Libmonster ID: TJ-534

A. S. GERASIMOVA

Candidate of Philological Sciences Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Leo Tolstoy Keywords:novel "War and Peace"translated into Pashto

The cultural life of Afghanistan in 2012 was marked by a major event - the great work of Leo Tolstoy "War and Peace"was published in Pashto.

Of course, the educated strata of Afghan society had the opportunity to get acquainted with this novel much earlier-in translation into Farsi (the second official language of Afghanistan after Pashto).

According to the Russian philologist A. Z. Rosenfeld 1, already by the 60s of the last century, the novel "War and Peace" was translated four times in Iran.

The publication of such a monumental work in one of the official languages of the country, both in terms of volume and significance, is an extraordinary, resonant phenomenon in its cultural life, which deserves the closest attention.

Dr. Latif Bahand (b. 1956), an Afghan scholar of philology, literature and diplomat, took on the heavy burden of translation. He was born in Kabul, where he graduated from the Habibiya Lyceum in 1972 and graduated from the Faculty of Philology of Kabul University in 1979. Then L. Bahand completed postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Journalism of Moscow State University and in 1993, after defending his dissertation, received the degree of Candidate of Philological Sciences.

Due to the ongoing war in Afghanistan, L. Bahand remained in Moscow. He taught at the ISAA of Moscow State University, worked as a journalist, correspondent for the BBC in Moscow, then moved to the diplomatic work at the Embassy of Afghanistan in the Russian Federation. In 2011, his diplomatic service in Russia ended, and he returned to Kabul, and at the end of 2012, his monumental work was published.

He started translating War and Peace back in 1999, but due to technical reasons, about 300 pages of the translated text were lost, and L. Bahand postponed the work. According to him, the translation of the great novel took him six years. L. Bahand speaks Russian well and translated Tolstoy's masterpiece from Russian, only occasionally referring to the text in Farsi. For a deeper insight into Tolstoy's artistic world, the translator turned to Sergei Bondarchuk's wonderful film "War and Peace" and reviewed it more than once.

The Pashto edition of the novel looks very solid: four heavy volumes with a dust jacket and a solid pagination of all volumes, ending with page 2662. On the title page of the book is indicated: "Moscow. 2012", and on its back the place of publication is named the Technical Department of the Momand Publishing Society (a private publishing house located in Peshawar).

It is preceded by the first volume of the translation "One Remark", authored by Javid Lodin, a political consultant at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan. The Afghan diplomat thanks the author of the translation, as well as the publisher Muhammad Halim Fedayi, for the appearance of such a monumental work. He believes that translation activities give rise to "soft power" or "cultural diplomacy", which finds a direct path to the minds and hearts of different peoples. J. Lodin expresses the hope that other diplomats will follow the example of L. Bahand and "during their official service abroad, they will translate some work of their country into the language of the country." of the host country, or any scientific or artistic work of the host country will be translated into the languages of its own country"2. The diplomat sees the practical benefits of such work, which is of great importance in the sphere of foreign relations between States.

The Academy of Sciences of Afghanistan also responded to this event. Full member of the Academy, philologist Abdulgafur Leval titled the article " We, War and Peace "(Mugh, jagra au sula), in which he notes that the translation of Leo Tolstoy's" War and Peace " into Pashto is very important for Afghans, especially for the generation that was born, lives and dies for three decades constant warfare. "Do we have the opportunity to create such literature? - asks the author. - How could we create such a world or national masterpiece that opens the world's eyes to our problems?.. Tolstoy has a war for the sake of the Motherland, and we have???" (here and further, see vol. 1; pp. 13-14).

The Afghan literary critic does not see the war taking place in his country as having the high morale that the Russian writer speaks of. He is shocked by the situation when "a wild man plunges a knife into the throat of a compatriot and kills children in the cradle or at the mother's breast" (p. 14). A. Leval sees a great merit of Tolstoy in the fact that he made the will of the people the core of his epic. He expresses the hope that when young writers of his homeland read the novel "War and Peace", they will be able to create a work in which they will be able to find answers to all pressing questions, and thus open a window to the broad horizons of world literature. He considers translations of great literary works to be a bridge for this.

