Monday, January 28, 2013

Globalocal Opening Address by Pavan K. Varma

GLOBALOCAL2013 – the Forum for Content is a one-off platform that bridges the gap
between publishers- regional, national, international or independent and provides
for them with one-on-one networking opportunities.

The forum this year at The Lalit, Jaipur, was creatively placed between two other
events- the Jaipur Literature Festival and New Delhi World Book Fair, providing
an opportunity for more participation of global and local players in the publishing

Pavan Varma, author and diplomat, rendered the opening speech and shed
light on the rich language heritage that India is blessed with but which remains
untapped for a more global stage.

‘India has a rich language heritage’, he says. ‘This is a country where there
are 22 languages that go back almost 2000 years. These are independent
languages. They aren’t modified or improvised. They have their own compass of
thoughts and a rich vocabulary.’

He rues the fact that with the rise in popularity of English and the influence
that it bears on the global and Indian stage, the Indian languages have been
marginalized. This he feels to be tragic for a country like India which has such a
rich history of languages.

He goes on to suggest that the purity and chastity of our own language needs
to be preserved and that we in India need to encourage English speaking while
being close to our own mother tongue.

Having also attended the Jaipur Literature Festival and spoken extensively on
various subjects apart from his own book on Kamasutra, Pavan is tremendously
happy with the events and reiterates their benefits. He believes there should be
more such conferences and forums held in different parts of the country.

There also needs to be a forum to bring together the translators to share ideas and
discuss their own development.

‘I want to hold a similar conference in Banaras’, he reveals.

‘You can never substitute your mother tongue. It’s your source to folklore,
rich heritage and stories’ he says with a staunchly supportive attitude towards
regional languages.

He believes that India at the time of Independence, in 1947 should have invested
in a university for translation.

‘There are a lot of writers walled up behind the barrier of language’, he
continues ‘We need good translations.’

He further goes on to list down the issues further by saying that there
aren’t enough properly trained translators and even if there is, there isn’t any
infrastructure to aid them flourish. The market is replete with bad translations that
take out the soul from the original work.

Pavan then goes on to share an incident where he discussed the Indian
education system with Javed Akhtar.

‘We need to seriously work on changing our education system’, he begins.

There is a need to educate our children in their regional language or mother
tongue till the 6th standard. It’s a proven fact that if one is good in one’s mother
tongue, it helps one pick up other foreign languages more easily.

‘It’s a mutilation if you begin your education by singing ‘Baba black sheep’
in nursery without even having begun to learn your own mother tongue’ he

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