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Indian literature is one of the oldest languages in the world. India has 22 officially recognized languages and a huge body of literature is produced in each of these languages. In Indian literature oral and written forms are both important and Hindu literary traditions dominate a large part of early literature. The history of literature is the historical development of writings in prose or poetry which aim at providing education, entertainment and enlightenment to its readers as well the development of the literary techniques used in the communication of these pieces. The historical development of literature did not happen at an even pace across the world. Indian Literature can be divided into Ancient Literature, Medieval Literature and Contemporary Literature.

Most of the early Indian literature is written in Sanskrit, Prakrit or Pali script. Hence, ancient Indian literature can also be termed as Puranic Literature or Sanskrit Literature. Sanskrit Literature is one of India`s two oldest languages and the basis of several modern languages in India.

In medieval Indian literature the earliest works in many of the languages were sectarian, designed to advance or to celebrate some unorthodox regional belief. Examples are the Caryapadas in Bengali, Tantric verses of the 12th century and the Lilacaritra (circa 1280), in Marathi. Other example was in Rajasthani of the bardic tales of chivalry and heroic resistance to the first Muslim invasions - such as the 12th-century epic poem Prithiraja-raso by Chand Bardai of Lahore.

During the same period, the Bhakti Movement was founded in South India. The most famous shaiva bhaktas cults were the 4 Nalvar. The spread of Bhakti Movement in North India was spontaneous and was centered on Rama and Krishna. However, all the forms of Bhakti Movement peacefully coexisted and were immensely popular with the masses.

The domination of the British on India had a lot of socio-economic impact and literature was not far behind. The advent of the printing press revolutionized literature as it reached out to the masses. The Bengal Gazette was the first newspaper to come out, beginning a new genre. Schools were established to further English education and vernacular languages as well. Indians were writing in English for the first time and putting across their views to the world. Even authors like Rabindranath Tagore wrote prolific literature during this period. It also won him the title of Nobel Laureate.

The modern contemporary Indian Literature is vast in its scope and encompasses literature in various genres and styles. Contemporary literature is influenced in content by the western philosophy and thought, however it maintains its unique Indian flavour. In the arena of world literature it occupies a position of pride for its richness and originality. Contemporary Indian literature still bears some of the colonial impact and writers often base their works in the colonial backdrop. However this is not something unusual for a nation under colonial rule for such a long period. Contemporary Indian Writers have taken to writing in English and often their themes are based on an Indian set up.

Literature of India - Indian literature - Literature of India - India literature - History of Indian literature - Literature of India

The old Indo-Aryan language , Sanaskrit is the classical literary language of Hinduism. Sanskrit literature traces its roots back to Vedic period. The earliest forms of theatrical arts could have existed in the form of dance dramas evidenced by iconography from Indus Valley Civilization. This form of theatre died a natural death along with the Indus valley Civilization and was later replaced by the dramatic forms of the Vedic Age. Vedic drama like the Greek Drama owed its origin to religion. The Yama Yami episode in Rig Veda for example presents one of the earliest forms of drama in Indo European style of literature. It was probably enacted by the brahmanas as a part of ancient Vedic ritual. Alexander`s conquest of India greatly influenced the Sanskrit drama. Despite the influence, Sanskrit plays maintain their individuality and subjects of the plays ranged from the tragedy to light comedy. Many dramatists based their works around the plot of Ramayan and Mahabharata.

Kalidas is a pioneer of Sanskrit literature - Shakuntala and Meghdutum are his famous plays. Other playwrights like Sudraka wrote Mricchakatika; Bhasa composed Svapna Vasavadattam; Chanakya wrote Arthshastra and Vatsysyana wrote Kamasutra are also the landmarks of Sanskrit. The most well known Sanskrit dramatists are Sudraka, Bhasa, Asvaghosha and Kalidasa.
Sudraka`s Mrichchakatika was written during 2nd B.C and is one of the earliest known Sanskrit plays in the post Vedic era.
Bhasa`s Plays are considered to be the best and second only to Kalidasa.

Kalidas was the greatest poet and playwright in Sanskrit. Kalidas is to Sanskrit, what Shakespeare is to English. He used simple diction and mastered the use of simile earning the saying - Upama Kalidasasya (Kalidas owns simile). He wrote two large epic poems - Raghuvansham (the Genealogy of Raghu) and Kumarsambhavam (the birth of Kumara). He also wrote two smaller epics - Ritusamhaara (Medley of seasons) and Meghdutum (the cloud messenger). In his works, Kalidasa deals with famous Hindu legends and themes; the three plays that have immortalized him are Vikramorvasiya (Vikram and Urvashi), Malavikagnimitra (Malavika and Agnimitra) and Abhigyanshakuntalam (the recognition of Shakuntala).

In addition to these three plays Kalidas also wrote two long epic poems, the Kumarasambhava (Birth of Kumaara) and the Raghuvamsha (Dynasty of Raghu). The former is concerned with the events that lead to the marriage of the god Shiva and Parvatii, daughter of the Himalaya. The gods for the production of a son, Kumaara (the god of war), who would help them defeat the demon Taraka, desired this union. The gods induce Kama, god of love, to discharge an amatory arrow at Shiva who is engrossed in meditation. Angered by this interruption of his austerities, he burns Kama to ashes with a glance of his third eye. But love for Parvatii has been aroused, and it culminates in their marriage. The Raghuvamsha treats with the family to which the great hero Rama belonged, commencing with its earliest antecedents and encapsulating the principal events told in the Ramayana of Valmiki. The Ritusamhara, published in Bengal in 1792, was the first book to be printed in Sanskrit.

The Natyasastra (scripture of dance) is a keystone work in Sanskrit literature on the subject of stagecraft. It was written between 500 B.C and 300 B.C .The Natyasastra describes in detail the art of staging a Sanskrit drama. It addresses numerous topics, including the proper occasion for staging a drama, the props to be used, the kind of people qualified to be drama critics and specially instructions for actors and playwrights. Natyasastra deals primarily with stagecraft however its influence is visible even on music, dance, literature as well. It can, thus be called the foundation of fine arts in India. The most important concept in Natyasastra is the experience of Rasa (emotion or sentiment).

Apart from the Sanskrit dramas, we can also find that Panini`s Ashtadhyayi standardized Sanskrit grammar and phonetics. Panini has left an indelible mark on Sanskrit grammar and phonetics. Panini was a grammarian from approximately 5th century B.C. His masterpiece is called Ashtadhyayi and is a study in brevity and completeness. His book completely standardized Sanskrit grammar and phonetics and is accepted till date as an authority. In applying his rules to Sanskrit verse he used such texts as Shiva sutras thereby establishing principles of harmony and linguistic wholeness.

