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French literary honour conferred on Bengaluru author Arshia Sattar, translator of Indian epics | Bangalore News

Author-translator Arshia Sattar has been conferred with the honour of the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by the French government.

Thierry Mathou, the ambassador of France to India, presented the award to the Bengaluru-based scholar of Indian literature and mythology at a ceremony at the Consulate General of France in Bengaluru on November 28.

“This distinction comes in recognition of her outstanding achievements in the field of literature as a translator and a writer as well as her deep commitment to the promotion of literature as director of the literary residency, Sangam House,” the French embassy said.

“This award honours her continued commitment to cultural relationship and cooperation between diverse literary worlds,” it added.

Sattar, 63, has translated the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the tales from Kathasaritsagara and has written several books for children, including The Mahabharata for Children, which was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Children’s Literature in 2022.

Festive offer

Earlier this year, she was involved with a nine-piece podcast series ‘The River Has No Fear of Memories’. The podcast commemorated the life and works of renowned playwright and actor Girish Karnad, through extensive conversations he had with Sattar before his passing in June 2019.

Sattar co-founded the literary residency, Sangam House, in 2008, along with David William Gibson, as part of efforts to create a supportive space for writers in regional languages.

Sangam House has hosted over 200 writers from across India and the world and is a member of the Villa Swagatam network of residencies – an initiative launched by the French Institute in India in March 2023, which consists of 16 Indian residencies in the fields of arts and crafts, performing arts, and literature.

“It is an honour to recognize an eminent scholar of Indian literature and mythology, whose impact on literature spans across all spheres of literature. Her invaluable contribution to society also lies in enriching the understanding and appreciation of Indian classical literature,” Mathou said.

Sattar said the award was a recognition of the arts. “It is always an important moment when the arts are recognised. It is through the arts that we better understand each other and ourselves. The arts remind us of our shared humanity and in our troubled 21st century, this is perhaps the most significant touchstone – that we are more alike than we are different,” Sattar said.

The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters has in the past been conferred on Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, Richa Chadha, Raghu Rai, Ebrahim Alkazi, Habib Tanveer and Upamanyu Chatterjee.

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