(Last Updated on : 06/01/2009)
India is a land of diverse culture and literature has been produced over years, which are the lively embodiments of the culture & spirit of the land.
India, frequently called a secular land recognizes 22 languages and more than 10 different religions which unfolds the very spirit of the land -" Unity in Diversity". But being a Hindu country mainly, Hindu literary tradition has dominated its culture. The Indian Literary tradition is largely one of verse and the earlier literature were mainly recited and sung to the succeeding generations by their gurus or "masters". Therefore the printed documents of the earlier legends are unavailable.
In Medieval times, Indian literature liberated from the shackles of religious influence and celebrated the unconventional regional beliefs. Chrayapadas in Bengali, Tantric verses of 12th century, Lilacaritra in Marathi etc are the representations of the contemporary social life. In Gujrati and Marathi, the first indigenous literature was the Jain romances which were designed after the Sanskrit and Pali themes.
12th century poets like Jaydeva, in his Geet-Govinda, celebrated the north Indian cult of Rama & Krishna and Vidyapati in Bihar, wrote a group of religious love poems, which play a decisive role in shaping the Radha- Krishna trend in Bengal.
The full-blooming Radha- Krishna cult was popularized by Chaitanya in Bengal and Vallabhachatya in Mathura involved Bhakti, and Bhakti Litera ture formed a considerable part of Indian Literature. Tulsidas`s Ramcharitmans and Adi-Granth (collections of Bhakti hymns) are the chief Bhakti literature.
18th century literatures are the deliberate replica of the traditional Sanskrit literatures. From the remote past, India witness a development of wide-ranging and diverse literature, but Vedic,Pali, Sanskrit & Prakrit Literature are the main pillars of the Hindu culture in India.
Written in the Sanskrit language Vedic literature is one of the archaic Indian literatures. Based on the four books "The Rig Veda" "the Sama Veda", Yajur Veda" and "The Atharva Veda" the Vedic literature stands as the epitome of archaic Indian literature whilst ideally unifying literature with religion and philosophy.
: The classical Sanskrit literature somewhat dates back to the early medieval period. With its sheer rhythm and poise it is the very Sanskrit literature that contoured the gestation of the contemporaneousness in archaic Indian literature.
Developed as a literary doctrine of the Theravada Buddhism, Pali literature is one of the important literatures of ancient India, which with its theology, beliefs and above all with its finesse formed the very base of the ancient literature in India.
Developed in the early 6th century BC , Prakrit literature was somewhat an echo of the Pali literature as the main Parakrit language was "Pali" .