The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy is her second novel that arrived 20 years after her first. It was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize.
Her debut novel was a rip-roaring success and her second book of fiction is punching above its weight in translations. No wonder author Arundhati Roy looks pleased as punch.
In just over one and a half years since its publication, Arundhati Roy’s second novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has been translated into 49 languages and is going strong.
At the launch of the novel’s Hindi and Urdu translations in Delhi-NCR on Saturday night, the Booker Prize-winning author said she was very happy that the book had not courted any controversy. “I feel very happy that the book was read as a literary text across the globe and did not get embroiled in crude politics,” said the 57-year-old author.
In response to a question, the Delhi-based writer added,
“It would be galactic stupidity to ban this book as it has already been translated into 49 languages and is sold at traffic lights.”
Arundhati Roy, who is also a political activist, won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for her debut novel The God of Small Things in 1997.
The novel, which became the biggest selling book by a non-expatriate Indian author, has been translated into more than 40 languages, according to Penguin Random House.
Published in June 2017, the 445-page The Ministry of Utmost Happiness has been translated into Hindi and Urdu by Rajkamal Prakashan Samuh.
Noted poet Manglesh Dabral has done the Hindi translation titled Aapar Khusi ka Gharana, whereas Delhi University professor Arjumand Ara did the Urdu translation that is titled Bepanah Shadmani Ki Mumlikat.
“In this novel, translation is also a primary active creation. In a way, the translation of the novel is also the continuation of the process of translation that is the novel,” Roy said.
The celebrated writer said she did not think of people in terms of categories and attempts to include what has not been included.
“Roy’s narrative is poetic, her characters have their own languages. There are many new words in the book that were very difficult to translate,” Dabral said. Ara said her principal objective was to stay loyal to the original characters.
“You can’t do justice to Roy’s magnificent language all the time. I had to invent some of my own words to compensate for it,” she said.
Roy’s second novel arrived after a gap of 20 years and was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker Prize.