Don Quixote, the first modern novel of the world is a Spanish novel. The picaresque adventures in the world of 16 th century Spain form the basis of this great treasure of western literature. It is a two part novel ,the first part was published in 1605 and the second part appeared ten years later in 1615. The book is famous for its immortal satire on the outdated chivalric code, superb comedy and irony in which nobility is seen as a form of madness. For the fascinating charm, the book holds for the readers world over, it has been translated in most of the languages of the world.
Among the champions who promoted the popularity of the book in 20 th century was Aurel Stein’s American scholar friend , Carl T. Kellor. In 1930, he informed Stein of his commitment and interest in securing various translations in many languages of this famous book. But he did not have one in Kashmiri and Sanskrit of the book. And given Stein’s methods to help his European and American colleagues and friends, he would not lack in his judgement and efforts to satisfy the desire of his scholar friends.
In 1935 Stein was yet again back in Kashmir. It was then that Nityanand too was recovering from an attack of paralysis he had suffered earlier.
“Thanks for your letter from which I was very glad to learn that your dear father’s health was improving. May Sharada Devi help him to complete recovery. It gave me great pleasure to receive a good report of his health also from Dr .Macpherson’s mouth when he came here recently. Please give my very best wishes to your father who is always in my thoughts.” - Sir Aurel Stein.
(in a letter dated July 5, 1935, by Sir Aurel Stein to Nityanand’s son, Pandit Gopi Nath.) NS Mss, Nityanand Shastri Library Collection.
Following Nityanand’s improvement in his health, Stein saw the possibility of obtaining the desired translations of Don Quixote for Kellor.
“I am hard pressed by work and must therefore address you by dictating in English. I do so with regard to the translation into Sanskrit and Kashmiri which my friend Mr. Kellor of Boston is anxious to secure from your scholarly hand.. As I told you he has been collecting translations of that famous Spanish novel for many years. But he has not got any in Sanskrit or in Kashmiri. He has sent a copy of an English translation of Don Quixote. I am very anxious to satisfy my friend in this wish. The translation would be in the end deposited in the library of Harvard University, one of the greatest libraries in the world and thus perpetuate your name and your scholarship.” - Sir Aurel Stein.
(in a letter dated October 16, 1935, by Aurel Stein to Pandit Nityanand) NS Mss, Nityanand Shastri Library Collection.
Nityanand accepted the task in which he was assisted by Pandit Jaghadhar Zadoo. The desired translations were made jointly by them.
“I was greatly pleased to receive the good news that your health is improving and that you have been able to start on the work of translating parts of the famous novel Don Quixote into Sanskrit and Kashmiri. The task when accomplished with the help of Pandit Jagadhar Shastri will be much appreciated by Mr. Carl Kellor, my American friend.” - Sir Aurel Stein.
(in a letter dated January 21, 1936, by Sir Aurel Stein to Pandit Nityanand.) NS Mss, Nityanand Shastri Library Collection.
The progress on the translations of Don Quixote was kept informed to Sir George Grierson also.
“It was very good of you to write and tell me news of yourself but I was very sorry indeed to learn that you had been suffering from an attack of paralysis. Thank god you are recovering so well. I pray that soon you will be quite well and vigorous again. I heard from Sir Aurel Stein that you were engaged in translating a book. I forgot what it was. Perhaps it was Don Quixote. I hope that this has not been interfered with by your illness and that if it is not yet complete, it will soon be ready for press. It is sure to be good. I have very little news to tell you about myself. I was eighty five years old last January and a number of learned friends joined together and wrote a book which they gave to me on my birthday. It made me very happy to learn that so many friends had kind thoughts about me. Except that, nothing has happened to me past year or two. At my age I cannot do much and have to live quietly.”
- Sir George Grierson
(in a letter dated April 7, 1936, by Sir George Grierson to Pandit Nityanand.) NS Mss, Nityanand Shastri Library Collection.