Rita Kothari is Professor of Translation Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar in Gujarat, India. She has to her credit numerous translations from Gujarati and Sindhi into English. She has published extensively on the cultural politics of translation and language identity. She is also a scholar of Partition studies, with special focus on the region of Sindh and a large part of her writing is also engaged with Gujarat and its communalized politics, literary history and questions of language. Her books include Translating India: The Cultural Politics of English (St. Jerome Publishing); Chutnefying English: The Phenomenon of HInglish (with Rupert Snell, Penguin India); The Burden of Refuge (Orient Blackswan); Decentring Translation Studies: India and Beyond (with Judy Wakabyashi, John Benjamin Press). Her acclaimed translations of fiction include Angaliyat: Stepchild (Oxford University Press) and Fence (Zubaan, Delhi). Kothari has translated from a vast range of genres–fiction, poetry, non-fiction. Her forthcoming translated work includes Agnipariksha: Ordeal Remembered and The Glory of Patan (with Abhijit Kothari). She has edited A Multilingual Nation: Translation and Language Dynamics (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). Rita Kothari is the recipient of several fellowships and awards and speaks at many national and international universities.
Abstracts of the lecture
Sufism in Sindh
Sufism—a mystical sub-movement of Islam that traces its origins back to the Prophet Muhammad and that has been localised into a folk, everyday experience of love and divinity—became one of the chief markers of a ‘Sindhi’ identity for Muslims, Hindus as well as Sikhs of Sindh. As a philosophy it inhabited multilingual and multi-religious worlds and created an effect profound enough to withstand the hatred evoked by Partition from India in 1947. This was made possible by the way pirs (Sufi teachers and masters) and poets of Sindh simply adapted the theology of Sufism to mean simple stories of love and surrender evolving out of Sindh, Punjab and Gujarat. Have these effects persisted, morphed or disappeared? My talk will situate these devotional practices of divine and human love in the context of specific geography and communities in the Indian subcontinent.
Rita Kothari, Being-in-translation: Sufism in Sindh