Translations by Ibrahim Badshah

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Nilavinte Pennungal

Nilavinte Pennungal (Ladies of Moonlight) is the Malayalam translation of Jokha Al-Harthi’s Sayyidaat al-Qamar. The English translation by Marilyn Booth, titled Celestial Bodies won the Man Booker International in 2019, making Jokha Al-Harthi the first woman to win this prestigious prize.

Set in a village named Al-Awafi in Oman, the novel portrays the lives of Arab women by mapping the crucial experiences of three generations. The impactful plot elements of the novel such as magical realism, polyphonic narrative and circular time along with female characterization provide an unforseen reading expeience in the context World Literature. 

Its unique characterization with dominant female presence along with the magical realistic plot elements, polyphonic narrative and circular time provide an unforeseen reading experience in World literatures. The Malayalam translation attempts to offer a faithful translation of the Arabic text while preserving the poetic language and foreignness of the text.

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Madhura Narakam

Madhura Narakam (The Orange Tree) is the Malayalam translation of Man Booker International winning author, Jokha Al-Harthi’s novel titled Narinjah. Originally written in 2016, the novel is a first person narrative. The novel’s protagonist Zuhoor who studies in a foreign University, recalls some images from her time spent with family in Oman. 

During her life as a student in a foreign university, recalls some images from her days with her family in Oman. This nostalgic flashback majorly revolves around two intertwined images; her grandmother and an old orange tree. The novel also deals with the complexities of relationships between themselves, through the metaphor of their relationship with the nature. Al-Harthi’s philosophy on love is more evident in this novel. The Malayalam translation, published in 2020, translated the pictures in the novel, primarily because of its close resemblance to the landscape that Malayalam literature has been historically trying to portray.

Ivide Kattinu Vedimarunninte Gandham

Ivide Kattinu Vedimarunninte Gandham is Malayalam translation of Manoranjan Byapari’s Bengali novel, There is Gunpowder in the Air, which was shortlisted for JCB literary prize in 2019. Set in a prison in 1970’s, a time marked by the Naxal uprising in West Bengal, the novel narrates the story of a jailbreak. Narrating in the light of his life as political prison around the same time, Byapari successfully articulates the realistic events that take place inside the high walls of the prison by portraying a wide of ranage of characters, not limited to the prisoners but officers and wardens, even the animals. “The world I have seen is what I write about” says Byapari. While doing so, he blends the comic and tragic elements in perfect ratio. 

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Hindinte Ithihasam is the Malayalam translation of Mujeeb Jaihoon’s book titled The Cool Breeze from Hind; a journey through the heritage of the Muslims in Kerala. The origin of Islam in Kerala, its evolution through centuries, notable figures and events in this passage, are very well portrayed in this book.