Nitin Singhania: Summary of Indian Literature Notes | Study Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests) - UPSC

UPSC: Nitin Singhania: Summary of Indian Literature Notes | Study Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests) - UPSC

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(i) ‘Literature’- derived from Latin litteratura or ‘writing formed with letters’. Classified into fiction & nonfiction.
(ii) Further classifications- poetry and prose.
(iii) Most popular literature from Greco-Roman times has been epics.

Differences between Didactic and Narrative Text
Nitin Singhania: Summary of Indian Literature Notes | Study Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests) - UPSC
In India, four major speech groups are followed, i.e. Austric, Dravidian, Sino-Tibetan and Indo- European.

(i) Literature in Prakrit- full of realism & moral values without religious connotations.
(ii) Most popular in ancient period- Vedas

(i) ‘Veda’ signifies knowledge- provide humans knowledge to conduct their entire life on earth & beyond.
(ii) Written in highly stylised poetic style
(iii) Full of symbols & myths.
(iv) Compiled around 1500 BC-1000 BC.
(v) Are considered sacred because consist divine revelations
(vi) Preach Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.
(vii) Four major Vedas: Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda & Atharva Veda.
(viii) Written by rishis who envisioned cosmic mysteries and wrote them in form of Sanskrit poetry. Vedas give prominence to yagna (sacrifice).
(ix) Brahmanas, Upanishads & Aranyakas accompany each Veda.

1. Rig Veda
(i) Oldest existing Veda.
(ii) 1028 individual Sanskrit hymns.
(iii) One of the first extensive composition in any Indo-European language that has survived for our perusal.
(iv) Compiled around 1200-900 BC.
(v) Focuses on worldly prosperity & natural beauty.
(vi) Organised in 10 books, known as Mandalas, which comprises of several Suktas or hymns, which are usually for sacrificial purposes.
(vii) Themes- life, death, creation, sacrifice & seeking godly pleasure or soma.
(viii) Hymns are dedicated to several deities, particularly chief deity, Indra.
(ix) Prominent Gods- Agni (God of fire), Vanina (God of water), Rudra (God of wind/storm), Aditya (a form of Sun God), Vayu (God of air) & Ashwini twins.
(x) Hymns for female Goddesses like- Usha (Goddess of dawn), Prithvi (Goddess of earth) & Vak (the Goddess of speech).

2. Atharva Veda
(i) Also called Brahma Veda & attributed to two rishis- Atharvah & Angira, respectively.
(ii) Because of association with two rishis also called Atharvangirasa.
(iii) Concerned with peace & prosperity
(iv) Covers all aspects of man’s daily life & focuses on treatment of several ailments.
(v) Prescribes treatment for 99 diseases.
(vi) Two major recensions (sakhas) of text- Paippalada & Saunakiya.
(vii) Deals with healing & black and white magic; speculation on changes in the universe; and everyday problems in a householder’s life.

3. Yajur Veda
(i) ‘Yajus’ signifies ‘sacrifice’
(ii) Focuses on rites & mantras of different types of sacrifices that were prevalent in Vedic times. Two major recensions (samhita) of Yajur Veda: Shukla (white/pure) & Krishna (black/dark).
(iii) These samhita’s also called- Vajasaneyi Samhita & Taittiriya Samhita.
(iv) Predominantly a ritual Veda as it acts like a guide book for rishis/priests who conduct sacrificial rituals.

4. Sama Veda
(i) Named after ‘Saman’ (melody) & concentrates on melody or songs.
(ii) Has 1875 hymns, out of which only 75 are original & rest taken from Sakala branch of Rig Veda.
(iii) Consists of hymns, detached verses & 16,000 raga (musical notes) and raginis.
(iv) Also called ‘book of chants’- because of lyrical nature.
(v) Shows development of Indian music in Vedic period.
(vi) Vedangas (branches/limbs of Veda)- a supplement to original Veda & concentrate on topics like siksha (education), nirukta (etymology or the origin of words), Chhanda (metrics in Sanskrit grammer), jyotisha (astronomy) and vyakarana (grammar).
(vii) Later, several authors picked these subjects & wrote treatises on them, called Sutra like Panini’s Ashtadhyayi- a text to define rules of Sanskrit grammar.

Try yourself:Consider the following statements:
1. Didactic text is usually used for story writing and novels.
2. The narrative text is used for writing on political or moral issues.
Which of the above is/are correct?
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(i) Part of Hindu sruti (revealed knowledge) literature.
(ii) Each Veda has a Brahmana attached to it, which is a collection of texts with commentaries on the particular Veda.
(iii) A mixture of legends, facts, philosophy & detailed explanations of Vedic rituals.
(iv) Consist of instructions as to how to properly conduct rituals and enunciate the science of sacrifice.
(v) Explains symbolic significance of sacred words used in rituals.
(vi) Pegged to be composed & compiled between 900-700 BC.
Nitin Singhania: Summary of Indian Literature Notes | Study Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests) - UPSC

(i) Are texts attached to Vedas
(ii) Describe rituals & sacrifices involved in Vedas
(iii) Compilations of ritualistic information on birth & death cycles.
(iv) Holy & learned men. called Munis, living in forests, taught them.

