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Gist of YOJANA : - February 2021

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  • Published
    2nd Apr, 2021


  • The pandemic gave us reasons to delve deep and look beyond the normal, shoving us into a capsule of self-banishment and demanding us to reflect on the many privileges that we somehow took for granted, and being grateful for the same.
  • It altered lives in ways unimaginable and revived the lost melody, with people finding new ways to survive, adapt and grow.
  • Amid unprecedented darkness, Arts and Literature has always been a beacon of hope, enriching lives and defining who we are as humans.
  • Through the prism of Literature, we view the art of words that not only gives pleasure to our restive souls but in essence holds a mirror to the society thereby becoming a means to validate cultural values and history connected with them.
  • And it is the sheer power and magic of words that expand our skies and broadens our horizons.
  • Literature is the panacea for all societal ills and a powerful tool for effective learning.
  • The journey of Indian literature is rooted in diversity and marked with a shift in the themes, ideas, and styles.
  • Despite these subtle changes and diversity, literature remains relatable because of the linguistic density of the Indian sub-continent and the willingness to take up and absorb all wonderful things from any language or culture.
  • The sheer ability of the litterateurs to produce their vast literary creations without worrying about the trends eventually led to a rich collection in many languages.
  • Indian Literature originated during the Vedic period and gradually progressed to newer forms and manifestations.
  • It is clearly an outcome of a multi-cultural mélange where a thousand worlds forge themselves to create a mind-boggling symphony of words.

  • A large portion of ancient Indian literature is a manifestation of the spoken word and it belongs to the oral tradition as far as its preservation is concerned.
  • The Vedas have been preserved without the loss of a single syllable through a complex and intricate system of recital down the centuries.
  • The writing was introduced much later in Indian history due to the influence of the foreign scholars and literature as writing emerged only during the British regime.
  • Indian Literature refers to the literature produced on the Indian subcontinent. The earliest works of Indian Literature were orally transmitted. Sanskrit literature begins with the Rig Veda.
  • The Sanskrit epics Ramayana and Mahabarata appeared towards the end of the first millennium BCE.
  • Even though majority of the literary works which have survived from the ancient Indian literature are religious text, it is not right to define ancient Indian literature only based on religion.
  • Indian literature includes everything that can be included under “literature” broadly- religious and mundane, epic and lyrics, dramatic and didactic poetry, narrative and scientific prose along with oral poetry and song.
  • The Rig Veda was followed by Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda. There are other works after Vedas known as Brahmanas and Aryankas followed by philosophical doctrines of Upanishads. These form the part of Shruti literature.
  • Classical Sanskrit literature, Tamil Sangam Literature and Pali Literature flourished in the first few centuries of the first millennium CE.
  • Literature in Kannada and Telugu appeared in the 9th and 11th Centuries respectively. Later Literature in Marathi, Bengali, Hindi, Persian, and Urdu began to appear.
  • All Indian languages, except Sanskrit, when they reached the status of writing, continued to develop their literature, drawing inspiration from both written and oral traditions.
  • In India, the oral tradition does not belong to a pre-literate age representing a primary condition of civilisation. On the other hand, both traditions can co-exist in a given period of Indian history.
  • The folk-traditions have been alive even during the present century. The main reason for this curious co-existence of these traditions is the fact that these two traditions, although they represent separate sets of values, are not ethically different from each other.
  • We don't know what will happen to the oral tradition in modern times of urbanisation and industrialisation. Campaigning for complete literacy has gained speed and we know that the purpose is purely political.
  • The best we can do is to preserve some of the skills from total extinction. Some of our religious rituals in which recitals are compulsory and some of our art forms in which eloquence is an inevitable element can be of great help.

  • Tholkappiam had followed the traditional grammatical regulations of several thousand years.
  • In its backdrop, a long grammatical tradition had been alive which has provided enormous material to build up the first available grammatical treatise.
  • The Tamils are fortunate to recover Tholkappiam intact without any loss which has escaped from huge deluges that usurped many valuable works of their glorious ancestors.
  • It is the most ancient extant Tamil grammar text and the oldest extant long work of Tamil literature.
  • The surviving manuscripts of the Tolkappiyam consist of three books (atikaram), each with nine chapters (iyal), with a cumulative total of 1,612 sutras in the nūṛpā meter. It is a comprehensive text on grammar, and includes sutras on orthography, phonology, etymology, morphology, semantics, prosody, sentence structure and the significance of context in language.
  • The Tolkappiyam is difficult to date. Some in the Tamil tradition place the text in the mythical second sangam, variously in 1st millennium BCE or earlier.
  • Scholars place the text much later and believe the text evolved and expanded over a period of time. According to some, the earliest layer of the Tolkappiyam was likely composed between the 2nd and 1st century BCE, and the extant manuscript versions fixed by about the 5th century CE.
  • The Tolkappiyam Ur-text likely relied on some unknown even older literature. The Tamils are fortunate to recover Tholkappiam intact without any loss which has escaped from huge deluges that usurped many valuable works of their glorious ancestors.