Sanskrit - Hinduism - Sanskrit language - Sanskrit literature - Vedic literature - Sanaskrit - Indian literature

Hindi literature, is broadly divided into four prominent forms or styles, being Bhakti (devotional - Kabir, Raskhan); Shringar (beauty - Keshav, Bihari); Veer-Gatha (extolling brave warriors); and Adhunik (modern). It contains literature in all Hindi languages, including its dialects like: Brij Bhasha, Bundeli, Awadhi, Kannauji, Marwari, Maithili, Magahi, Bhojpuri and Bihari languages and Khariboli (Modern Standard Hindi) in Devnagari script, the dialect which is one of India's official languages.

In ancient period of Hindi or Adi Kaal (before 1400 A.D.), Hindi literature was developed in the states of Kannauj, Delhi, Ajmer, streching up to central India, modern Madhya Pradesh.

Delhi was ruled by Prithviraj Chauhan (1168-1192 A.D.), that is when his court poet, Chand Bardai, wrote an eulogy to him, titled Prithviraj Raso, which was considered one of the first works in the History of Hindi Literature.

In Deccan region in South India, Dakkhini or Hindavi was used. It flourished under the Delhi Sultanate and later under the Nizams of Hyderabad. The first Deccani author was Khwaja Bandanawaz Gesudaraz Muhammad Hasan. He wrote three prose works - Mirazul Aashkini, Hidayatnama and Risala Sehwara. His grandson Abdulla Hussaini wrote Nishatul Ishq.

In later part of this period and early Bhakti Kala, many saint-poets like Ramanand and Gorakhnath became famous. Earliest form of Hindi can also be seen in some of Vidyapati's Maithili works.

The medieval Hindi literature known as the Bhakti Kaal is marked by the influence of Bhakti movement and composition of long, epic poems. Avadhi and Brij Bhasha were the dialects in which literature was developed. The main works in Avadhi is Tulsidas's Ramacharitamanas. The major works in Braj dialect are Tulsidas's Vinaya Patrika and Surdas's Sur Sagar. Sadhukaddi was also a language commonly used, especially by Kabir in his poetry and dohas.

The Bhakti period also marked great theoretical development in poetry forms chiefly from a mixture of older forms of poetry in Sanskrit School and the Persian School. These included Verse Patterns like Doha (two-liners), Sortha, Chaupaya (four-liners) etc. This was also the age when Poetry was characterized under the various Rasas. Unlike the Adi Kaal (also called the VirGatha Kaal) which was characterized by an overdose of Poetry in the Vir Rasa (Heroic Poetry), the Bhakti Yug marked a much more diverse and vibrant form of poetry which spanned the whole gamut of rasas from Shringara rasa (Beauty), Vatsalya Rasa (Love), Vir Rasa (Heroism), Prema Rasa (Romance) etc. This was also the age of tremendous integration between the Hindu and the Islamic elements in the Arts with the advent of many Muslim Bhakti poets.

In Ritikavya or Ritismagra Kavya period, the erotic element became pre-dominant in the Hindi literature. This era is called Riti (meaning 'procedure') because this was the age when poetry forms and theory developed to the fullest, as in the theoretical aspects and procedures of poetry writing as an Art Form, following traditional forms. The poetry of Bihari, and Ghananand Das fit this bill. The most well known book from this age is Bihari Satsai by Bihari which is a collection of Dohas (couplets), about Bhakti (devotion), Neeti (Moral policies) and Shringar (love).

In the Adhunik Kaal(19th century onwards), Hindustani had become the general public's language. To distinguish themselves from the general masses, the learned Muslims used to write in Urdu (filled with Persian and Arabic vocabulary), while Khadiboli became prominent among educated Hindus. Khadiboli with heavily Sanskritized vocabulary or Sahityik Hindi (Literary Hindi) was popularized by the writings of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, Bhartendu Harishchandra and others. Bhartendu Harishchandra preferred braj bhasha for poetry, but for prose, he deliberately used Khadiboli. Other important writers of this period are Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, Maithili Sharan Gupt, R N Tripathi and Gopala Sharan Sinha. The rising numbers of newspapers and magazines made Khadiboli popular among the educated people. Chandrakanta, written by Devaki Nandan Khatri, was considered the first authentic work of prose in the Adhunik kaal (modern period).

The person who brought realism in the Hindi prose literature was Munshi Premchand, who is considered as the most revered figure in the world of Hindi fiction and progressive movement. Before Premchand, the Hindi literature revolved around fairy or magical tales, entertaining stories and religious themes. Premchand's novels have been translated into many other languages.

In 20th century, Hindi literature saw a romantic upsurge. This is known as Chhayavaad (shadowism) and the literary figures belonging to this school are known as Chhayavaadi. Jaishankar Prasad, Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', Mahadevi Varma and Sumitranandan Pant, are the four major Chhayavaadi poets. This period of Neo-romanticism, represents the adolescence of Hindi Poetry. It is marked by beauty of expression and flow of intense emotion. The four representative poets of this era represent the best in Hindi Poetry.

Uttar Adhunik Kaal is the post-modernist period of Hindi literature, marked by a questioning of early trends that copied the West as well as the excessive ornamentation of the Chhayavaadi movement, and by a return to simple language and natural themes. Jainendra Kumar, Phanishwar Nath Renu and Aggeya (Satchidananda Hiranand Vatsyayan) are the other popular figures of this time. In this period the voices of the women appeared in feminist writings and also of other long marginalized social groups, have started emerging, exemplified by the Dalit literature, which represents the most fierce and important genres of the contemporary Indian literature.

India - Hindi literature - Indian literature - Hindi language - Hindi - Devnagari

The history of Tamil literature dates back to the pre-Christian era. As there was little impact of other linguistic groups or literatures on the Tamil country, the earliest Tamil poetical forms were derived from folk songs. Since literary works in other Dravidian languages came to be written only after the eighth century A.D., the Tamil literature prior to this, extending over a period of twelve centuries, had grown like the first child in a joint family.  Sangam literature comprises some of the oldest extant Tamil literature, and deals with love, war, governance, trade and bereavement. Unfortunately much of the Tamil literature belonging to the Sangam period had been lost.

The people who lived beyond the Tirupati Hills were referred to as vatukar in the Cankam classics. People of that region studied Tamil poetical works. And their poets too composed poems in Tamil. The contact with Sanskrit scholars was there between the Cankam period and the seventh century A.D. But it was restricted to Tamil scholars living in the urban areas. It was then that certain Sanskrit words like teyvam (God), karanam (reason) and anai (command) gained a place in Tamil vocabulary. Likewise many words from North Indian languages found a place in Tamil with the spread of Jainism and Buddhism in the Tamil country. The Buddhists and Jains, who were well versed in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Pali, were largely responsible for this admixture.

The impact of Sanskrit literature on Tamil gradually increased. Only then was there an influx of Sanskrit words into Tamil. During this period only two languages, Tamil and Sanskrit, were regarded as literary languages. The former was known as the language of the South and the latter as the language of the North. Sanskrit scholars termed Tamil as Dravidian. Since it was called Dravidian, it was not mentioned as such in Tamil literary works of the time.

