For the journal, see Indian Literature (journal).
Indian literature refers to the literature produced on the Indian subcontinent until 1947 and in the Republic of India thereafter. The Republic of India has 22 officially recognized languages.
The earliest works of Indian literature were orally transmitted. Sanskrit literature begins with the oral literature of the Rig Veda a collection of sacred hymns dating to the period 1500–1200 BCE. The Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabharata appeared towards the end of the first millennium BCE. Classical Sanskrit literature developed rapidly during the first few centuries of the first millennium BCE, as did the TamilSangam literature, and the Pāli Canon. In the medieval period, literature in Kannada and Telugu appeared in the 9th and 11th centuries respectively. Later, literature in Marathi, Odia and Bengali appeared. thereafter literature in various dialects of Hindi, Persian and Urdu began to appear as well. Early in the 20th century, Bengali poetRabindranath Tagore became India's first Nobel laureate. In contemporary Indian literature, there are two major literary awards; these are the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship and the Jnanpith Award. Eight Jnanpith Awards each have been awarded in Hindi and Kannada, followed by five in Bengali and Malayalam, four in Odia, three in Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu and Urdu, two each in Assamese and Tamil, and one in Sanskrit.
Indian literature in archaic Indian languages
Main article: Vedas
Examples of early works written in Vedic Sanskrit include the holy Hindu texts, such as the core Vedas. Other examples include the Sulba Sutras, which are some of the earliest texts on geometry..
Epic Sanskrit literature
Main article: Indian epic poetry
Ved Vyasa's Mahabharata and Valmiki's Ramayana, written in Epic Sanskrit, are regarded as the greatest Sanskrit epics.
Classical Sanskrit literature
Main article: Sanskrit literature
The famous poet and playwright Kālidāsa wrote one epic: Raghuvamsha (Dynasty of Raghu) ; it was written in Classical Sanskrit rather than Epic Sanskrit. Other examples of works written in Classical Sanskrit include the Pāṇini's Ashtadhyayi which standardized the grammar and phonetics of Classical Sanskrit. The Laws of Manu is a controversial text in Hinduism. Kālidāsa is often considered to be the greatest playwright in Sanskrit literature, and one of the greatest poets in Sanskrit literature, whose Recognition of Shakuntala and Meghaduuta are the most famous Sanskrit plays. Some other famous plays were Mricchakatika by Shudraka, Svapna Vasavadattam by Bhasa, and Ratnavali by Sri Harsha. Later poetic works include Geeta Govinda by Jayadeva. Some other famous works are Chanakya's Arthashastra and Vatsyayana's Kamasutra.
The most notable Prakrit languages were the Jain Prakrit (Ardhamagadhi), Pali, Maharashtri and Shauraseni.
One of the earliest extant Prakrit works is Hāla's anthology of poems in Maharashtri, the Gāhā Sattasaī, dating to the 3rd to 5th century CE. Kālidāsa and Harsha also used Maharashtri in some of their plays and poetry. In Jainism, many Svetambara works were written in Maharashtri.
Many of Aśvaghoṣa's plays were written in Shauraseni as were a sizable number of Jain works and Rajasekhara's Karpuramanjari. Canto 13 of the Bhaṭṭikāvya is written in what is called "like the vernacular" (bhāṣāsama), that is, it can be read in two languages simultaneously: Prakrit and Sanskrit.
Main article: Pali Canon
The Pali Canon is mostly of Indian origin. Later Pali literature however was mostly produced outside of the mainland Indian subcontinent, particularly in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia.
Pali literature includes Buddhist philosophical works, poetry and some grammatical works. Major works in Pali are Jataka tales, Dhammapada, Atthakatha, and Mahavamsa. Some of the major Pali grammarians were Kaccayana, Moggallana and Vararuci (who wrote Prakrit Prakash).
Indian literature in common Indian languages
Main article: Assamese literature
See also: Category:Assamese-language books, Buranjis, and Assamese poetry
The Charyapadas are often cited as the earliest example of Assamese literature. The Charyapadas are Buddhist songs composed in the 8th to 12th centuries. These writings bear similarities to Oriya and Bengali languages as well. The phonological and morphological traits of these songs bear very strong resemblance to Assamese some of which are extant.
After the Charyapadas, the period may again be split into (a) Pre-Vaishnavite and (b) Vaishnavite sub-periods. The earliest known Assamese writer is Hema Saraswati, who wrote a small poem "Prahlada Charita". In the time of the King Indranarayana (1350–1365) of Kamatapur the two poets Harihara Vipra and Kaviratna Saraswati composed Asvamedha Parva and Jayadratha Vadha respectively. Another poet named Rudra Kandali translated Drona Parva into Assamese. But the most well-known poet of the Pre-Vaishnavite sub period is Madhav Kandali, who rendered Valmiki's Ramayana into Assamese verse (Kotha Ramayana, 11th century) under the patronage of Mahamanikya, a Kachari king of Jayantapura.