(i) Term Upanishad or u {at),pa (foot), ni (down) & s(h)ad (to sit), i.e. to sit down near (the teacher)
(ii) More than 200 known Upanishads.
(iii) Guru-shishya parampara.
(iv) Written in Sanskrit & gave an account of Vedas in predominantly monastic & mystical terms.
(v) Are generally last part of Vedas, so also called Vedanta or ‘end (anta) of Veda’.
(vi) They have ‘truth’ about human life & direct towards human salvation or moksha.
(vii) Mention about abstract & philosophical problems faced by mankind like origin of universe, death cycle & material and spiritual quests of man.
(viii) Out of 200 Upanishads, a set of 108 Upanishads are called Muktika Canon,which is an important canon because there are 108 beads on Hindu rosary or mala.
(ix) Teachings in Upanishads- founding rituals of Hinduism.
(x) Difference between Upanishads and Aravankas:

 Knowledge/spirituality section
 Karma-kanda Ritualistic actions/sacrifice section

The Mahabharata and The Ramayana
These epics- also called Mahakavya
1. Ramayana
(i) Its most famous recension- by sage Valmiki(Adikavi or first amongst poets).
(ii) So Ramayana- called Adikavya or first amongst poetry.
(iii) First compiled around 1500 BC.(debatable)
(v) It tells the story of Rama, ideal man and we are instructed to achieve the four-fold objectives (Purushartha) of mankind:

 Dharma Religion or righteousness
 Artha (monetary) Achievements in the worldly sphere
 Kama Fulfilling worldly desires
 Moksha Liberation from these desires

(vi) Has 24,000 verses & divided into seven books, called Khandas.
(vii) Presents details of war between Lord Rama & demon king Ravana over kidnapping of Rama’s wife, Sita.
(viii) Major characters - Hanuman, Lakshmana, Vibhishana, etc- were instrumental in fight in Lanka (modern Sri Lanka), where Rama triumphed over Ravana and brought back his wife → victory of good over evil.

Try yourself:Which of the following texts preaches Vasudhaiva kutumbakam?
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2. Mahabharata
(i) Most popular version- Ved Vyas.
(ii) Was written in Sanskrit
(iii) Initially
(iv) Earliest version- ‘Jaya’ or story of ‘victory’- had 8,800 verses -^‘Bharata’- several stories were added to it & verses increased to 24,000->Current form- 1,00,000 verses & divided into 10 parvas (chapters) & called Itihas Purana (mythical history).
(v) Story is based on conflict between Kauravas & Pandavas over right to claim the throne of Hastinapur.
(vi) Sutradhar- Lord Krishna.
(vii) Mahabharata consists of Bhagwata Gita, an important didactical text of Hindus.
(viii) Gita- concise guide to Hindu religions’ philosophical dilemmas & acts like a guide to mankind on how to live a righteous life.
(ix) Gita- dialogue between Lord Krishna & Pandava prince Arjuna about problem of violence versus non-violence; action versus non-action & about Dharma and its various kinds.
(x) Says that mankind should follow Nishkama Karma, i.e. to perform one’s duty to the family & world in a selfless way.

The Puranas
(i) Talk about ‘that which renews the old’.
(ii) Ancient Indian mythological texts, & contain narrative stories from creation of universe to supposed destruction of universe.
(iii) Stories of kings, heroes, sages, & demi- Gods, but it focuses on Hindu trimurti or trinity/ three Gods: Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh.
(iv) 18 major Puranas (Mahapuranas)- each gives prominence to a particular deity.
(v) Well-known Pur anas- Bhagvata, Brahma, Vayu, Agni, Garuda, Padma, Vishnu and Matsya-have anecdotes about social, cultural & religious life of post-Vedic India.
(vi) Puranas- written in form of stories & had an easy form so were popular amongst masses who don’t understand complex Vedas.
(vii) Puranas- translated in various vernacular languages.
(viii) Puranas- use parables & fables:

 Parable Short stories that in prose or verse, illustrates a spiritual, moral or religious lesson. It usually features a human character.
 Fable Short stories that in prose or verse, illustrates a ‘moral’ through a pithy maxim or clever story. It features animals, inanimate objects, mythical creatures, plants who are given human like qualities.

(ix) Panchtantra (animal stories)- written by Vishnu Sharma.
(x) Hitopadesha- written by Narayan Pandit- also uses non-human & animal elements.

Try yourself:Which of the following is not a major Veda?
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The Upa- Puranas
(i) Popularity of Puranas- gave rise to a sub-genre called Upa-Puranas or minor Puranas.
(ii) 19 minor Puranas,based on five major subjects as dictated by Sanskrit lexicographer from Gupta period, Amarasimha:

 Sarga Creation of the universe
 Pratisarga Periodic cycle of destruction and recreation
 Manvantra Periods of Manu’s lifetime
 Vamsa (Chandra &Surya) Genealogies of solar & lunar dynasties of Gods and sages
 Vamshanucharita Dynastic histories of kings

Classical Sanskrit Literature
(i) Sanskrit Literature- divided into Vedic & Classical categories.
(ii) Mahabharata & Ramayana- pre-cursors of Sanskrit Kavya (epic poetry), nataka (classical drama) & other treatises on medicine, statecraft, grammar, astronomy, mathematics, etc.
(iii) Sanskrit literature- bound by rules of grammar given in Panini’s Ashtadhyayi.

Sanskrit Drama
(i) Most popular genres- romantic tales, whose sole purpose was to entertain the public or Lokaranjana.
(ii) Rules regarding performance, acting, gestures, stage direction & acting- illustrated in Natyasastra by Bharata (1 BC 1 AD).
(iii) Mai or dramas of this period :

 Kalidasa Malavikagnimitra (The love story o f Malavika a maiden of Queen and Agnimitra the son of Pushyamitra Shunga)
 Vikramorvasiya (Love story of Vikram and Urvasi)
 Abhigyana Shakuntala (the recognition of Shakuntala)
 Mricchakatika (The Little Clay Cart) Love affair of young brahmin Charadatta with a wealthy courtesan.
 Vishakhdutta Mudra Rakshasa (is a political drama and narrates ascent of king Chandragupta Maurya to power in India)
 Devi Chandraguptam
 Bhavabhuti Uttara Ramacharitam (the later life o f Rama).

 It was written in 700 AD.

