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Multilingual Scholar, Translator & Professor of English, Ashoka University
Singer & Filmmaker
Professor and Executive Director, Centre for Visual and Performing Arts

Date & Time

Saturday Sat, 15 Oct 2022 6:00 pm — 7:30 pm
Free to attend

Location (for BIC Venue, BIC Hybrid and BIC Cafe)

Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560 071 India
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+91 98865 99675 bic@bangaloreinternationalcentre.org

Unending Journeys is a session based on Rita Kothari’s moral and intellectual questions regarding knowledge and its relationship with experience. Kothari has taught with multiple contexts of knowledge production both as a teacher and scholar, but also a particularly multilingual translator. She asks what might be the ‘missing’ element, which meanings slip through the fingers, when life continues to escape writing, when language finds it difficult to hold experiences. Kothari brings to questions of power and literature the prism of translation and argues that there are uneasy translations between lives lived and codified knowledge.

Rita Kothari’s book Uneasy Translations is about translation of language, self and experience and raises many new questions in the form of a translator’s memoir, and a scholar’s dilemmas. Kothari will be in conversation with Shabnam Virmani and Deepa Ganesh. There will be a Q&A session following the conversation.


Rita Kothari

Multilingual Scholar, Translator & Professor of English, Ashoka University

Rita Kothari is a multilingual scholar and translator whose work spans across different disciplines such as literature, cultural studies, anthropology, sociology, and history. Her questions emerge from observations of regions and communities in the western part of the Indian subcontinent—Gujarat, Kutch, and Sindh.

Her ethnographic research on marginal communities—through religion, caste, occupation, and gender—focuses upon narratives of identity, raising questions of both linguistic and cultural translation. Kothari has translated extensively from Gujarati and Sindhi into English, and occasionally vice versa. Her translations, as well as her edited volumes, have made contributions to the field of language politics and translation. Movement across languages, contexts, and cultures form the fulcrum of her interests, making translation the prism through which she sees the Indian context.

Her latest book, Uneasy Translations: Self, Experience and Indian Literature, interweaves her personal journey as an academic into reflections around self, language, and translation – with an eye upon the intangibly available category of experience.

Shabnam Virmani

Singer & Filmmaker

Shabnam Virmani has been exploring the philosophy of Kabir, Shah Latif and other mystic poets through a deep engagement with their oral folk traditions for two decades. Her journeys have led to the creation of films on Kabir, a digital archive called Ajab Shahar, books, urban festivals, rural yatras, singing and performing herself and more recently a schools outreach initiative called Shabad Shaala. This is part of her work as artist in residence at the Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design & Technology in Bangalore. Her latest books are I Saw Myself: Journeys with Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (Penguin, 2019) and Burn Down Your House: Lessons from Kabir (upcoming).

Deepa Ganesh

Professor and Executive Director, Centre for Visual and Performing Arts

Deepa Ganesh served as Deputy Editor at The Hindu for two decades. Currently she is Professor and Executive Director, Centre for Visual and Performing Arts, RV University. She is the author of A Life In Three Octaves – The life and Times of Gangubai Hangal. Ganesh has also translated U.R. Ananthamurthy’s short stories, and the memoir of the early Kannada writer Saraswati Bai Rajwade by Vaidehi. Ganesh is a translator, theatre practitioner and journalist.