Assamese writers of Vaishnavite periods had been Srimanta Sankardev, Madhabdev, Damodardev, Haridevand Bhattadev. Among these, Srimanta Sankardev has been widely acknowledged as the top Assamese littérateur of all-time, and generally acknowledged as the one who introduced drama, poetry, classical dance form called Satriya, classical music form called Borgeet, art and painting, stage enactment of drama called Bhaona and Satra tradition of monastic lifestyle. His main disciples Madhabdev and Damodardev followed in his footsteps, and enriched Assamese literary world with their own contributions. Damodardev's disciple Bhattadev is acknowledged as the first Indian prose writer, who introduced the unique prose writing style in Assamese.
Of the post-Vaishnavite age of Assamese literature, notable modern Assamese writers are Lakshminath Bezbaruah, Padmanath Gohain Baruah, Hemchandra Goswami, Hem Chandra Barua, Atul Chandra Hazarika, Nalini Bala Devi, Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya, Amulya Barua, Navakanta Barua, Syed Abdul Malik, Bhabananda Deka, Jogesh Das, Homen Borgohain, Bhabendra Nath Saikia, Lakshmi Nandan Bora, Nirmal Prabha Bordoloi, Mahim Bora, Hiren Gohain, Arun Sharma, Hiren Bhattacharyya, Mamoni Raisom Goswami, Nalini Prava Deka, Nilamani Phukan, Arupa Kalita Patangia, Dhrubajyoti Bora, Arnab Jan Deka, Rita Chowdhury, Anuradha Sharma Pujari, Manikuntala Bhattacharya and several others.
A comprehensive introductory book Assamese Language-Literature & Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa originally authored by leading Assamese littérateur of Awahon-Ramdhenu Era and pioneer Assam economist Bhabananda Deka together with his three deputies, Parikshit Hazarika, Upendra Nath Goswami and Prabhat Chandra Sarma, was published in 1968. This book was officially released in New Delhi on 24 Nov 1968 by then President of India Dr Zakir Hussain in commemoration of the birth centenary celebration of doyen of Assamese literature Lakshminath Bezbaroa. After almost half a century, this historic book has been recovered and re-edited by Assamese award-winning short-story writer & novelist Arnab Jan Deka, which was published by Assam Foundation-India in 2014. This second enlarged edition was officially released on 4 December 2014 on the occasion of 150th birth anniversary of Lakshminath Bezbaroa and 8th Death Anniversary of Bhabananda Deka by Great Britain-based bilingual magazine Luit to Thames (Luitor Pora Thamsoloi) editor Dr Karuna Sagar Das.
Main article: Bengali literature
See also: Bengali novels, Bengali poetry, and Bengali science fiction
The first evidence of Bengali literature is known as Charyapada or Charyageeti, which were Buddhist hymns from the 8th century. Charyapada is in 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 most internationally famous Bengali writer is Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his work "Gitanjali". He wrote the national anthem of India and Bangladesh namely, "Jana Gana Mana" and "Amar Sonar Bangla", respectively. He was the first Asian who won the Nobel Prize. Rabindranath has written enormous amount of poems, songs, essays, novels, plays and short stories. His songs remain popular and are still widely sung in Bengal.
Kazi Nazrul Islam, who is one generation younger than Tagore, is also equally popular, valuable, and influential in socio-cultural context of the Bengal, though virtually unknown in foreign countries. And among later generation poets, Jibanananda Das is considered the most important figure. Other famous Indian Bengali writers were Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay, Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Sunil Gangopadhyay etc.
Sukanta Bhattacharya(15 August 1926 – 13 May 1947) was a Bengali poet and playwright. Along with Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam, he was one of the key figures of modern Bengali poetry, despite the fact that most of his works had been in publication posthumously. During his life, his poems were not widely circulated, but after his death his reputation grew to the extent that he became one of the most popular Bengali poet of the 20th century.
Bengali is the second most commonly spoken language in India (after Hindi). As a result of the Bengal Renaissance in the 19th and 20th centuries, many of India's most famous, and relatively recent, literature, poetry, and songs are in Bengali.
In the history of Bengali literature there has been only one pathbreaking literary movement by a group of poets and artists who called themselves Hungryalists.
Main article: Bhojpuri § Bhojpuri literature
Main article: Chhattisgarhi § Chhattisgarhi Literature
Literature in Chhattisgarh reflects the regional consciousness and the evolution of an identity distinct from others in Central India. The social problems of the lower castes/untouchables were highlighted in the writings of Khub Chand Baghel through his plays ‘'Jarnail Singh’' and '‘Unch Neech’'.
Main article: Indian English literature
Further information: Indian English
In the 20th century, several Indian writers have distinguished themselves not only in traditional Indian languages but also in English, a language inherited from the British. As a result of British colonisation, India has developed its own unique dialect of English known as Indian English. Indian English typically follows British spelling and pronunciation as opposed to American, and books published in India reflect this phenomenon. Indian English literature, however, tends to utilise more internationally recognisable vocabulary then does colloquial Indian English, in the same way that American English literature does so as compared to American slang.
