Man is my message, Man is my music
A A peek into Maha Kavi Sri Sri's translations that are a window to the world literature Rama Teertha On the occasion of Sri Sri's 103rd birth...
A A peek into Maha Kavi Sri Sri's translations that are a window to the world literature Rama Teertha On the occasion of Sri Sri's 103rd birth anniversary on April 30, we remember him as an avid reader and an active translator of prose, poetry and plays beside his original poetry, few stories and thousands of cinema lyrics. Starting from 1928 when as an 18-year-old teenager he translated Sri Arthur Conan Doyle's story into 'Chitra Rahasyam', he did Telugu translation of eighty one poems of renowned poets, twenty seven stories, two dramas, and a long poem up to 1981. No other poet of his times even attempted translation as a continual work, leave alone such huge scale activity spanning across 53 years from 1928 to 1981. 'Prabhava', his first metrical verse anthology has two poems one each of Alfred Tennyson and a sonnet of Shakespeare. There is a brief presence of translations again in his magnum opus 'Maha Prasthaanam' in which two poems 'Gantalu' and 'Advaitam' are based on the works of EA Poe and AC Swinburne and there is a third poem that has been acknowledged by Sri Sri as a translation of a Emily Verharen's poem 'Les Pauvres' (Pedalu). His major segment of translated poetry has appeared in the 1966 anthology 'Khadgasrishti', comprising fifty four poems of thirty one poets from different nationalities. Some of these poets are Pablo Neruda, WH Auden, Andre Breton, Dylan Thomas, Salvador Dali, Alexander Pushkin, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Charles Baudelaire, Louis Macnice and Christopher Logue. Between 'Mahaprasthanam', (It was completed in 1940 and published in 1950) and his second anthology 'Khadga Srishti' (1966), he did prose translations and this amounts to twenty seven stories, most of them (13) are of William Saroyan, the American writer. The major story writers he translated include Maupausant, Gulio Caprin, Charles Dickens, Hilaire Belloc, Franz Kafka, E.A. Poe, Lu xun, V.S.Pritchet, and translation of two plays 'The Cherry Orchard' of Russian writer Anton Chekhov and 'The Mother', Czech writer Karel Capek's play based on the Spanish civil war. He also translated the long poem 'Vladimir Ilyich Lenin' by Vladimir Mayakovsky. His last compilation of poetry 'Maro prasthaanam' that appeared in 1980 contained translation of fourteen poems, in which apart from few new poems from the poets covered in the earlier anthologies, the new names are few, and these are Latin American and Chinese writers. At the time of appearance of this anthology, Sri Sri remained a staunch Maoist and endorsed the armed struggle of masses to bring in social change. The translations demand patient reading, comparison with the originals, in order to arrive at the skill and finesse of Sri Sri in embarking upon such a huge body of translation work. His essays and Sataka poetry also had many international references and to understand the pun and the finer point the poet is making in them, one needs to understand the international situation. Sri Sri throughout his life remained a poet with an international consciousness and his various writings are ample proof that the world of Sri Sri is that of a cosmopolitan world citizen, and a poet of that creative stature and comprehensive vision can only say that "Man is my message, Man is my Music". In depth study into his works of translation is an area that still needs to be addressed in right earnest.