A. Leval highly appreciates the translation of L. Bahand. He believes that this translation of the world masterpiece reveals its ideological and spiritual aspects, as well as introduces European values. He hopes to raise the level of Afghan culture through such translations and dreams of creating a national literature about the war that "would tell the world about the pain and suffering of the Afghan people, so that the inhabitants of the earth would shudder and greet the Afghans for their patience, will and high spirituality" (p. 15).

page 71

The "Preface" to the book deserves special attention. Rather, it is a large (40 pages) literary article written by the translator himself. It gives a fairly detailed biography of Leo Tolstoy, where sections are distinguished: "Education", "The beginning of literary activity", "Family", " The beginning of the mortal path. The last letter to my wife " and "Statements of famous writers and world-famous personalities about Tolstoy". Here we see the assessments of outstanding cultural figures-S. Maugham, M. Gandhi, D. Merezhkovsky, M. Gorky and others-of the personality and creativity of the great Russian writer and thinker.

Leo Tolstoy is described by the author as: "The most famous Russian thinker, writer, soldier, educator, religious leader, adherent of such religious views that paved a new path in ordinary, traditional views. He was not only a member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, but also a great public figure" (pp. 24-25).

L. Bahand mentions Tolstoy's personal participation in the wars in the Caucasus and Crimea, noting that this gave him the opportunity later in his great novel to show the true inhuman face of war.

When assessing the personality of a Russian writer, the author of the" Preface " quotes the words of the above-mentioned outstanding cultural figures. For example, Mahatma Gandhi was struck by the fact that the writer put into practice what he preached in his speeches, and that "for the sake of truth he made all kinds of sacrifices" (p.35). In most of the above quotes, it is noted that Tolstoy is still considered the voice of conscience, the defender of those people who live guided by high moral ideals.

We can assume that by selecting these statements from the vast array of literature about Tolstoy, L. Bahand joins them, recognizes their validity and accuracy.

Turning to the analysis of the novel, the author of the" Preface "notes that one day in 2010, world news agencies reported:" The masterpiece of the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy "War and Peace" is recognized by Newsweek magazine as the greatest work of all time " (p. 51).

Bahand himself writes about the novel: "It is a peak and a very deep river, each wave of which carries a clear thought", calls it "a great incomparable book", which has all the features of world epics. Comparing Tolstoy's work with the great epic of the Iranian people "Shahname" by Firdowsi, in particular, he sees similarities in the division of heroes into three groups: mythical, heroic and historical (for Firdowsi) and folk, real (basic) and born of fantasy (for Tolstoy). Bahand notes that although the fate of events (according to Tolstoy) is spiritually decided in heaven, the writer himself still finds earthly arguments and reasons for what is happening.

The "Preface" tells about the history of writing the novel, about its initial idea and further transformation, about the main events in the history of Russia that took place in 1805-1813.

L. Bahand seeks to identify the artistic features of the work. He is struck by the volume of the book and the number of characters. He agrees with the traditional view of literary critics that most of the main characters of the novel have prototypes in real life. Patriotism, attention to life and death issues, and the deep spiritual life of the novel's characters are close to him.

The" Preface " presents the characteristics of the main characters. Bahand's favorite hero, by his own admission, is the old Prince Nikolai Andreevich Bolkonsky, to whom he gives a flattering and accurate description: "Catherine's nobleman and commander; his frame is love for the Motherland, burning him. In life, he is a very difficult person" (p. 41).

This is followed by the characteristics of six more heroes.

According to L. Bahand, many kind, heroic words are given in the novel to Kutuzov. He reaches high ranks and positions in the army, a wise and humane commander-in-chief: "He wins victory for his homeland and people, and after fulfilling his national duty, he dies peacefully" (p.45).

