Gita Govinda Jayadeva's Divine Odyssey
|Author:||Utpal K. Banerjee|
|Publisher:||Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts|
|Pages:||167 (Throughout Color Illustrations)|
Gita Govinda: Jayadeva's Divine Odyssey is the first-ever fully-rhymed translation -- in English verse of the twelfth-century great Indian poet's Sanskrit epic, known all over the country (and its neighbourhood) through chanting, choral recitation, traditional music, classical dance, miniature painting and intricate sculpture. Its annotations and commentaries have appeared in all the Indian languages over centuries. This book attempts a completely-poetic translation with the following distinctive features. First, its verse rendering attempts to follow Jayadeva's original construction of meters and rhythmic patterns. Second, it tries to create his nuances of brilliant alliterations and frequent "internal rhymes" in English to convey the lilt of the original. And third, it remains as faithful to the original Sanskrit meanings and implications as has been practicable.
While this book is modelled on Edward FitzGerald's world-famous verse-translation of Rubaiyat of Omar Khaiyam published in 1859 and afterwards, this work is a departure - in the third aspect from the Rubaiyat, in the latter not converting all the original couplets into expanded quatrains and causing "transmogrification". In that sense, this book is also a departure from all the available English translations from India and abroad, which are no doubt lyrical, but only. attempt prose: thus missing out the cadence and resonance of Jayadeva, the Kaviraj (king among poet), whose "word-perfect" composition has not undergone an iota of change anywhere: in it's near millennium existence!
Dr. Utpal K. Banerjee has been an adviser on Management and Information Technology for 15 years, after obtaining PhD in the University of Manchester, UK, as Commonwealth Scholar With an abiding interest in Indian Art and Culture, he was "National Project Director for IGNCA relating to the UNDP project on Multimedia Database for Art and Culture Documentation and Computerisation (1991-93). He lectured at universities, educational institutions and museums on Indian art and culture in Canada (1990) and in South America (1998) under the ICCR, and gave similar lectures in Canada (1992, 1995) under Kalabharati, Canada He give regular lectures on Indian art and culture to the IFS probationers at the ICCR and to Afro-Asian diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI). His article on "Role of Cultural Diplomacy" appeared in Indian Foreign Policy Agenda for the 21st Century from FSL He presented Tagore's Dance in "World Dance Alliance Global Summit" in Brisbane, Australia, 2008, resulting in Tagore's Mystique of Dance (2011). He was awarded Senior Fellowship from Government of India, 2007-09, for working on A Journey with the Buddha (2010, 2-volume).
His major books on theatre are: Bengal Theatre: 200 Years (1998), Indian Theatre in 21st Century (2009) and Theatre in South Asia Frontiers of India, Pakistan Nepal Bangladesh and Cherseas (2012) As a senior performing arts critic, he has contributed a regular cultural column in The Pioneer from 1994-2016. On Indian poppetry. his collaborative books are Indian Puppets (2006). Indian Puppetry & Puppet Stories (2007), and Puppets of India and Abroad (2014). Ho other works are Hindu Joy of Life (2006), Laminous Harmony Indian Art & Culture (2011), Rainbow Rhymes of Tagore for children in four volumes (Sahitya Akademi, 2011). Tagore-nama (2011) and Tagore's Dance-drama Omnibus (2012). He has done tri-lingual translationic Mystic Songs of Tagore, Romantic Songs of Tagore and Patriotic Songs of Tagore (2012-13). With books published on Tagore in the single year of his 150th Birth commemoration, he received "All-India Record" from The Limca Book of Records (2013). Since 1990s, he has been chronicling the trends and overview of Indian performing arts and culture in a series of eight books beginning with multi-edition book Inilian performing arts (1992) and the last being in The Canvas of Indian Perfuming Arts (2019) (still counting). All the books are enlisted in Wikipedia and available on Amazon.
He planned and executed, for DD Archives, a act of DVDs on Tagore's memorable songs and provided full texts for 53 episodes of Bharat: Ek Kho by Shyam Benegal for their 14 DVD A frequent contributor on cultural and professional programmes to London BBC AIR and Indian Television over last 32 years, he conducted in-depth interviews on Indian dance music and theatre luminaries for the DD Archives "Great Masters Series: He was "Chief Coordinator for the official "Leaders of India pject under Prasar Bharati, for collecting audio & video holdings on Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi & Rajiv Gandhi for archiving and eventually creating an interactive Website, 2009-10. He was "Tiger Research Scholer under Min Of Culture at 1GNCA for metadata management of their cultural archives, 2012-14.
He was awarded Padma Shri in 2009 by President of India.
In this book, I have attempted to translate fully rhymed English verse - the full text of Gita Govinda (twelve Sargas/Cantos, with twenty-four Prabandhas/songs) by the twelfth-century poet Jayadeva. As a major poet of Sanskrit language, he showed an extraordinary flair for word selection and the finest acumen for alliteration and internal rhyme, so much so that his "word-perfect" text circulated to all the Indian states (and neighbouring countries like Nepal) without any omission or aberration of the original text. This is much more than can be said of any other Sanskrit treatise, composed in ancient or medieval India without exception.
The major inspiration behind my fully rhymed effort has been Rubaiyat of Omar Khaiyam, translated by Edward FitzGerald. It was first published in 1859, followed by several editions and countless reprints, and has since then translated in numerous languages and appreciated the world over. I, however, have a major qualification about FitzGerald's fidelity- as he himself admitted to the exquisite original couplets where he expanded them, in translation into quatrains. I have not dared what FitzGerald called "transmogrification" in my rhymed rendering. Rather, I have tried to remain faithful to each original couplet of Jayadeva's numbering some 250 couplets in his text and retain, as much as possible, the cadence of his alliterations and internal rhymes (including his schema of Sanskrit rhymes like Mandakranta, Shardula vikreedita and others).
Much like the glacial levels of the Indian heights, from where sources streams and rivers have come down to fertilise the long-stretching plains and create many sangams (confluences), but seldom stagnated, - the awesome range of Indian culture has given a rise to Jayadeva and his Gita Govinda. Gita Govinda is regarded as great medieval. phenomenon taking off from the early Vaishnavism and travelling all over the country and beyond. Its 12 Sargas (cantos), 24 Prabandhas (songs) and 72 verses have remained fairly unvaried in their genre- unlike Ramayana, which also travelled far and wide. but underwent varied mutations. Its unchanged text is extent in 3,500 manuscripts discovered so far, with 40 different commentaries and illustrated in 4,300 miniature paintings. The dramatic tone, written in superb lyrics with far-ranging nuances and resonances, is a fountainhead of religious inspiration. Dedicated to the god Krishna, it concentrates on his amours for his cowherdess-consort Radha in a rite of spring. Its tone and tenor of intense earthly passion expresses the complexities of both divine and human love.**Contents and Sample Pages**
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