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Riddles of BelongingIndia in Translation and Other Tales of Possession$
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Christi A. Merrill

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823229550

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823229550.001.0001

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Passing On

Passing On

(p.205) Five: Passing On
Riddles of Belonging

Christi A. Merrill

Fordham University Press

Given that Premchand translated Tolstoy's moral tales into Hindi, calling Premchand a Hindi Tolstoy is a bit of a play on words. He was a Hindi Tolstoy in the way we might understand Chapman to have been an English Homer, except that Premchand did not seem haunted by such a specter of comparison. Like M. K. Gandhi, Premchand was deeply influenced — politically, creatively, even spiritually — by the writing and thinking of Leo Tolstoy and believed that his own work translating Tolstoy's moral tales was part of a larger, necessary project working for social change. After all, Premchand saw in translation a very pragmatic means for uniting people in a common movement for justice. Rather than depicting the source language as something to move past and leave behind, he chose work to translate that would enlarge the worldview of the Hindi reader and thus inspire him to effect revolutionary change.

Keywords:   Premchand, Hindi, Tolstoy, translation, social change

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