Saint Tirunavukkarcar, who lived in the seventh century A.D., while praising the omnipotence of Lord Siva, mentions that He was the personification of Aryan and Tamil, thereby classifying the cultural composition of ancient India into two main groups. The same idea found expression in the puranas as well, where it is indicated from one side of the tamarukam (a small leather musical instrument held by Siva) originated Sanskrit and from the other, Tamil. It was also the origin of the story that Siva taught Sanskrit to Panini, and Tamil to Agastya. All these indicate that in the earlier period of Indian literary history only Tamil and Sanskrit existed.

After the eighth century A.D. Jain scholars translated some Sanskrit works into Tamil while certain other works were based on Sanskrit. It was then that some scholars realised that both Tamil and Sanskrit scholars function as two distinct groups within a single cultural milieu. They attempted to bring them together by innovating anew style of hybrid writing called manippravala, where equal amount of Sanskrit and Tamil words were used like pearl and coral.

When the English established their political hegemony over the Indian sub-continent, western literary genres like the short story and the novel reached Tamil through the medium of English. Consequently new literary forms like short story, novel and plays were experimented. Since the Tamil speaking area of the Indian subcontinent had been under the political dominance of foreigners up to 1947, the impact of various dynasty of rulers is adequately reflected in the continuous growth of the Tamil language.

In the early stages of the development of Tamil literature three types of poetical compositions, akaval, kalippa and paripatal were popular. The akaval type of verse is formed from a minimum of three lines to a maximum of several hundreds of lines. Each line consists of four-feet or four cirs. A combination of two or more metrical units or syllables or acais comprises a foot or cir. The basic metrical unit or acai is formed by one or two vowels. The akaval poetry resembles prose because of its narrative quality. The main difference between akaval and prose is that the former is written in four-foot lines with alliteration and assonance while the latter is invariably without these essential features. However in the earlier days even prose was written in four-foot lines.

In the growth of Tamil prose style too one can discover the periodical changes that had taken place in Tamil language. Early prose was written like the akaval with alliteration and assonance. Later these were reduced, but the syntactical form with subject and predicate was maintained. Even this prose style was not based on the syntax of spoken Tamil. If analysed critically, the early poetical style was closer to spoken Tamil, than to the written one. The written prose possessed brevity. It reflected even the complexity and subtlety of thought. Since the early prose was meant for scholars, it contained many rare words unknown to spoken language.

History of Tamil literature - Tamil language - Tamil literature - Sangam literature - Tamil Nadu - Tamilnadu - Dravidian

Kannada literature is the body of literature of Kannada, a Dravidian language spoken mainly in the Indian state of Karnataka and written in the Kannada script. The literature, which has a continuous tradition from the 9th century AD to the present, is usually divided into three linguistic phases: Old (850–1200 AD), Middle (1200–1700 AD) and Modern (1700–present). Its literary characteristics are categorised as Jain, Veerashaiva and Vaishnava—symbolizing the three dominant faiths that both gave form to and fostered it until the advent of the modern era. Although much of the literature before 1700 was religious, some secular works were also created.

Starting with the Kavirajamarga (c. 850), and until the middle of the 12th century, literature in Kannada was almost exclusively composed by the Jains, who found eager patrons in the Chalukya, Ganga, Rashtrakuta and Hoysala kings. Although the Kavirajamarga authored during the reign of King Amoghavarsha, is the oldest extant literary work in the language, it has been postulated by some scholars that prose, verse and grammatical traditions must have existed earlier. However, other scholars believe the literary tradition in Kannada to have begun with Kavirajamarga itself, and point to the absence of references before the ninth century in the early literary works such as the Sabdamanidarpanam of Kesiraja. Public narratives in the form of documentary inscriptions dating to as early as the 5th or 6th centuries have also been found; some of these suggest the existence of a contemporary folk literary practice, or "deshi, or local, popular literature" in Kannada, in contrast to "marga, or mainstream literature, in Sanskrit."

The Veerashaiva movement of the 12th century created new literature which flourished alongside the Jain works. With the waning of Jain influence during the 14th-century Vijayanagara empire, a new Vaishnava literature grew rapidly in the 15th century; the devotional movement of the itinerant Haridasa saints marked the high point of this era.

After the decline of the Vijayanagara empire in the 16th century, Kannada literature was supported by the Wodeyar rulers of Mysore. Later, in the 19th century, the influence of English literature created new literary forms in Kannada, such as the prose narrative, the novel and the short story.

Modern Kannada literature is now widely known and recognised. From the early 1970s, a segment of writers including many "Navya" writers started to write novels and stories that were anti-"Navya". This genre was called Navyottara and sought to fulfil a more socially responsible role. The best-known authors in this form of writing were Poornachandra Tejaswi and Devanur Mahadeva. Tejaswi moved from writing poetry to writing novels, going on to win "most creative novel of the year" for his Karvalo in 1980 and Chidambara Rahasya in 1985 from the Sahitya Akademi.

Modernisation and westernisation continue to inform sensibilities and spawn new literary techniques and genres. The most striking developments in recent times have been the rise of the prose form to a position of predominance—a position earlier held by poetry—and the prodigious growth in dramatic literature. More recently Bandaya (Rebellion) and Dalit literature, in some ways a throwback to the Pragatishila days, have come to the fore. Mahadeva's Marikondavaru ("Those who sold themselves") and Mudala Seemeli Kole Gile Ityadi ("Murder in the Eastern Region") are examples of this trend.

Kannada - Kannada literature - Dravidian language - Kannada language - Literature of Kannada - History of Kannada Literature - Karnataka

Urdu literature has a long and colorful history that is inextricably tied to the development of that very language, Urdu, in which it is written. While it tends to be heavily dominated by poetry, the range of expression achieved in the voluminous library of a few major verse forms, especially the ghazal and nazm, has led to its continued development and expansion into other styles of writing, including that of the short story, or afsana. It is today most popular in the countries of India and Pakistan and is finding interest in foreign countries primarily through South Asians.

Urdu is one the sweetest language in the world, the history and origin of Urdu literature is vivid, colorful and harmoniously conjoined that has led to the development of this language. The style of writing the Urdu language has developed tremendously with the domination of Ghazals and nazms, the most dominant forms of verses. The evolution of Urdu literature history has been slow yet steady and today, it is still one of the preferred languages for writing poetry and songs that express true meaning and feelings. Read on further to know about Urdu literature origin.

The Urdu literature has a heavy domination of poetry. It is this domination that has led to the expansion and development of writing style in literature. In the contemporary world, Urdu is still popular in India and Pakistan and other south Asian countries. The origin of Urdu literature can be traced to the 14th century in India during the Mughal rule. It was very much prevalent among the urbane Persians in the elite Muslim classes. The origin of the Urdu literature struck a fine balance between the new cultural amalgamation of a vocabulary of Sanskrit and Persian words and firm retention of the best of Persia and Afghanistan.

