Literature Around the World: India

Every country has their own history of literature and the spoken word, whether their history be passed down orally or through Sanskrit, each country has a different way of producing literary works.

Indian literature is considered the oldest literary tradition in the world, for its generations of history being produced orally, before multiple different vernaculars came into play. The literature was meant to be recited or sung, but throughout the decades it began to be written down.

Starting as a religious and philosophical poetry, Indian literature has progressed into the modern times, known as Khariboli, a language that has absorbed numerous Persian words, later forming Hindustani.

the bible in Khadi Boli
the Bible written in Khariboli

Khariboli came to be used as a lingua franca, which is adopted by speakers whose languages are different creating a common way of speaking to one another. Throughout the empire, Khariboli was used by merchants creating a common commercial language, later becoming more prominent due to the amount of literature written in Sanskrit.

Sanskrit is a language that is combined of both Hindu scriptures and Indian epic poems derived from most northern Indian languages.

According to Know India.gov, a website that breaks down all the different aspects of Indian history, there are numerous different languages and varieties of traditions that make India so diverse.

“India has 22 officially recognized languages, and a huge variety of literature has been produced in these languages over the years. Hindu literary traditions dominate a large part of Indian culture,”Know India wrote.

The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica, wrote an article regarding the Indian Literature of South Asia and how it is produced in a variety of languages, making the term “Indian Literature” mean all works written within the Indian subcontinent.

“The earliest Indian literature took the form of the canonical Hindu sacred writings, known as the Veda, which were written in Sanskrit. To the Veda were added prose commentaries such as the Brahmanas and the Upanishads” wrote the Britannica editors.

India’s works have traveled through a numerous ways of recitation and different vernaculars making their culture regarding literature various and unique in each aspect.

 

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