Tagore in Lepcha

Kalimpong, April 6: Rabindranath Tagore’s connection with this quaint little town has been revived with the first translation of his Nobel-prize winning work Gitanjali into the Lepcha language.

Gauripur House, located in the upper reaches of Kalimpong, used to be the summer retreat of Tagore. Now a resident of the town, Ren P.T. Lepcha, has translated 17 of the 103 verses of the book in an effort to introduce the collection of songs (gitanjali literally means ‘song offerings’) to the Lepcha community.

“It is my honour that I could make an attempt to translate the most famous work of one of the greatest literary figures of all times.” Lepcha said. “Although at the moment I have been able to translate only a part of the great work, I hope to translate the entire collection, god willing, and time permitting.”

Lepcha, a retired Central Intelligence Department employee, is an acclaimed Lepcha scholar and was given the Bhasha Samman Award 2002 by Sahitya Akademi. He is also the general secretary of Indigenous Lepcha Literary Association.

The 88-page book gives the original of each verse in Bengali, the translation in Lepcha as well as the Bengali transcript of the translated poem.

It was released by D.P. Pattanayek (former director of Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore) on March 26 at Asiatic Society, Calcutta, during a three-day national seminar on languages and literature of the Northeast.

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