One of the most influential people who initiated the growth and development of Urdu literature is undoubtedly, the famous Amir Khusro. He is credited with categorizing of north Indian classical music, which is popularly known as Hindustani music. He frequently wrote in both Persian and Hindi and often mixed the two ingeniously. His influence was so vast that even a century after his death, the famous Quli Qutub Shah took an immense liking to this language that was called Urdu. With time the usage of Urdu for poetry spread to Northern India. The most well developed vessel of poetry has turned out to be the Ghazal which has by far exceeded all other forms of Urdu poetry by its quality and quantity within the cosmos of Urdu

A man who exercised great influence on the initial growth of not only Urdu literature, but the language itself (which only truly took shape as distinguished from both Persian and proto-Hindi around the 14th century) was the famous Amir Khusro.

Urdu literature was generally composed more of poetry than of prose. The prose component of Urdu literature was mainly restricted to the ancient form of long-epic stories called Daastaan. These long-epic stories would deal with magical and otherwise fantastic creatures and events in a very complicated plot.

Urdu literature - Urdu - History of Urdu Literature - Urdu Poetry - Indian Literature - Ghazals - Urdu language

Punjabi is an ancient language, but started its literary career pretty late. During medieval times, Punjab repeatedly bore the brunt of Afghan invaders and internal battles, and these warring times were not exactly feasible for any sort of literary or cultural expansion. Punjabi literature as such came into existence only from the end of the 16th century when Punjabi was already in its Middle Period. The script is Gurmukhi, which is based on Devanagri. Some of the early writings, such as those of the first Sikh Gurū, Nānak (late 15th and early 16th centuries), are in Old Hindi rather than true Punjabi. The first work identifiable as Punjabi is the Janam-sākhī, a 16th-century biography of Gurū Nānak.

Gurmukhi script, created from the Nagari script, is claimed by Sikhs as the only proper script for Punjabi. Punjabi was evolving and Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, gave a new lease of life to the language although it was still not in its pure form. The fifth Guru, Arjun Dev compiled the Sikh scripture, the Adi Grantha or Grantha Sahib, but this again was not strictly in Punjabi. Guru Govind Singh (1666-1708), the tenth and last Guru, wrote a number of religious works mainly in Old Hindi with the exception of Candi-di-Var which is in Punjabi.

The period between 1600-1850 covers the entire Middle Punjabi literature. Hindu and Sikh writers wrote in Punjabi, but it were Muslims were the most creative in producing rich literature in Punjabi. The best-known Hindu Punjabi scholar and Persian poet of the 17th century was Chandar Bhan of Lahore. In the 17th century Punjabi split up into three scripts - Perso-Arabic, Nagari and Gurmukhi. Abdullah’s (1616-1666) Bara Anva or the ‘the Twelve Topics’ is a thesis on Islam. During this age many Muslim Sufi poets came to the forefront, and their compositions, entirely Punjabi in spirit and content, form an integral part of Punjabi literature. Bullhe Shah (1680-1758) is the greatest Sufi poet whose Kafis or short poems of about six stanzas are very popular. Ali Haidar (1689-1776), one of his contemporaries, wrote a large number Si-harfis or poems of 30 stanzas, each stanza beginning with a letter of the Persian alphabet.

Modern Punjabi literature began around 1860. A number of trends in modern poetry can be discerned. To the more traditional genres of narrative poetry, mystic verse, and love poems was added nationalist poetry in a humorous or satiric mood and experimental verse. Among the more important Punjabi poets are Bhai Vir Singh, in the 19th century, and Purana Singh, Amrita Pritam, and Baba Balwanta.

Punjab Literature has always been a promising one and has largely contributed to the worldwide reputation of the excellent Indian Literature. It has a rich tradition of Sufi and Folk literature. The literature of Punjab has gained its popularity since the verses of the first Sufi saints. The verses of Sufi poets have everlasting thoughts incorporated in them and thus they are timeless and always modern.

Punjabi Literature also has a prosperous oral tradition. It is the spontaneous expressions of the feelings, which speak volumes about the community. This is generally not penned down and it spreads from mouth to mouth and is retained in minds. Punjabi folklore, which forms an important part of Punjab literature and the verses of the Sufi poets, are examples of oral literature. At present, these sufi poems and songs are widely popular all over the world. Punjabi literature is mostly spiritual and devotional in nature. Folksongs are also a part of literature and a large portion of Punjab's literature is the devotional folk songs.

The Punjab - Gurmukhi - Punjabi - Literature of Punjab - Punjabi literature - Punjabi Language - History of Punjabi literature

Bengali literary heritage originates from and is neatly intertwined with the classical Indo-Aryan Sanskrit language and literature. But the influence of other non-Aryan languages on Bengali cannot be ignored. It is now more or less accepted that Bengali and languages of neigbouring states belong to the Austric (or Austro-Asiatic) family of languages. Whilst Bengali carries the distinct mark of the Indo-Aryan social and cultural values, expressions or syntactic and grammatical constraints, according to Professor Sunitikumar Chatterjee, there is, of course, the preserve of Kol and Dravidian (the Santals, the Malers, the Oraons) in the western fringes of the Bengal area, and of the Boda and Mon-Khmer speakers in the northern and eastern frontiers. Bengali also bears some unmistakable affinities to non-Aryan phonetics, morphology, syntax and vocabulary, including myriads of symbolisms defining the local customs and traditions foreign to the Aryan or Vedic literature. In addition to Sanskrit, there were two other languages in vogue in Bengal in the 9th and 10th centuries: one was derived from Souraseni and the other derived from Magadhi. The latter is said to have evolved later into Bengali. Some writers would write pad, doha and verses in both languages and the readers, reciters and listeners too would understand them equally well.

The first evidence of Bengali literature is known as Charyapada or Charyageeti, a collection of 8th-12th century BC Buddhist mystic poems from eastern India that provides early examples of Assamese, Oriya and Bengali languages. Poets of these Charyapadas, the Siddhas or Siddhacharyas belonged to the various regions of Assam, Bengal, Orissa and Bihar. Charyapada is also the oldest known written form of Bengali. The famous Bengali linguist Harprashad Shastri discovered the palm leaf Charyapada manuscript in the Nepal Royal Court Library in 1907.

The term Bengali literature refers to literary works written in Bengali language particularly from Bangladesh and the Indian province of West Bengal. The history of Bengali literature traces back hundreds of years while it is impossible to separate the literary trends of the two Bengals during the pre-independence period. Post independent Bangladesh has given birth to its own distinct set of literature.

In the middle of 19th century, Bengali literature gained momentum. During this period, the Bengali Pandits of Fort William College did the tedious work of translating the text books in Bengali to help teach the British some Indian languages including Bengali. This work played a role in the background in the evolution of Bengali prose. In 1814, Raja Ram Mohan Roy arrived in Calcutta and engaged in literary pursuits. Translating from Sanskrit to Bengali, writing essays on religious topics and publishing magazines were some the areas he focussed on. He established a cultural group in the name of 'Atmiya Sabha' (Club of Kins) in 1815. Another significant contributor of Bengali literature in its early stage was Ishwar Chandra Bandyopadhyaya.