 Bhasa Swapnavasavadatta (Vasavadatta in dream), Pancharatra, Urubhanga (story of Duryodhana during and after his fight with Bhima
 Harshavardhana (wrote 3 Sanskrit plays) Ratnavali (about the love story of princess Ratnavali, daughter of the king of Ceylon and king Udayana. We find here, the mention of celebration of Holi for the first time).

 Nagananda (story of how prince Jimutavahana gives up his own body to stop a sacrifice of serpents to the divine Garuda. One unique character in this drama is invocation to lord Buddha in the Nandi verse)

 Priyadarsika (union of Udayana and Priyadarshika, daughter of King Dridhavarman)

Sanskrit Poetry
(i) This genre- also called Kavya or poetry.
(ii) Concentrates more on form, style, figure of speech, etc.
(iii) Kalidasa - wrote Kumara Sambhava (the birth of Kumar), Raghuvamsa (the dynasty of the Raghus), Meghaduta (the cloud messenger) & Ritusamhara (medley of seasons).
(iv) Harisena (Gupta period)- wrote poems in praise of Samudra Gupta- was inscribed on Allahabad pillar.
(v) Jayadeva wrote Gita Govinda in 12th century, which concentrates on life & escapades of Lord Krishna & combines elements of devotion to Lord Krishna, his love for Radha and the beauty of nature.
(vi) Other major poets are:

 Bharavi (550 A.D.) Kiratarjuniyam (Kirat and Arjun)
 Magha (65-700 A.D.) Sishupalavadha (the killing of Shishupal)

Try yourself:Sama Veda is written in:
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Other Major Sanskrit texts:
(i) Between 500 & 200 BC- books on law, called Dharamsutras were written & complied.
(ii) Compiled alongside smritis that are known as Dharamshastras.
(iii) These are basis of laws governing subjects of most Hindu kingdoms.
(iv) Elucidate rules on holding, selling or transferring the property and punishments for offences like fraud, murder etc.
(v) Manusmriti (laws of Manu)- 200 BC & 200 AD - defines role of man & woman in a society-written as a discourse given by Manu, ancestor of mankind.
(vi) Kautilya’s ArthashastrafMauryan period)- on statecraft- concentrates on economic & social conditions, military strategy.
(vii) ‘Kautilya’ or ‘Vishnugupta’ or Chanakya- learned scholar in Chandragupta Maurya’s court.
(viii) Sanskrit- got an impetus in Gupta period & became preferred language of communication of cultured & educated people.
(ix) Later Kushana period- major Sanskrit scholars received patronage. Like, Ashvagosha wrote Buddhacharita (biography of Buddha) & Saundarananda (poem).
(x) Scientific texts of this period:

 Charak Charak Samhita (Book on Medicine)
 Sushruta Sushruta Samhita (Book on surgery)
 Madhava Madhava Nidana (Book on pathology)
 Pancha-Siddhantika (Book on astrology)
 Varamihira Brihat Samhita (book on wide ranging subjects like planetary movements, geology, architecture,etc.
 Aryabhatta Aryabhatiya (Book on astronomy and mathematics)
 Lagdhacharya Book on astrology
 Pingala Book on Mathematics
 Bhaskara Siddhanta Shiromani

(xi) Medieval period- Sanskrit literature wasn’t predominant but excellent works were composed in Rajasthan & Kashmir.
(xii) Kashmir- Kalhan’s Rajatarangani (detailed account of kings of Kashmir) & Somadeva’s Kathasarit-sagar which is a poetic work. Shriharsha’s Naishadhiyacharitram.

Literature in Pali and Prakrit

(i) Post-Vedic period, apart from Sanskrit, Prakrit & Pali literature, emerged.

(ii) Prakrit- loose term attached to any language from the standard one, i.e. Sanskrit.

(iii) Pali- archaic or old form of Prakrit & combines several existing dialects.

(iv) Gained prominence when religious literatures of Buddhists & Jains were composed in this language.

(v) Lord Buddha used Pali.

(vi) Buddhist literature- divided into Canonical & Noncanonical works.

(vii) Canonical literature- includes ‘Triptikas’ or baskets (of knowledge). Three Tripitakas are:
(a) Vinaya Pitaka, covers rules & regulations, to be followed by Buddhist monks.
(b) Sutta Pitaka contains dialogues and speeches of Buddha that deal with morality’ & righteous dharma.
(c) Abhidhamma Pitaka concentrates on philosophy & metaphysics and also contains discussions on ethics, theory of knowledge & psychology.

(viii) Jatakas - Buddhist non-canonical literature; compilation of stories from previous births of Buddha- also include stories of Bodhisattva or (future) would-be Buddha- as they believed that Buddha passed through 550 births before being bom as Gautama .

(ix) These contain- popular tales, ancient mythology as well as socio-political conditions in North India between 600 BC and 200 BC.

(x) Buddhacharita by Aswaghosha (78 A.D.)- Buddhist literature in Sanskrit.

(xi) Jainism, produced texts in Prakrit, which are basis Jain canonical literature.

(xii) Jain texts in Sanskrit- Upamitibhava Prapancha Katha of Siddharasi (906 A.D.).

(xiii) Jain texts in Prakrit- Angas, Upangas & Parikramas. Also Chhedab Sutra & Malasutra.

(xiv) Secular Jain writers- Hemachandra (treatise on lexicography& grammar);Haribhadra Suri -wrote in 8th century. These treatises help us with socio-political history of areas densely populated by Jaina community,

(xv) Prakrit poetry- has elements of erotica- Example Gathasaptashati (700 verses) by Hala in 300 A.D- Hala wrote 44 verses, but a large number of female poetesses contributed to it, most prominent of which are Pahai, Roha, Sasippaha, Mahavi and Reva.