India's only Nobel laureate in literature was the Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore, who wrote some of his work originally in English, and did some of his own English translations from Bengali. India's best selling English-language novelists of all-time are the contemporary writers like Chetan Bhagat, Manjiri Prabhu and Ashok Banker. More recent major writers in English who are either Indian or of Indian origin and derive much inspiration from Indian themes are R. K. Narayan, Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Raja Rao, Amitav Ghosh, Rohinton Mistry, Vikram Chandra, Mukul Kesavan, Raj Kamal Jha, Vikas Swarup, Khushwant Singh, Shashi Tharoor, Nayantara Sehgal, Anita Desai, Kiran Desai, Ashok Banker, Shashi Deshpande, Arnab Jan Deka, Jhumpa Lahiri, Kamala Markandaya, Gita Mehta, Manil Suri, Manjiri Prabhu, Ruskin Bond, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Bharati Mukherjee.
In category of Indian writing in English is poetry. 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, Toru Dutt, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Sri Aurobindo, Sarojini Naidu, and her brother Harindranath Chattopadhyay.
In the 1950s, the Writers Workshop collective in Calcutta was founded by the poet and essayist P. Lal to advocate and publish Indian writing in English. The press was the first to publish Pritish Nandy, Sasthi Brata, and others; it continues to this day to provide a forum for English writing in India. In modern times, Indian poetry in English was typified by two very different poets. Dom Moraes, winner of the Hawthornden Prize at the 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 were Jayanta Mahapatra, Gieve Patel, A. K. Ramanujan, Arun Kolatkar, Dilip Chitre, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Eunice De Souza, Kersi Katrak, P. Lal and Kamala Das among several others.
Younger generations of poets writing in English include G. S. Sharat Chandra, Hoshang Merchant, Makarand Paranjape, Anuradha Bhattacharyya, Nandini Sahu, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Jeet Thayil, Ranjit Hoskote, Sudeep Sen, Abhay K, Jerry Pinto, K Srilata, Gopi Kottoor, Tapan Kumar Pradhan, Arnab Jan Deka, Anju Makhija, Robin Ngangom, Rukmini Bhaya Nair, Smita Agarwal, Vihang A. Naik and Vivekanand Jha among others.
A generation of exiles also sprang from the Indian diaspora. Among these are names like Agha Shahid Ali, Sujata Bhatt, Richard Crasta, Yuyutsu Sharma, Shampa Sinha, Tabish Khair and Vikram Seth.
In recent years, English-language writers of Indian origin are being published in the West at an increasing rate.
Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Arvind Adiga have won the prestigious Man Booker Prize, with Salman Rushdie going on to win the Booker of Bookers.
Main article: Hindi literature
Hindi literature started as religious and philosophical poetry in medieval periods in dialects like Avadhi and Brij. The most famous figures from this period are Kabir and Tulsidas. In modern times, the Khariboli dialect became more prominent than Sanskrit.
Chandrakanta, written by Devaki Nandan Khatri, is considered to be the first work of prose in Hindi. Munshi Premchand was the most famous Hindi novelist. The chhayavadi poets include Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala', Prem Bajpai, Jaishankar Prasad, Sumitranandan Pant, and Mahadevi Varma. Other renowned poets include Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar', Maithili Sharan Gupt, Agyeya, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, and Dharmveer Bharti.
Main article: Gujarati literature
Gujarati literature's history may be traced to 1000 AD. Since then literature has flourished till date. Well known laureates of Gujarati literature are Hemchandracharya, Narsinh Mehta, Mirabai, Akho, Premanand Bhatt, Shamal Bhatt, Dayaram, Dalpatram, Narmad, Govardhanram Tripathi, Gandhi, K. M. Munshi, Umashankar Joshi, Suresh Joshi, Pannalal Patel and Rajendra Keshavlal Shah.
Gujarat Vidhya Sabha, Gujarat Sahitya Sabha, and Gujarati Sahitya Parishad are Ahmedabad based literary institutions promoting the spread of Gujarati literature. Umashankar Joshi, Pannalal Patel, Rajendra Keshavlal Shah and Raghuveer Chaudhary have won the Jnanpith Award, the highest literary award in India.
