La Fête de la Francophonie 2006 à l’alliance française d’Islamabad
Continuing with the celebrations of “ La Fête de la Francophonie 2006”, International French Speaking Day, the Alliance Francaise launched the Urdu versions of L’Avare and Tartuffe by Molière on Tuesday 28th March in the Alliance gardens. Extracts of the play Tartuffe were performed by members of the Alliance theatre club.
The books have been translated by Mr. Shaukat Niazi. Mr Shaukat Niazi has a degree in Political Science and his love affair with the French language and subsequently all things French, started in 1984, when by a strange coincidence he found himself taking French lessons in the Alliance Francaise of Lahore. He is now currently working in the trade commission of the Royal Embassy of Belgium.
In 1992 Mr Niazi, collaborated in the first Urdu translation of Molière’s famous play” Les Fourberies de Scabin”. He wrote an English travelogue of his stay in Paris “Memoirs of a Wanderer”, this came out in 1997. In addition to these, Mr Shauka Niazi has also translated other plays by Molière, Jean-Paul Sartre and Jules Romaine, which will be published soon. The Maupassant magnum opus “Bel Ami” is currently under completion. His own original Urdu short stories have been published in literary reviews of standing like “Takhleeq” from Lahore.
The books presented are the Urdu translations of two of Molière’s finest plays. The first is “Le Tartuffe” and the second is “L’Avare”. Presented for the first time in 1664, “Le Tartuffe” a biting satire on religious hypocrisy and bigotry, is considered to be Molière’s best play. After three hundred years Molière’s “Le Tartuffe” is a character not at all alien to any of us. The second play by Molière, “L’Avare’, translated as “Kanjoos”, based on a central theme of greed and avarice, is as appropriate today as it was more than three and half centuries ago. It is for this reason that it remains one of the most popular plays by Molière. These books have been published by Al Hamra with the support the Embassy of France.
H.E. M. Patrick Rénault, the Ambassador of Belgium was the chief guest at this occasion and he said that this was a pleasure for him in three ways. Firstly because Belgium is a neighbour of France, secondly because the Embassy of Belgium is a neighbour of the Allliance Française in Islamabad and finally and most importantly the star of the evening Mr Shaukat Niazi who has translated these works into Urdu is currently employed at the Embassy of Belgium and is a very dear colleague.
He later went on to say that Molière is to France what Allama Iqbal or Omer Khayyam is to Pakistan. These are really literary giants and of that there is absolutely no doubt. He also commended Shaukat on these translations and others because even though he is working in the trade section of the Embassy of Belgium, it is apparent that French culture and literature is very close to his heart. Only someone with passion for this culture has the drive to translate these plays into Urdu so a whole other nation can also benefit from these famous works;
This function was well attended about 120 people, who really enjoyed the readings which were presented on stage by the Theatre group of the Alliance Française. Later the ambassador was presented copies of the translated versions by Xavier Lagorce, Director of the Alliance
Last year, another translation of a French novel “l’Amant”, by Marguerite Duras, was also published by Al Hamra, under the title in urdu “Aashiq”.