Indian literature has truly come a long way over the course of its glorious history. India always had a rich tradition of literature to offer. A true storehouse of literature, one can find wonderful literary pieces in every section of literature in India. Take for instance, poetry, novels, fiction, short stories, drama or biography. The quality of indigenous literature is simply superb and spellbinding. The quality aspect is not just restricted to a particular language or region. All the major Indian languages boast of a rich tradition of literature. Right from Vedas and Puranas to Jatakas and the Panchatantra folk tales, the depth is simply fascinating. Indian literary heritage also thrives on fairy tales, ghost stories and other non-literary work on a variety of themes including administration, astronomy, science and law etc.
One interesting aspect about Indian literary tradition is presence of vernacular languages in oral forms. It was more like passing on of rich literature from generation to generation without actually penning down the manuscript. However, this changed during the Mughal rule when a literary culture spread across the country which resulted in broadening of Hindu literature across diverse regions. Indian literature scenario was predominantly a religious one during the ancient ages. The examples include Vedas, the Upanishads, the Sanskrit Epics- Ramayana and Mahabharatha, and Puranas. The literature written during the ancient period was mostly in Sanskrit language.
Sanskrit dominated the Indian literary tradition for several centuries. Later on, Tamil, Urdu and Sindhi literature etc became very popular during the Middle Ages. Who can forget the couplets written by Mirza Ghalib and Amir Khusro? In the meantime, Bhakti culture spread its wings led by eminent poets like Kabir Das, Surdas and Tulasidas.
Late nineteenth century announced the arrival of the era of Indian modern literature. The state of West Bengal was at the forefront of this phenomenon. Indian literature got a massive boost when Bengali writers like Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya, Rabindranath Tagore, Premchand penned down prose and poems. In fact, India got its first Nobel prize in Literature when Tagore’s ‘Gitanjali’ was awarded the coveted prize in 1913. Indian literature is indebted to great talents like Premchand, Ageyeya in Hindi, Amrita Pritam in Punjabi, Gobind Triumbak Deshpande in Marathi and Kaifi Azmi, Ali Sardar Jafri, Firaq Gorakhpuri in Urdu. Other languages like Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Gujarati also had their prominent figures who contributed greatly to the Indian literary tradition. Indian literature has also made it big on international literary scene by winning plenty of Booker and Pulitzer Prizes.