News & Events

The NLS Public Lecture Series | Translating Gender and Sexuality


Room No. 104, Old Academic Block (OAB), NLSIU campus



Thursday, August 3, 2023, 5:00 pm

Our next public lecture will take place on 3rd August 2023. Our guest speaker is Prof. Ruth Vanita who will be delivering a talk titled “Translating Gender and Sexuality”.

About the Speaker:

Ruth Vanita is the author, most recently, of two novels, Memory of Light (Penguin 2022) and A Slight Angle (forthcoming Penguin 2024) and The Broken Rainbow: Poems and Translations (Copper Coin 2023). Her books include The Dharma of Justice in the Sanskrit Epics: Debates on Gender, Varna and Species (Oxford University Press, 2022) Love’s Rite: Same-Sex Marriages in Modern India (Penguin 2005; 2023); Gender, Sex and the City: Urdu Rekhti Poetry 1780-1870; and ‘A Woman More Worth than any Man’: History and Vision in Nine Shakespeare Plays (forthcoming 2024). Her book, On the Edge: A Hundred Years of Hindi Fiction on Same-Sex Desire will appear from Penguin in August 2023. She co-edited the path-breaking Same-Sex Love in India, and has translated several works of fiction and poetry from Hindi to English, including Chocolate, Ugra’s 1927 collection of stories on male homosexuality, and Mahadevi Varma’s My Family. She divides her time between Missoula and Gurgaon.


This talk examines the shades of difference between translating non-fiction, fiction, and poetry from Hindi and Urdu to English and fiction from English to Hindi, especially with regard to words and idioms relating to romantic and erotic feeling and experience. “I consider the gendering of verbs and pronouns, the way Bombay film songs manage to avoid both in a way that English cannot, the way Urdu poetry teases the reader with ambiguities that sometimes are untranslatable, and the way my own poetry addresses issues of translation in its original sense (moving from one space and time to another) as well as its more specific sense with regard to languages.”