Possibly the most prolific writer in Bangla is Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore dominated both the Bengali and Indian philosophical and literary scene for decades. His 2,000 Rabindrasangeets play a pivotal part in defining Bengali culture, both in West Bengal and Bangladesh. He is the author of the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh, both composed in Bangla. Other notable Bangla works of his are Gitanjali, a book of poems for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, and many short stories and a few novels. It is widely accepted that Bangla Literature accomplished its contemporary look by the writings and influence of Rabindranath.

History of Bengali literature - Bengali literature - Bengali language - Bengali - Bangla literature - Bangla

Malayalam is a language of the Dravidian family. It is very close to Tamil, one of the major languages of the same family. This was due to the extensive cultural synthesis that took place between the speakers of the two languages.

Tamil, in Kerala, was for long, the language of administration. This has resulted in Tamil being used in literature too. In addition, Malayalam was influenced by Sanskrit also. Malayalam absorbed a lot from Sanskrit, not only in the lexical level, but also in the phonemic, morphemic and grammatical levels of language. Looking back, we see that early Malayalam literature consists of three streams namely, Folk Literature, Early Tamil Literature and Manipravalam Literature.

A major part of folklore includes the oral tradition, where songs, stories, riddles, proverbs, sayings etc. are transmitted through generations. The folk songs in Malayalam were related to agriculture, worship, war and other day - to- day activities. Often they depicted the sorrow and hardship of a group. Different occupational groups had their own songs. The men pushing heavy loads in their carts, attained some sort of relaxation when they loudly sang songs. The boatmen in the rivers sang in the darkness of the night giving hope to the weary, lonesome traveller. The folk tales in Malayalam also have a lot of practical wisdom and insight, embedded in them. Many of the tales are interactions between man and animal.

During the first half of the thirteenth century, there appeared a narrative poem known as Vaisika Tantram. The diction was far away from the spoken variety. This work on poetics was an elaborate appraisal of the poetry which was highly influenced by Sanskrit. At this time due to the great influence of Sanskrit, Sanskrit cases and verbal inflections were added to Malayalam, thus forming a new poetic language called Manipravaalam. Mani is 'ruby' and Pravalam is 'coral'. Ruby and coral are of the same color, and when a garland is made out of them they appear indistinguishable. Similarly the blend of the Malayalam 'Mani' and the Sanskrit 'coral' resulted in a perfect blend of the two languages, Malayalam and Sanskrit.

One of the most famous works of this time was 'Lilatilakam'. Lilathilakam is a work on the grammar and rhetorics of Malayalam. Lilathilakam states that the colloquial language of Kerala was known as Tamil. A literary language higher than the colloquial, existed. Lilathilakam explicitly defines the Manipravaalam style of poetry. Sanskrit elements that were assimilated by Malayalam, were governed by Malayalam grammatical rules.

Kerala Literature - Malayalam Literature - Literature Malayalam - History of malayalam literature - Malayalam - malayalabhasha

Marathi can be traced back far beyond the 10th century. It descends from Sanskrit through Pali, Maharashtri and Maharashtra - Apabhramsa. Marathi literature first made its appearance in the 10th century AD and can be grouped into two ages: Ancient or Old Marathi literature (1000-1800) and Modern Marathi Literature (1800 onwards). The former consisted mainly of poetry composed in metres and restricted to the poet`s choice of words and rhythms. It was particularly devotional, narrative and pessimistic for old Marathi poets had not been able to develop satire, parody, irony and humor into their poetry.

Old Marathi Literature covers about eight centuries. Its pioneers and founders were Mukundaraj (Vivekasindhu) and Dnyaneshwar (Dnyaneshwari) and his younger contemporary Namdeo (1270-1350) wrote devotional verses in a simple language for the people. Two centuries later came the great saint and greater poet Eknath and his Ekanathi Bhagavata is a literary masterpiece of Marathi literature. Eknath had a simple and attractive style of composing poetry and was the founder of secular poetry in Marathi. Mukteshwar (1574-1645) later developed this style and his version of the Mahabharata is the best example of a great narrative poem in Marathi.

In the history of Marathi literature, Tukaram (1608-1651) has been given a unique stature. A real genius, Tukaram`s poetry came forth from his wonderful inspirations. He was a radical reformer and has often been called Sant Tukaram. Terseness, clarity, vigor and earnestness were found in every line of his poetry. However, the most versatile and voluminous writer among the poets was Moropant (1729-1794) and his Mahabharata was the first epic poem in Marathi. The historical section of the old Marathi literature was unique as it contained both prose and poetry. The period from 1794 to 1818 is regarded as the closing period of the Old Marathi literature and the beginning of the Modern Marathi literature.

The first Marathi newspaper was started in 1835, and Baba Padamji`s Yamuna Paryatan was the first Marathi novel written on social reform in 1857. Keshavasuta (1866-1905), the first Marathi revolutionary poet, launched Modern Marathi poetry with his first poem. Vishnudas Bhave was the pioneer of Marathi drama, which was born in 1843. The first novel to be published was `Madhali Sthiti` by Hari Narayan Apte (1864-1919). The short story and essay forms came into existence in this period through Diwakar Krishna, H N Apte and V S Gurjar. Marathi, a rich language in all its forms and branches with a history of over a thousand years, occupies a distinct position in the field of Indian Literature and will continue to do so even in the near future.

The first English Book was translated in Marathi in 1817. The first Marathi newspaper started in 1835. Lokmanya Tilak`s newspaper Kesari, set up in 1880, provided a platform for sharing literary views. Marathi Drama efficiently aided Marathi at this time. Here, there also was a different genre called `Sangit Natya` or Musicals. The first play was V.A. Bhave`s Sita Swayamvar in 1841.

Sane Guruji (1899-1950) contributed to the children`s literature in Marathi. His major works are Shyamchi Aai (Shyam`s Mother), Astik (Believer), Gode Shevat (The Sweet Ending) etc. He translated and simplified many Western Classics and published them in a book of stories titled Gode Goshti (Sweet Stories). Vishnu Sakharam Khandekar (1889-1976)`s Yayati won him the Jnanpith Award for 1975. He also wrote many other novels, short stories, essays etc.

The Drama flourished in 60s and 70s with few of the best Indian actors available to take on a variety of protagonists. Mohan Agashe, Sriram Lagoo, Kashinath Ghanekar, Prabhakar Panshikar playing many immortal characters penned by greats like Vasant Kanetkar, Kusumagraj, vijay Tendulkar to name a few. Starting with V. Shantaram and before him the pioneer Dadasaheb Phalke, Marathi cinema went on to influence contemporary hindi cinema.

Marathi literature - Marathi - Marathi patkatha - Marathi sahitya - History Of Marathi Literature - Marathi language - Indian literature

Gujarati is an Indian language spoken in the state of Gujarat. Gujarati literature may be traced to the sultanate days. Literature flourished during the period. Well known litterateurs during that period were Akho, Vallabh, and Shamal. The poet Dalpatram is considered to be the father of modern Gujarati literature.