Main article: Kannada literature
The oldest existing record of Kannada prose is the Halmidi inscription of 450 CE, and poetry in tripadi metre is the Kappe Arabhatta record of 700 CE. The folk form of literature began earlier than any other literature in Kannada. Gajashtaka (800 CE) by King Shivamara II, Chudamani (650 CE) by Thumbalacharya are examples of early literature now considered extinct. Kavirajamarga by King Nripatunga Amoghavarsha I (850 CE) is the earliest existing literary work in Kannada. It is a writing on literary criticism and poetics meant to standardize various written Kannada dialects used in literature in previous centuries. The book makes reference to Kannada works by early writers such as King Durvinita of the 6th century and Ravikirti, the author of the Aihole record of 636 CE. An early extant prose work, the Vaddaradhane by Shivakotiacharya of 900 CE provides an elaborate description of the life of Bhadrabahu of Shravanabelagola. Since the earliest available Kannada work is one on grammar and a guide of sorts to unify existing variants of Kannada grammar and literary styles, it can be safely assumed that literature in Kannada must have started several centuries earlier.Pampa who popularised Champu style which is unique to Kannada wrote the epic "Vikramarjuna Vijaya". He also wrote "Adipurana". Other famous poets like Ponna and Ranna wrote "Shantipurana" and "Ghadayudha" respectively. The jain poet Nagavarma 2 wrote "Kavyavalokana", "Karnatabhashabhushana" and "Vardhamanapurana" . Janna was the author of "Yashodhara Charitha". Rudhrabhatta and Durgashima wrote "Jagannatha Vijaya" and "Panchatantra" respectively. The works of the medieval period are based on Jain and Hindu principles. The Vachana Sahitya tradition of the 12th century is purely native and unique in world literature. It is the sum of contributions by all sections of society. Vachanas were pithy comments on that period's social, religious and economic conditions. More importantly, they held a mirror to the seed of social revolution, which caused a radical re-examination of the ideas of caste, creed and religion. Some of the important writers of Vachana literature include Basavanna, Allama Prabhu and Akka Mahadevi. Kumara Vyasa, who wrote the Karnata Bharata Katamanjari, has arguably been the most famous and most influential Kannada writer of the 15th century. The Bhakti movement gave rise to Dasa Sahitya around the 15th century which significantly contributed to the evolution of Carnatic music in its present form. This period witnessed great Haridasas like Purandara Dasa who has been aptly called the Pioneer of Carnatic music, Kanaka Dasa, Vyasathirtha and Vijaya Dasa. Modern Kannada in the 20th century has been influenced by many movements, notably Navodaya, Navya, Navyottara, Dalita and Bandaya. Contemporary Kannada literature has been highly successful in reaching people of all classes in society. Works of Kannada literature have received Eight Jnanpith awards, which is the highest number awarded for the literature in any Indian language. It has also received forty-seven Sahitya Academy awards.
See also: Medieval Kannada literature and Kannada poetry
Main article: Kashmiri literature
Main article: Malayalam literature
Even up to 500 years since the start of the Malayalam calendar
Not to be confused with Hindu literature, the specific literature of the Hindu religious tradition.
Hindi literature (Hindi: हिन्दी साहित्य, Hindi Sahitya) includes literature in the various Central ZoneIndo-Aryan languages which have writing systems. It is broadly classified into four prominent forms (styles) based on the date of production. They are:
- Vir-Gathas (poems extolling brave warriors) – 11th–14th century
- Bhakti era poems (devotional poems) – 14th–18th century
- Riti or Srngar poems (poems of romance) – 18th–20th century
- Adhunik literature (modern literature) – 20th century onwards
The literature was produced in dialects such as Braj, Bundeli, Awadhi, Kannauji, Khariboli, Marwari, Angika, Vajjika, Maithili, Magahi, Bhojpuri and Chhattisgarhi. From the 20th century, works produced in Standard Hindi, a register of Hindustani written in the Devanagari script, are sometimes regarded as the only basis of modern literature in Hindi.
Adi kal or Vir-Gatha kal (c. 1050 to 1375)
Literature of Adi kal (c. before the 15th century CE) was developed in the regions of Kannauj, Delhi, Ajmer stretching up to central India.Prithviraj Raso, an epic poem written by Chand Bardai (1149 – c. 1200), is considered as one of the first works in the history of Hindi literature. Chand Bardai was a court poet of Prithviraj Chauhan, the famous ruler of Delhi and Ajmer during the invasion of Muhammad of Ghor.
Jayachand, the last ruler of Kannauj belonging to the RathoreRajput clan, gave more patronage to Sanskrit rather than local dialects. Harsha, the author of Naishdhiya Charitra, was his court poet. Jagnayak (sometimes Jagnik), the royal poet in Mahoba, and Nalha, the royal poet in Ajmer, were the other prominent literary figures in this period. However, after Prithviraj Chauhan's defeat in the Second Battle of Tarain, most literary works belonging to this period were destroyed by the army of Muhammad of Ghor. Very few scriptures and manuscripts from this period are available and their genuineness is also doubted.
Some Siddha and Nathpanthi poetical works belonging to this period are also found, but their genuineness is again, doubted. The Siddhas belonged to the Vajrayana, a later Buddhist sect. Some scholars argue that the language of Siddha poetry is not an earlier form of Hindi, but MagadhiPrakrit. Nathpanthis were yogis who practised the Hatha yoga. Some Jain and Rasau (heroic poets) poetry works are also available from this period.
