First published in 1937, The Hobbit has never gone out of publication, being translated into over 60 languages and selling over 100 million copies worldwide.
While writing the Tolkien Companion and Guide with Christina Scull, Wayne Hammond, a well-known Tolkien scholar, told Jason Fisher that they had recently contacted Harper Collins Publishers in order to inquire about the existence of the rumored Marathi translations of The Hobbit. Harper Collins have heard about some possible pirated editions of this sort, but they had no record of any such legally existing translation.
When he became aware of this, D.G. Pashte from Diamond Publications began his work on the translation of the book with his son Nilesh. Shortly afterwards, they set out to secure the copyright for translating The Hobbit into Marathi, making in the very first in any Indian language.
“The Hobbit has quite a niche audience, unlike the Harry Potter series. The middle class in this country isn’t aware of this book much. We wanted to propagate this book, and the idea of adventure that it contains, to a much wider audience,” said D. G. Pashte.
He also added that the idea for a Marathi translation came about when he realised a critical fact about Marathi readers.
“They have a taste for adventure stories; for works of fantasy.”
The publisher, Diamond Publication, decided to print 5,000 copies for the first printing, and collectors are definitely going to want to get a copy for their very own. This special translation features the iconic illustrations of the Award winning artist and an essential painter of Middle-earth–Alan Lee.
“The illustrations bring the story to readers, especially to ones who aren’t aware how an elf or a dwarf looks like. It gives us the confidence that the book will find good demand,” said Nilesh.
The Tolkien Library conducted an interview with Nilesh, in which he discusses the translation. You can read the full interview here.
You can purchase the Marathi Hobbit at Flipkart.com.