From Sana’a to Thiruvananthapuram, a Scholar’s Journey !

EassaImage Courtesy: Times of India

Yemeni student, determined to escape the fratricidal violence of his homeland, emerged topper in the MA linguistics examination conducted by the University of Kerala in Thiruvananthapuram.

Thirty one-year-old Eassa Ali Mohammed Ali, who won a scholarship programme offered by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in 2015, got 83% marks, mustering good grades in 72 credits spanning four semesters.

For Ali, a professor of translation at Sana’a University in Yemen, it wasn’t easy making it to Thiruvananthapuram. He had to take a boat, packed with livestock and other animals, for a stormy 17-hour journey to Ethiopia and then three hours by road infested with rebels to reach the airport in Addis Ababa, from where he could take a flight to Thiruvananthapuram. “It was only six days before the deadline for joining Kerala University that I could check my email. But I was determined to reach Thiruvananthapuram on the said date and so I took the risks I had to,” Ali said.

A rank holder in his graduation course in translation at Sana’a University, Ali imbibed his love for language from his father who was a school teacher.

“For me, translation is all about propagating cultural awareness. The essence of a book has to be captured fully in translation and as a translator I believe my job is to help societies understand each other,” said Ali, who lives at Kariavattom in Thiruvananthapuram city with his wife and two daughters.

Coming from a strife-torn land, he has found Thiruvananthapuram very welcoming. “I was apprehensive, when I reached here. But, “kayicho (കഴിച്ചോ?)” (did you have food?) was mostly the first question people asked me. The question itself speaks about the kindness of people when they meet a stranger,” he said.  Ali also found the Kerala University faculty and ICCR officials very helpful. He goes gaga over the greenery here but says he’s a little wary of the spicy food.

His teachers are all praise for Ali. “Usually it is local students who are toppers in this course. But his knowledge of the subject and teaching experience in Yemen helped him beat them all,” said Dr S Kunjamma, Head of Department of Linguistics at the university.

Ali has clear plans for the future – he wants to do a PhD in translation, a bridge between his native culture and the one he has discovered Thiruvananthapuram.

Inputs from “Times of India”

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