Try yourself:Who is chief deity under Rig Veda?
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Other Buddhist literary texts:

(i) Dipavamsa: written in 3rd-4th centuries BCE in Anuradhapur (Sri Lanka), during the reign of King Dhatusena. Literally means “Chronicle of the Island” & mentions about visit of Buddha to Sri Lanka & relics of Buddha.
(ii) Milinda Panha: dialogue between King Meander (or Milinda) & Buddhist monk Nagasena- it means “Questions of Milinda”- one of the highest philosophical enquiries.
(iii) Mahavamsa: epic poem in Pali language around 3rd-4th centuries BCE during the reign of King Vijaya- historical account of various kingdoms of South Asia.
(iv) Mahavastu: Contains Jakata & Avadana tales- written in mixed Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit between 2nd century BC- 4th century AD.
(v) Lalitavistara Sutra: meaning “The play in full”- important Mahayana text- contains various stories on life of Buddha till his first sermon at Samath.
(vi) Udana: one of the oldest Theravada (Old School) Buddhist text- contains famous story of “Blind Men & the Elephant”.
(vii) Bodhi Vamv : prose-poem- written in 10th century in Sri Lanka- translated from Sinhalese version-written by Upatissa in Pali.
(viii) Udanavarga: compilation which contains utterances of Buddha & his disciples- written in Sanskrit.
(ix) Mahavibhasa Shastra: written around 150CE- contains discussions about other non-Buddhist philosophies- a Mahayan text.
(x) Abhidharmamoksha: written by Vasubandhu, in Sanskrit - widely respected text & contains discussion on Abhidharma.
(xi) Visuddhimagga: written by Buddhagosha in 5th century- text of Theravada doctrine- contains discussions on various teachings of Buddha.

Try yourself:Which of the following goddess find their mention in Rig Veda?
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(i) Used many languages- apart from Prakrit & Ardha Magadhi.
(ii) Used Tamil during Sangam Age in south India- Sanskrit, Shauraseni, Gujarati, and Marathi.
(iii) Broadly divided into two major categories; Canonical or religious texts called Jain Agamas or Agam and non-canonical literary works.

Jain Agamas
(i) Sacred texts that are teachings of Jain tirthankars.

(ii) Originally compiled by Gandharas, who were immediate disciples of Mahavira.

(iii) Are important for Svetambaras.

(iv) Present Angas were re-compiled in a council of monks of Svetambaras in Vallabhi (Gujarat) in mid-5lh century AD.

(v) Digamabaras believe- original teachings were lost long ago & do not accept the authority of Agamas.

(vi) Agamas comprise 46 texts (12 Angas, 12 Upanga, 10 Prakimakas, 4 Mulasutras, 6 Chedasutras, 2 Chulika Sutra).

(vii) Were written in Ardha-Magadhi Prakrit language.

(viii) They teach reverence for all forms of life, strict codes of vegetarianism, asceticism, compassion and non-violence.

(ix) 12 Angas are:
(a) Acharanga Sutra: Oldest agama.
(b) Sutrakritanga: describes code of conduct for Jain monks, metaphysics etc
(c) Sthananga Sutra.
(d) Samavayanga Sutra: discussion on essence of Jainism, astronomy, mathematics, etc. Vyakhyciprajncipti or Bhagavati Sutra:
(e) Jnatrdharma Katha.
(f) Upasakadasa
(g) Antakrddaasah
(h) Anuttaraupapatikadasah.
(i) Prasnavyakaranani: Description of sins.
(j) Vipakasruta: stories and illustrations.
(l) Drstivada: contained 14 Purvas.

(x) Digambaras gave sacred status to two works: Karmaprabhrita (discussion on Karma) or Shatkhandagama & Kashayaprabhrita.

(xi) Other important Jain works and authors are:
(a) Bhadrabahu (3rd century BC)- one of the greatest Jain monks & teacher of Chandragupta Maurya; wrote the sacred Uvasaggaharam Stotra, Kalpa Sutra (Biographies of Jain Tirthankars); pioneer of Digambara sect.
(b) Acharya Kundkund’s Samayasara & Niyamasara discuss Jain philosophy.
(c) Samanta Bhadra’s Ratna Karanda Sravakachara (Life of a Jaina householder) and Aptamimansa- 2nd century AD.
(d) Ilango Adigal’s Silappadikaram- greatest epics of Tamil literature,written in 2nd century AD- is a moralistic discourse and revolves around Kannagi, who having lost her husband to a miscarriage of justice at the court of the Pandyan Dynasty, wreaks her revenge on his kingdom.
(e) Tirutakkatevar’s Civaka Cintamani- epic of Tamil literature.
(f) Nalatiyar, ancient Tamil text- by Jain monks.
(g) Umasvati’s Tattvartha-sutra (1st -2nd century AD)- important jain work in Sanskrit on logic, epistemology, ethics & astronomy.
(h) Jinasena, disciple of another famous Jain monk Virasena (8th-9th centuries) - revered Digamabara- wrote Mahapurana &Harivamshapurana.
(i) Haribhadra Suri (6th century AD) a Jain author wrote in Sanskrit.
(j) Hemachandra Suri (12lh century), famous scholar wrote grammars of Sanskrit & Prakrit.

(xii) Universities of Valabhi and Kalinga- important centers of learning for Jains before they declined.

(xiii) 9th-12th centuries, Jain monks used Kannada.

(xiv) Three gems of Kannada literature Pampa, Ponna & Ranna- famous writers related to Jainism.

(xv) Spread of Lingayats in Karnataka, decreased the popularity of Jainism & hence reduction in literary works was seen after 12th -13th centuries.

