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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Academic Paper

Title: The Ekalavya Relation: Modernist Locals’ Anti-Modernist Response(S)
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Author: Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay
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Institution: La Filológica por la Causa
Linguistic Field: Discipline of Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Ling & Literature; Linguistic Theories; Translation
Subject Language: Bengali
Abstract: In the great Indian epic Mahabharata, the legendary hero with so-called “tribal” origin, Eklavya, after being refused by the royal preceptor Dronacharya, the military-trainer, made himself well equipped in the art of archery through dedicated practice in front of a clay-model of Dronacharya. However, he had to pay gurudaksina (‘paying the preceptor’, from whose absence he learnt the techne of archary) to Dronacharya by cutting his right thumb that acts as a liver to shoot the arrow. In this way, Dronacharya succeeded to retain the royal dominance of his royal disciples and to erase subaltern mastery. Sudhindranath Dutta (30.10.1901-25.06.1960), a Bengali poet cum theoretician, in his introduction to the Bengali translation of English, German and French verses (the collection is named as ‘’Protiddhoni’’ meaning “echo”), compared the relationship between “original” Source Language Text and its “translated” Target Language Text to the relationship between Dronacharya and Eklavya. This Eklavya-relation, as stipulated here, is almost like Shakespeare’s Aerial-Prospero relation, where Prospero is speaking through the voice of Aerial. Eklavya, as it was told in the Mahabharata, cannot do without the icon of Dronacharya. It is a ‘simple’ case of donor-receptor relationship? Following Dasgupta’s (1993) discourse reception theory, one may hypothetically paraphrase such situation as: Dronacharya is the donor and the Eklavya is the receptor and obviously there was no reciprocal exchange in between these two. Now the question is: in the context of translation may we erase the ‘original’ icon of Dronacharya? When translating, is anyone licensed to kill the author without being colonized by the original author(-ity)? Does the act of translation leads to subversive as well as disruptive performance? Taking cue from this Dronacharya-Eklavya relation, from now on, the Source Language Text will be called Dronacharya-Text (henceforth DT) and Target Language Text as Eklavya-Text (henceforth ET. This metaphor of a subalternity in the context of translation inaugurates problems that are to be dealt here in reference to two other contemporaries of Sudhindranath Dutta, viz. Buddhadeb Basu (30.11.1908-18.03.1974) and Abu Sayeed Ayyub (?-?-1906-21.12.82). Firstly, if we follow this metaphor thoroughly, we have to confirm, epistemologically speaking, that this dominator-dominated relationship always sustains in case of any translation: subaltern ET always(?) suffers and dominant DT unknowingly enjoys the sacrifice of ET. However, we cannot take this simplified story as truism. It inaugurates another question: When a White Man (sexism intended) is translating colony’s text, does the same hierarchy of relations between DT and ET persist? Are we being allowed to write a context-free formulae or matheme like this DT=(f) ET ?
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: Hyderabad Central University
Publication Info: 2007. Das Anirban ed. baNlay binirman, Obinirman.(pp. 306-23) Kolkata: Ababhas. Reprinted from: Jijnasa. 2004. XXIV:2(pp.150-64) 2002.Presented in UGC-Sponsored Seminar on “Translation and Colonialism”. Maharani Kasiswari College, Kolkata. (INVITED)
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