The factors such as policies of the Rulers, living style of people, the worldwide influence on the Society,etc. are important for any Literature to flourish. In Gujarat, due to the development of trade and commerce, religious influence of Jainism as well as Hinduism, and also due to the safety and encouragement of the Rulers like Siddhraj, Solanki and Vaghela Rajputs, the Literary activities were in full force from the 11th century.

Due to flourishing trade and commerce in Ahmedabad and Khambat (Cambay), the entertainment activities started developing. Through the Jain Saints, Story-tellers, Puppet Shows, Bhavai (dramas), the Gujrati literature related activities also began. This gave rise to ancient literature and the 11th century noted poet Hemchandra (1088-1172).

The Narsinh-Yug (period between 11th-14th century) age began for Gujarati language and Literature. The literature is divided into many different parts. Duha became popular for its beautiful way of encouraging the people through poetry. Fagukavya were created as a poetic descriptive way of something, be it rains, religion, or nature. Vasantvilas (1452) is a classic example of it. The prose such as Tribhuvan Prabandh were simply the philosophical way of expressions. A lot of stories came into existance by way of folk-literature. Sadyavatscharit (1410) by Bhimdev is an interesting example.

The Bhakti-Yug (15th-18th century) is the age when Jain and Hindu poets have given Literauture in abundence, to Gujarat. The prose and poetry created were mostly to encourage religion and worship. The Gita, Mahabharat, Vedas, Bhagvat were instantly popular and worship and offering love to God through this, stayed in the hearts of people for long. Narsinh Mehta's creations are considerd the best. With this there was also creations of prayers (Mira), Jain history, etc. In Jain Literature of the 15th century, Jain poets' creations of stories, Updesh, history, philosophy, etc. are note-worthy.

With the British Government and the new technology of printing and press, there began the education of English language and Modern Gujarati Literature. The new age brought a lot of newspapers, magazines, etc. to spread the awareness in the Society. With this, the literature became much more and activities started in all fields rather than just the ancient religious way of poetry. The creations reflected on social welfare, criticism, plays, new age thinking, country-worship, the values of life,etc.

History of Gujarati literature - Gujarati - Gujarati literature - Gujarat - Gujrat - Gujarati language - Indian literature

Oriya is an official language of the state of Orissa, India, a region known at different stages of history as Kalinga, Udra, Utkala, or Koshala. The earliest written texts in the language are about thousand years old. Orissa was a vast empire in the ancient and medieval times, which extended from the Ganges in the north to the Godavari in the south. Oriya is classified as a member of the Indo-Aryan language super family; it is a descendent of Odri Prakrit and Ardha Magadhi. This form of Prakrit was in turn derived from Sanskrit via the transitional Bibhasas.

The beginnings of Oriya poetry coincide with the development of Charya Sahitya, the literature started by Mahayana Buddhist poets.This literature was written in a specific metaphor named “Sandhya Bhasha” and the poets like Luipa, Kanhupa are from the territory of Orissa. The language of Charya was considered as Prakrita. The first great poet of Orissa is the famous Sarala-Das who wrote the Mahabharata, not an exact translation from the Sanskrit original, rather an imitation of the same. For all practical purposes it can also be seen as an original piece of work. It has provided subsequent poets with the necessary foundation for a national literature. It gives a fairly accurate idea about the culture of the Oriyas at the time.

Towards the 16th century, five poets emerged and are known as Panchasakhas as they believed to same school of thought, Utkaliya Vaishnavism. The poets are Balaram Das, Jagannath Das, Achyutananda Das, Ananta Das and Jasobanta Das. Balaram Das’s Jagamohan Ramayan provided the pillar on which subsequent literature was to thrive. His Laksmi Purana is considered to be the first manifesto of Women’s Liberaion and Feminism in India Literature. However, the most influential work came in the form of Jagannath Das’s Bhagabata, which made a great influence among Oriya people as a day to day philosophical guide lines and it had its effect in Oriya Culture.

The first Oriya printing typeset was cast in 1836 by the Christian missionaries which made a great revolutions in Oriya literature. Instead of palm leaf inscription. The books were being printed and the periodicals and journals were published. The first Oriya Magazine of 'Bodha Dayini' was published from Balasore in 1861. Fakir Mohan Senapati is known for his novel Chha Maana Atha Guntha. It is the first Indian novel to deal with the exploitations of landless peasants by the feudal Lord and was written much before the October revolution of Russia.

With rise of freedom movement, a literary though was emerged with the influence of Gandhiji and idealistic trend of Nationalism formed as a new trend in Oriya Literature. The writers of this age are mostly critiques, essayist and poets. Godabarisha Mohapatra, Kuntala-Kumari Sabat the other renowned name of this age. Influenced by the romantic thoughts of Rabindranath tagore, during the thirties when the progressive Marxian movements was in full flow in Oriya Literature, Kalindi Charan panigrahi, the brother of Bhagabati Charan Panigrahi,the founder of Marxian Trend in Orissa, formed a group circa 1920 called “Sabuja Samiti.” Along with two of his writer friend Annada Shankar Ray and Baikuntha Patnaik. Perhaps it was the very short existed period in Oriya Literature and later submerged with either Gandhian thoughts or Marxian thoughts.

Parallel to aesthaticism in literature, a parallel trend of populist literature also appeared after 60’s which was accepted by half literate rural people , specially by the female folk. The starting of a woman’s magazine called Sucharita in 1975 went a long way in helping women writers find a voice. In fact its appearnce proved to be the turning point.The role of Sucharita in helping the emergence of women’s writing as a strong body of work can hardly be overestimated. In the field of drama, the traditional Oriya theatre is the folk opera, or Jatra, which flourishes in the rural areas of Orissa. Modern theatre is no longer commercially viable.

Oriya language - Oriya - History of Oriya literature - Orissa - Odri - Oriya literature - Indian literature

Sindhi language is ancient and rich in literature. Its writers have contributed extensively in various forms of literature both in poetry and prose. Sindhi literature is very rich and oldest literature in the world's oldest literatures.

The earliest reference to Sindhi literature is contained in the writings of Arab historians. It is established that Sindhi was the first and the earliest language of East in which the Quran was translated in the eighth or ninth century A.D. Shortly afterwards, Pir Nooruddin, an Ismaili Missionary, wrote Sufis tic poetry in Sindhi language. His verses, known as "ginans", can be taken as the specimen of early Sindhi poetry. He came to Sindh during the year 1079 A.D. His poetry is an interesting record of the language which was spoken commonly at that time.

After him, Pir Shams Sabzwari Multani, Pir Shahabuddin and Pir Sadruddin are recognized as poets of Sindhi language. We even find some verses composed by Baba Farid Ganj Shakar, in Sindhi language. Pir Sadruddin (1290–1409 A.D.), was a great poet, saint and Sufi of his time. He composed his verses (ginans) in Lari and Katchi dialects of Sindhi. He also composed the "ginans" in the Punjabi, Seraiki, Hindi and Gujarati languages. He modified the old script of Sindhi language, which was commonly used by the luhana catse of Hindus of Sindh who embraced Islam under his teaching and were called by him 'Khuwajas' or 'Khojas'.

