From Being A Class 10 Dropout To Signing Contracts With Nobel Laureates, Here's Sharad Ashtekar's Journey Of Telling Tales Through Translations

Sharad Ashtekar translates prolific English novels into Marathi to broaden their horizons like never before.

  • From Being A Class 10 Dropout To Signing Contracts With Nobel Laureates, Here's Sharad Ashtekar's Journey Of Telling Tales Through Translations
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It's a common dilemma for the older generation to not be able to read a well-written book in English as they're not translated in their native language. People who aren't well-versed in English find it difficult to consume high quality content as the books are primarily published in English 

To make things easier, class 10 dropout Sharad Ashtekar sensed this gap especially in the rural market and started Madhushree Publication which focuses mainly on translating recent English books into Marathi. However, not coming from an affluent background resulted in him starting out with many odd jobs which even included selling newspapers.

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With an aim to bridge the gap between rural readers and global literature, he started his publishing house which has translated popular books like The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson,  Homo Deus: A Brief History for Tomorrow and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari, How To Win People and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, Zero To One by Peter Thiel, The Paradoxical Prime Minister by Shashi Tharoor etc.  

His initiative garnered international acclaim and he recently met Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari and Nobel Laureates Daniel Kahneman and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and signed a contract for translating their books Thinking, Fast and Slow and Gene Machine: The Race To Decipher The Secrets of Ribosome. 

Looking back at his journey Ashtekar recalls,

I started with just 2 employees in Madhushree and since then, the journey has been anything but easy. Out of 36 districts in Maharashtra over 22 don't even have proper bookstores and therefore we had to deliver it to them directly. It did not gain traction at bookstores but was a major hit when we directly approached schools. One of the best memories is when I saw a street bookseller selling books from my publication. The original price of the English book is between ₹500-₹700 but as we want to target maximum people, I've kept the price of the translated work between ₹200-₹300.  Our team is now expanding and there are many exciting new releases soon on the platter. 

The books are even doing well on e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart. His next releases include Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope by Mark Manson, Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark, Astrophysics for People In A Hurry by Neil Tyson, Origin Story by David Christian. 

Talking about his encouragement, Ashtekar said, 

My family and wife have been a constant source of support and along with them, the last time when I met  Yuval Noah Harari he signed my book and wrote 'The future is in your hands'. That is one of my biggest driving factors and my most prized possession. 

Sharad Ashtekar's contribution perfectly redefines Jose Saramago's quote which states, 

“Writers make national literature, while translators make universal literature.”

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