The New India Foundation is delighted to announce The New india Foundation Translation Fellowships — an initiative to celebrate books in Indian languages

Bengaluru, Wednesday, 11th August 2021:  On India’s 74th Independence Day, the New India Foundation (NIF) will begin inviting applications for the 1st round of the NIF Translation Fellowships to be awarded in 2022. Aimed at encouraging translations from outstanding non-fiction works in Indian languages to English, the NIF Translation Fellowships will showcase the country’s rich history and distinct narratives through regional literature. These new fellowships complement the existing NIF programme that has led to the publication of 22 books so far and several new works ready for publication, over the 10 fellowship rounds. 

Our endeavour through the Translation Fellowships is to tap into the rich repository of non-fiction literature in Indian languages to make these works accessible to wider audiences. In the pursuit of NIF’s mission to sponsor exceptional research and writing on all aspects of Independent India, the first round of Translation Fellowships will be awarded to three outstanding translators/writers for the research and translation of crucial non-fiction works about India from various Indian languages to English.

Proposals are invited from translators for ten languages; Assamese, Bangla, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Odia, Tamil and Urdu. Selected by a Language Expert Committee to ensure high-quality scholarship, the Fellowship will be granted on the basis of the choice of text, quality of translation, and overall project proposal. The non-fiction source text from any of the 10 languages can be ecumenical, with no constraints on genre as long as it elucidates upon any socio-economic/cultural aspect of Indian history from the year 1850 onwards. NIF is expanding our mission of post-1947 India to include a broadly defined modern India only for the purposes of our Translation Fellowship.

Awarded for a period of six months with a stipend of 6 lakhs to each recipient, the Translation Fellowships will be awarded to translators/writers working on bringing historical Indian-language texts into an English publication. By the end of the fellowship, Fellows are expected to publish the translated works, which will be an extension of their winning proposals. 

Speaking on this initiative, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Trustee, New India Foundation said, “There is an old saying about India that ‘kos-kos mein badle paani; chaar kos mein vaani’. A culture is captured by its symbols, heroes, rituals, history and writing; the NIF translation fellowships aim to make more of our culture accessible to new audiences.”

Applications open: August 11, 2021

Deadline for submissions: December 31, 2021

The Jury for these fellowships this year includes the NIF Trustees: political scientist Niraja Gopal Jayal, historian Srinath Raghavan, and entrepreneur Manish Sabharwal alongside the Language Expert Committee in all 10 languages, comprising of esteemed bilingual scholars, professors, academics, and literary translators including:

  • Kuladhar Saikia – Assamese
  • Ipshita Chanda – Bangla  
  • Tridip Suhrud  – Gujarati
  • Harish Trivedi – Hindi
  • Vivek Shanbhag – Kannada
  • Rajan Gurukkal – Malayalam
  • Suhas Palshikar  – Marathi 
  • Jatin Nayak – Odia 
  • AR Venkatachalapathy – Tamil
  • Ayesha Kidwai & Rana Safvi – Urdu

About the New India Foundation

Based in Bengaluru, the core activity of the New India Foundation is the New India Fellowships which have been awarded to scholars and writers for over a decade and a half now. Aimed at enabling high-quality original research on an extraordinary range of topics around post-Independence India, the NIF Fellowships have resulted in the publication of an eclectic and vibrant collection of twenty-two books published by prestigious publishing houses.

Instituted in 2018, the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize, awarded to the best non-fiction book on modern/contemporary India, has further built on this mission of sponsoring high-quality research and writings on the world’s largest democracy. 

The Annual NIF Lecture was started in 2004 and renamed in 2019 as the Girish Karnad Memorial Lecture in honour of the late multi-lingual scholar. Delivered annually by a distinguished scholar or writer, the NIF Lecture is held in Bengaluru in association with a reputed public institution.

Ramachandra Guha, Nandan Nilekani, Niraja Gopal Jayal, Manish Sabharwal and Srinath Raghavan are the Trustees of the New India Foundation.