Zoroastrian Literature
(i) Zoroastrianism- religion developed from the teachings of Persian prophet Zoroaster or Zarathushtra.
(ii) Was influential on history, culture, & art of Persia.
(iii) Was first religion to believe in angels, a day of judgment, a Demonic figure, and a battle between forces of good & evil.
(iv) During Sassanid Empire in Iran- religion went through reforms & lots of texts were written and reinterpreted.
(v) Most important text- Avesta, a collection of various texts written on religious beliefs, practices & instruction- written in Avestan language (now extinct but was similar to Sanskrit).
(vi) Avesta- final form during Sasanian rule of Iran, in 4th century CE.
(vii) In Avesta, Yasna is a collection of texts & 72 chapters->five chapters “Gathas” containing 17 hymns arc most revered ones, as they arc written by Zoroaster himself.
(viii) Yasna- most important ceremony of faith.
(ix) Other parts of Avesta are Visperad, Yashts, Siroza, Nyayeshes, etc.
(x) Some other important texts other than Avesta are:
(a) Denkard: written in 10th century; collection of books & contains various aspects of faith; regarded as Encyclopedia of Zoroastrianism; no divine status.
(b) Bundahishn: means “Primal Creations”; gives details about theory of creation in religion; contains astronomical ideas & theories. Battles of ‘Ahura Mazda’ &‘Angra Mainyu’ are also mentioned. Most chapters written in 8th & 9th centuries.
(c) Mainog-i-Khirad, Sad-Dar (A Hundred doors)
(d) Book of Arda Viraf: Story of a devotee written during Sassanian era.

Sikh Literature
(i) Relatively a new religion established in 15th century
(ii) Based on teachings of Guru Nanak.
(iii) Sacred scripture, Guru Granth Sahib.
(iv) Gurbani- composition & hymns of Sikh Gums and the Guru Granth Sahib.
(v) The important literary works related to Sikhism are:
(a) Adi Granth: compiled by Bhai Gurdas under fifth guru, Guru Arjan Dev in 1604- written in Gurumukhi script- predecessor to Guru Granth Sahib & contains the teachings of Sikh Gums & 15 Bhagats ofBhakti and Sufi traditions.
(b) Guru Granth Sahib: Adi Granth was expanded in 1678 under 10th guru Guru Gobind Singh-regarded as Eleventh & final spiritual authority of the Sikhs- written in Gurumukhi script in a language called ‘Sant Bhasa’, which includes words from various languages like Punjabi, Apabhramsa, Hindi, Braj Bhasa, Sanskrit, Khadiboli and contains teachings of 13 Bhakti saints, called ‘Bhagats’, like Ramananda, Namadev, Ravidas, Parmanand, Sain, Surdas etc & two Muslim Bhagats-Kabir & Baba Farid.
(c) Dasani Granth: hymns written by Guru Gobind Singh (Tenth Gum) are compiled in this book, to which many disagree.Contain fables & Puranic stories. Hymns of the book are offered in the daily prayers called “Nit-Nem”.
(d) Janamsakhis: contain mythological & exaggerated stories of the first guru. Gum Nanak. Most popular book- “Bhai Bala Janamsakhi”. Other books- Miharban Janam Sakhi & Adi Janam Sakhi.

Role of Sanskrit
(a) one of the oldest recorded languages in the world
(b) instrumental in lending continuity to Indian/Vedic civilisation.
(c) mother of several Indo-Atyan languages
(d) Several texts written in Sanskrit like Dharamsastra & Manusmriti form the basis of many laws.
*Ardas: It is a set of Prayer performed during daily rituals in Gurudwara during the opening of Guru Granth Sahib or closing it, etc. It contains three parts -first one being the virtues of 10 Sikh gurus.

Try yourself:Which Veda focuses on the treatment of various ailments?
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(i) Comprises literature in four major Dravidian languages: Tamil, Kannada, Telugu & Malayalam.

(ii) Tamil - oldest & very close to Sanskrit, especially in terms of the grammar and borrowing of words.

(iii) Most famous literature in Tamil- classical works or Sangam literature.

Tamil (Sangam) Literature
(i) ‘Sangam’ means fraternity a
(ii) Is a collection of works that
(iii) Contain around 2381 poems, attributed to 473 poets & there’s a corpus of literature written by 102 anonymous poets (both men and women)
(iv) Were compiled between 300 BC & 300 AD- also called Sangam period.
(v) Two major schools of Sangam literature:
(a) Aham/agam- ‘inner field’ and concentrates on abstract discussion of human aspects like love, sexual relations, etc.
(b) ‘Puram’- ‘outer field’- human experiences like social life, ethics, valour, customs, etc.
(vi) Called ‘Sangam’ because- kingdom of Pandya organised assemblies, called ‘Sangamas’ where poets, bards and writers would flock from various parts of South India and produced literature-called Sangam literature.
(vii) Three Sangams organized over a period of 600-700 yearshistorical account of first two (considered legends & myths by scholars) are not available.
(viii) Three major Sangams:
Nitin Singhania: Summary of Indian Literature Notes | Study Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests) - UPSC
Nitin Singhania: Summary of Indian Literature Notes | Study Famous Books for UPSC Exam (Summary & Tests) - UPSC
(ix) Extant Sangam literature, (around 30,000 lines of poetry)- arranged in eight anthologies called Ettuttokoi, which were further divided into two groups; older & more historically relevant group-Patinenkil Kanakku (eighteen lower collections) & second Pattupattu (the ten songs).
(x) Famous & revered Tamil saint Thiruvallurar- contributed to ‘Kural’ in Sangam literature, which has been translated in several languages & is divided into three parts-epics, polity-governance & love.
(xi) Famous female saint, Avvaiyar- contributed to Sangam literature is.
(x) Well-known texts written in Tamil:
(a) Tolkappiyam- elaborates on nuances of Tamil grammar & poetry.
(b) Twin Sanskrit epics,
(c) Ramayana & Mahabharata,
(d) Two major Tamil has texts written in 6th century AD, i.e. Silappadikaram (story of an anklet) by Ilango-Adigal and Manimekalai (story of Manimekalai) by Sattanar- focus on Tamil society & economic and political changes it was experiencing.
(xi) Final turn- early medieval period- Vaishnava Bhakti sentiments began to colour Tamil literature.
(xii) Texts between 7th- 12th centuries- highly devotional.
(xiii) In Tamil speaking regions, 12 Alvars or saint poets immersed in the devotion wrote several texts.
(xiv) One of the Alvar saints- woman, called Andal.
(xv) Another important Bhakti group- Nayanars or those who sang praise of Shaivism.
(xvi) Secular Tamil writing, two major poets called Periya Puranam and Kambaramayanam- very popular.