In the Deccan region in South India, Dakkhini or Hindavi was used. It flourished under the Delhi Sultanate and later under the Nizams of Hyderabad. It was written in the Persian script. Nevertheless, the Hindavi literature can be considered as proto-Hindi literature. Many Deccani experts like Sheikh Ashraf or Mulla Vajahi used the word Hindavi to describe this dialect. Others such as Roustami, Nishati etc. preferred to call it Deccani. Shah Buharnuddin Janam Bijapuri used to call it Hindi. 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. The first Deccani poet was Nizami.
During the later part of this period and early Bhakti Kala, many saint-poets like Ramanand and Gorakhnath became famous. The earliest form of Hindi can also be seen in some of Vidyapati's Maithili works.
Bhakti kaal (c. 1375 to 1700)
The medieval Hindi literature 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 are Malik Muhammad Jayasi's Padmavat and 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. These included Verse Patterns like Doha (two-liners), Sortha, Chaupaya (four-liners) etc. This was also the age when Poetry was characterised under the various Rasas. Unlike the Adi Kaal (also called the Vir Gatha Kaal) which was characterised 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 (love), Vir Rasa (Heroism).
Bhakti poetry had two schools – the Nirguna school (the believers of a formless God or an abstract name) and the Saguna school (the believers of a God with attributes and worshippers of Vishnu's incarnations). Kabir and Guru Nanak belong to the Nirguna school, and their philosophy was greatly influenced by the Advaita Vedanta philosophy of Adi Sankaracharya. They believed in the concept of Nirgun Nirakaar Bramh or the Shapeless Formless One. The Saguna school was represented by mainly Vaishnava poets like Surdas, Tulsidas and others and was a logical extension of the Dvaita and Vishishta Advaita Philosophy propounded by the likes of Madhavacharya etc. This school was chiefly Vaishnava in orientation as in seen in the main compositions like Ramacharitamanas, Sur Saravali, Sur Sagar extoling Rama and Krishna.
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 like Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana who was a court poet to Mughal emperor Akbar and was a great devotee of Krishna. The Nirgun School of Bhakti Poetry was also tremendously secular in nature and its propounders like Kabir and Guru Nanak had a large number of followers irrespective of caste or religion.
Riti-kavya kal (c. 1700 to 1900)
In the Ritikavya or Ritismagra Kavya period, the erotic element became predominant in the Hindi literature. This era is called Riti (meaning 'procedure') because it was the age when poetic figures and theory were developed to the fullest. But this emphasis on poetry theory greatly reduced the emotional aspects of poetry—the main characteristic of the Bhakti movement—and the actual content of the poetry became less important. The Saguna School of the Bhakti Yug split into two schools (Rama bhakti and Krishna bhakti) somewhere in the interregnum of the Bhakti and the Reeti Eras. Although most Reeti works were outwordly related to KrishnaBhakti, their emphasis had changed from total devotion to the supreme being to the Shringar or erotic aspects of Krishna's life—his Leela, his pranks with the Gopis in Braj, and the description of the physical beauty of Krishna and Radha,(Krishna's Consort). The poetry of Bihari, and Ghananand Das fit this bill. The most well known book from this age is the Bihari Satsai of Bihari, a collection of Dohas (couplets), dealing with Bhakti (devotion), Neeti (Moral policies) and Shringar (love).
The first Hindi books, using the Devanagari script or Nāgarī script were one Heera Lal's treatise on Ain-i-Akbari, called Ain e Akbari ki Bhasha Vachanika, and Rewa Mharaja's treatise on Kabir. Both books came out in 1795. Munshi Lallu Lal's Hindi translation of Sanskrit Hitopadesha was published in 1809. Lala Srinivas Das published a novel in Hindi Pariksha guru in the Nāgarī script in 1886. Shardha Ram Phillauri wrote a Hindi novel Bhagyawati which was published in 1888.
Chandrakanta, written by Devaki Nandan Khatri in 1888, is considered the first authentic work of prose in modern Hindi. 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.
Adhunik kal (c. 1900 onwards)
In 1800, the British East India Company established Fort William College at Calcutta. The College president J. B. Gilchrist hired professors to write books in Hindustani. Some of these books were Prem Sagar by Lallu Lal, Naasiketopaakhyan by Sadal Mishra, Sukhsagar by Sadasukhlal of Delhi and Rani Ketaki ki kahani by Munshi Inshallah Khan.
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.
Gocharya ji authored Krishna Cahrit Manas in the poetic form describing about the full life of Lord Krishna (from birth to Nirvana).
The Dwivedi Yug ("Age of Dwivedi") in Hindi literature lasted from 1900 to 1918. It is named after Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, who played a major role in establishing the modern Hindi language in poetry and broadening the acceptable subjects of the Hindi poetry from the traditional ones of religion and romantic love. He encouraged poetry in Hindi dedicated to nationalism and social reform.