Shah Abdul Latif of Bhit (1690–1573 A.D.) is the greatest thinker, Sufi, musician and poet of all time, produced by Sindh. He inviated Tanbura a musical instrument still used when his versice are sung by his lovers. He gave new life, thought and content to the language and literature of Sindh. He is in fact a peace maker and a catalyst for every generation and genre of Sindhi literature. He was a great musician also and he evolved fifteen new melodies (swaras). Khalifo Nabi Bux is by far the greatest epic poet of Sindh. His description of patriotic pathos and the art of war defies words.

Like all language of the South Asia, modern literature began with the conquest of Sindh by the British in 1843 A.D. With them came the modern world to these shores. The printing press was introduced. Magazines and newspapers brought about a revolution in Sindhi literature. Books were translated from various European languages and specially from English. People were hungry for knowledge and new forms of writing. The pace of literature can be judged from one single instance of Mirza Qaleech Beg who in the last two decades of the last century and the first two decades of the twentieth century, wrote more than 400 books—poetry, novels, short stories and essays. He also wrote on science, history, economics and politics. Thousands of books indeed were turned out at that time on all forms and facets of literature.

Soon the struggle for freedom from the British also gathered momentum. This gave further momentum to literature. Consciousness about history and cultural heritage of Sindh served as a catalyst for research and intellectual upsurge. But the modern form and content of Sindhi poetry were given a new impetus by 'Bewas', Hyder Bux Jatoi and Dukhayal. There have been innumerable poets who have composed verses in the same vein.

The novel and short story became the main forms for prose. Hundreds of novel and short stories were translated from the European and modern languages of Pakistan. World War II saw the emergence of novelists and short storywriters. For the last several decades, the young writers experimented with new forms of prose as well as poetry. Free verses, Sonnets and ballets have been written alongside the classical forms of poetry such as Kafi, Vaee, Bait, Geet and Dohira. A few famous poets of today's Sindh are Makhdoom Talibul Mola, Ustaad Bukhari, Shaikh Ayaz, Darya Khan Rind, Makhdoom Amin Faheem, Imdad Hussani and others.

Sindhi language - History of Sindhi language - Sindhi literature - Indian literature - Sindhi poetry - Sindhi - Sindh - Punjab

Telugu literature is the literature of the Telugu people, an ethnic group based in southern India. Telugu literature prior to Nannayya Bhattarakudu’s Andhra Mahabharatamu was not preserved, except by royal grants and decrees. It was almost the end of the eleventh century by the time the original Telugu literature came to exist. So, Nannayya is known as Aadi Kavi (the first poet). The advanced and well-developed language used by Nannayya suggests that this may not be the beginning of Telugu literature, but Sudheer Vemuru says it is. It is also believed that the pre-Nannaya Literature probably Jain were deliberately destroyed by the Bramhical movement called Vaidiki Movement. Nanne Choadudu's famous work Kumara Sambavam is believed to be composed in 10th century before Nannaya's Mahabaratha. But others place Nanne Choadudu between the period of Nannaya and Tikkana.

Andhra Mahabharatamu was later furthered by Tikanna Somayaji (1205–1288), to be finally completed by Yerrapragada (fourteenth century). Nannaya, Tikanna and Yerrapragada are known as the Kavitraya or the three great poets of Telugu for this mammoth effort. Other such translations like Marana’s Markandeya Puranam, Ketana’s Dasakumara Charita, Yerrapragada’s Harivamsam followed. Many scientific works like Ganitasarasangrahamu by Pavuluri Mallana and Prakirnaganitamu by Eluganti Peddana are written in 12th century in Telugu.

Some of the early landmarks are Srinathudu’s Sringara Naishadham, Potana’s Dasamaskandham, Jakkana’s Vikramarka Charitra and Talapaka Timmakka’s Subhadra Kalyanam. Literary activities flourished, during the rule of Vijayanagara dynasty. Krishnadevaraya’ s time (sixteenth century) is considered the golden age in the history of Telugu literature. The king, a poet himself, introduced the Prabandha (a kind of love poetry) in Telugu literature with his Amukta Malyada. His court had the Ashtadiggajas (literally "eight elephants") who were the known to be the greatest of poets of that time.

Some critics dismiss the following period, dominated by prabandhas, as a decadent age. Of the dozens of works of the eighteenth to mid nineteenth century, Kankanti Paparaju’s Uttara Ramayana in campu style and the play Vishnumayavilasa stand out. Other genres bloomed at the same time. Innumerable Yakshaganas or indigenous dramas of song and prose works were also produced. Tyagaraja (1767–1847) of Tanjore composed devotional songs in Telugu, which form a big part of the repertoire of Carnatic music.

Although the first printed Telugu book was out in 1796, it was a while before the modern period in Telugu literature set in. Young men acquainted with English literature were influenced by Shelley, Keats and Wordsworth, and a new type of romantic poetry called the Bhavakavithwam was born.

Kandukuri Veeresalingam (1848-1919) wrote the first novel in Telugu, Rajashekharacharitramu. Next came the vyavaharika bhasha vadam or using colloquial language in script. Gurajada Apparao with his close associates such as Gidugu Rammurty were primarily responsible for the beginnings of this. His 1910 work Mutyala saralu along with Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy's musalamma maranam (1898), and Rayaprolu Subbarao’s Trunakankatam (1913) form the earliest works heralding a break with traditional poetry.

Telegu language - History of Telegu language - Telegu literature - Indian literature - Telegu poetry - Telegu - Telgu - Andhra Pradesh - AndhraTelegu language - History of Telugu language - Telugu literature - Indian literature - Telugu poetry - Telugu - Telegu - Telgu - Andhra Pradesh - Andhra

Assam has an unbroken heritage of written literature starting from at least the 13th century. The earliest known patronage of such efforts had come from the Kamata royal court since two of the earliest Assamese poets Harivara Vipra and Hema Saraswati wrote benedictory verses in praise of the Kamata King Durlabh Narayan. Great Sanskrit scholars, Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva took Assamese language and literature to unprecedented heights of artistic excellence. What is more, the high spiritual and artistic ideals combined with a whole some sense of direction held aloft first by Sankaradeva and then by Madhavadeva, inspired a whole lot of creative writers, both during their lifetimes and after. As a result, Assamese Vaishnavite literature is exceptionally rich in volume, range and flavour. Literature of Shakta affiliation as well as works on various secular subjects also equally developed through the centuries.

Apart from poetry of which Assamese literature possesses many real gems like the Kirtana-ghosha of Sankaradeva and the Namghosha of Madhavadeva, the two fields in which it excels are drama and prose. The plays written by the two Mahapurushas are recognized as the earliest specimens of purely vernacular dramatic literature in the sub-continent. It was as early as the sixteenth century that Vaikunthanath Bhattacharyya, more popularly known as Bhattadeva, rendered the Bhagavata and Gita into such mature prose that evoked spontaneous and unstinted admiration from the most enlightened quarters.