Try yourself:The compilation of ritualistic information on the birth and death cycles as well as the complexity of the soul are:
View Solution

Malavalam Literature
(i) Usually spoken in Kerala and surrounding areas.
(ii) Originated in 11th century
(iii) Two major Malayalam works of medieval period- Kokasandisan & Bhasa Kautilya, commentary on Arthashastra.
(iv) Major literary work in Malayalam- Ramacharitam, an epic poem by Cheeraman in 13th century.
(v) Ezhuthachan- strong proponent of Bhakti movement- father of Malayalam literature.
(vi) Champu - It is a literacy style and refers to the combination of poetry and prose. This style or genre has been used in Telugu, Odia, Kannada as well as Sanskrit literature.

Telugu Literature
(i) Nannaya (11th century)- first poet in Telugu.
(ii) Telugu- reached its zenith during Vijayanagara period (golden age of Telugu literature).
(iii) Most successful works - Uttaraharivamsam, by Nachana Somanatha, well-known court poet of King Bukka I.
(iv) Kings like Krishnadevaraya (1509-1529)- composed exceptional poetry titled Amuktamalyada(treatise stating instance of Lord Vishnu in his dream). Also eight learned literary personages, called ashtadiggajas were attached to his court, during his reign.
(v) Some of them are listed below:

 Poet Name of the work
 Allasani Peddana (also known as Andhra kavita pitamaha) Manucharitam
 Nandi Thimmana Parijathapaharanam
 Tenali Ramakrishna (Court jester and poet. He is said to have been a duo with the king and the stories of Tenali Raman have been circulated even in modern times.) Panduranga
 Ramaraja Bhushanudu (also known as Bhattumurti) Vasucharitram
 Madayyagari Mallana Rajashekharacharitra (about love & war of King Rajasekhara of the kingdom of Avanti)
 Ayyalaraju Ramabhadrudu Ramabhyudayam Akalakathasara

Try yourself:Consider the following statements:
1. A parable is a compilation of short stories which usually feature animals, in animal objects, mythical creatures, plants, etc who are given human life qualities.
2. Fables are the short stories which usually features a human character.
Which of the above statement/statements is/are correct?
View Solution

(i) Scholar & patron of many languages including Telugu, Kannada, Tamil & Sanskrit.
(ii) Reign of Krishna Deva Raya (1509-1529) in Vijayanagara Empire- age of Telugu literature.
(iii) Most important ashtadiggajas- Allasani Peddana.
(iv) Patronised Kannada poets Mallanarya, Chatu Vittalanatha, Timmanna Kavi. Vyasatirtha, a kannada saint was his Rajaguru.
(v) Krishna Deva Rayana Dinachari- another Kannada work on him.
(vi) Also wrote treatise in Sanskrit which includes Madalasa Charita, Satyavadu Parinaya and Rasamanjari & Jambavati Kalyana.
(vii) Patronised Tamil poet Haridasa.

Kannada Literature
(i) Jain scholars made first foray into it.
(ii) Best example of Jain-influenced text- Dharmanathapurana, by Madhava on life of fifteenth Tirthankara.
(iii) Scholars like Uritta Vilasa wrote Dharma Parikshe on Jain teachings of this period.
(iv) One of the first recorded texts in Kannada- Kavirajamarga, by Nripatunga Amoghavarsha I (a very powerful Rashtrakuta king), in 10th century.
(v) ‘Ratnatraya’ or ‘the three gems’ were unparalleled. It included three poets- Pampa, Ponna & Ranna.
(vi) 10th century- Pampa, ‘father of Kannada’ wrote two of his greatest poetic works, Adipurana & Vikramarjuna Vijaya.
(vii) Pampa - renowned for his mastery over rasa involved in poetic compositions, was attached to the court of Chalukya Arikesari.
(viii) Ponna - wrote famous treatise, Shanti Puran.
(ix) Ranna - authored Ajitanatha Purano.
(x) Three gems- attached to the court of Rashtrakuta king Krishna III.
(xi) Other major texts in Kannada literature:

 Poets Texts
 Harishvara Harishchandra Kavya
 Somanatha Charita
 Bandhuvarma Harivamshabhyudaya
 Jiva Sambodhana
 Rudra Bhata Jagannathavijaya
 Andayya Madana Vijaya or Kabbigara Kava (celebrated text as it was first pure Kannada text which did not have any Sanskrit word)

(xii) Growth of Kannada literature- attributed to patronage from Vijayanagara empire.
(xiii)  Books clarifying grammar of Kannada- Shabdamanidarpana by Kesirja.
(xiv) Major anthology from this period- Suktisudharnava by Mallikarjuna.
(xv) Quasi-religious texts were also composed in this period.
(xvi) Narahari composed Tarave Ramayana, first story on Rama inspired by Valmiki Ramayana & written in Kannada.
(xvii) Another famous text- Jaimini Bharata, by Lakshamisha- was called Kamata-Karicutavana-Chaitra (spring of Karnataka mango grove).
(xviii) Title of people’s poet- given to Sarvajna who composed tripadi (three-lined poems).
(xix) First poetess of some repute in Kannada- Honnamma who wrote Hadibadeya Dharma (Duty of a devout wife).

