From Revolvers To Ramayana
Meet Gautam Joshi who has a number of firsts to his name in the literary field. And that too in the Kutchhi language.
Before the Indian independence, Kutch was a princely state. Now a part of Gujarat, Kutch has a rich heritage of art, crafts and culture of its own. However the region's language lacks a script of its own. This is why its literature remained in oral form till a few years ago or was written in the Gujarati script. And most of the works that got published in Kutchhi were in poetical rather than prose form until Gautam Joshi came on the scene to enrich the Kutchhi literature by his writings.
Gautam Joshi has written a number of novels, stories, poems and non-fiction in Kutchhi language which was an outstanding feat in itself. Recognizing the merits of his literary work, the Gujarat Sahitya Academy conferred an award upon him for his novel Bhenkar Bhomka (1992) and Indar Lath (1995), the first travelogue in Kutchhi.
Blessed By Sant Morari Bapu
The First Kutchhi Ramayana
What shot Gautam to literary fame with the general public was his translation of the Ramayana into Kutchhi language in 1996 - something nobody had done before though the great Indian epic has been translated into nearly all the languages of the world.
Not only was the Kutchhi Ramayana a first work of its kind, but it got the rare honor of inauguration by the famed Ramayani Kathakar (reciter) Sant Morari Bapu who congratulated Gautam for "moving from revolvers to Ramayana". This was an apt comment from the sant because in the course of his duties as a law-enforcement officer in Kutch, Gautam Joshi had to look after the police armory, among other things.
His other work of religious nature Shreemad Bhagwad, also a first translation in Kutchi, has gone into three editions and is recited in village temples during the Hindu holy month of Sravan. A special feature of these two religious works is that Gautam has presented them in a condensed form which makes an easy reading for the lay people.
His yet another work of devotional genre is Shiv Shrishti which was serialised by a local daily is going to be published in a book form in near future.
Awards and Inspiration
Joshi ascribes his success to the encouragement of his teachers and to a large extent to his mother. Young Gautam imbibed the love of literature on the lap of his mother who had a new tale from the Indian epics to tell him everyday. It was perhaps because of this that Gautam has been inspired to translate these holy works into Kutchhi.
But Gautam's works are not restricted to religion alone. He has written novels, short stories, poems and translations which have not only been well-received but won him due recognition also.
In addition to numerous awards and citations from private organizations, Gautam has won 5 state awards - 3 from the Gujarat Sahitya Academy and 2 from the newly-constituted Kutch Sahitya Academy. But success hasn't gone to Gautam's head. He remains a very gentle and self-effacing person who is happy that he has been able to contribute to the promotion of Kutchhi, his mother tongue.
Firsts From Gautam
Guatam Joshi has to his name a number of first -s in the Kutchhi Language
Bhenkar Bhomka - Novel
Indar Lath - Travelogue
Ramayana - Translation
Sreemad Bhagwad - Translation
Sugandh - Essay Collection
Sarhad - Translation from Hindi
Doing Something New and First
Gautam Joshi seems to have the knack of doing something nobody has done before.
Recently he has translated Sarhad, an anthology of Hindi poems, into Kutchhi and that too in verse form while preserving the flavor and meaning of the original. This also is a feather in his multi-plumed cap because his work is the first translation of Hindi into Kutchhi.
So what next from Gautam Joshi?
Nobody can say but you can be sure of one thing. It will be something that you haven't seen before.
Translation In The Kutchhi Language - Review
- Kutch Glory: Translation Work In Kutchhi
Review of Gautam Joshi's paper read out at the Kutchhi Bhasa Sammelan at Bhuj
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