Itihasacharya V.K. Rajwade (1864-1926)
Translated by Shanta Gokhale*
MANY novels written in Marathi today, whether Realistic or Romantic, are translations of or adaptations from works in other languages. To say this, is not to detract from their virtues. For some of these novels have been rendered into Marathi so successfully, that they have provided entertainment for three generations of readers and may be counted amongst the best in Marathi literature. Yet, one cannot ignore the vital flaw that lies at the heart of these works. The flaw is that they are not genuine products of our own creation. Our soul, our character, our spirit, our aspirations, our ideals are not to be found in these imitations, these guests, these adopted children. We may admire another's child for its beauty, but we do not feel for it the same upsurge of pride and affection that we experience when we look upon the cherubic face of our own little one. So it is with these.
* This essay was first published in 1902. IH terms of content, this essay has been easy to come to grips with, not because the thought is simple, but the mode of thinking has the muscularity and rigour of present-day criticism. The tone too, with its ripples of irony parting now again for a crescendo of passionate statement, needed no special re-adjustment of sensibility. I have translated therefore with the freedom of a legal heir, not word by word for fear of losing the thought, but chunk by chunk, hoping to retain not just the thought but the spirit, balance and shape of the origional. I have also attempted to capture that blend of formal prose, sepia tinted and colloquialisms in upstart colours which belong to the original, making it in parts the most gracious and in parts the most startling reading in the Marathi language.
Some portions of the origional have been omitted sometimes because they repeat or elaborate on points already made or go into detailed lists or descriptions of Marathi works in evidence of statements made.
Toumal of Arts and Ideas 77