Try yourself:Consider the following statements:
1. Sushruta Samita deals with medicine.
2. Madhava Nidana deals with Pathology.
Which of the above statement/statements is/are correct?
View Solution

(i) Major change- emergence of Persian as writing of Delhi Sultanate & Mughal courts.
(ii) This period also sees development of Hindi from ancient upubhrumsu language

(i) Came to India with coming of Turks & Mongols in 12th century.
(ii) During their rule- Persian became mode of communication in court.
(iii) Finest Persian poets- Amir Khusrau Dehlavi (Amir Khusrau of Delhi)- wrote Diwan (collection of poetry in Persian), Nuh Sipihr & Masnavi Duwal Rani Khizr Khan, (tragic love poem).
(iv) Delhi Sultanate- multiple texts written in Persian.
(v) Zia-ud din Barani- top historians of that period and he wrote Tarikh-e-Firuz Shahi.
(vi) Minhajus (historian)- Siraj.
(vii) Famous travellers- Ibn Batuta (Moroccan traveller)- explain socio-political scenario of that period.
(viii) Production & dissemination of Persian literature- during Mughal period.
(ix) Tuzuk-I-Babari- by Mughal emperor Babar in Turkish- is his autobiography.
(x) Tuzuk-I-Jahangiri - greatest sources about period of Jahangir.
(xi) Humayun-nama- account of his life & struggles- written by half-sister of Humayun, Gulbadan Begum.
(xii) Ain-e Akbari <6 Akbarnama- by Akbar’s court historian Abul Fazl.
(xiii) Akbar ordered several translations of Sanskrit texts like Ramayana, Bhagwata Gita and Upanishads into Persian.
(xiv) Mahabharata’s Persian version- Razntnama.
(xv) Highly illustrated work from this period-) aamzanama- depicts story of mythical Persian hero, Amir Hamza.
(xvi) Padrnavat - by Malik Muhammad Jayasi- composed in this period.(xvii) Maajor writers: Badauni- wrote on ethics of political rule & Faizi- master of Persian poetry.
(xviii) Shah Jahan-nama of Inayat Khan- Shah Jahan’s period.
(xix) Padshahnama by Abdul Hamid Lahori- is about Shah Jahan.
(xx) Aurangzeb’s period: Mir Jafar Zatalli wrote Kulliyat (collection of verses).
(xxi) Tabqat-i-Alamgiri- gave good idea about 18th century.

(i) Developed through interaction of Persian & Hindi, in barracks of Turkish army.
(ii) Amir Khusrau- wrote several texts in Urdu, which then was nacent.
(iii) It follows grammar of Hindi & form and script of Persian.
(iv) Was used by Bahamani state of Ahmedabad, Golconda, Bijapur & Berar.
(v) Was initially also called Dakkani (southern).
(vi) Greatest Urdu poet- Mirza Ghalib, composed Diwan (collection of poetry) in Urdu.
(vii) Other poets- Sauda, Dard & Mir Taqi Mir.
(viii) 20th century- major figure- Iqbal who wrote Bang-i-Dara & famous for writing ‘Saare jahan se achcha’.
(ix) Last Mughal emperors like Bahadur Shah Zafar- wrote in Urdu; the Nawabs of Awadh patronised several Urdu scholars.
(x) Uplift in 20th century by moderniser Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan- wrote several didactic & nationalist texts in Urdu and English.

Hindi and its Dialects
(i) Evolved between 7th & 14th century from Apabhramsa, which evolved from Prakrit.
(ii) Biggest boost- Bhakti movement which shunned the use of Sanskrit that being language of Brahmins.
(iii) 12th century onwards- sharp rise in regional languages like Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, etc.
(iv) Hindi literature was in shadow of Sanskrit literature.
(v) Prithviraj Raso- first Hindi book- documents life & challenges of Prithviraj Chauhan.
(vi) Bhakti writers like Kabir- wrote dohas (couplets), Tulsidas produced couplets in Braj & peppered by Persian & was immortalised by Ramcharitmancis (most revered Hindu texts).
(vii) Surdas wrote Sur Sagar- Krishna’s infancy & adolescent affairs with gopis.
(viii) Rahim, Bhushan &Raskhan- wrote about devotion Krishna.
(ix) Mirabai- famous as woman who renounced the world for Krishna & wrote Bhakti poetry
(x) Bihari’s Satsai- famous in this regard.

(i) Period of modem literature- called Adhunik kaal.
(ii) Hindi- major languages in Northern India & other languages like Bengali, made their mark.

(i) Hindi prose writing, changed with coming of British.
(ii) Bharatendu Harishchandra- most famous drama Andher Nagari (City of Darkness) in 1850s-became a major play, which has been reproduced several times.
(iii) Major work- Bharat Durdasha.
(iv) Major writer- Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, entire phase of Hindi writing named after him.
(v) Adhunik kaal has four subsections:

 Bhartendu Yug 1868-1893
 Dwivedi Yug 1893-1918
 Chhayavad Yug 1918-1937
 Contemporary period 1937-today

(vi) Movement to make Hindi national language- spearheaded by Swami Dayanand,who wrote a lot in Gujarati, and his most famous work in Hindi is- Satyartha Prakash.
(vii) Hindi authors- Munshi Prem Chand, Surya Kant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, Maithili Sharan Gupt-questioned orthodoxies in the society.
(viii) Prem Chand- Hindi & Urdu- famous works: Godan, Bade Bhhaiya, etc.
(ix) Prominent writers- Sumitranandan Pant, Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ & Harivansha Rai Bachchan (Madhushala).
(x) Most famous female hindi writers of 20th century- Mahadevi Verma (recipient of Padma Vibhushan for writing about condition of women in society).

