Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Bible which draws from Vedas, Gandhi

August 17, 2008

A new version of the Bible published by the Roman Catholic Church has become a huge hit in Kerala.

References in the Indianised version of the Bible have been picked up from the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Manusmriti.

The characters in the Bible have also been dressed up in Indian clothes. A sketch shows Joseph wearing a turban and Mary in a sari. Mother Mary holds baby Jesus in her arms in the sketch.

However, the sketch is just one among the 24 sketches in the new Indianised Bible published by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Indianisation does not end with the sketches. The Bible not only contains commentaries with references to the Upanishads, the Gita and the Manusmriti, it also has references to Gandhi and Miraben.

Nevertheless, the text is the accepted Catholic version.

“I welcome this unprecedented step as long as the message of Bible is never compromised with. The Biblical version, which we have been reading in India, is mostly the translations by European scholars. For example, The Jerusalem Bible poem. However, the Indianised version is a new attempt by Asian scholars and theologians,” says Theologian and thinker, Professor PT Chacko.

The Indianised bible is a revised edition of the popular Christian Community Bible, which is produced by French priest Bernardo Hurault, for non-English speaking audience. About 30 scholars have worked on the Indian interpretations, which are published as footnotes.

“There are about seventy references to non-Christian texts in both the Testaments. About 30 scholars participated in making the commentary. Some of them have included Indian scriptures, while others have not,” says Spokesperson of Syro Malabar Church, Father Paul Thelakkat.

Meanwhile, the Church says the idea is to give a cultural relevance to the message of the Bible and going by the response in Kerala, it seems that the idea has been well received.

An international school where Sanskrit is compulsory!

August 8, 2008

The corridors of the school resonates with the chants of Sanskrit shlokas each day. Never mind the somewhat muddled and imperfect pronunciations, the spirit of the students, many of whom are not Indians, symbolizes the ideology of the Global Indian International School that offers global education with the Indian spirit.

The Global Indian Foundation, a Singapore-based non-profit organisation which established the first Global Indian International School six years back in Singapore, has now grown into a healthy network of 15 schools in seven countries with more than 17,000 students.

While most students are Indians, the school also gets students from as many as 30 countries. Four schools are in India and the rest across countries like Malaysia, Japan, Vietnam, New Zealand, Thailand and Singapore. The forte of the school lies in offering world-class education and a curriculum that moulds its students into confident individuals. However, care is taken that the Indian spirit is never lost.

So, for instance, it’s compulsory for all students to learn Sanskrit. Atul Temurnikar, chairman of the Global Indian Foundation, said that whether Indian or not, all students have to learn spoken Sanskrit in their schools. “Initially some students had reservations about learning Sanskrit shlokas, thinking that it was a religious exercise. But then everything fell into place and now all students recite the shlokas… Absolutely perfect pronunciation is a challenge for the non-Indian students, but they do it with spirit,” Temurnikar told IANS over an interaction in the capital.

All the Global Indian International schools also have a compulsory Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Values and Thoughts – a library of books on Gandhi. “Archives of old photos of Gandhi, books and other print matter are kept in the Gandhi resource centres – a compulsory feature in all the schools,” Temurnikar said.

Chandamama goes digital with portals in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu; more to follow

August 4, 2008

Chandamama, the 61-year old children’s magazine, is now going ahead in its cyber avatar. The publication has launched its online portals in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. It already has a portal in English and will soon launch websites in Marathi and Oriya languages.

And if one is expecting only age-old, yet popular stories of Vikram and Betaal and other characters from mythology, then there is some pleasant surprise. The site has a contemporary look and feel, featuring stories in different categories like mythology, history, folk tales, humour, adventure, contemporary, etc.

This apart, the portal is a treasure trove for those brought up on Chandamama as it features an archive going back 60 years. At present, early editions the magazine in Hindi, English, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu can be found on the site. Other language editions as well as all the back issues in the past 60 years would go live soon.

Commenting on the archives, L Subramanyam, CEO, Chandamama, said, “There is a huge demand for classical Chandamama stories. By putting our archives up online, we hope we are in some way able to satisfy this demand. We have only put up six languages now, but eventually, our entire 60 years will be available online.”

On the launch of Tamil and Hindi portals, Subramanyam said, “We like to reach out to children in an environment they are most comfortable. The message of Chandamama is relevant across language and cultures. The Tamil and Hindi sites contain original stories written for the Tamil and Hindi publications, and in many cases these are different from the stories you will find on the English and Telugu sites.”

Sony opens up e-book Reader to other online booksellers

August 2, 2008

With the market for electronic books still relatively sleepy, Sony Corp. is trying a new tack: untethering the latest model of its e-book reading device from its own online bookstore.

On Thursday, Sony will provide a software update to the Reader, a thin slab with a 6-inch (15-centimeter) screen, so the device can display books encoded in a format being adopted by several large publishers. That means Reader owners will be able to buy electronic books from stores other than Sony’s.

