Translation as intervention: Sambhu Mitra's Putul Khela (A doll's house)


  • Ahmed Ahsanuzzaman Khulna University



A Doll’s House, Bhabha, Bharucha, Ibsen, intervention, Mitra, Putul Khela, swear-words, special words, translation.


For post-colonial writers and theorists, translation is a highly political activity. As Susan Bassnett and Harish Trivedi say, “translation is a highly manipulative activity” and it “involves all kinds of stages in ... [the] process of [“intercultural”] transfer across linguistic and cultural boundaries” (1999, 2). They hold that the “the common translatorial temptation [is] to erase much that is culturally specific, to sanitize much that is comparatively odorous” (ibid). Rustom Bharucha terms translation as “intervention”.

This article considers the Bengali translation of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House in 1958 by one of India’s theatre legends, Sambhu Mitra (1915-1997). The paper reads Mitra’s translation as “intervention”, studying it at the linguistic level. It contends that Mitra pronounces his voice by intervening in the translation through making careful choices which include, among other issues, his choice of the title as well as his handling of Ibsen’s swear-words and special words.

Author Biography

Ahmed Ahsanuzzaman, Khulna University

Ahmed Ahsanuzzaman is professor of English at Khulna University, Bangladesh. He received his PhD from the University of Oslo for the thesis, “Sambhu Mitra’s A Doll’s House: Putul Khela in Bengal” in 2012. The present article is a shortened version of a couple of chapters of the thesis. Ahsanuzzaman has presented articles in international Ibsen conferences at Oslo, Shanghai and Tromsø. He translated and directed An Enemy of the People produced by the Khulna University students in 2006. Ahsanuzzaman takes interest in theatre, translation studies and the post-colonial critique of Shakespeare.




How to Cite

Ahsanuzzaman, Ahmed. 2015. “Translation as intervention: Sambhu Mitra’s Putul Khela (A doll’s house)”. Nordlit, no. 34 (March):519–528.