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Day to day with Gandhi - Volume I
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Cover Page
Publisher's note
Start of Book

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Translator's Note

     It is no easy job to translate Mahadevbhai's1 diary. He was a poet by nature. Mahatma Gandhi himself called him so, as his colleagues can attest. And he had enriched his knowledge and literary taste by extensive reading. The original diary, therefore, is not only a piece of high-class Gujarati literature, but contains ramifications in Hindi and Sanskrit also.

    A good translation, moreover, does not mean dismantling a machine and, then, its transporting and careful assembling, part by part and screw by screw, in some other town. It is something like the transplantaion of whole flower plant from one soil to another and rearing it so carefully there as to let it blossom again as luxuriantly as before.

    While, therefore, the translation has to be first of all a creation by itself, happy and readable, it has also to be as faithful a transcription of the original text as possible. It is a translation and not an adaptation. This is all the more necessary in the case of this diary. Not only does it record epoch-making events, but also reveals through their talks, both grave and gay, a world figure and others who have made history. The translation has to do full justice to these events and personalities.

    Then there is the reader's angle to be taken care of. This presentation in English must appeal to the 'average' reader, one who is neither a scholar nor a mere schoolboy.

    I have borne in mind all these varied requirements. How far I have succeeded in the tests they offer is beyond my capacity to judge fairly. I can only say I have tried to follow the well-known Shakespearian advice "to thine ownself be true" and have enjoyed the time spent after the translation.

H. G. Nilkanth


    1 'bhai' is a suffix of respect.


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