Pradip Acharya is a former professor of Cotton College in Guwahati and a prolific translator in Assamese and English. He has some well known translations to his credit, including Ancient Gongs and When Seas Meet (translated from Assamese); and Krishnanga Kabir Kabita (an anthology of Black poetry translated into Assamese). Talking to Gitanjali Das, he says that writers from the Northeast have mastered different idioms and will evolve a vision of life in the years to come
What does literature mean to you? Do you think it has any relevance in our day-to-day lives? According to you, does it have anything to do with all that is happening around us?
Literature is enriched understanding of life. And since it is the understanding of life, it has relevance in our day-to-day life in every way possible. When it comes to literature one does not write about something that is not relevant to our lives. When you advertise a fridge or a microwave, it relates to life in a different way. But when I talk of literature I mean creative literature. Anything you write cannot be literature.
How close is your relation with literature in general, and with literature of the Northeast in particular?
Literature cannot be general. It always has to be qualified. Often, it is qualified with reference to the region or language it originates from. Thus we have literature from the Northeast or we have Assamese literature, or Meitei, or Naga, or Hindi, or English.
What future do you see for literature from the Northeast?
I feel the future of literature from Northeast is very bright because there are so many good writers. We have different realities to express. Our writers have mastered different idioms and in time, they will also evolve a vision of life.
Name one book that had a lasting impact on you. In what way?
Dante’s Divine Comedy has made a lasting impression on me in many ways.
What book would you recommend for our readers and why?
No, I will not make any suggestions to the readers. Readers will find out what kind of books are to their liking on their own. Why should I impose my taste on them? My taste, like everyone else’s will be limited.