  • India is a land of literature. It has always been so since times immemorial.
  • When one takes stock of the history of human societies and civilisations, this is one area where India will be on top by some distance over other civilisations and societies.
  • One hallmark of Indian literature over the past 3000 years or so is diversity. One will be surprised to see the variety of works of literature that have been produced in the sub-continent.
  • The key to this diversity is the linguistic density of the Indian sub-continent and the willingness to absorb all wonderful things from any language or culture that people came across.
  • Coming to modern times, in the late 19th and early 20th century many writers across the languages tried to emulate their Western counterparts, especially when it came to stories and novels.
  • That is no surprise given the amount of success these two genres had in the West. The same period and up to 1947 saw the emergence of a unique type of literature independence literature. Almost all the genres, especially prose and poetry writings, focused more or less on patriotic fervour.
  • In the first two decades after the Indian independence, when the country was coming to terms with the devotement and modernity, many poems, stories, novels and plays in many languages focused on the rural landscape, bringing out the travails of agrarian societies. Exceptions were there, but predominantly, this was the mood.
  • Then came the phase in which Indian literature evolved into something new. For the next three decades came the stories and novels highlighting new problems that society faced - labour unsettling, problems faced by women going for jobs, urban legends and so on. In fact, this period also witnessed the evolution of Indian cinema and many were inspired by the stories and novels.
  • Indian literature always had its own, unique style from the beginning. Contrary to the popular perception twenty years ago, Indian literature did not go the Western way and taking up of Mythology in a significant way in many languages and presenting the same to suit the sensibilities of the 21st century is one example.

  • Indeed, English in India has claimed a space alongside, even encompassing the vernacular Indian tongues, asserting its ability to articulate local moorings, angsts and desires.
  • Yes, literatures in different Indian languages draw as much from each other and their textures of location, myths and oral traditions, as they do from their interaction with the Anglophone West.
  • In fact, English writings in India draw from local textures of everyday life as much as the Bhasha literatures draw from the modernist agenda of colonial regimes, and their interaction with English under the spectre of the colonial education system and colonial modernity.
  • The genre of novel in India, for instance, was first tried in Bhashas — Malayalam, Odia, Marathi, Bengali — and only later in English. Considering that Bhashas were a "site of significant projects of reform and dissent" during the colonial times, to assume that literatures in English speak of global concerns whereas literatures in Indian languages is concentrated on local concerns, cultural roots and narrow social views is a fallacy.
  • In the post-liberalisation Indian economy, the diaspora is no longer a movement from east to west, from struggle to opportunity, from bondage to freedom in search of better opportunities as evidenced by the return movements of writers like Chetan Bhagat and Aravind Adiga.
  • Diaspora is also not a space singularly populated by Anglophone writers of Indian origins. The latest example is Hindi writer Praveen Kumar Jha settled in Norway whose Hindi novel Coolie Lines (2019) explores the lives of indentured.
  • Even in terms of book publishing, most international publishers are moving into Indian language publishing and opening their offices in India.
  • Once upon a time, Indian English writers travelled to England just to get their works published there. Now, Anglophone novelists such as Anuja Chauhan, Chetan Bhagat, and Amish Tripathi do not care about publishing their books outside of India.
  • Both English language translations and Anglophone writings have gained the confidence to dispense with elaborate glossaries explaining cultural markers to a western reader. In other words, the myth of cosmopolitanism of English as opposed to the parochialism of Indian languages has largely dissolved.
  • These new literary iterations fostered by changed social and cultural dynamics and prodded by the changing and complex relationship between English and the Bhashas in the twenty-first century India have transformed the scenario of Indian literature(s), which is now hoisted upon frames of globalisation, entrenched in every day and the banal and equipped with complex archives of memory.
  • Harnessing the varied and even ambivalent aspirational realms, looking outward but feeling inward, the Indian literatures are positioned at the intersection of regional, national and transnational networks.
  • In their polyphony and pluriversalism, they offer us a template for the de-colonial conceptualisation of world literature by inviting us to “unlearn our deeply ingrained Prejudices" (Bhatnagar and Kaur. n.p.) and herald new ways of thinking.