Much attention in the "Preface" is paid to the characters and characters of the work. The Afghan literary critic also draws attention to Tolstoy's actual artistic techniques. He especially admires the writer's skill in creating an external portrait of a character, working out artistic details.

According to the translator, one of the features of "War and Peace" is its versatility - it contains deep reflections on art, philosophy, history and morality. This epic shows the entire Russia of the period 1805-1813, all layers of society: from peasants and ordinary soldiers to the highest nobility, field marshal and emperor. In addition, it not only describes historical events and the lives of noble Russian families, but also raises such issues as life and death, good and evil, love and hate, patriotism and betrayal... Referring to the opinion of many critics, the author of the Preface notes that this novel is "the poetry of the spirit of Russian literature, and in order to understand the poetry of this book, one must learn the Russian language" (p. 36).

The section "Some selected sayings from the book" contains small quotes from the novel, but without links to the pages of the text, for example: "Time passes, but spoken words remain." It is impossible to guarantee the accuracy of the translation, since it is double: from Russian to Pashto and back. It is a shame that the first line from the novel "Anna Karenina" was mistakenly included in this section: "All happy families are similar to each other, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

The undoubted merit of the interpreter should be considered his deep immersion in the ocean of critical literature, which is accompanied by the epic "War and Peace".

From the "Preface" it can be seen that the translator, who admires the work of the Russian genius, believes that when reading any line of the novel, the reader feels that he is standing in the face of a great artist, and "with the passage of time, his work not only does not grow old and is not forgotten, but his greatness and glory increase every day" (p. 36).

L. Bahand was fully aware of the difficulties he would have to face in working on such a large and complex work. He shares the opinion that no translation can adequately convey the depth of thought and passion of the original, because the Russian soul in the novel is described so carefully, with such details that you can feel, feel only by reading the Russian text. He is well aware that he has to convey only the essence, the meaning of the epic, but it is unlikely that he will be able to give it a "taste".

Nevertheless, the interpreter tries to follow the style of Leo Tolstoy. It is known that the novel " War and

page 72

mir" is written in long and complex phrases with a large number of subordinate clauses. The translator tries to keep the author's style, although it is not typical of the Pashto syntax.

With all the effort to bring the translation as close as possible to the original text, L. Bahand had to resort to both adaptation and reduction in some cases. It seems that with such a voluminous and complex material, this is inevitable. But it should be said that this was done quite competently and subtly. The translator deliberately focuses on the Afghan readership and omits those parts of the text that may be incomprehensible and uninteresting to them. For example, the entire second part of the Epilogue, where Tolstoy examines philosophical questions about the role of the individual in history, about freedom and necessity, about faith and God, about the forces that motivate peoples to move from west to east and in the opposite direction, about the causes of war, and so on, is adapted by the translator. He tried to explain all these complex "matters" in a simpler way, in his own words, but completely preserving the meaning of the author's reasoning.

The interpreter strives to present the Orthodox culture and spiritual life of Russian society as fully as possible. He consciously does not avoid difficulties by communicating the dogmas and realities of the Orthodox religion. Sometimes he resorts to explaining them in terms of Muslim attributes. For example, "the king's gate" is translated as " the gate of the mihrab "("de mihrab darvaza"); "pulpit" is the preacher's niche ("de wa'izi mihrab").

L. Bahand recounted Natasha's prayer in the church after her recovery in his own words. But Tolstoy's universal prayer for the salvation of Russia, which is written in Church Slavonic, is translated close to the text, although this is a significant difficulty for a person of a different culture.

Among the abbreviations made by L. Bahand, we should note the hunting scene, where in the original there are many special terms. The menu prepared by Count I. A. Rostov for the grand dinner in honor of Prince Bagration is also omitted. Naturally, the dishes and viands mentioned by Tolstoy are unknown to the Afghan reader (and Russian readers of the twenty-first century, perhaps, too), as well as other similar information that is not of serious importance for the perception of the novel as a whole.

