Pandit Rao Dharennaver : What a job, Sir ji!

What a job, Sir ji!
Ashima Sehajpal

Pandit Rao Dharennaver
Pandit Rao Dharennaver

We so casually watch the Idea advertisement in which Abhishek Bachchan reflects on the point that if language acts as a barrier, it also act like a bridge. Barrier because it hampers communication and bridge because at least it compels people from different backgrounds to get the conversation started.

Pandit Rao Dharennaver, an assistant professor in Government College-46 translates literary works from Kannada to Punjabi and the reverse for the same reason, “Translation helps bridge the gap and remove barriers. Meera Bai is famous all over India for her works in Devnagiri have been translated in all regional languages.” Dharennaver’s latest contribution is the translation of the teachings of Akka Mahadevi, a 12th century saint, a compilation of which he released in the city on Wednesday. “Translating spiritual works is a form of social service for me. I don’t want that language should keep people of two regions from knowing each other’s culture.”

He began learning Punjabi only to teach his students better, “About 80 per cent of the college students speak Punjabi. I realised that to make anyone understand a subject better, lecture should be delivered in the language students understand.” Little did he know then that he would gradually start translating significant literary works from both regions. “I have thoroughly read and understood the Guru Granth Sahib. I will next translate the holy book.”

Did he face problems in learning a different language? “We speak a little Hindi but Punjabi was a different game altogether. However, books on the rich culture and history of Punjab inspired me to learn the language.” He now speaks chaste Punjabi just as he does Kannada. Also on his priority list is literary works of popular Punjabi poets like Paash and Shiv Kumar Batalvi.

He feels there is an urgent need for more translators. “We have a French language teacher in almost every school and university of India. But how many educational institutes have an additional regional language as part of the curriculum? The world will get interested in our languages only if we respect and show interest in them.” How true!


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