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Now, read Shakespeare in Santhali

Jamshedpur, Dec. 21 (Source-The Telegraph): Language will no longer be a barrier for Santhalis wanting to read Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For, noted Santhal writer Biswanath Tuddu has recently translated the famous work of William Shakespeare. Tuddu spoke to The Telegraph during his visit here for the 4th International Santhal Conference at Tata auditorium.

Tuddu, who hails from Orissa, said: “It is a classic work of the great writer and I wanted people of my community, who cannot read English, to appreciate it. It took me two months to get the work translated into Santhali.”

Tuddu, who has been conferred with a number of awards including the Pandit Raghunath Murmu Fellowship, Swanth Rishi (given by Adivasi Society Religious and Cultural Organisation) and Ambedkar Fellowship, claimed that he would like to translate more works of Shakespeare in the tribal language.

“However, time constraint is a major hindrance in my mission to translate more books. I would definitely love to translate more plays of the great English writer in the days to come and would do it when I get time,” said Tuddu, who has a Master’s degree in English.

Murmu decided to translate Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream last year.

“I was invited by the National School of Drama to prepare a short play based on the same work but in Santhali language. The play was presented at New Delhi in December 2007. It was then that I decided to come out with a written version of the same play,” said Tuddu.

However, the writer devoted another one month to give the final touches to the Santhali version of the book, which was released this October. The writer claimed that the response has been satisfying till now, keeping in mind the limited market for his work.

“We ordered for 1,000 copies of the translated copy and have managed to sell over 200 within a couple of months. The response is not bad as very few Santhals have knowledge of Ol Chiki, the script for writing Santhali,” added Murmu.

The writer has even started a drive to ensure that more people of the community come forward to learn Ol Chiki.

“I have come up with hand bags, T-shirts and pamphlets that carry the message on the importance of Ol Chiki for a Santhal. We have also designed rangoli patterns that carry the message for promotion of language and culture,” claimed the Santhal writer.

Murmu, who started his writing career by publishing a few Santhali novels around five years ago, is presently trying to develop child literature in Ol Chiki for the new generation of students. His books are part of the Santhali curriculum in Orissa.

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