Sometimes it is argued that there is nothing like Indian literature, as India is made of different languages. Thus, one can only talk in terms of Bengali literature, Marathi literature, Tamil literature etc. However, on this site we talk about the Indian literature as a whole and mention some famous works of Indian writers from different regions in differnt Indian languages.
India traditionally had been an oral culture. Folk tales, poetry etc. passed from one generation to the other found its place in writing much later when Sanskrit began to gain prominence. Later, with the Muslim and Mughal rulers, Persian poetry and Urdu literature developed significantly. English language came with the British in India. It became the language of the educated public. Many of the literatures of the late 19th and 20th century are in English.
India is a land of 18 principal languages; writers of different regional languages of India have contributed immensely to the richness of Indian literature. Some of the prominent writers of the 19th and early 20th century, Raja Rammohan Roy, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Vivekananda and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore made significant contribution to the Bengali literature. Prem Chand, Asadullah Khan Ghalib and Muhammad Iqbal were renowned Urdu and Persian writers and poets; R. K. Narayan, Raja Rao, Bhabhani Bhattacharya, Ahmed Ali, Khushwant Singh, and Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai wrote fiction, while Sarojini Naidu, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and Nazrul Islam made their name in the field of poetry; and Mohandas Gandhi, M. N. Roy, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Jayaprakash Narayan expressed their political views in their writing.
Some of the well-known Indian writers of today are Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things), Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies), Amitav Ghosh (The Circle of Reason ), Rohinton Mistry (Such a Long Journey), Vikram Seth (The Golden Gate, A Suitable Boy), Upamanyu Chatterjee (English August).
The two famous Indian epics are " Mahabharata" and "Ramayana." Both Mahabharata and Ramayana have had tremendous cultural influence throughout India and Southeast Asia. One of the longest poems in any language, the Mahabharata by sage Vyasa, is said to be written from 540 to 300 B.C. The Mahabharata tells the legends of the Kauravas and the Pandavas and the great battle of Kurukshetra. The Ramayana by poet Valmiki, is said to be written during the first century A.D., although it is based on oral traditions that go back six or seven centuries earlier.
- Brief introduction to Mahabharat
- Mahabharatha Stories
- Sacred Texts of Hindus (Vedas and Upanishads are primary texts of Hinduism.There are four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The Upanishads, written between 800 and 400 B.C. are a continuation of the Vedic philosophy.)
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