Asterix is one of the most popular comic series in the world and commands widespread popularity among English-speaking Indians as well. Created, written, and illustrated by Frenchmen René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, the franchise includes 34 titles and has also spawned a number of animated and live-action films. The comic has also been translated into more than a hundred languages and has sold more than 325 million copies worldwide.
What is not widely known is that Asterix was briefly also translated into Hindi and later into Bengali. The Hindi translations of Asterix were first published in the early 1970s in a magazine named Madhu Muskan. The publication was later bought by Gowarsons Publishers who released standalone editions in the early 1980s. All in all, six titles were translated into Hindi between 1980 and 1986 as listed below:
- Asterix aur Kadai ka Rahasya (Asterix and the Cauldron)
- Asterix aur Cleopatra (Asterix and Cleopatra)
- Asterix aur Badi Ladai (Asterix and the Big Fight)
- Asterix aur Jyothishi (Asterix and the Soothsayer)
- Asterix aur Roman Ghuspaitiya (Asterix and the Roman Agent)
- Asterix Olympic Mein (Asterix at the Olympic Games)
One of the peculiarities of the comic is that the names of all the characters also happen to be puns. As puns do not necessarily translate well, localised names were introduced for each language. In fact, besides the names of the primary characters - Asterix and Obelix - all (non-historical) names are translated individually for each language. This, as seen in the table below, applied to Hindi as well!
|Character name in English||.. in Hindi||Meaning|
|Getafix||वैद्यनाथिक्स (Vaidhyanathix)||"Doctor Doctor"|
|Vitalstatistix||मोटूमलिक्स (Motumallix)||"Fat Chief"|
|Cacophonix||बेसुरिक्स (Besurix)||"One who sings out of tune"|
Similar names were concocted for Bengali.