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Shanti Prakashana, spreading message of communal amity through Kannada literature

S. Afshan Azhar | KMNN

Shanti prakashana (SP) is a trust which was established during 1988 in Mangalore, Dakshina Kannada district with the objective to educate Muslims (who do not know Arabic and Urdu) about Islam, Quran, Hadees and the life of Prophet Mohammad, by translating them into Kannada. Shanti Prakashana does not only translate books, but makes them easy to understand and enable people to adopt the principles of Islam in their lives.

Another objective of Shanti Prakashana is to remove the misconceptions and misunderstandings about Islam and Muslims lodged in the minds of non-Muslims who have been living together since time immemorial.

The various books brought out by the organisation in Kannada have benefited many. Shanti- Prakashana has not only printed these books but has also set up mobile book depots named Shanthi Sanchari Pustakalaya to tour the entire state, especially in crowded places like melas, jatras, near mosques, temples, churches etc. These books are also exhibited in the premises of colleges, government offices, High Court etc, after obtaining permission from the concerned authorities. Shanti Prakashana has published nearly 250 titles in the last 25years.

Trust operates from Mangalore, where printing of books takes place, as people having knowledge of Arabic and who can translate books into Kannada are available in this city. The organization celebrated its Silver Jubilee year during 2013.

Mr. KM Ashraf

Karnataka Muslims fortnightly, caught up with Mr. K.M. Ashraf, Trustee of Shanti Prakashana following are excerpts from the interview:

1. Since how long are you associated with Shanti Prakashana?

I have been a part of this organization, as trustee, for 15 years.

2. Who is the founder of the organization?

The founders of Shanti Prakashana include late Mr. Ibrahim Sayeed, Maulana Mohammad Siraj-ul- Hasan, Mr. Iqbal Mulla and Mr. Mahmoud Khan. The first chairman of this organization was Mr. Syed Shabeer Ahmed.

Late Mr. Ibrahim Sayeed, a journalist, writer and orator was instrumental in Shanti Prakashana spreading knowledge of Islam in Karnataka by translating books into Kannada language. He was the backbone of Shanti Prakashana.

3. How authentic are the translations of Quran, published by SP?

The translations of Quran done by established and famous Urdu writers are translated into Kannada with the support of ‘hadees’. Similarly, we intend to translate original Kannada books into English and we have already initiated action in this regard.

4. What kind of reaction did you get for translation of Quran in Kannada language?

We have received more appreciation than criticism for our work. Initially, some Muslim brothers were apprehensive that the meaning of Quran, when translated into Kannada may change. Since nobody had attempted this before, we had to muster courage, facing the initial opposition to this venture. However, we have overcome these hurdles and at present, even those who had doubts have joined hands with us in translation.

Not only Muslim religious heads and writers, even the swamiji’s like Tondadarya Swamiji ( Gadag ) Belimath Swamiji, Niruma midi swamiji, Patil Puttappa and many more others have appreciated our work.

5. What are the other activities of the Trust?

Apart from participating in book fairs at taluk, district and state levels, we conduct religious discussions, symposiums etc. where participants belonging to all castes and religions, attend.

6. Does Shanti Prakashana bring out magazines and newsletters?

Not every year, but on the occasion of 10th anniversary of Shanti Prakashana we had prepared a booklet, “Sahithya moolaka sauharda” (Communal amity through literature).  A forty-five day campaign including book exhibitions were conducted throughout the state.

During 2013, being the silver jubilee, too, a similar campaign called “Shantigagi Sahithya” meaning literature for peace was conducted from November 1-30 in various big cities in the state. Symposiums, panel discussions with writers, separate programmes for women, children and cultural programmes were conducted in Bangalore, Gulbarga, Gadag and Shimoga. The concluding programme was held in Bangalore where famous literateurs, writers and swamijis and representatives of various religions were present.

Vision-expo show casing models with regard to the message of Islam, current social issues like female foeticide, drug addiction, tobacco and drugs and its harmful effects, unequal distribution of wealth/ development etc. was organized.

7. Are non-muslims also involved in the Trust?

There is no non-Muslim trustee. However, we have non-muslim working staff in the office. We have translated books/ writings of non-muslim writers on Islam or related topics. For example, “Islam- aatank ya aadarsh”, a comparative study on Hinduism and Islam written by a swamiji from Lucknow, has been translated by Shanti Prakashana.

8. What are the future plans of the Trust?

We plan to continue translation of books on Islam and related topics into Kannada from not only Arabic and Urdu but also from Malayalam, English and other languages. We are planning to establish an office in Bangalore too. Right now we have a book depot in Bangalore.


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One Response

  1. Assalaam-u-alaikum,

    Respected Brother in Islam,

    I can’t begin to tell you how elated I feel when I come across people like you who are doing a commendable job in extending your knowledge of a language for spreading the message of Allah Subhanahu wa taala. Well, brother, I am also into something similar except that I don’t have a platform as big as you and I intentionally keep it it low key. These days I am dealing with people who belong to the Gulbarga region and while we exchange conversations in broken English, they seem to be well conversant only with kannada. They want a book on significance of Shab-e-qadr and I am giving them that , but there a few passages which I need someone to translate into kannada for us. I did approach professional people for the same but since the content is Islamic they are unsure of their translation work. SO I thought why not approach people for whom this is a regular part of their lives. Here I am writing this mail to you. Could you please help. The passages are few, say 5-6, very medium in size, content is in english, please let me know if you can help at abdulhabib3@yahoo.co.in

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