“This upgrade opens the door to a whole host of paid and free content from third-party e-book stores, Web sites and even public libraries,” said Steve Haber, senior vice president of consumer product marketing for Sony Electronics.

With the move, Sony is partly letting go of its e-book business model, under which it sold the $300 device and the books that could be read on it. It’s also a challenge to Inc., which last year put out its own e-book reader, the Kindle, and tied it to its own online store. Amazon, however, makes it relatively easy for publishers and individuals to submit books to sell through the store, with Amazon taking 65 percent of the proceeds.

Opening up the Reader could also help Sony catch up to the $359 Kindle in terms of book selection _ Sony’s store, which it will keep running, has about 45,000 books available, while Amazon’s Kindle store sports more than 140,000.

Sony’s move could also help energize the e-book industry, which has yet to take off, despite the investment of big-name companies like Sony and Amazon. Neither has released sales figures for their reading devices.

(Source: The Hindu)

Hamburg University honours Dr Nishank

July 31, 2008

Health Minister of Uttarakhand and noted Hindi writer and poet Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” was honoured by Hamburg University of Germany for his commendable work in the field of literature as well as propagation of Ayurveda. The German translation of his story collection, Tum Aur Main was also released under the German title, Du und Ich, on this occasion. Dr Nishank was also honoured at a function in Berlin. English translation of his book was also released at a function held in Berlin.

The function at Hamburg was organised by the Afro-Asian Institute, University of Hamburg. After felicitating Dr Nishank, Professor Tapania Aarkaya of the University said Du und Ich and Nur Ein Wunsch were German translations of two fine Hindi books authored by Dr Nishank. She said Dr Nishank always wrote about human sensibilities and, therefore, attracted a good readership. Prof. Aarkaya stated that the other books written by Dr Nishank would also be translated into German language and the Hamburg University would help set up an International Hindi Research Centre in Uttarakhand. This would attract scholars from across the world to Uttarakhand for research. The Centre would serve as an institute not only for Hindi but also for several major world languages.

The English version of a collection of stories authored by Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” titled, the Crowd Bears Witness, was released by renowned Ayurvedic and Vedic scholar Dr David Frawley. The book is an English translation of his Hindi book, Bheed Sakshi Hai.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Frawley noted that literature and politics rarely mingled but Dr Nishank was an exception to the rule. Dr Nishank was a well-known author and poet too besides being a politician. He also reiterated that Dr Nishank had been awarded and honoured by three Presidents of India.

India is LBF focus for 2009

July 30, 2008

India is to be the Market Focus at the London Book Fair next year, while South Africa will take centre stage in 2010. The India Market Focus will take the theme “India Through Fresh Eyes”, and will include an examination of linguistic, economic and demographic issues, with visits from Indian writers and a publishing training programme for Indian publishers and printers.

A spokesperson for the Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) said: “India has a vibrant book publishing industry and the London Book Fair will provide a great opportunity to our publishers and also to old and emerging authors to showcase their latest titles and highlight progress made in India in the book publishing industry.”

In 2010, which will also be the year in which South Africa hosts the soccer World Cup, the theme of the South Africa Market Focus will be diversity, emphasising languages and non-English writers.

Dudley H Schroeder, executive director of the Publishers Association of South Africa, said: “At a time when the publishing industry in South Africa is experiencing real growth and development, we see this as another opportunity of showcasing our established and emerging authors, and the exciting range of literature of South Africa.”

Emma House, head of international development at the London Book Fair, said: “We are excited at the prospect of being able to focus on two such rich and diverse publishing industries.”

Read blogs/web sites in your own language!

July 27, 2008

Embed web site translator widgets on to your site or blog, and see that traffic grow

Want more Internet traffic on to your site or blog from other non-English speaking countries? Easy! Embed web site translator widgets on to your site or blog, and see that traffic grow!

One major challenge for any Web site or blog has been to attract traffic from all over the world. With most of the sites supporting English, it is quite difficult to get people of other nationalities to read what you have written. However, thanks to the Internet and Web 2.0, we now have something called widgets, which help Web sites and blogs overcome such challenges.

Web site and blog owners are now spoiled for choice!

You can now add the Mini Site Translator from Widgetbox! The languages supported by Google’s Mini Site Translator include French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Arabic.

There’s yet another widget, called, the Ultimate Website Translator! Again, you can embed the widget on to your ste or blog from

The ultimate website translator allows automatic translation to: Indonesia, Dutch, Français, Greek, Deutsch, Italiano, Português, Russian, Español, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Polish, Romanian, Svenska, Malay, Ukrainian, Persian, Hebrew, Türkçe, Brazilian Portuguese, Hungarian, Icelandic, Latin American Spanish, Tagalog, Serbian, Slovenian, Latin, Welsh, Catalan, English, and of course, Simplified and Traditional Chinese!