Dwivedi became the editor of Saraswati in 1903, the first Hindi monthly magazine of India, which was established in 1900. He used it to crusade for reforms in the Hindi literature. One of the most prominent poems of the period was Maithili Sharan Gupt's Bharat-bharati, which evokes the past glory of India. Shridhar Prathak's Bharatgit is another renowned poem of the period.
Some scholars have labelled much of the poetry of this period as "versified propaganda". According to Lucy Rosenstein: "It is verse of public statement; its language is functional but aesthetically unappealing. Earnestly concerned with social issues and moral values, it is puritanical poetry in which aesthetic considerations are secondary. Imagination, originality, poetic sensibility and expression are wanting, the metre is restrictive, the idiom clumsy." She adds, however, that the period was important for laying the foundations for the modern Hindi poetry and that it did reflect sensitivity to social issues of the time. However, she also adds that the inelegance is a typical feature of a "young" poetry, as she considers Modern Hindi.
Without a poetic tradition in modern Hindi, poets often modeled their forms on Braj, and later on Sanskrit, Urdu, Bengali and English forms, often ill-suited to Hindi. The subjects of the poems tended to be communal rather than personal. Characters were often presented not as individuals but as social types.
In the 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. Poet Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar' was another great poet with some Chayavaadi element in his poetry although he wrote in other genres as well.
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. A unique feature of this period is the emotional (and sometimes active) attachment of poets with national freedom struggle, their effort to understand and imbibe the vast spirit of a magnificent ancient culture and their towering genius which grossly overshadowed all the literary 'talked abouts' of next seven decades.
Other important genres of Adhunik Sahitya (Modernism) are: Prayogvad (Experimentalism) of Ajneya and the Tar Saptak poets, also known as Nayi Kavita (New Poetry) and Nayi Kahani (New Story) of Nirmal Verma and others; followed by Pragativad (Progressivism) of Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh and other authors.
Among the numerous schools of poetry which sprang up in the fifties of this century was Nakenwad, a school deriving its nomenclature from the first letters of the names of its three pioneers – Nalin Vilochan Sharma, Kesari Kumar, and Naresh Mehta all poets of note in their own right. Apart from being poets, Nalin Vilochan and Kesari Kumar were also brilliant critics, with a wide perspective on literary history. Their critical attitude is marked by a synthesis or coordination of various disciplines of human knowledge – philosophy, history, art and culture, all pressed into the service of literary appraisal and analysis.
Genres of Hindi Literature
Hindi Kavita (Poetry)
Hindi has a rich legacy of poetry. There are several genres of Kavita based on Ras, Chhand and Alankar e.g. Shringar, Karun, Veer, Hāsya etc.Hasya Kavita is humorous comic poetry in Hindi. It is particularly famous due to Hindi kavi sammelans. Bal Kavita is children's rhymes in Hindi.
Many attempts have been made to document Hindi poetry. Some of the most comprehensive online collections for Hindi poetry are Kavitakosh and Geeta-Kavita. The most classy content that has created new audiences who were not looking for Hindi poetry or Hindi content is Hindi Kavita. This movement started in 2014 by Manish Gupta has generated an entirely new market and brought many projects to the fore. Many award-winning poets, scholars, journalists and celebrities from Film, Television and Theatre have come forward to support the cause and take it further.[promotional language]
Vyangya (Hindi Satire)
The rhetoric of satire is called Vyangya in Hindi. Vyangya writings includes the essence of sarcasm and humour. Some of the better known writers in this genre are, Harishankar Parsai(Hindi: हरिशंकर परसाई) (August 22, 1924 – 1995) was a Hindi writer. He was a noted satirist and humorist of modern Hindi literature and is known for his simple and direct style., Sri Lal Sukla, Suryakumar Pandey etc.
Hindi travel literature
Rahul Sankrityayan, Bhadant Anand Kausalyayan, Sachchidananda Hirananda Vatsyayan 'Ajneya' and Baba Nagarjun were some of the great Indian writers who dedicated themselves entirely to the Hindi Travel Literature (Yatra Vritanta). Rahul Sankrityayan was one of the greatest travelled scholars of India, spending forty-five years of his life on travels away from his home. He is known as the ("Father of Hindi Travel literature"). Baba Nagarjun was a major Hindi and Maithili poet who has also penned a number of novels, short stories, literary biographies and travelogues, and was known as ("Janakavi- the People's Poet").
The pioneer of Hindi theatre as well as playwrighting, Bhartendu Harishchandra wrote Satya Harishchandra (1875), Bharat Durdasha (1876) and Andher Nagari (1878), in the late 19th century, Jaishankar Prasad became the next big figure in Hindi playwriting with plays like Skanda Gupta (1928), Chandragupta (1931) and Dhruvswamini (1933).
