"This is just the beginning of a project"
A book containing 3,000-year-old Indian poetry has been translated into Arabic and was launched at a private ceremony at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) in the United Arab Emirates.
This year’s event was the largest since the book fair was established in 1982.
100 Great Indian Poems is an anthology that contains poems in 28 languages including Kashmiri, Bengali, Tamil and Urdu.
The anthology boasts the work of legendary Indian poets such as Mirza Ghalib and Firaq Gorakhpuri.
Abhay Kumar, the Indian Ambassador to Madagascar said:
“Some of the poems in the book are as old as 3,000 years.”
Abhay was responsible for editing the book that was first published in 2018 and then translated into various languages including Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Malagasy, French, Irish and Nepalese.
“It will help to take Indian poetry to millions of readers in the Arab world and it is a great moment of pride not only for me but also all Indian poets – living and from the past.”
100 Great Indian Poems was translated into Arabic as part of a first-of-its-kind collaboration between the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and the Consulate General of India in Dubai.
Thrilled to be virtually present at the launch of the #Arabic edition of 100 Great Indian Poems which features Indian poetry spanning over 3000 years from 28 Indian languages at #SharjahBookFair. May it act as a poetic bridge between India & the #Arab world! @Biblibio pic.twitter.com/h1fL8A5HlX
— Abhay K. (@theabhayk) November 11, 2021
Minni Bounama, the Director of Content and Publishing at the Sharjah Institute for Heritage said:
“We translated this book to introduce the Arab world to the Indian poetic heritage and to enhance the cooperation and cultural ties between the UAE and India.”
Minni hinted at more translations to follow, saying:
“This is just the beginning of a project that aims to strengthen the cultural bridge between the two sides by publicising the heritage of the two countries on the widest scale.”
The 11-day Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) was held at the Expo Centre in the emirate of Sharjah.
More than 85 leading cultural figures took part in SIBF 2021, including Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, Jnanpith Award-winner Amitav Ghosh and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah.
Chaos of the Senses author Ahlam Mosteghanemi and The Pursuit of Happiness author Chris Gardner were also in attendance.
The fair hosted more than 1,000 activities, including 440 cultural sessions, in addition to 355 shows, performances, seminars as well as workshops for children.
The event emerged as the world’s largest book fair in 2021.
It attracted the participation of thousands of publishers and literary agents from 83 countries.
Speaking about the achievement, Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, the Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority (SBA), said:
“The new SIBF record is a local, regional and international achievement that could not have been realised without the continuing support of Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, who firmly believes that building strong societies and civilisations can only be achieved through knowledge and books.
“The world-renowned event has proved its resilience by bringing together 1,632 publishers from 83 countries to exhibit 15 million books, which includes 1.3 million unique titles, of which 110,000 are making their SIBF debut.”
The 40th edition of SIBF was held under the theme ‘There’s always a right book’ and concluded on November 13, 2021.