There is also the Alta Vista Babel Fish translator, just in case!

So, no more worrying about how to attract non-English speaking readers to your site or blog. Simply add these tools and you should be able to reach out to a much wider audience!

Narnia speaks Hindi now

July 26, 2008

For those who are worrying about the recession, here’s a whole new (well, almost) sector opening up. The just set up National Translation Mission requires 8,000 translators, 2,000 copy editors and 2,000 evaluators to man it, with Rs 99 crore from the union government financing the job.

Not many are aware, of course. Anything that’s not in English barely makes news. In a country of a billion plus people, only about 10 million Indians use English as their first language. Yet an estimated 40-45% of the (again estimated) Rs 7,500 crore Indian publishing industry’s sales come from English publishing. Unending colonial hangover?

Yes, India has more people who know English than in its land of origin. Though most Indians are more comfortable in their mother tongues, our toffee-nosed English publishing sector, the only one really publicised by the media, is just waking up to this fact. But as Kannan, publisher of the Chennai-based Kalachuvadu group that translates books into Tamil, points out: “Authors are keen to see their work in many languages even when it does not mean much revenue. The international trend is marginal writings and Indian English publishing must turn to Indian languages to trace these expressions.”

CEO of Harper PM Sukumar reminisces, “We grew up on English and Hindi translations of Russian works, so translation is important if we want to read the richest literatures in the world.” He agrees with Kannan: “This is the right time to get into bhasha publishing because people want to read good writing, be it original writings or good translations.” Harper has just launched into translations, with a Hindi imprint of the seven Chronicles of Narnia volumes. On the card are Hindi versions of Paulo Coelho’s The Witch of Portobello, Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing, and VS Naipaul’s A House for Mr Biswas. Harper is also translating English, Spanish, Portuguese and other languages into Hindi.

“While Indian language newspapers have been doing well, may be the Indian language books market has not been tapped in a proper manner,” says Naved Akber, Penguin Indian Languages section head. Penguin, India’s leading English publisher, which launched its language programme in 2005, is now doing translations from English into bhasha languages and vice versa. Languages like Malayalam and Bangla have high literary rates and hence large publishing markets, including the translation market. “The Malayalam book market has been performing well since 1960s,” points out Krishna Kumar of the State Institute of Languages, Kerala (SIL). Since SIL was established to encourage the production of higher level academic books in Malayalam in 1968, Kumar says all the major Malayalam publishers have come out with academic, literary or popular translations.

(Source: Financial Express)

Poet Samudra Gupta passes away

July 20, 2008

Noted poet Samudra Gupta passed away yesterday morning at the Narayana Hridayalaya Hospital in Bangalore, India, at the age of 62. He was suffering from gallbladder cancer and had been taken to India for treatment on July 3.

The poet was born on June 23 in 1946 at Hashil village in Sirajganj. Gupta, whose real name was Abdul Mannan took the pen name of Samudra Gupta in the 60s and is now widely known by his pen name.

Through his writings, Gupta created a strong voice against communalism and fundamentalism, and created his own following.

During his long writing career, Gupta who was a journalist by profession — penned 13 poetry books, one fiction and a poetry book with another writer. He also translated a number of other writers’ works and edited several books while a large number of his short stories and articles were published.

His poems have been translated into different languages including English, Chinese, French, Hindi, Nepali, Sinhalese, Japanese, Urdu and Norwegian.

Gupta’s famous works include Rode Jholshano Mukh, Swapnamongol Kabyo, Ekhono Utthan Achhey, Chokhey Chokh Rekhey, Ekaki Roudrer Dike, Shekorer Shokey etc.

The noted poet was honoured with different awards including the Humayun Kabir Award and Jessore Literature Award. He was also awarded the Poet Vishnu Dey Award and Language Day Honour by the government of Tripura state of India.

Gupta took part in mass upsurge in 1969 and was also a freedom fighter. In his professional life Gupta worked in different dailies and weeklies of the country. He was also a general secretary of National Poetry Council.

Golden Quill Book Award

July 16, 2008, one of India’s leading online shopping destination has instituted the Indiaplaza Golden Quill Book Awards. This annual award is aimed at encouraging quality writing amongst Indian authors.

Leading publishing houses in India have been invited to nominate their best books published in 2007. Five books are short listed and will be evaluated by an eminent panel of judges for the final “Critics’ Choice Award”. The readers will nominate the “Reader’s Choice Award” through the online voting system.

The winners will win the “Golden Quill” trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh. The award will be given to an Indian author domiciled in India for original full length novel or a work of fiction in English or a translation into English of an original full length novel or work of fiction of any Indian language published in India in the previous calendar year.

The panel includes Sir Mark Tully, writer and theatre critic Shanta Gokhale, Anita Nair, and novelist Mahasweta Devi.

For details visit