Ancient Literature in India
Literature of India has an ancient history and considered as the oldest in the world. The most flowery yet profound literature were composed in the Vedic period and written as a realization thoughts of seers and monks. The earliest work are the Vedas, which are sacred form of knowledge believed to be neither any beginning nor end, an eternal quest to realize Self or Brahman. The earlier text were composed in Sanskrit and to be sung or recited, and were so transmitted for many generations before being written down.
In the later Vedic period the epics of Indian literature Ramayana and Mahabharata were composed. Before Puranas, the most famous Sanskrit works are the Vedas, Upanishads and Manusmriti. Another popular literature, Tamil literature has a rich literacy tradition spanning over 2000 years and earned recognition among scholars for its poetic nature, philosophical and secular thoughts. Sanskrit literature has a profound effect on Indian literature or in another words we can say it formed the base of literature in India. The great literary works, which marked the golden era of Indian literature, include 'Abhijanam Shankuntalam' and Meghdoot' by Kalidasa. 'Mricchakatika' by Shudraka, 'Svapna Vasavadattam' by Bhaasa, and 'Ratnavali' by Sri Harsha are some other notable books written in Sanskrit. Some other famous ancient literature are Chanakya's 'Arthashastra' and Vatsyayana's 'Kamasutra'.
|Mahabharata - The Epic of Indian Literature|
Medieval & Modern Era
The illustrious works of the Indian literature were written in vernacular languages of the northern Indian cults of Krishna and of Rama. During the medieval times poetry by Jaydev, called the 'Gitagovinda' and religious love poems written in Maithili (eastern Hindi of Bihar) have recognized as a cult status. Literature was also produced in the form of Bhakti (a personal devotion to a god) addressed to Rama (an avatar of Vishnu), most notably in the Avadhi (eastern Hindi) works of Tulsi Das; his 'Ramcharitmanas'.
Hindi literature sprouted in the medieval period garbed in philosophical poetry and in different dialects like Avadhi and Brij. The most popular figures of this period were Kabir and Tulsidas. Other notable works like Chandrakanta by Devaki Nandan Khatri, which was the first work of prose in Hindi and later on in modern period, Munshi Premchand had gained immense fame for his interesting story telling ability and conveyed the problems of rural peasant class with simple Hindi and usage of common dialect. he is generally recognized as the foremost Hindi-Urdu writer during the early twentieth century. Other writers and poets of that era include Maithili Sharan Gupt, Jaishankar Prasad, Sumitranandan Pant, Mahadevi Varma, and Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar'.
In the 19th century many great literary work were composed, generally for social reforms and religious knowledge. Some of the famous names in that era are Ram Mohan Roy, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekananda, whose works are considered one of the pioneered work in English literature in India. Bengal produces some great writers of all time and one of the greatest Bengali writers Nobel Laureate Rabindra Nathat Tagore composed the great Gitanjali (a book on poetry) is the notable example of early 20th century.
Indo Anglian Writing
Among those whose writings in prose are considered as literature the name of Jawaharlal Nehru stands out. He is particularly remembered for his Glimpse of World History, Discovery of India and An Autobiography. Nirad C. Choudhuri is an internationally accepted writer of English. His Autobiography of an Unknown Indian is particularly well known.
|Modern Indian Writers|
During contemporary period, we have quite a few Indians, who write poetry in English: Dom Moraes, Nissim Ezekiel, A.K Ramanujan, Kamala Das, Arun Kolatkar etc. In the field of English novels, the three senior writers who began to write in the early thirties are Mulkraj Anand, R.K Narayan and Raja Rao. Anand's major novels Coolie, Untouchable, The Woman and the Cow reveal his concern for the underprivileged in India. Other big names in Indo-Anglian writing include Ruskin Bond (The Room on the Roof), Vikram Seth (A Suitable Boy), Allan Sealy (The Trotter-Nama), Amitav Ghosh (Circle of Reason, Shadow Lines), Upamanyu Chatterjee (English August) and others.