Midsummer Night’s Dream is, perhaps, the first drama of Shakespeare that was translated into Sanskrit. Several decades after Krishnamacharya translated Midsummer Night’s Dream into Sanskrit, Sanskrit scholars turned their attention to translating other dramas of Shakespeare. Some of them are listed below:
1. Venisa sarthavahah (Merchant of Venice) – Ananta Tripathi Śarma 1969
2. Yatha Te Rocate (As you like it) – Ananta Tripathi Sarma 1969
3. Dinarkarajakumarahemalekham (Hamlet) – Sukhamay Mukhopadhyay 1971
4. Uthika (Romeo & Juliet) – Revaprasad Dvivedi 1978
5. Candrasenah Durgadesasya Yuvarajah (Hamlet) – SD Joshi & Pt. Vighnahari Deo 1980
Excerpts from the author’s preface in the first edition of “Vasantika Swapnam”
It has been my long-cherished wish, to render into Sanskrit some of the plays of Shakespeare. But a translation in the form of a Sanskrit drama, is attended with difficulties. A Sanskrit drama, even if it should be a translation, has to conform to a string of hard and fast rules. Failing in this respect, the work, no matter however good, is sure to offend the taste of Sanskrit Pandits, and a work like mine written in the first instance to give our Pandits a taste of Western poetry will have no reason for its existence.
It is for this reason that Prof. H. H. Wilson has adopted the form of the English drama in translating Sanskrit Natakas. Following the same plan a translation of Shakespeare should have the garb of a Sanskrit drama, though it may not be possible in every case to observe the rules laid down for Sanskrit Natakas.
This work is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Midsummer-night’s Dream. The rendering is free in some places, and literal in other places, without being detrimental to the general tenor of the passages in the original. The ideas are enlarged in some places, but the enlargement is generally in keeping with the dominant feelings. There are deviations in details with view to keep up the characteristics of the Sanskrit drama. Some few passages pregnant with such ideas as could be brought home to our Pandits have been omitted, as also some passages which relate purely to Western habits and customs. I dare say men of greater capacity and learning than myself may produce a much happier and better translation of the same play.
I have selected Midsummer-night’s Dream at the outset, since it is not long and most of the ideas in it are not unfamiliar to the best of our Pandits. This play of Shakespeare has, of all his plays, the most Oriental cast about it, and I have accordingly given Sanskrit names for all the characters in the play.
I sincerely hope that this essay of mine may induce abler scholars to take up the task, and, with far better success, introduce to the literatii of the East some of the most chaste and beautiful thoughts of the West.
24th February 1892
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