Russian tales mingle with Indian folklore

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New Delhi, Feb 7 (UNI) Standing in front of the Russian pavilion at the World Book Fair, sniff the lingering old Soviet warmth as the Kurai (flute) playing man in traditional dress smiles at you, while performing artists from Tatarstan sway to the tune of folk music.

As you move forward, opposite is a stall with a display of colourful Russian wares, bright flower paintings on trays and utensils.

Enter the pavilion and you find works of classic Russian litterateurs such as Tolstoy and Pushkin seated with young Russia of modern authors.

The 80 publisher delegation is celebrating the year of Russia in India with an attempt to revive the old bonding between the two nations.

Year 2009, in turn, will be celebrated as the year of India in Russia.

The Russian pavilion has translations of Mahabharata, Ramayana, Puranas and Vedas mingling with modern books on Indian polity, economy and bollywood.

Books on India, Indian religions and Music, biographies of 19 century Indian intellectuals, Mahatma and his thoughts also adorn their racks.

Even as Russian literature marks a cultural exchange, the amount of Russian books translated in English and Hindi is very scanty, delegate Gubarev Evgeny said.

In a round table discussion of Indian and Russian scholars about ''Translation Problems'', Prof Madan Lal Madhu said, '' During the '50s, I used to translate Russian literary works into Hindi and other languages from English. Later, when I learnt Russian, I realised that reading Russian works in Russian and in English are entirely different.'' The experts further expressed their concern over the growing number of publishers reprinting unauthorised translations, saying there was a need for the government to find a mechanism for fixing the problem.

Talking about the Russian book market, the experts said, ''Though we have much more writers, but readers are shrinking. It seems they are no more interested in reading. May be the new found freedom has taken its toll.'' The pavilion exhibited a collection of miniature books on space, works on literature and religion such as W Shakespeare Sonnets and Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.

The micro books collected by Yaroslav Kostjuk were beautifully carved and decorated and listed in the Guiness Book of World Records.

A book entitled Russia-2050, giving strategies for innovative breakthroughs, caught everyone's eyes.

''With whole lot of books, we haven't forgot to bring manuals of Chess to India, the home of world Chess Champion,'' Mikhail V Levner of Library for Natural Sciences said.

There are books and diskettes for students, including ones that teach how to speak Russian.

Dictionaries and books on Russian slang, jargon and proverbs have also been appreciated by young and adults both, Lukina Yana said, adding, '' We have licenses for printing our books in 10 different countries. Now we are looking for one Indian license.'' There are books from Nauka publishers catering to the need of higher studies in Russia. Stories and fairy tales for children and latest research in the field of economics, religion, cookery and fashion can be seen on the stands.

Books, fiction and non fiction written by young authors are displayed and many of them such as Ravil Bukharaev, Vyacheslav Lupriyanov and Alexander Senkevich are present to interact with the visitors.

The pavilion is also conducting round table conferences on Space exploration, Information technology, Russian poetry and literature.

So by the next World Book Fair, we hope to find more Russian books in Hindi and other Indian languages, Mr Evgeny said.

UNI SYU RP DS1550

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