Historical literature is yet another wealth of Assam. These are chronicles of royal courts and noble families first written in the Tai language and then in Assamese. The Ahoms of Burma who ruled Assam and gradually settled here wrote chronicles called Buranjis (1228 to 1824), a unique collection of prose. A mass of technical literature on astrology, medicine, mathematics, music, dancing and so on based on Sanskrit works was also written. Assamese buranji literature is unique in the whole of India not only because they contain invaluable historical material, but also because they represent an unmatched literary style. In the modern period the political upheavals were felt in the literary scene too.

The history of modern Assamese literature begins with the merger of Assam with British India in 1826. The initial years were difficult, especially with the British making Bengali and not Assamese the language of the schools and courts from 1835 to 1871. This situation however was reversed and Assamese was restored to its rightful position, with the American Baptist Mission taking a lead role. The Mission also brought out the first Assamese newspaper, Orunodoi in 1846. The Mission`s efforts to promote Assamese literature was followed by the nationalistic zeal and single-minded devotion of literary stalwarts like Ananda Ram Dhekial Phukan, Lakshminath Bezbaroa, Padmanath Gohain Barual, Hem Chandra Goswami & Chandra Kanta Agarwala.

Short poems and novels, dramas, lyrics and folk poetry pleased the literary circles. A generation of novelists and poets like Rajanikanta Bardalai, Hiteshwar Bezbarua, Chandra Kumar Agarwala, Padmanath Gohain Baruwa, Benudhar Raj Khowa and their contemporary, Raghunath Chaudhari, wrote profusely in an age of nationalism and social reforms.

Contemporary Assamese literature has a vibrant short-story genre. Some of the best writers are Phul Goswami, Indira Goswami, Harendra Kumar Bhuyan, Arupa Patangia Kalita and Manoj Kumar Goswami. Modern Assamese literature is as the literature in any other major language in India. People like Birendra Kumar Bhattacharyya (also only winner of the coveted Jnanpith Award), Bhabendra Nath Saikia, Syed Abdul Malik, Homen Borgohain, Nava Kanta Baruah, Devkanta Barua, Nirmal Prabha Bordoloi, Nilmani Phikan, Mmoni Raisom Goswami etc. have been recognized as writers of great repute all over the country.

Assamese literature - Assamese language - History of Assamese literature - Assamese - Assam - Indian Literature - Bengali

Indian English Literature (IEL) refers to the body of work by writers in India who write in the English language and whose native or co-native language could be one of the numerous languages of India. It is also associated with the works of members of the Indian diaspora, especially people like Salman Rushdie who was born in India. It is frequently referred to as Indo-Anglian literature. (Indo-Anglian is a specific term in the sole context of writing that should not be confused with the term Anglo-Indian). As a category, this production comes under the broader realm of postcolonial literature- the production from previously colonised countries such as India.

IEL has a relatively recent history, it is only one and a half centuries old. The first book written by an Indian in English was by Sake Dean Mahomet, titled Travels of Dean Mahomet; Mahomet's travel narrative was published in 1793 in England. In its early stages it was influenced by the Western art form of the novel. Early Indian writers used English unadulterated by Indian words to convey an experience which was essentially Indian. Raja Rao's Kanthapura is Indian in terms of its storytelling qualities. Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into English. Dhan Gopal Mukerji was the first Indian author to win a literary award in the United States. Nirad C. Chaudhuri, a writer of non-fiction, is best known for his The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian where he relates his life experiences and influences. P. Lal, a poet, translator, publisher and essayist, founded a press in the 1950s for Indian English writing, Writers Workshop.

R.K. Narayan is a writer who contributed over many decades and who continued to write till his death recently. He was discovered by Graham Greene in the sense that the latter helped him find a publisher in England. Graham Greene and Narayan remained close friends till the end. Similar to Thomas Hardy's Wessex, Narayan created the fictitious town of Malgudi where he set his novels. Some criticise Narayan for the parochial, detached and closed world that he created in the face of the changing conditions in India at the times in which the stories are set. Others, such as Graham Greene, however, feel that through Malgudi they could vividly understand the Indian experience. Narayan's evocation of small town life and its experiences through the eyes of the endearing child protagonist Swaminathan in Swami and Friends is a good sample of his writing style. Simultaneous with Narayan's pastoral idylls, a very different writer, Mulk Raj Anand, was similarly gaining recognition for his writing set in rural India; but his stories were harsher, and engaged, sometimes brutally, with divisions of caste, class and religion.

Among the later writers, the most notable is Salman Rushdie, born in India, now living in the United Kingdom. Rushdie with his famous work Midnight's Children ushered in a new trend of writing. He used a hybrid language – English generously peppered with Indian terms – to convey a theme that could be seen as representing the vast canvas of India. Vikram Seth, author of A Suitable Boy (1994) is a writer who uses a purer English and more realistic themes. Being a self-confessed fan of Jane Austen, his attention is on the story, its details and its twists and turns. Shashi Tharoor, in his The Great Indian Novel (1989), follows a story-telling (though in a satirical) mode as in the Mahabharata drawing his ideas by going back and forth in time. His work as UN official living outside India has given him a vantage point that helps construct an objective Indianness.

Other Indian authors include Anita Desai, Kiran Desai, Arundhati Roy, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Raj Kamal Jha, Jhumpa Lahiri, Bharti Kirchner, Khushwant Singh, Amit Chaudhuri, Amitav Ghosh, Vikas Swarup, Rohinton Mistry, Kiran Nagarkar and C R Krishnan.

A much over-looked category of Indian writing in English is poetry. As stated above, Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into English. Other early notable poets in English include Derozio, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Joseph Furtado, Armando Menezes, Toru Dutt, Romesh Chandra Dutt, Sarojini Naidu and her brother Harendranath Chattopadhyaya. In modern times, Indian poetry in English was typified by two very different poets. Dom Moraes, winner of the Hawthornden Prize at the precocious age of 19 for his first book of poems "A Beginning" went on to occupy a pre-eminent position among Indian poets writing in English. Nissim Ezekiel, who came from India's tiny Bene Israel Jewish community, created a voice and place for Indian poets writing in English and championed their work. Their contemporaries in English poetry in India wereJayanta Mahapatra, Gieve Patel, A. K. Ramanujan, Rajagopal Parthasarathy, Keki Daruwala, Adil Jussawala, Arun Kolatkar, Dilip Chitre, Eunice De Souza, Kersi Katrak, P. Lal and Kamala Das among several others. A generation of exiles also sprang from the Indian diaspora. Among these are names like Agha Shahid Ali, Sujata Bhatt, Melanie Silgardo and Vikram Seth.

Indian writing in English - Indian literature in English - IEL - Indian literature - Indian literature by language - Literature in English - Indian English Literature - Indian - English Literature - English Literature in India - Indian Writers - Indian Writing in English - IWE

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