Try yourself:Which of the following is not correctly matched?
View Solution

Bengali, Odia and Assamese Literature
(i) 20th century- development of Bengali literature rivaled with Urdu & Hindi.
(ii) Distribution of this literature- facilitated by Baptist Mission Press at Serampore, Bengal established by Englishman, William Carey in 1800.
(iii) Carey- wrote book on grammar of Bengali & published an English-Bengali dictionary.
(iv) Mangal Kavyas- ancient Bengali literature, before 19th century- not widely published.
(v) Nationalist fervour turned Bengal literature to common man’s suffering & nation’s plight.
(vi) Raja Ram Mohan Roy- amongst the first to write in Bengali & English. His contemporaries-Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar & Akshay Kumar Dutta.
(vii) Bankim Chandra Chatterjee- took Bengali literature to its zenith.He wrote Anand Math, from which Vande Mataram is taken.
(viii) First Indian to win Nobel Prize was a writer in Bengali- Rabindranath Tagore (for Bengali masterpiece Geetanjali in 1913).
(ix) Important contributors- Sharat Chandra Chatterjee, Qazi Nazrul Islam & R. C Dutta.
(x) Medieval period, Assamese literature- dominated by buranjis (court chronicles).
(xi) Shankardcv- composed devotional poetry in Assamese.
(xii) Modern Assamese literature- two major scholars Padmanaba Gohain Barua &Lakshmi Nath Bezbama.
(xiii) East of India- sizeable corpus of Odia literature.
(xiv) First work- Sarala Das.
(xv) Medieval period- outstanding writer- Upendra Bhanja, wrote in 1700.
(xvi) Modern period, Radha Nath Ray & Fakirmohan Senapati- nationalistic tenor.

Gujarati, Rajasthani and Sindhi Literature
(i) Bhakti movement - at peak in Gujarat, so impacted the literature here.
(ii) Narsinh Mehta- combined devotional songs of Krishna with local folk traditions.
(iii) Later period- poetry by Narmad & prose by Govardhan Ram who wrote classic Gujarati novel, Saraswati Chandra.
(iv) Pinnacle of Gujarati literature- Dr K.M Munshi (fiction & non-fiction) -his finest novel Prithvi Vallabha.
(v) Medieval Rajasthani literature- two main forms of fictional writing called Dingal & Pingal.
(vi) Their most famous text- Dhola Maru, writings of Mirabai in Braj.
(vii) Saints composed devotional poetry.
(viii) Stories of Rajasthani writers- oral in nature & were spread by bards who sang virkavya (victory poetic songs).
(ix) Sindhi Literature- deeply influenced by two regions- Rajasthan & Gujarat.
(x) Influence of Islam & Sufism on Sindhi poetry because Sindh was on border of India.
(xi) Poetry- very lyrical & is sung.
(xii) Prominent names- Dewan Kauramal & Mirza Kalish Beg.

Kahmiri Literature
(i) Earliest texts from Kashmir- Kalhan’s Rajatarangani in Sanskrit.
(ii) Local people used Kashmiri that had influences from Persian & Hindi dialects.
(iii) Early medieval period- Bhakti movement at peak, first female Kashmiri poetess - Lai Ded (a Shaivite mystic).
(iv) After coming of Islam & Sufism to Kashmir- major writers like Sufi Ghularn Muhammad, Zinda Kaul, Mahjoor, etc emerged.
(v) Noor Din, known as Nand Rishi- purported to bring Hindi & Islamic elements together in his poetry.
(vi) Since the passing of political power to Dogra family in Jammu in 1846- Kashmiri eclipsed by Dogri language.

Punjabi Literature
(i) Regional & geographical influences affected Punjab’s literature
(ii) Composed in two major scripts: Persian & Gurmukhi.
(iii) Majority of Adi Granth is in Gurmukhi. It comprises Dohas of Kabir, Dadu & Nanak in Hindi or Braj.
(iv) Guru Gobind Singh, who contributed to the Adi Granth, had written Savaiyyas (poetry) in Punjabi.
(v) Local literature loved Sohni-Mahiwal, Sassi-Punnu, and Heer-Ranjha (by Waris Shah).
(vi) Sufi poetry- by Baba Farid & Bulley Shah, who composed classical compositions called Kafi(s) became popular.
(vii) Modem Punjabi literature- affected by nationalistic writing & Bhagat Singh’s legendary ‘Rang de Basanti Chola’.
(viii) Trend to remember past rulers who had repelled the British- like Bhai Vir Singh wrote Rana Surat Singh.
(ix) Contemporary writers- Dr. Mohan Singh & Puran Singh.

Marathi Literature
(i) Oldest known Marathi work- 13th century by Saint Jnaneshwar (also known as Gyaneshwar), who began kirtan in Maharashtra & wrote detailed commentary on Bhagvata Gita in Marathi.
(ii) Popular saints- Namdev, Sena and Gora.
(iii) Oldest known female writer - Janabai.
(iv) Most famous saint from Maharashtra- 16th century- Eknath, who wrote commentaries on Bhagwata Parana & Ramayana and had, works in vernacular language.
(v) Tukaram & Ramdas- notable Bhakti poets.
(vi) Was affected by the nationalist movement
(vii) Bal Gangadhar Tilak published his regional news paper Kesari in Marathi, that criticised British & their policies.
(viii) Marathi writing- took a positive turn with works of Hari Narayan Apte, V.S. Chiplunkar & Keshav Sut.
(ix) Contemporary poets- M.G Ranade, G.T. Madholkar & K.T Telang.

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