Fontamara Re-translated - By Professor Dr. Saadat Saeed
Fontamara is a great novel written approximately seventy years back by Ignazio Silone, an Italian novelist who enjoyed the repute of an anti- fascist philanthropist. It is a story of great resistance against Italian Fascism. Asif Farrukhi, the famous Urdu fiction writer and translator has re- translated it due to the obvious reason pinpointed by Abdullah Malik a member of the ex-Progressive Writers' Movement, he says "In fact the third world countries currently are badly in need of books against Fascism because they are feeling more than ever before the danger of irrationalities and fundamentalism. Mashal a non-governmental organisation provided funds for the publication of this translation. It has been set up to help for bringing out quality books in Urdu and other languages. The publisher announces "Mashal is founded by the Netherlands Ministry of Development Cooperation, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the Ober Foundation (USA)."Mind it nowadays the West is fighting against the eastern fascism which has nothing to do with conspicuous styles of looting and capturing new business markets in West and making modern weapons of war to invade its countries. "
Asif Farrukhi is a cultivated translator with a deep-rooted sense of different cultures. Fourth decade of the present century was a phenomenal mark in the development of the modern Urdu literature on an extensive level. The introduction of the technique known as social realism in literature by Progressive Writers' Association brought the influences of new Occidental traditions in Urdu literature. The rise of this distinct school of literature which is paying more attention to the depiction of social and economic hardships caused by an unjust society, made literature more intimidating and mundane.
How different was the time as compared with the last forty years when many unfair intellectuals passed resolutions appealing fascist regimes, to assert conventional directions and sanctions against the conflicting voices in literature. Abdullah Malik adequately says "Today, after fifty years", when a new translated version of Fontamara has been brought in the market, "wisdom and intellect are still under fire." Presently humanity needs deliverance from authoritarianism. Societies want peace. Intellectuals are in search of right direction. Ignazio Silone can guide us in this connection.
"This Novel" for Asif Furrukhi "is closely related to the situations prevalent in our country and society." The situations and characters projected in Fontamara also exist around us. He claims "in the process of its translation, whenever I got the chance of going through any of our national newspapers I detected that the news in it and in the pages of Fontamara were identical in nature."