Kavyanjali: In Support of Padma Shree Haldhar Nag | Milaap
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Kavyanjali: In Support of Padma Shree Haldhar Nag
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    Laxmi Garg

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Spreading awareness about Haldhar Nag. Samples of translation work.

Hello  there, I am Surendra Nath, a lesser known writer who has published a novel, ‘Karna’s Alter Ego’ and several short stories. I hope to be known as an author one day.

This project is NOT FOR ME, but in support of Mr. Haldhar Nag. I saw him being interviewed on the TV and was impressed with his down-to-earth talk. He is a poet, who rose to recognition when he received the Padma Shree Award (the fourth highest decoration in India), in the field of literature on Republic Day of 2016.

I visited him in his village-home and returned with mixed feelings of gratitude, humility and sadness at seeing his living condition. Don’t get me wrong, he is not rueing his misfortune, indeed a man more content than he, I am yet to find. He is very happy with what god has given him and welcomed me warmly to his cottage.

The cottage or house, whatever we may choose to call it, has been built with grant from Indira Awaas Yojana (PMGAY). We sat in a room that could only accommodate one cot and two chairs, tight-fit. He showed me his other little room with great pleasure, for it was filled with awards and certificates he has received. Alas, the awards are mostly stacked on the floor, some kept upon a steel trunk, and one of them is the Padma Shree!

At 66 he is hale and hearty, for he is a villager who earns his bread through hard work. For him it doesn’t matter that he lives hand to mouth. (Padma awards carry no cash prize.) Haldhar Nag is a paragon of simplicity and of contentment.

He has studied only up to class 3. In the 50’s that’s how much education poor folks could get before starting to labour on someone else’s field. He has been writing poems ever since he attained youth, and must have written about a thousand poems, and knows by heart every single one of them; what a colossal memory! He writes in the Koshali language (also called Sambalpuri language) that lies unrecognised in the directory of unofficial dialects.

THE WORLD of ARTS & LITERATURE WILL BENEFIT: All his work would lie unknown to the rest of the world, unless someone translated them into languages that are more widespread. I decided to translate them into English and publish a book. This will help his work reach millions of readers worldwide. Your contribution will help spread the good work of this man. It will also help spread awareness about the relatively lesser known language called Koshali-Sambalpuri.

PROGRESS OF WORK: I have completed more than halfway through the translation of the first collection of his poetic works. I am not charging any money for this work, nor am I hoping to make any profit from it. I have promised to Haldhar Nag that profit, if any, will go to him and he has chosen to use it to educate the tribal and poor children of his village and nearby villages.

The title of the book will be ‘Kavyanjali (Vol. I): Selected Poetic Works of Haldhar Nag. Translated by Surendra Nath. It will contain both – poems in Koshali and their translations in English. After completing the translation, I shall get the cover design, page setting and publishing done professionally and artistically. I plan to print 1000 copies, in the first instance. Any shortfall in the funding will be covered by me, and if at all there is an excess it will go towards launch/release of the book with media coverage.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR YOU? We have kept YOU in mind. Rewards for those who support with:
Rs. 500/-   --> An e-book of Kavyanjali first volume
Rs. 1000/- --> Will receive One print book of Kavyanjali first volume (autographed by Padmashree Haldhar Nag)
Rs. 2000/- --> Will receive Two print book of Kavyanjali first volume Plus your name will be printed in the acknowledgement section of the book. (autographed by Padmashree Haldhar Nag)

 This is a transparent and clean project. We are fine if you support even with Rs. 100/- only. Without providing financial help, you may also join us to spread the word about this project.

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