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Thursday, July 07, 2011

Nagamandala and Translation

(The following write is a classroom note prepared by Preethi Ayyalusami base on the lecture given by Anil Pinto on 'Nagamandala and Translation' on 6 July 2011 at Christ University for BA English Honours students)

The students were asked to give their opinions on Translation or what they thought translators are:
The students called translators as conspirator, untruthful- Historians phrased them as infidels and traitors. They are doing a bad job by not being truthful and spoil the aesthetics of the work.
The problem of non translatability due to cultural difference
Translation is a selective transmission of culture

The question of Original vs. Copy:
Is the translated text different from original translation?
Is translation rewriting?

 An Indian folk tale.
 A rework of Indian mythologies
 Which one is original English or Kannada?
 Questions the sanctity of marriage.
 Questions the legality of transgression.

What is translation-?
 Oral to writing.
 Writing to writing
 Thought to writing

There are two approaches to a literary text:
I. Literary Textuality.
II. Locate it in social context.

Most often individuals become experts in social context. It is important to fundamentally know the text well. One needs to do close reading of the text. While the first approach hinges on Kant the second hinges on Marx by looking at text as a social production that no text can have autonomous existence. According to Kant anything that appeals to an individual without any motive is aesthetic pleasure without any ulterior motive.

How many stories are in Nagamandala?
Story tells the story; a song comes out of the old women’s house where story becomes a women and song the sari. In Kannada version story and song go together like the women and the sari.
The play does not happen at a visual level it’s based on narrative telling
Perhaps the man in the story was dreaming.
Rani, flames, story and Kurudava everybody has a story/ies.
Karnad gives emphasis on different layers of symbolism.
The test becomes aesthetic by infusing multiple layers of signification. The actions, staging, strategies are ways of authors crafting.
There are many symbolisms in Nagamandala.
E.g.: The door, the symbol of closed door.
She steps out of the house twice which leads to transgression.
Moving out of the door can be considered as a sexual transgression.
Karnad was heavily influenced by psychoanalysis.
Snake denotes sexuality.
Crossing a threshold- a woman going out of the house is considered as disobeying. It's going against the societal norms.These both transgressions give her liberation.

Karnad has depicts the stories like opening and closing a mathematical problem. Its evident in the play as the story comes up at some point and ends within the story. Similarly the man starts it and ends it.
In the text the story at some instance talks to Rani and asks her to behave.
A dues ex machina (a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.)
A play is a better craft when a story leads to another. Without stories's intervention the play cannot progress.

 Awareness – birth of knowledge.
 Transgression - loss of faith, defiance
 Renaissance evolved due to disagreement with church and challenging the given beliefs.
 Aristotle disagrees with Plato, hence science was originated.
 Adam and Eve get knowledge by eating the apple.

Therefore sexuality is also a form of knowledge which is gained through experience of the union. Rani, the protagonist of the novel is no more a young innocent girl. She is a new Eve, a complete person.
Epistemologyseeks to strive for concept not word and language. The concept should be that strong that the discipline boundary starts collapsing. “Knowledge is the considerable understanding where further theory develops”.
Higher education should give you concepts and skill.
We don’t have a concept of translation; hence anybody can question it and object it.

Similarly, who is a subaltern?
We use it without knowing the concept of subaltern.
What’s the difference between oppressed, exploitation and subaltern?
Women are oppressed in India. They work for commitment, family and due to the precondition of institution.
Exploitation is an economic category which refers improper reward to labour.
Anybody who cannot access the state is called subaltern. Both oppressed and exploited people can access the state but a subaltern can’t.

Answers to the questions asked in the beginning of the class regarding translations.
The question of origin is a historical and philosophical development of platonic thoughts. It’s a European problem of understanding context.
Feminists study the translation discourses mapping process of translation on to a female body. Words like infidelity and truthfulness are associated to it.
The whole debate of originality hinges  on platonic problem.
Non translationabitlity - philosophy of language believes that it’s not a universal problem. E.g.: Math is explained in English and it’s understood by people all over the world.
 English has evolved as a international language its ‘ globish’.
Who decides what is to be translated?
i. The industry- the global capital market decides what is in need.
ii. dominant sections of a community decide.

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