However, there are some passages in the epic that would make the Pashto text more beautiful to translate. For example, a poetic description of a warm spring night in Otradnoye. Recognizing the poetic quality of Tolstoy's novel, the interpreter removed one of the confirmations of this characteristic.

L. Bahand is attentive to the transmission of Russian proverbs, phraseological units, and individual funny sayings. For proverbs, he tries to find an Afghan equivalent; for example: "the forest is cut down, chips fly" - translated: "when they light a fire, sparks fly, and smoke goes." For the convenience of the reader, he gives explanations in parentheses in the text when, in his opinion, they are necessary. For example: "Russians take off their hats as a sign of respect and respect" or: "Suvorov (Russian general)"; and also: "Before in Russia, the bride's fathers gave a dowry for her."

It is very difficult to pass proper names of characters and toponyms. The translator coped with the first ones quite easily, he carefully transcribed the names, patronymics and surnames of the characters, which can be read without much difficulty. But with toponyms, the situation is more complicated: there are names that are difficult to understand without knowing the geography of Russia.

Of course, in such a huge work there are inaccuracies, typos and other flaws, but I will not dwell on them here; I will only allow myself to recall the beautiful Afghan proverb: "Who wants to find a friend without flaws, will remain without friends at all. Anyone who wants to write a book without flaws will never write a book."

L. Bahand closely monitors the purity of his native language. He refuses even to use widely used words that are included in the vocabulary of Pashto from other Eastern languages. For example, the expression of gratitude in the Persian version "tashakkur", which has existed in Afghanistan for many centuries, is everywhere replaced by the original Pashtun word " manena "("appreciation"); or the word "binoculars", which has the equivalent in Persian - "durbin", is replaced by the word "lirlid", which is formed from the roots of two Pashtun words: "leary" - far away and "lidel" - " see "(literally, "dalvid").

It should be noted that the translator is somewhat constrained in terms of the richness of vocabulary: for example, in one word "gadey", which means a light horse - drawn carriage such as a proletka, Russian words are transmitted:" cabby"," carriage","cart". The Afghan word "pauds" is also used to translate several words: "army", "division", "column". The translator has a hard time transmitting names from the plant world. It is known that the flora of Afghanistan is not as rich as the Russian one, so he has to make do with a small lexical arsenal or resort to a description. For example, "juniper" means " the leaves of a tree that exudes a pleasant smell." "Birch" is translated as "plane tree", "bird cherry" as "wild cherry" ("vakhshi gilas"). The oak tree at the beginning of the novel is also called a plane tree, but in the situation where it meets Prince Andrew on the way to Otradnoye and back, there is a special word for it "tserey" - evergreen oak (Querns baloot).

The obvious difficulty for a translator is Russian titles. For example, the word "prince". Prince Andrew is translated as "sardar Andre" - a common title of high nobility in Afghanistan, and Prince Bagration is "shahzada Bagration" - prince; Princess Mary is also "princess "("shahzadegay"). No equivalents were found for the titles" Count "and" Countess". They are simply transcribed.

All of these comments are given to show what enormous difficulties the translator had to face. Nevertheless, Latif Bahand did a grandiose, titanic job and presented the great epic of Leo Tolstoy to the Pashtun readers.

It is impossible to overestimate the significance of such an event as the translation of the novel "War and Peace" into Pashto for public life and public consciousness in Afghanistan. This work is highly appreciated both in the field of practical diplomacy, and in the fields of scientific and artistic consciousness of the Afghan society.

Cultural events of this magnitude serve to bring different peoples, cultures and civilizations closer together.


Rozenfeld A. Z. 1 Tolstoy in publications in the Persian language / / Moscow, Peoples of Asia and Africa. 1962.

Tolstoy L. N. 2 Jagra av sula (Tolstoy L. N. Voina i mir). Translated into Pashto by L. Bahanda ( in 4 volumes). Moscow, Peshawar, Tech. department of the publishing house "Momand", 2012, p. 7.


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