Roman Catholic translates Hindu texts into Khasi language

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Roman Catholic Church in England
Shillong, May 19:  A devout Roman Catholic is in pursuit of introducing his native Christian population to the myths and teachings of Hindu mythology.

Having already translated the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Upanishad into Khasi language, Lesli Hardinge Pde, a former Khasi civil servant, has now come out with the Khasi version of the Bhagawad Gita.

These religious texts could open up a window for the devouts as well as the laymen, which, Pde said, had prompted him to undertake the task of translation.

''We should accept all that is good for us. Moreover, from religious books, you derive a lot of knowledge on moral ethics. It is from religious books that one can draw true inspiration," he observed.

The retired civil servant, who is also the president of the Catholic Authors' Guild, translated the Ramayana back in 1986. This was followed by a joint effort with S. Dkhar to translate the Mahabharata in 1988.

Pde has set his sight on translating Kalidasa's 'Abhigyana-Shakuntalam' next. Pde said the church has been very supportive of his endeavour.

"At first when I translated Ramayana, there was some resentment among people, but I just kept quite. They did not want to accept it, but as I said from the very beginning Church did not have any reservation",he said.

He points that Father John Madur, the chancellor of the Shillong Archdiocese, has written the review of his latest book, Bhagawad Gita, or Ka Jingrwai U Blei, in Khasi.

According to Father Madur, The Bhagawad Gita teaches us the deep relationship that exists between man and God. It speaks not only about the past, but also the present and the future. It speaks not only about groups or clans, but also about people at the individual level.

Published by his daughter Loretta Kharmawphlang, Pde has used the English version of the Bhagawad Gita by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood for translation purpose.

He said it usually took 4-5 months to translate a book, but the Upanishad took longer as it had a lot of Hindu technical words which were difficult to translate into Khasi.

On choosing Hindu mythology to translate into Khasi, Pde said, "I want to develop the Khasi language. We have enough teachings of Christian mythology in Khasi, but there were only a few Hindu writings."

Also the Sahitya Akademi has encouraged Khasi authors to translate books written in other languages to ensure that Khasi language is expanded and enriched.

PTI 

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