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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Translating English classics into Punjabi is his passion

Gurpreet Singh Mehak , Hindustan Times  Fatehgarh Sahib, August 27, 2012
First Published: 23:25 IST(27/8/2012) | Last Updated: 23:27 IST(27/8/2012)

Punjabi writer Prof Achhru Singh has translated William Shakespeare's play in Punjabi in two volumes so that people speaking the language can enjoy reading the tragedies and comedies written by the Bard of Avon.

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The first volume contains 12 of his best comedies, whereas the second volume is a collection of 10 topmost tragedies.

Talking to this correspondent, he said these books have brought Shakespeare within the reach of even those readers who are not conversant with English.

His comedies include The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, All's Well That Ends Well, Measure For Measure, Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Comedy of Errors, Winter's Tale, Cymbeline, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Tempest.

The tragedies include King Lear, Othello, Hamlet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, Richard II, Coriolanus, and Antony and Cleopatra.

According to Prof Achhru Singh, great literature written in any language and by a writer of any country retains its freshness, charm and appeal. Thus, it can be enjoyed and should be enjoyed by people all over the world irrespective of the time and place they belong to. No writer is alien and no writing is out of bounds for a person dedicated to reading and desirous of widening his mental horizon. The statement assumes added significance in the present age of liberalisation and globalisation when the whole world is on the path of becoming a single village.

It is with this objective in mind, Prof Achhru, retired as head of the English department from Nehru Memorial Government College, Mansa, after 36 years of service, has taken up the task of translating English classics into Punjabi.

Prof Achhru Singh, who is at present working in Desh Bhagat College of Management and Computer Sciences, Mandi Gobindgarh, has so far translated over two dozen classics into Punjabi, edited over half a dozen books and authored some original books in Punjabi and English.

Beginning with Ernest Hemingway's masterpiece "The Old Man and The Sea" and George Orwell's creation "Animal Farm", he has simplified and abridged Punjabi versions of Thomas Hardy's "The Mayor of Casterbridge"; Jane Austin's "Pride and Prejudice" and "Emma"; Charles Dickens's "A Tale of Two Cities", "Great Expectations", "Oliver Twist", "David Copperfield" and "Pickwick Papers"; Rudyard Kipling's "Kim"; Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights"; HG Well's "The Invisible Man" and Mark Twain's "Adventures of Tom Sawyer" and "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn".

His son, Dr Dharminder Singh Ubha, and his daughter Parminder Kaur Kranti have helped him in translating some of the books.

Punjab Technical University has honoured him for translating its book on "Human Values and Professional Ethics - A Fundamental Course for Teachers".

Prof Achhru Singh said his mission was to translate at least 50 classics of the world into Punjabi so that Punjabi readers could read and enjoy global literature.

He has also written "Universal English Grammar and Vocabulary Study" and "Personality Development and Soft Skills". He has also penned his autobiography "Keeta Ayee Rees" which was recommended by the DPI (colleges), Punjab, for the libraries of all government and private colleges of the state.

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