The "Last Poem," English translation of Rabindranath Tagore's novel, "Shesher Kavita" was launched by Ms. Sharmila Tagore, Mr. Sunit Tandon, Dr. Kapila Vatsayan and Prof Dilip Basu, who translated the work, here on Tuesday.
The novel, the fifth and last penned by Tagore in 1928, is considered a landmark in Bengali literature. Though it has been translated into English earlier, the latest by Prof Basu comes at a time when the nation is celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of the Nobel laureate.
An ardent admirer of Tagore's works, Prof. Basu, who is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, announced that he was keen on translating many more of Tagore's works as he found most of the translated works of Tagore to be lacking the essence of what the author had conveyed in his Bengali works.
Sharmila Tagore (noted actress and the great grand-niece of Rabindranath Tagore) and Mr Sunit Tandon, well known theatre and TV personality later read out excerpts from the book in Bengali and English respectively.
Prof. Basu said he believed that he was successful in doing justice to Tagore through his translation, something which was acknowledged by Ms Tagore.
"I must congratulate Professor Basu because I have read the translation. It reads very well," she said.
Prof. Basu gave a brief introduction of the book in which the protagonist, Amit Ray, an Oxford educated young man, is impatient with the traditional ways of his motherland and turns into an iconoclast. He then comes across Labanya in a car accident and falls in love with her. They exchange letters in the form of short poems.
The book as been further enriched by some excellent illustrations by Dinkar Kowshik. "It is also a good looking book thanks to the beautiful illustrations which helps because when I had the Bengali book in my hand, I wanted it to look like the English translation," Ms. Tagore said.
"The Last Poem" has been brought out by HarperCollins Publishers India and is priced at Rs 250.