Jai Ratan passes away

Jai Ratan was born in Ludhiana in 1917. He was educated at the Forman Christian College in Lahore, from where he took a Master's degree in English. Translating literary works from languages such as Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu was a passion with him. The nonagenarian had not only translated 600 short stories into English but has also penned many original stories. He had over 60 books to his credit.

A founding member of the Writers' Workshop in Kolkata, he recalled that both translating and writing happened by chance. He said in an interview, "P. Lal, the editor of Writers' Workshop, suggested that I translate Prem Chand's "Godaan" into English. The book had an interesting plot so the idea appealed to me. I translated the first two chapters and sent them to Jaico Publishers. They liked it and agreed to publish it. After that I never looked back."

Winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award for Translation, Jai Ratan could easily be one of the most prolific translators in the country. As a tribute to his close friend and great Hindi writer the late Kamleshwar, he translated into English a collection of 15 short stories "Not Flowers of Henna" published by Katha. This book was one of the 3 books in contention for Muse India Translation Award 2011 announced and given at Hyderabad Literary Festival. It narrowly missed the award but received Jury’s commendation certificate.


He was hospitalised in January 2012 with pneumonia and was recovering after being discharged. Due to sudden setback in his health, he passed away yesterday, Feb 14, 2012. Muse India Commendation certificate and memento that were sent to his Gurgaon home by courier, unfortunately, reached there today, when he was being cremated. 


Muse India deeply regrets the passing away of this veteran translator and extends its condolences to the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace.

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