Thursday, 13 May 2010

Captain Nemo speaks Punjabi

Having just finished 2000 Leagues Under the Sea, I naturally turn to wikipedia, which claims that Nemo comes close to revealing his Indian ancestry in that book, but that it's only obvious in retrospect. This suprised me; I thought Nemo outright says he's from India. My copy has

"That Indian, professor, lives in the land of the oppressed, and I am to this day, and will be until my last breath, a native of that same land!"

The original is

<< Cet Indien, monsieur le professeur, c'est un habitant du pays des opprimes, et je suis encore, et, jusqu'a mon dernier souffle, je serai de ce pays-la ! >>

I guess it is ambiguous - ce pays-là ("that country") could refer to India, or to oppressed nations generally.

In the sequel, The Mysterious Island, which I haven't read, it is revealed that Nemo was Prince Armitage Ranjit Dakkar, a descendent of both Hindus and Muslims. In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill make Nemo a Sikh, and fit out the Nautilus with Indian design and iconography.



And in the latest book, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume III: Century, Nemo speaks Punjabi with his daughter Janni.



I can't translate it, but I'm pretty sure it's real dialogue, as opposed to random Punjabi copied and pasted from another source. Of course, understanding the conversation isn't necessary to enjoy the story - the gist of it is repeated later. But I include the Punjabi below the fold in case someone wants to have a go at translating it.

I found a translation.

page 4
panel 2
Janni:
ਪ੍ਰਣਾਮ ਬਾਪੂ

ਤੁਹਾਡਾ ਕੀ ਹਾਲ ਐ?

panel 3
Nemo:
ਮੇਂ ਉਂਜ ਈ ਆਂ, ਨਾ ਅੱਗੇ ਤੋਂ ਭੈੜਾ ਨਾ ਚੰਗਾ।

ਮੈਂ ਪੁੱਛਦੀ ਆਂ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਅਪਣਾ ਇਰਾਦਾ ਬਦਲਿਆ ਐ ਜਾਂ ਨਹੀਂ?

panel 4
Janni:
ਝੱਲੀ ਨਾ ਹੋ

ਮੈਂ ਹਰਗਿਜ਼ ਨਹੀਂ ਬਦਲਿਆ

page 5
panel 1
Nemo:
ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰੀ ਨਾਫ਼ਰਮਾਨੀ ਕੀਤੀ

ਤੂੰ ਆਪਣੇ ਪਿਓ ਦੀ ਨਾਫ਼ਰਮਾਨੀ ਕੀਤੀ

ਇਹ ਨਾ ਭੁਲ ਕਿ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰੀ ਪੀ ਏਂ

panel 2
Janni:
ਨਹੀਂ

ਮੈਂ ਵੀ ਉਹ ਸਾਰੇ ਵਰੇ ਨਹੀਂ ਭੁੱਲੀ ਜਦੋਂ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਉੱਕਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਵੱਲ ਧਿਆਨ ਨਹੀਂ ਕੀਤਾ

ਤੁਸੀਂ ਮੇਰੇ ਵੱਲ ਧਿਆਨ ਇਸ ਲਈ ਨਹੀਂ ਕੀਤਾ ਕਿ ਤੁਹਾਨੂੰ ਪੁੱਤਰ ਚਾਹੀਦਾ ਸੀ

panel 3
Nemo:
ਆਹੋ, ਮੈਨੂੰ ਪੁੱਤਰ ਚਾਹੀਦਾ ਸੀ ਪਰ, ਸਨੂੰ ਤੂੰ ਹੀ ਲੱਭੀ

ਤੇ ਕੀ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਕੰਮ ਤੇ ਮੇਰਾ ਨਾਂ ਅੱਗੇ ਟੋਰੇਂ ਗੀ?

panel 4
Janni:
ਵਾਹ, ਉਹ ਨਾਂ ਕੀ ਜਿਹਦੀ ਕੋਈ ਪਛਾਣ ਨਹੀਂ, ਤੇ ਉਹ ਕੰਮ ਕੀ ਜਿਹੜਾ ਜਆਦੀ ਐ?

ਮੈਂ ਤੇਰੇ ਵਾਂਗ ਜਨੂਨੀ ਨਹੀਂ

ਮੇਰੇ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਤੋਂ ਜਹੰਨਮ ਵਿਚ ਜਾ

panel 5
Nemo:
ਤੇਰੀ ਇਹ ਹਿੰਮਤ ਕਿ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰੇ ਨਾਲ ਇੰਜ ਬੋਕੀਂ? ਤੈਨੂੰ ਫੈਂਟੀ ਲਵਾਉਣੀ ਚਾਹੀਦੀ ਐ।

page 20
panel 1
Nemo:
ਇਸਮਾਈਲ

panel 2
Nemo:
ਮੇਰੀ ਕਿਸ਼ਤੀ ਨੂੰ ਕਾਲਾ ਪੇਂਟ ਕਰ ਦੇ

ਤੇ ਮੇਰੀ ਬੋਪੜੀ ਨੂੰ ਇਹਦੇ ਅੱਗੇ ਵਿੱਲ ਲਾ ਕੇ ਜੋੜ ਦੇ

ਤੇ ਇਹ ਮੇਰੀ ਧੀ ਨੂੰ ਦੇ ਦੇ।

5 comments :

Adam Roberts Project said...

In the first draft of Vingt mille lieues sous les mers Nemo was explicitly a Polish nobleman, whose main animus was against the Russians for their suppression of the Polish uprising in the 1860s. Hetzel, Verne's publisher, made Verne eliminate all specific Polish references for fear of upsetting Russian readers (there was a huge market for French-language books in C19th Russia). It was only when writing L'Île mystérieuse that Verne decided to make Nemo Indian.

mahendra singh said...

Verne seemed to have a thing for Bundelkand, that's where Princess Aouda is from, in Around the World.

While we're at it, a resounding hurrah for L'Île Mysterieuse, it is the most Rousselian and obsessive of all the Master's works! Strongly recommended!

And if you're wondering, sorry, no Punjabi. Only Hoch Deutsch & Mauvais Français.

goofy said...

So Adam, you would consider Nemo's remark about "that same country" to mean oppressed nations in general?

Mahendra, I plan to read L'Île Mysterieuse. And I very much recommend The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Adam Roberts Project said...

I'd say it makes as much sense for a 19th-century Pole as a 10th-century Indian to talk about belonging to 'le pays des opprimes', yes.

Wondering if it might be a common French phrase, I googled pays des opprimes. The second and third hits are ... this very blog post.

Adam Roberts Project said...

"...it makes as much sense for a 19th-century Pole as a 19thth-century Indian" D'oh!