growing worldwide, libraries are full of books from other languages and many works are being continuously translated and evaluated. New ideas are being examined and tried and the vistas of understanding are expanding.
Everywhere in the libraries, we can observe more appealing presentations of literature, theme exhibitions where new and classical is being mixed, literary panel discussions, reading clubs alongside more traditional initiatives for encouraging reading abilities in children and stimulating adults' interest in reading. This happens through the well-known and still popular meeting with authors at the library. One quite definitive innovation is the shift in focus from literary quality to the reader and the reader's interests, pure and simple, which is part of the general change in our library concept.
Bengali Literary Resource Centre (BLRC), Toronto has fondly aligned itself with this great trend which is a unique feature for any organization interested in literature. The organization aspires to collect, preserve, produce and distribute the important ideas from the Bengali literature to the outside world. It is also confident that our literature has many things to deliver which will be welcomed by the outsiders.
We observe a clear historical development in the librarian's professional basic attitude to the promotion of literature. The libraries around the world are proliferating like anything and our interest in reading is also growing unabated. We need to take advantage of this great opportunity by putting our literature on the shelf as soon as possible. Nowadays literature is not about the kings, nobles, princess, demons, and fairies. Rather is has become pragmatic in its looks touching the lives of millions and their daily issues. Libraries patronize interest in general reading of all kinds of writings.
The readers are abundant in all the ages. People have realized that there is a unity in diversity. The technical age has made our job easier by making printing and reading more accessible to the general public. The modern libraries worldwide know the taste of their readers by putting different books and journals in the shelves.
The theme in a story, the writer desires to disseminate may sound different in its presentation and social portrait but when we translate it finds a place in the heart of any reader. In other words, what critical belief about life is the author trying to convey in the writing of a novel, play, short story or poem resonates with other cultures and languages too. This belief, or idea, transcends cultural barriers.
It is usually universal in nature which can find a place and appreciation. That is the ultimate beauty of literature. Think about William Shakespeare who is being unendingly quoted everywhere whoever has understood his message and taken into their hearts. An English poet from a different cultural background and the players who all spoke different languages are still loved and appreciated by a universal audience. The underlying truth is the message not the place, language or people, it's the human emotion which can be universally shared.
BLRC has embarked upon an ambitious plan to bring the rich traditions and aroma of the Bengali literature in the eyes and attention of the western readers through a translation plan. The Bengali literature has some unique qualities which can have an everlasting effect in the minds of the non-Bengali readers. The Bengali literature which is an integral part of the general Indian literature has been deeply influenced by the ancient Indian philosophy.
We have many great Bengali writers whose creations worth reading by any thoughtful mind. Keeping this in mind we have chosen some young minds to work on a project to present Bengali literature to a foreign audience in translated forms. These young minds who transformed themselves from one generation to another have created a bridge to another culture and lifestyle but kept the connection and appreciation for the one where their roots belong.
The writer is an expatriate Bangladeshi writer, lives in Toronto