As the Independence struggle was gathering steam playwrights broaching issues of nationalism and subversive ideas against the British, yet to dodge censorship they adapted themes from mythology, history and legend and used them as vehicle for political messages, a trend that continues to date, though now it was employed to bring out social, personal and psychological issues rather than clearly political, though street theatre broke this trend in coming decades in post-independence era, like IPTA-inspired, Naya Theatre of Habib Tanvir did in the 1950s–90s, Jana Natya Manch of Safdar Hashmi did in the 1970s–80s. Post-independence the emerging republic threw up new issues for playwrights to tackle and express, and Hindi playwriting showed greater brevity and symbolism, but it was not as prolific as in case with Hindi poetry or fiction. Yet we have playwrights like Jagdish Chandra Mathur (Konark) and Upendranath Ashk (Anjo Didi), who displayed a steadily evolving understanding of stagecraft. These were followed another generation of pioneers in Hindi playwrighting, Mohan Rakesh, who started with Ashadh Ka Ek Din (1958), Adhe Adhure and Lehron Ke Rajhans, Dharamvir Bharati, who wrote Andha Yug, and other playwrights like Surendra Verma, and Bhisham Sahni.
Kuber Nath Rai is one of the writers who dedicated themselves entirely to the form of essay-writing. His collections of essays Gandha Madan, Priya neel-kanti, Ras Aakhetak, Vishad Yog, Nishad Bansuri, Parna mukut have enormously enriched the form of essay. A scholar of Indian culture and western literature, he was proud of Indian heritage. His love for natural beauty and Indian folk literatures and preference for agricultural society over the age of machines, his romantic outlook, aesthetic sensibility, his keen eye on contemporary reality and classical style place him very high among contemporary essayists in Hindi.
Prominent Figures of Hindi literature
Main article: List of Hindi authors
- Chand Bardai (1148–1191), author of Prithviraj Raso first to write in khari boli.
- Amir Khusro (1253–1325 AD), author of pahelis and mukris in the "Hindavi" dialect.
- Vidyapati (1352–1448), a prominent poet of Eastern dialects.
- Kabir (1398–1518), a major figure of the bhakti (devotional) movement.
- Surdas (1467–1583) author of Sahitya lahri, Sur Sarawali, 'Sur Sagar etc.
- Malik Muhammad Jayasi (1477–1542) author of the Padmavat (1540) etc.
- Mirabai (1504–1560) author of Mira Padavali etc.
- Tulsidas (1532–1623) author of RamacharitamanasVinay Patrika
- Keshavdas (1555–1617) author of Rasikpriya etc.
- Bihari (1595–1664) became famous by writing Satasai (Seven Hundred Verses).
- Guru Gobind Singh (1669–1708) author of Bichitra Natak etc.
- Ganga Das(1823–1913) was a revered saint of udasi sect and known for piety and Hindi poetry, who composed about 50 kavya-granthas and thousands of padas, who is known as Bhismpita of the Hindi poetry.
- Bharatendu Harishchandra (1850–1885), whose works are compiled in Bharatendu Granthavali
- Devaki Nandan Khatri (1861–1913) author of Chandrakanta etc.
- Munshi Premchand (1880–1936), considered one of the greatest Hindi novelists of all time
- Maithili Sharan Gupt (1886–1964), pioneer of Khadiboli poetry
- Babu Gulabrai (1888–1963): an eminent critic, philosopher and essay writer, known for his biography Meri Asafaltaein
- Jaishankar Prasad (1889–1937), stalwart of the literary movement called Chhayavaad.
- Sahajanand Saraswati (1889–1950), books on peasant movement and the nationalist struggle, autobiography(mera jeevan sangharsh) and many others.
- Rahul Sankrityayan (1893–1963), widely travelled scholars of India
- Guru Bhakt Singh 'Bhakt' (1893–1983)
- Suryakant Tripathi 'Nirala' (1899–1961)
- Suryakumar Pandey (b. 1954), Poet, Writer
- Yashpal (1903–1976), author of Jhutha Sach
- Jainendra Kumar (1905-1988), An extremely influential figure in 20th-century Hindi literature.
- Hazariprasad Dwivedi (1907–1979)
- Mahadevi Varma (1907–1987), one of the "four pillars" of the Chhayavada movement
- Ramdhari Singh Dinkar (1908–1974), hailed as a Rashtrakavi.
- Ram Ratan Bhatnagar (1914–1992) writer and critic of Hindi literature and poetry.
- Phanishwar Nath 'Renu' (1921–1977) freedom fighter, socialist, his best work considered to be Maila Anchal
- Ramesh Chandra Jha (1925-1994) freedom fighter, journalist, eminent poet and novelist.
- Harishankar Parsai (1922–1995), known for satirical works
- Naresh Mehta (1922-2000), Poet
- Bhupendra nath Kaushik"fikr" (1925–2007), Urdu, Hindi writer "Koltar main aks"
- Dharmavir Bharati (1926–1997), a renowned Hindi writer and editor
- Viveki Rai (b. 1927)
- Rajkamal Chaudhary (1929–1967) poet, short story writer, novelist, critic
- Raghuvir Sahay (1929–1990) was a versatile Hindi poet, translator, short-story writer and journalist.