    • Urdu is an Indo-Aryan language which is a comparatively younger member of the great fraternity of Indian languages.
    • It has rightly been said that languages are not born; they evolve over the years.
    • Linguists and literary historians are not of one opinion and have different viewpoints as to how and where the process of evolution of the Urdu language began but there seems to be a broad agreement that it began taking shape around 10th century in areas surrounding Delhi and was the result of the admixture of ShauraseniApabhransh, Khariboli and BrijBhasha with Persian, Arabic and Turkish words.
    • In the earlier period. The language was also referred to as Hindi, Hindvi and Rekhta before it finally came to be called by the name Urdu around 18th century.
    • As Urdu was evolving, it was looked down upon by the then ruling elite for writing and literature and was perceived as common people's language as opposed to the court language, Persian.
    • Urdu shares with Hindi a similarity in phonology and grammar. Urdu and Hindi sounds are the same except for minor variations.

    However, the Urdu words had started making their way into the sayings and poetic works of:

    • NizamuddinAulia (1238-1325)
    • Amir Khusro (1253-1325)
    • Baba Farid (t 173-1266)
    • Narndev (1270-1350)
    • Kabir (1398-1448) and
    • Guru Nanak (1469-1539)


    • As far as government efforts in promoting the language are concerned, it would be worthy to note contribution of National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL).
    • The NCPUL is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Education, Department of Secondary and Higher Education, Government of India. Established on April 1, 1996, the organisation was established to promote, develop and propagate the Urdu language.
    • The National Nodal Agency for the promotion of the Urdu language, NCPUL acts as the principal coordinator as well as the monitoring authority for promotion of Urdu language and learning



    • It is one of the officials’ languages under the Constitution of India, it is among the 15 Indian Languages written on the Indian Currency notes.
    • It is one of the official languages in states like Kashmir, Telangana, UP, Bihar, New Delhi and West Bengal.
    • In Punjab, all old records in the Revenue Department are available in Urdu language only.
    • Several million in Indian speak this language besides it has great impact on around four dozen cities and regions where it is spoken widely.
    • Post-independence much attention was not given to the language and several states where Urdu was a compulsory subject in school curriculum was no more a compulsory subject now.
    • All the historical references indicate that origin of Urdu had taken place in Punjab state of India.
    • The great poet Ameer Khusro, in his book ‘Ghurrat-ul- Kamal’ had written that Masood Lahori a renowned poet born in Lahore in 11th century had composed poetry in Hindvi (Urdu) which is also called Dehlavi. This shows that Urdu was very much originated from Punjab as Lahore was the part of greater Punjab only before partition.
    • Even if it has derived some root words from Persian and Arabic languages then they were changed into Urdu language in India.
    • Before it is called Urdu, it was familiar with other names including Hindustani, Hindavi, Dehlavi and Rekhta.
    • The subject, object, auxiliary, verb, grammar, tenses of Urdu are very much Indian and like the Hindi language.


    • It is said to have developed and flourished in Delhi along with part of Haryana state and some states in South where it was developed in the form of ‘Dakhni (Deccani) language’.
    • Historians said that it had developed and flourished in Delhi during the period of ‘Delhi Sultanate’ from 12th to 16th century and then during the period of ‘Mughal Empire’ in Delhi from 16th century to 19th century.
    • It flourished as several court poets used this language in their great poetry and writings and then it was also developed in Deccan states.


    • When Delhi Sultanate and then Mughal Empire spread its wings towards the Deccan, Urdu speaking people of Delhi spread the language in South.
    • There it got developed and flourished in Dakhan (Deccan) states mainly in Karnataka, nowadays Telangana, part of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and Mahar
    • The language derived even local words of the local languages of those states and developed it as a ‘Dakhni’ language which was a bit distinctive of Urdu language in North.
    • It was during the reign of Delhi Sultanate emperor Muhammad –bin-Tughlaq who had decided to move his capital from Delhi to Daulatabad or Devagiri or Deogiri( a present-day Aurangabad) in 1327 in Maharashtra.
    • With the migration of Delhi’s people, the several Urdu speaking people of Delhi spread its usage in Maharashtra for seven years till the capital of Delhi Sultanate was not reversed to Delhi in 1334.

