Girish Karnad’s memoirs now available in an English translation

Published : May 20, 2021 20:37 IST

The English translation of Girish Karnad’s memoirs, titled This Life at Play, was made available for sale on May 19, the day on which the playwright would have turned 83. Karnad’s memoirs, titled Aadaadata Aayushya, were first published in Kannada in 2011. Karnad, who translated all his plays from Kannada to English himself, completed part of the translation, but he passed away in 2019 before he could finish the task, leaving Srinath Perur, the award-winning translator, to finish the translation.

Apart from being noted for his plays, Karnad was also an actor, a film-maker and an activist who took a bold stand against the growing tide of Hindutva in the country. The memoirs cover the first half of his life, starting from him from his early days in the small town of Sirsi in Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka to Dharwad, Bombay [now Mumbai], and to Oxford where he was a prestigious Rhodes scholar. The book also covers part of his professional life—his foray into publishing, his engagement with the Bombay film world and his literary accomplishments. Karnad had a reputation of being plain spoken and this is carried into the book as well where he looks candidly at his friendships with a number of literary and cultural stalwarts of Karnataka and India.

According to a news report, Srinath Perur said, “He [Karnad] had started work on the English translation of his memoirs, but his health did not allow him to give it the time it required, and he called me to ask if I could help him with it. I had not read the Kannada book at the time, but I knew it had been well received by readers, and I knew it had generated some excitement in the media.”