By Prabhjot Singh | PUNJAB, INDIA |
Well known Punjabi writer and Sikh historian Prof Surjit Hans, who worked on the complete translation of Shakespeare in Punjabi, passed away today. He was 89.
The author of more than 70 books, including the much acclaimed Mittti di Dheri, was a Punjab Sahit Akademi and Chandigarh Sahit Academy awardee.
His great achievement was complete translation of Shakespeare in Punjabi, including poetry for which he was appreciated worldwide and honoured in London.
Among his close friends were Punjabi writer Prem Prakash Khannvi and Amarjit Chandan.
He leaves behind his daughter Nanki Hans who is the chief news editor at Punjab-based The Tribune, a grandson and hundreds of admirers.
His last works was translation of Darwin’s origin of species and book of poems Mrit da Sapna. As a historian he belonged to the MacLeod school of thoughtful.
Hans formally began translating Shakespeare on January 1, 1993, when he retired as head of the department of history at Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), according to an obituary at The Tribune.
The article adds: He was offered a fellowship by Punjabi University. Hans at that time was paid Rs 8,000 for the translation of each play. Despite his best efforts he couldn’t go beyond two plays a year. The translation of the last play of the lot—Henry VIII—was completed in 2013.
After giving 20 years of his life to the Bard of Avon, Prof Hans would lament that the task was still incomplete for the translated work was yet to reach the masses. “Undoubtedly, Shakespeare is the greatest writer who ever walked this earth. I started translating him with the idea that it would help Punjabi readers,” he had said four years back as the world celebrated 400 years of Shakespeare.
(Asia Samachar, 4 Jan 2019)