Dr. Nabaneeta Dev Sen delivered the inaugural Sujit Mukherjee Memorial Lecture 2014 at UoH


The renowned poet, translator and creative writer Dr. Nabaneeta Dev Sen delivered the inaugural Sujit Mukherjee Memorial Lecture 2014 at the University of Hyderabad (UoH).


Sujit Mukherjee

Sujit Mukherjee had many facets to his personality. He was a creative writer, translator, publisher and a person who had a passion for cricket and love for his country and its literature. He was a visionary who did what he thought and believed in. To honour his contributions and to keep him alive through the subjects that were very dear to him, the Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Hyderabad, took an initiative and began the Sujit Mukherjee Memorial Lecture. The first memorial lectures’ session began with his friends, publishers and dignitaries remembering Sujit Mukherjee and their personal interactions with him.

The Lecture hosted by the Centre for Comparative Literature, School of Humanities, started with a Panel Discussion on Publishing. The discussants were Mini Krishnan of OUP, Deepa Chattopadhay of CUP, Rasana Atreya, a self publisher and others. On this occasion a book was released by Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy, Vice-Chancellor, UoH. Later it was followed by another panel on Translation where Mini Krishnan and Priya Adarkar spoke. There were many dignitaries from the city like Rohini Mukherjee, Prof. T. Vijay Kumar, Aparajita Sinha Roy and others. Prof. Tutun Mukherjee of the Centre for Comparative Literature, UoH chaired the sessions.


Dr. Sen delivered the lecture on “Translation and Multilingualism” highlighting the memories and concepts of Sujit Mukehrjee. She said, “Budhadeb Bose pioneered comparative literature in India pushing beyond the belief in the necessity of translation to overcome the boundaries of language. Subsequently this idea has re-emerged. It is extremely important to know oneself as an Indian. We always aspire to be known outside India but Sujit did not want this, he wanted all of us to know India and to be known in India.”


During the lecture she remembered their personal interaction and works that they did together and said that both of them did not know each other’s work before 1966, but their thinking were on similar lines. She opines that translation is the primary tool in recognizing Indianness and Indian literature shows its face in translation. She said it is like finding your own head on another person’s body. Without translation we cannot write history of Indian literature and no regional language stands on its own, she added. Dr. Sen commented on the present translation scenario and said that nobody is thinking to translate another persons work. Even if they translate, they do it for World Literature and not for the Indian readers.  I write in one language and people read it in another language, she said while concluding the lecture.