Jerry Pinto says, “all translations are ultimately a failure. But they are the noblest failures.” With this noble failure in mind, so Beckettian in spirit, we welcome you all to the gulmohur Translation Collective. We envision this as a voluntary, group-based project where we can work at the translation of texts from Indian languages. The Collective is open to all who can read or write in English and any of the Indian languages with confidence. The choice of text, the possibilities of translations, editing, and polishing the work could be decided by groups of 3-4 people based on your language interest and proficiency. You can become part of the group as a translator, editor, or reviewer. We are very grateful to our past contributors and translators and would be delighted to see them as part of this Collective. In this Collective, gulmohur will play the role of a facilitator and of a platform too. The translations will be published in the quarterly issues of the magazine. We are also in the process of working with regional publications to figure out the prospects of such a collective literary endeavour. We believe that there are literary works in many languages that have been neglected for reasons of commerce, censorship of content, and preferences of certain literary styles, or otherwise. We hope, through this collective attempt, to approach texts with a serious engagement as translators and to make them accessible in English. We had our first call for applications in April 2023. We're currently in the process of working with about 75 members in the Collective. We'll open up for participation again in October 2023.
'Live only, if you can, under the shade of your own gulmohur Or die, if you must, wandering in pursuit of that gulmohur' - Dushyant Kumar
Amarkant is a research scholar in Philosophy at IIT Bombay. He follows Ambedkarism. He holds a degree in Physics and has taught Theatre at high school. He loves Hindustani classical music and cats. He is in awe of Dostoevsky and is currently struggling with Heidegger.
Reviewer & Coordinator of the Translation Collective
Ambrish considers himself the epitome of an uncertain personality. He believes that certainty brings a stagnation of mind and spirit, leading to a dullness of which he has almost developed a phobia. He is currently struggling to pay bills along with working on his dream of making films. He often daydreams not of winning awards or giving grand interviews, but of succeeding in creating a work of art in the future, the thrill of which already makes his heart beat, as if the work already exists and he only has to encounter it. He dislikes romanticism but knows that he hasn't come across anyone as hopelessly romantic as himself.
A student of yoga and animal telepathic communication, bhavani is plant powered and Earth-inspired. Her fiction is part of the anthology A Case of Indian Marvels published by Aleph. Her short fiction "A Fragrance That Could Have Been" was the winner of the 2016 Out of Print-DNA Contest.
Reviewer & Copy editor
Deepshikha (she/they) is an amateur poet from a small town in India. Currently studying literature, her interests lie in exploring the various intersectionalities that frame our identities. They believe in the transformative power of literature to bring about the radical changes society needs. She is also mildly obsessed with manga, xianxia novels and AO3.
Jagjit is a point-blank poet and a compulsive photographer. Trained as an engineer ("which is not education, but a conspiracy by intelligent machines to enslave humans"), he later moved to Humanities, travelled across the length and breadth of India like a missionary, flirted with activism and labour politics for a couple of years, and like a true Kashmiri scorched his hands at all the rebellions. These days he's home: day-dreaming, evening-drinking, night-writing and morning-sleeping. When asked what went wrong, he replies "everything, except literature." An aspiring Proustian, he believes words will make sense of all that's been lost and shattered.
Lakshmi is an art educator and lover of all things that sustain the world. Hailing from Chennai, she finds comfort in a hot cup of filter coffee and aesthetically pleasing spaces. With a passion for memories, she believes that every object holds a special moment, person, or feeling close to her heart. When she's not teaching, she can be found painting or cooking to find solace. She has an unwavering belief in love and hope in humanity. You can usually spot her draped in a gorgeous saree with mallipoo adorning her hair. (She wrote this bio using ChatGPT!)
I never asked Tolstoy to write for me, a little colored girl in Lorain, Ohio. I never asked [James] Joyce not to mention Catholicism or the world of Dublin. Never. And I don't know why I should be asked to explain your life to you. We have splendid writers to do that, but I am not one of them. It is that business of being universal, a word hopelessly stripped of meaning for me. Faulkner wrote what I suppose could be called regional literature and had it published all over the world. That's what I wish to do. If I tried to write a universal novel, it would be water. Behind this question is the suggestion that to write for black people is somehow to diminish the writing. From my perspective there are only black people. When I say 'people,' that's what I mean.Toni Morrison
What was the basis of the writer's attitude? What other world did he know? What other experience did he bring to his way of looking? How could a writer write about this world, if it was the only world he knew?V S Naipaul
Not to want to say, not to know what you want to say, and never to stop saying, or hardly ever, that is the thing to keep in mind, even in the heat of composition.Samuel Beckett
There's really no such thing as the 'voiceless'. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.Arundhati Roy
Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surprised some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people's lives, never your own.Julian Barnes
Above all, do not lie to yourself. A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others. Not respecting anyone, he ceases to love, and having no love, he gives himself up to passions and coarse pleasures, in order to occupy and amuse himself, and in vices reaches complete bestiality, and it all comes from lying continually to others and to himself.Fyodor Dostoevsky
...loss is essential, loss is part and parcel of that necessary calamity called life. Mind you, I'm not complaining. Thanks to some inexplicable universal guiding force, it is always the worthless things we lose - slough off, like a moulting snake. Losing and losing again, is the very basis of the process, till all we are left with is the bare essence of human existence...Rohinton Mistry
...we try to have things both ways. We've always refused to live by the book and the rule; but then why start worrying because the world doesn't treat us by rule?Doris Lessing
Unexpected intrusions of beauty. This is what life is.Saul Bellow
Reality is not simply there, it does not simply exist: it must be sought out and won.Paul Celan
Indifferentism is the worst kind of disease that can affect people.B R Ambedkar
I detest the masculine point of view. I am bored by his heroism, virtue, and honour. I think the best these men can do is not talk about themselves anymore.Virginia Woolf
Find meaning. Distinguish melancholy from sadness. Go out for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a romantic walk in the park, spring at its most spectacular moment, flowers and smells and outstanding poetical imagery smoothly transferring you into another world. It doesn’t have to be a walk during which you’ll have multiple life epiphanies and discover meanings no other brain ever managed to encounter. Do not be afraid of spending quality time by yourself. Find meaning or don’t find meaning but 'steal' some time and give it freely and exclusively to your own self. Opt for privacy and solitude. That doesn’t make you antisocial or cause you to reject the rest of the world. But you need to breathe. And you need to be.Albert Camus
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.Haruki Murakami
We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.Ursula K. Le Guin
When I write I am trying to express my way of being in the world. This is primarily a process of elimination: once you have removed all the dead language, the second-hand dogma, the truths that are not your own but other people's, the mottos, the slogans, the out-and-out lies of your nation, the myths of your historical moment - once you have removed all that warps experience into a shape you do not recognise and do not believe in - what you are left with is something approximating the truth of your own conception.Zadie Smith