- Nirmal Verma (1929–2005), one of the founders of the Nai Kahani (new short story) school
- Badri Narain Sinha (1930–1979), poet, critic, journalist and an Indian Police Service officer of Bihar
- Vidyabhushan Varma (1930-2016), journalist, author, winner of the Hindi Academy award
- Narendra Kohli (b. 1940) known for his plays, satires, short stories and novels
- Vibhuti Narain Rai (b. 1951), a renowned modern Hindi writer and Police Superintendent.
- Shailendra Chauhan (b. 1954) Eminent Poet and critic of Hindi literature.
- Hrishikesh Sulabh (b. 1955) short story writer, playwright, drama critic. Pioneer of modern Hindi theatre in Bihar.
- Paigham Afaqui (b. 1956) Novelist,short-story-writer and poet and author of novel Makaan.
- Mohan Rana (b. 1964), Hindi poet, currently based in Britain
- Mehrunnisa Parvez (b. 1944), Hindi novelist, short story writer and Padma Shri awardee
- Darchhawna (b. 1936), Hindi writer and Padma Shri awardee
- Suresh Malviya (b.1994),Hindi Poet and An Engineer
Eminent Hindi Journalists
Born in Kashmir, he came to Calcutta and started Bharat Mitra in 1878. In 1879, he began another weekly magazine- Saar Sudhanidhi but it closed down in that same year. On 17 August 1880, he started a 3rd weekly- Ucchit Vakta- meaning Right or Best Time. Ucchit Vakta focused on spreading the truth (about the British Raj) and fighting for justice. It became very popular for many years.
Mishra underwent a lot of difficulties trying to bring out a critical publication at the time of the British Raj. At times he was the editor, writer and also sold the paper himself. He was an inspiration for many journalists, particularly Bal Mukund Gupta.
Born on 25 December 1926, Dharamvir Bharati graduated in BA (first class) in 1945 and in 1947 completed his MA in Hindi literature (first class) and finally did his PhD from Allahabad University. For some time he was principal of Allahabad University.
He began his journalist career in Abhyudaya, a journal by Padmakant Malviya. He then joined Sangam, edited by Ilachand Joshi and then became editor of Dharmayug. Thanks to Bharati, this journal became very popular.
During the 1971 war, Bharati reported from the frontlines of the battle. He covered all the horrors of the war. His series of reports, the finest in Hindi war journalism, were published under the title of 'Yudh Yatra'. As an honest and dedicated reporter, Bharati was unrivaled. After the war, he became editor of 2 more journals- Aalochana and Nikarshak.
Bharati was also famous as a short story writer, poet, essayist and novelist. The best known of his works are 'Band Galli ka Aakhiri Makaan', 'Andha Yug', 'Kunpriya'.
Bharatendu Harishchandra began his career as a journalist at the age of 17. Published Kavi Vachan Sudha (1867) a monthly dedicated to ancient and medieval poetry. Published Harishchandra Magazine in 1873– a general interest magazine Published Bala Bodhini from 1874– for women and young girls.
KVS was acknowledged to be the finest literary journal in any Indian language of that time, and was on par with the best of English journals. Bharatendu kept the journal up until his death 1885. Because of his extraordinary achievements, he is considered the most prolific Hindi journalist.
Madan Mohan Malaviya
Madan Mohan Malaviya was born in 1861 in Allahabad to a Brahmin family. From 1885 to 1887 was the editor of Indian Opinion. He was a strong supporter of the Congress. He helped launch the newspaper Dainik Hindustan and was its editor from 1887 to 1889. He was a close friend of many eminent Hindi writers like Gopalram Gehmari, Amrutlal Chakravarty and Pandit Pratap Narayan Mishra.
Along with Bal Mukund Gupta, he launched an Urdu journal 'Kohinoor' from Lahore. In those days, Gupta was not a facile Hindi scholar, but under Malviya's training, Gupta became editor of Bharat Mitra. In 1908, Malviya founded a new revolutionary journal Abhyudaya from Prayag. The renowned writer Purushottam Das Tandon was a frequent contributor to it.
After Abhyudaya, Malviya founded a monthly magazine 'Maryada', in 1909 he founded a daily 'Leader' and later on another daily- 'Bharat'.
Malviya was a great patriot and his love for his country was seen in all of his writings. He also contributed to Aaj, and helped to found the Hindustan Times in 1933, along with its Hindi counterpart Hindustan. Babu Gulabrai (17 January 1888 – 13 April 1963) (pen name: Gulabrai MA) was one of the greatest literary figures of modern Hindi literature.
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- A History of Hindi literature, by K. B. Jindal. Published by Kitab Mahal, 1955.
- Hindi Literature from Its Beginnings to the Nineteenth Century, by Ronald Stuart McGregor. Published by Harrassowitz, 1984. ISBN 3-447-02413-5.
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