Indian literature is generally believed to be the oldest in the world. With vast cultural diversities, there are around two dozen officially recognized languages in India. Over thousands of years, huge literature has been produced in various languages in India. It is to be noted that a large part of Indian literature revolves around devotion, drama, poetry and songs. Sanskrit language dominated the early Indian literary scene whereas languages like Prakrit and Pali too had fair share as they were the languages of the common people.
It is interesting to note that the Hindu literary traditions have dominated a large part of Indian culture. These traditions are well reflected in great works like Vedas and epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. Treatises like Vaastu Shastra (architecture), Arthashastra (political science) and Kamsutra are true reflection of the Indian literary excellence.
Early Hindi literature, in dialects like Avadhi and Brai, began around religious and philosophical poetry in medieval period. Sant Kabir and Tulsidas were the greatest exponents of the Hindi literature during this period. With the passage of time, the Khadi boli (dialect) became more prominent and saw a great upsurge, which continues to this day.
During the medieval period, Muslim literary traditions dominated a large part of Indian literature and saw flourishing of Muslim literature. Muslim rule during the medieval times saw rapid growth and development of Persian and Urdu literature in India. A huge variety of literature spanning across history, culture and politics was written in this period.
With the coming of the British in India, works started to be written in English language. As more and more Indians became well versed with the English language, the number of works in English literature began to grow. During the contemporary times, numerous Indian authors have made their mark on the world English literature scene. Some of the most noted Indian born or Indian writers are R. K. Narayan, Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Amitav.
Indian literature is generally believed to be the oldest in the world. Originating more than 5,000 years ago, records of the linguistic history of India began with early pictures that transformed into pictorial scripts and engravings and eventually to modern orthographies.With vast cultural diversities, currently there are around two dozen officially recognized languages in India. But broadly Linguistic history of India can be classified into 3 parts: Old Indo Aryan languages who's earliest evidence is from Vedic Sanskrit. Then came Middle Indo Aryan languages, Prakrits, evolved outside the learned sphere of Sanskrit. The oldest attested Prakrits are the Buddhist and Jain canonical languages Pali and Ardha Magadhi, respectively. The Indo-Aryan prakrits also gave rise to languages like Gujarati, Assamese, Bengali, Oriya, Nepali, Marathi, and Punjabi, which are not considered to be Hindi despite being part of the same dialect continuum. Next was New Indo Aryan languages which occurred with the Muslim invasions of India in the 13th-16th centuries. Under the flourishing Mughal empire, Persian became very influential as the language of prestige of the Islamic courts. However, Persian was soon displaced by Hindi-Urdu. It is to be noted that a large part of Indian literature revolves around devotion, drama, poetry and songs.
The Creation Hymn of Rig Veda
There was neither non-existence nor existence then.
There was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond. What stirred?
In whose protection?
Was there water, bottlemlessly deep?
There was neither death nor immortality then.
There was no distinguishing sign of night nor of day.
That One breathed, windless, by its own impulse.
Other than that there was nothing beyond.
Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning,
with no distinguishing sign, all this was water.
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