Arabic version of 3000-years-old Indian poetry launched at Sharjah Book Festival 2021

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SHARJAH – The Arabic version of a book containing 100 Indian poems, some of which are thousands of years old, was launched during a ceremony on the sidelines of the 40th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) at Expo Centre Sharjah.

 100 Great Indian Poems – an anthology of poems written in 28 Indian languages including Kashmiri, Bengali, Tamil, and Urdu ­– has been translated by the Sharjah Institute for Heritage in a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the Consulate General of India.

“Some of the poems in the book are as old as 3,000 years,” said Abhay Kumar, the Indian Ambassador to Madagascar, who edited the book, which was originally published in 2018, and has since been translated into various languages including Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Malagasy, French, Irish and Nepalese.

“The launch of the Arabic version will help to take Indian poetry to millions of readers in the Arab world and it is a great moment of pride not only for me but for all Indian poets – living, and from the past,” the diplomat said in a video message during the event organised by the Indian Consulate at the Intellectual Hall at Expo Centre Sharjah where SIBF 2021 will run until November 13.

Expressing his gratitude to the Sharjah Institute for Heritage for translating the collection of poems in ‘record time’, Abhay Kumar read out Manushya Puthiran’s Epitaph on my Gravestone, a poem in Tamil translated by CS Lakshmi and Arundhathi Subramaniam. “There is no one here, you may go,” he recited from the book that also features the works of legendary poets like Mirza Ghalib and Firaq Gorakhpuri.

“We translated this book to introduce (to the Arab world) the Indian poetic heritage and to enhance cooperation and cultural ties between the UAE and India,” said Dr. Minni Bounama, Director of Content and Publishing at the Sharjah Institute for Heritage.

“This work is just the beginning of a project that aims to strengthen the cultural bridge between the two sides by promoting the heritage of the two countries on a wider scale,” he added, suggesting that more similar translations would follow soon.

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