Literature in India

“Art and Culture” is one of the most important topics asked in the General Studies and General Knowledge” Section of many competitive exams like UPSC CSE, State PCS, CDS, NDA, FSSAI, SSC, and Others. we are providing students important topics that are the favourite to most of the examiners while framing questions. “Literature in India” is a part of this series and in this post, we are providing students with comprehensive notes on this topic. Sources of our notes are different government portals like “cultural India“, “Incredible India“, “Ministry of Culture” for the latest updates and many competitive books like NIOS, IGNOU, NCERT, the National Museum site for pictures and Wikipedia for static parts.

Indian Literature refers to the literature produced on the Indian subcontinent until 1947 and in the Republic of India thereafter. The earliest works of Indian literature were orally transmitted. The Sanskrit literature begins with the oral literature of the Rig Veda. taken from Wikipedia

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Bengali Literature

Bengali Literature
  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy wrote in Bengali besides English, which gave an impetus to Bengali literature.
  • Ishwar Chandra Vidhyasagar (1820-91) and Akshay Kumar Dutta (1820-86) were the two other writers of this early period.
  • Sharat Chandra Chatterji (1876-1938) and RC Dutta, a noted historian and a prose writer, too contributed to the making of Bengali literature.
  • But the most important name that influenced the whole of India was that of Rabindra Nath Tagore (1861-1941). Novels, dramas, short stories, criticism, music and essays, all flowed from his pen. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 for his Geetanjali.

Assamese Literature

Assamese Literature
  • Like Bengali, Assamese also developed in response to the Bhakti movement.
  • Shankaradeva, who introduced Vaishnavism in Assam helped in the growth of Assamese poetry. Even the Puranas were translated in Assamese.
  • The earliest Assamese literature consisted of buranjis (court chronicles). Shankaradeva has left several devotional poems, which people sang with rapturous pleasure, but it was only after 1827 that more interest was shown in producing Assamese literature.

Oriya Literature

  • Oriya’s language shows the maximum influence of Sanskrit. It originated in the AD 9th century and its literary development took place in the 13th century.
  • Worth mentioning in Oriya literature are Fakirmohan Senapati and Radha Nath Ray, whose writings deserve considerable attention in the history of Oriya literature.
  • The works of Upendra Bhanja (1670-1720) were important as they ushered in a new period of Oriya literature. In Odisha, the works of Saraladasa are regarded as the first works of Oriya literature.

Punjabi Literature

Punjabi Literature
  • Punjabi is a language with several shades. It is being written in two scripts, Gurumukhi and Persian.
  • Guru Nanak was the first poet in Punjabi. Some other contemporary poets, mostly Sufi saints, used to sing in this language.
  • Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th guru, was educated in Patna (Bihar), where he learned Persian and Sanskrit.
  • He has composed two savaiyyas in Punjabi, but these are not a part of the Adi Granth. Similar is the popularity of Bulley Shah, who was a Sufi saint. He has composed a large number of songs.

Indian Literature in English Language

Indian Literature in the English Language
  • English came into India with the British and soon became a language of formal education. Some of the early Indian works in English were written by Raja Rammohan Roy, Henry Vivian Derozio, and Madhusudan Dutt. Aurobindo Ghosh wrote his epic poem ‘Savitri: A Legend and a Symbol’ in English.
  • India’s only Nobel laureate in literature Rabindranath Tagore wrote some of his work originally in English and did some of his own English translation from Bengali. Sarojini Naidu and Jawaharlal Nehru also wrote in English. Nehru’s ‘The Discovery of India’ and ‘Glimpses of World History’ are quite popular.
  • Some notable Indian poets, who write in English are Nissim Ezekiel, Dom Moraes, Arun Kolakar, and Dilip Chitre. Other notable Indian writers are Khushwant Singh, Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy, Kamala Markandaya, Kiran Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri etc.

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