By this time Shreerang, (Dr. Shreerang Godbole) had started making noises re me translating all of Savarkar’s poems! The idea was so preposterous that it didn’t even sink into my brain at once. And when it did, I squawked—and how . . . !!
Nevertheless, I shortly found myself pounding out the poems on my laptop and shooting them off to my mother. My poor mother, faithfully and uncomplainingly, worked on them. It wasn’t easy for her either. Savarkar’s poems are not easy—be-e-a-utiful but not easy—to comprehend.
The whole process from typing to preparing my ‘work file’ was incredibly tedious and monotonous. But when it came to the figuring out the poem and the translation . . . ! That was soul-stirring for me. Impossible to put it in words!
How very glad I was that I had (so bravely) undertaken the translations. The poems revealed a Savarkar I may never have discovered otherwise. I spent hours and hours studying the poems. Literally, I felt a tingle all over when I understood them. I had to understand them in both heart and mind, before I could begin the translations.
In the poem below (at least in the original) one can feel Savarkar’s desperation to stir the people into freeing his beloved Hindustan.
Take! Do take the oath, O Youths,
An oath to die for your Country, do take!
Ah! How rest you with such ease?
Do not you feel pangs of torment?
Strive for Tilak’s Goal!
Writhing helpless in anguish it be!
The Hindu trumpet resounds! The word is spread!
Hear me! My throat is hoarse, very hoarse
Reiterating this refrain.
And yet! Yet your hearts are not ablaze.
Strive for the goal,
Lest Our Country be destroyed!
Let not a mere name it be worldwide!
I discovered that Savarkar had a fascinating way of using similar words in a sentence which gave different meanings:
Retuj saritpate ! ji sarita
Vidhvansuni kumpana ha righala
Ghalavayala par tola ghala
Galavarchya kusumi kinva kusumancha gaali
With this attempt, I became much emboldened. When I was faced with several French documents in the Savarkar Case, and no one able to translate them, I decided to do it myself.
More on that tomorrow.
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