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Broken Republic

KARACHI, Shikasta Jamhooriat — an Urdu translation of a collection of Arundhati Roy’s essays, Broken Republic — by Asif Farrukhi was launched at The Silent Reed on Monday.

The event was a casual get-together of book lovers and socially motivated individuals.

Talking about the book, Farrukhi said it was a set of three essays of highly revered Indian novelist and social activist

Arundhati Roy. He termed the second essay the centerpiece of the book, which pertained to Roy’s visit to those areas that were occupied by Maoists. In that piece, she had raised many pertinent questions regarding the direction in which society was headed, he said.

Farrukhi said the book also raised many queries about his own society and it occurred to him that we in our (Pakistani) country weren’t discussing those issues. He said Roy in her typically eloquent manner touched on the problems of how the corporate elite manipulated government machineries.

On the issue of how difficult it was to translate Roy’s work, Farrukhi said it was improbable to recapture her style, but the relevance and urgency of the topic of the book were such that he found it imperative to translate it into Urdu. He said translating Roy was a complicated undertaking because not even an English writer could match the way she experimented with the English language and the manner with which she employed English phrases and idioms. However, he said, since the
subject of the essays was related to the masses, it was important to present it in the language that they (masses) understood.

The things that Maoists were dreaming were significant for the rest of the world, he added.

Journalist Ghazi Salahuddin commented that the difference between India and Pakistan was that in our country criticism meant arguments against democracy (anti-democracy), whereas in India democracy was credible and the public intellectual was playing his/her role.

Fahmida Riaz remarked ours was a totally mutilated society. Those who belonged to the world of thought and thinkers were cut off from the middle classes, she said. The poet looked unhappy with the kind of drawing room intellectualism that people resorted to.

Prior to the official launch of the book, journalist Zubeida Mustafa acknowledged the efforts of the publishers of Shikasta Jamhooriat who had also set up a place where activities related to book-reading and intellectual pursuits could be held. She said linguistic, social and economic distances between different segments of society were increasing and there was a need to bridge that gap. She highlighted the issue of children acquiring education in different types of schools.

The woman behind the event and publisher of the book, Shahbano Alvi, thanked the participants of the programme and informed them about her plans as to how she intended to make the platform useful for healthy, education-related quests.

Ghazi Salahuddin suggested that special stalls under tents at book bazaars should be set up by those who ran places like The Silent Reed. They should invite writers to discuss various issues over a cup of tea there. The idea was widely appreciated.
((ref:news:http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/22/translation-of-roys-essays-launched.html)) </

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