New Delhi: The second edition of Spring Fever, Penguin Books India`s 10-day literary festival in the capital to celebrate the spirit of spring, began Friday with the launch of special hardback editions of three classics.
The special editions included ‘In the Bazaar of Love: The Selected Poetry of Amir Khusrau,’ ‘Zafarnama’ and ‘Kama Sutra.’
The spotlight on the first day of the evening festival aimed at the working population of Delhi was on translations.
While Amir Khusrau`s poetry has been translated by Paul E. Losensky and Sunil Sharma, ‘Zafarnama’ by Guru Govind Singh has been translated by Navtej Sarna.
Vatsayan`s ‘Kama Sutra’ has been translated by A.N.D. Haskar.
At the heart festival, which drew a packed house at the amphitheatre of the India Habitat Centre, was a sprawling open air library that stocked Penguin titles, both old and new, featuring the entire collection of Penguin Classics and visual books, titles from the spiritual Penguin Ananda and Penguin Young Adult imprints and the popular children`s books from Puffin and Ladybird imprints.
The languid mood of the inaugural classics, which are reflections of the rich Indian spiritual, poetic and social heritage, was enhanced by readings from them by Avijit Dutta, Navtej Sarna and Syed Shahid Mahdi.
Speaking about the books, a spokesperson for Penguin Books-India said: "`In the Bazaar of Love` was the first comprehensive selection of Khusrau`s poetry covering a wide range of forms. His poetry has thrived for centuries, but there is a dearth of translations of his work. The book offers new translations of his Persian and Hindavi poetry".
Written in exquisite Persian verse, the ‘Zafarnama’ or ‘Epistle of Victory’ was a defiant message composed by Guru Govind Singh and addressed to Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Despite the ravages of war and the loss of his four sons and many brave fighters, the guru felt he had won a moral victory.
"Navtej Sarna has brought to life the valiant voice of Guru Govind Singh and the power of his poetic genius," the spokesperson said.
Sarna is currently India`s ambassador to Israel. He is the author of ‘The Exile’, ‘We Weren`t Lovers Like That’, ‘The Book of Nanak’ and ‘Folk Tales of Poland’.
Sanskrit scholar and former diplomat A.N.D Haskar`s translation of "Kama Sutra" brings out the original flavour of the pithy description of human desire that was captured by Vatsyayana nearly 2000 years ago.
The day one of the festival concluded with a musical rendition of poetic texts from Indian literature by Shubha Mudgal.
The festival is to conclude March 13.