GOING DOWN THE LINE HISTORY OF INDIAN LITERATURE
Indian Literature • One of the world’s oldest and richest • Oral traditions – storytellers present traditional Indian text • Literature is influenced by: • A religious doctrine karma– the chain of good and bad action and their inevitable consequences, which result to the repeated birth and death of the soul. • Mythology of the dominant Hindu deities
SANSKRIT LITERATURE Literature is written in Sanskrit language Text were produced about 16th century BC by people known as Aryans(were cattle herders who were originally nomadic) who established kingdoms in north India
VEDAS “Book of Knowledge” • Composed in Old Sanskrit by Aryan poets • Constitute the fundamental scripture of the Hindu religion and used as sacramental rites of Hinduism • Compilation of two major literary forms: • Hymns of praise to nature deities • Ritual chants to accompany Aryan religious rituals
The Four VEDAS • Rig-Veda – anthology of 1080 hymns to various gods • ex. “Creation Hymn” • * Sama-Veda – “Book of Chants” consists of liturgies. • * Yajur-Veda – “Prayer Book” which consists of liturgies and repetition of Rig-Veda but contains many original prose formulas • *Atharva-Veda – “Book of Spells” which contains some hymns, spells, incantations, and notions about demonology and witchcraft.
BRAHMANAS • prose text that discuss the solemn sacrificial rituals as well as the commitment on their meaning, composed by Hindu priest ARANYAKAS • “wilderness texts” or “forest treaties”, composed by people who meditated in the woods • Discussion and interpretation of the dangerous rituals
UPANISHADS • Composed by a group of sages who questioned the usefulness of ritual religion • Consists of 108 dialogues between teachers and their students about the individual soul’s unity • India’s oldest philosophical treaties and form the foundation of major schools of Hindu philosophy
TIPITAKA “The Three Baskets” • Major religious text of Buddhism • Written in the Pali language • Includes the teachings of Buddha JATAKAS “Stories of the Births of the Buddha” • Tells 547 stories of Buddha’s former births
Mahabharata • “The Great Epic of the Bharata Dynasty) • Written by the poet Vyasal • A tale of dispute between two branches of the Bharata clans over the right to rule the kingdom.
Ramayana • “The Way of Rama” • Written by the poet Valkimi • Tells the story of the hero Rama, prince of Ayodhya and incarnation of the god Vishnu
CLASSICAL LITERATURE • Started with the flowering of the Gupta dynasty • Great achievements in philosophy, sciences and arts • Reflected values of Hinduism
Literature was nurtured by the caste system: • Brahman – scholars and priest • Kshatriya – the warriors • Vaisya – merchants • Sudra – laborers • Kavya was the major form of classical literature in Sanskrit.
Kalidasa India’s preeminent classical poet • Raghuvamsa (Dynasty of Raghu) • - Epic poem • Meghaduta (The Cloud Messenger) • - Lyric poem about separated lovers SHAKUNTALA (Shakuntala and the Ring of Recollection) - poetic drama, tells the story of a love affair between a king and a woodland maiden Shakuntala - a universal drama of the passion, separation, suffering and reunion of lovers.
Sanskrit Drama A rich pageant of mime, dance, music, and lyrical texts set in the court of kings and aristocrats Mrichchhakatika(The Little Clay Cart) by Shudraka • Malati-Madhava(Malati and Madhava) a romance by Bhavabhuti
Panchatantra (The Five Strategies) b y Vishnusharman • A collection of stories in prose and verse, which feature animals as the characters, teach lessons about human conduct • Use the technique of telling stories within the framework of the main story
Puranas • A genre of mythological narratives • Five topics of Puranas: • The creation of the universe • The destruction and re-creation of the universe • The genealogy of the gods and holy sages • The reign of the Manus )legendary Hindu figures) • The histories of the kings who trace their ancestry the sun and the moon
MEDIEVAL LITERATURE • Different regions began to develop its own distinctive culture • Islamic dynasties conquered many territories • Indian languages were influenced by Islamic religion, Persian and Arabic languages • Unique version of local myths, legends, romances and epics emerged
Bhakti: Devotional Literature • Authors who belong to Hindu movement, who wrote lyric poetry • Bhakti: was an aspect of religion that involved passionate, emotional devotion to a particular god. • They addressed devotional poems to the major Hindu gods and goddesses; Shiva, Vishnu, Bhrama, Krishna, Rama, Lakhsmi, Ganesha, • Some major Bhatik poets were women and men of the lower caste
COLONIAL PERIOD TO INDEPENDENCE • British became a colonial power • The colonial government introduced English education for upper-class Indians so that they can serve the colony • Introduction of the printing press, which made possible the establishment of newspapers and journals • Bengal Renaissance
Rabindranath Tagore • An innovative poet of the Bengali language • Drew on traditional forms of poetry and performance • The first non-European winner of the Nobel Prize award for literature GITANJALI • (Song Offerings, 1910) • His best known work, which is a collection of poems
INDEPENDENCE ONWARDS • Indian independence from Britain in 1947 marked the start of modern Indian literature
What role do religion and culture play in the lives and literature of the people? Describe India’s literature. How is it similar/different to Chinese and Japanese literature?