    • The freedom in 1947 brought along with it joy, enthusiasm and hopes, fraught with the sorrow of the tragic partition of the country.
    • It was natural to be enthused at the prospect of freedom after a century-long struggle of the masses, but the joy was subdued by the tragedy of partition, displacement of lakhs of people, dreary communal violence and loss of lives.
    • The martyrdom of Mahatma Gandhi within one year of independence was a traumatic event. This was also reflected in Hindi literature.
    • The violence and cruelty witnessed during the partition and subsequent communal riots put a deep scar on the psyche of the people.

    This sorrow was reflected in the writings of some Hindi writers:

    • Agyeya is the most notable writer among them. He wrote II poems, from October 12, 1947 to November 12, 1947, on the tragedy of partition.
    • He had written these poems in various cities of the Hindi-speaking belt of India.
    • He also wrote some stories on the tragedy of partition.
    • His book titled 'Sharnarthee' (Refugees) published in 1948 contained these poems compiled under the same title and stories based on prevailing communal tension and violence of those times.
    • Eminent Hindi poets — Nagarjun, Dinkar, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Sohan Lal Dwivedi, Bhavani Prasad Mishra and others — expressed the angst and deep sense of sorrow due to partition in their poems.
    • Hindi novel developed manifold during this period, expressing the historical traditions and contemporary reality of society.
    • On the one hand, Yashpal, RahiMasoom Raza, BhishamSahni, and others were writing novels of epical proportions on the tragedy of partition, while PhanishwarNathRenu, Nagarjun, Bhairav Prasad Gupta, Shiv Prasad Singh and others were exploring the struggles and strife of Indian rural life.
    • Scholars like Rahul Sankrityayan and RangeyaRaghav were re-interpreting Indian history through their novels. Noted scholar-critic Hazari Prasad Dwivedi also wrote his historical-cultural novels during this period.
    • Sometimes, social and political events influence literary trends in a decisive manner. After 20 years of independence, in 1967, Hindi literature took a definitive direction.
    • There was disillusionment among the masses after 20 years continued reign of one party.
    • There was disillusionment among the masses after 20 years continued reign of one party. This disillusionment resulted in two significant events.
      • First was the emergence of a new political awakening resulting in a severe jolt to the ruling party.
      • The other was the revolutionary struggle of the farmers who were continuously exploited by ruling vested interests.
    • Women's writing emerged with a new gusto in Hindi literature around the 1980s.
    • This has vastly influenced the content and direction of Hindi literature. Among old generation writers of this stream were Krishna Sobti, Mannu Bhandari and UshaPriyamwada; followed by the new-comers like ChitraMudgal, Raji Seth, Mridula Garg, the trend of women's writing further strengthened and more and more writings with self-awareness and intellectual acumen enriched Hindi literature.
    • MahadeviVerma, in her 'ShrinkhalakeeKadiyan' (Links of a Chain) deliberated upon the issue of women's emancipation. Concerns related to this issue were more focussed during this period.
    • Global movements of women's liberation have also sharpened the vision of women's writings in Hindi. This fresh awakening among women writers was not restricted to a single genre. They practiced multiple genres and the trend is continuing.
    • The generation of Hindi writers emerging in the 1990s had many challenges before them. Socialist regimes in different parts of the world were either disintegrated or were disintegrating. With that, the socialist dream of emancipation from capitalist exploitation and suppression also evaporated.
    • Simultaneously, capitalism was spreading in India with its new banner of globalisation. People were getting intoxicated by the emerging consumerism and the market culture.
    • For the younger generation, the hypnotic and mind-boggling campaign of globalisation was more alarming than amazing.
    • The objective of globalisation is to establish the overwhelming victory of capitalism. It means westernisation of the entire world, which, de facto, is to put the world under the US umbrella.
    • This will result in the destruction of the environment and the spread of the culture of violence. These trends are visible now. Therefore, the meaningful creativity of the new generation of Hindi writers is resisting globalisation and its impacts. This generation knows that they are living in violent times where everything has a price tag.


    The present world of Hindi literature is witnessing neither any mass movement nor an effective literary movement. Therefore, writers themselves have to carve out a creative relationship with their society and times. In fact, they are already doing it. This is reflected in the diversity of vision and expression in the writings of present generation writers. They can see through the prism of society and express the realities effectively.


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