The “Poets Translating Poets Festival” took place in Mumbai in over 30 venues across the city, with Poets, Writers, Artists, Performers and Experts from 5 countries including Germany, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
( November 29, 2016, Mumbai, Sri Lanka Guardian) In the last week, Mumbai was abuzz with poetry and languages. The festival took place in over 30 venues across the city, including Schools, Colleges, on Street Corners, and at Art and Culture hubs including the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), St. Xavier’s College Quadrangle, Edward Theatre, Sahitya Akademi, Mumbai Tamil Sangam, Mumbai University and many more… We had over 3000 audience members join us to enjoy, experience and celebrate poetry and language.
“For the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan, this Festival was a milestone in our history of cultural exchange in the subcontinent. The poetry events organised on the streets, and in colleges were very successful, and the debates and discussions at the Max Mueller Bhavan were very memorable. The German Liederabend at the opening evening, and the music and poetry performance at Edward Theatre were very well received. It was a happy reunion of poets from 5 countries, after a long process of working together in translating and presenting in the subcontinent and in Germany. I can only hope that this method of translating poetry will continue to be used among poets in South Asia. It is enormously beneficial in so many ways; and the Goethe-Institut will be supportive of these initiatives. ” Dr. Martin Wälde, Director, Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Mumbai
As we came to the end of the Festival on Sunday, 27th November, Prof. Ganesh Devy aptly began his lecture, quoting William Shakespeare “Thou art translated” (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Following the lecture, we had a panel that discussed and presented different perspectives on what was at the heart of this project, which is ‘Praising Diversity and Insisting on Identity’. The discussion was moderated by Sociologist- Prof. Dr. Surendra Munshi and the speakers included, Cultural Activist – Prof. Ganesh Devy, Novelist/ Playwright/ Film and Drama Critic – Kiran Nagarkar, Filmaker – Nilanjan Bhattacharya, Deutsche UNESCO – Prof. Dr. Karin von Welck, and the Director Goethe-Institut Mumbai – Dr. Martin Wälde.
The festival was organised by the Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan – a first in the Institute’s sixty-year history. It was the culmination of a two year project where poets from South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka) and Germany translated each others’ poetry. The process took place in the form of ‘Poetry Encounters’ that were organised in Mumbai, Dhaka, Colombo, New Delhi, Trivandrum, Karachi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Gangtok, though 2015-2016 and in June to October 2016, the poets from South Asia travelled to 12 Cities across Germany to present their poetry and translations.
Poets writing in Bengali, English, German, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Mizo, Nepali, Odia, Sindhi, Sinhalese, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu were part of this project.
An important component of the Poets Translating Poets project is the website http://www.goethe.de/ptp which documents the entire collection of poems, their translations, reportages, essays and the information on all the poets and translators.
The Festival was organised with the support of numerous partners and supporters including venue partners – National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), St. Xavier’s College and Edward Theatre. The newly formed “Goethe-Institute India German Business Circle“ including nine German companies -Siemens, Volkswagen, Hamburg Süd, Lanxess, TÜV, Rheinland, BASF and Thyssenkrupp, and numerous educational, art, poetry, cultural and community institutions and groups in Mumbai.