Chapter 6 – Indian Languages & Literature-I: Telugu, Kannada & Malayalam Literature

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We have a large body of books dealing with various sciences, law, medicine and grammar. It is known as Dharmasutras. The Dharmasutras were complied between 500 and 200 BC.

  • Kautilya’s Arthashashtrais an important treatise of the Mauryan times. It reflects the state of society and economy at that time and provides rich material for the study of ancient Indian polity and economy.

  • The works of Bhasa, Shudraka, Kalidasa and Bana Bhatta provided us with glimpses of the social and cultural life of northern and central India in times of the Guptas and Harsha.

  • The Gupta period also saw the development of Sanskrit grammar based on the works of Panini and Patanjali.

  • India produced great literary works on subjects like Maths, Astronomy, Astrology, Agriculture and Geography etc.

Telugu, Kannada & Malayalam Literature

There are four languages Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam developed their own literature. Tamil being the oldest of these languages began writing earlier and produced the Sangam literature- the oldest literature in Tamil.

Image of four Dravidian Languages

Image of Four Dravidian Languages

Telugu Literature

  • The Vijayanagara period was the golden age of Telugu literature. Nachana Somnatha, a court poet of Bukka I, produced a poetical work titled Uttaraharivamsam.

  • Krishnadevaraya, the greatest of the Vijayanagara, was a poet of great merit.

  • His work Amukta Malyada is regarded as an excellent prabandhan in Telegu literature.

Kannada Literature

  • Apart from Telugu, Vijayanagara rulers extended their patronage to Kannada literature.

  • Kannada language developed fully after the tenth century AD. The earliest known literary work in Kannada is kavirajamang written by the Rashtrakuta king, Nripatunga Amoghavarsha I.

  • Pampa, known as the father of Kannada, wrote his great poetic works Adi Purana and Vikramarijiva.

  • In the thirteenth century new feats were achieved in Kannada literature. Harishvara wrote Harishchandra kavya and Somanatha charita whereas Bandhuvarma wrote Harivanshabhyudaya and Jiva Sambodhana.

  • Kannada literature flourished considerably between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries under the patronage of the Vijayanagara kings.

Malayalam Literature

  • Malayalam is spoken in Kerala and the adjoining areas. The language of Malayalam emerged around the eleventh century AD. By fifteenth century Malayalam was recognised as an independent language.

  • Bhasa Kautilya, a commentary on Arthashashtra and kokasandisan are two great works.

  • Rama Panikkar and Ramanuja an Ezhuthachan are well known authors of Malayalam literature.

Tamil or Sangama Literature

  • Tamil as a written language was language was known since the beginning of the Christian era.

  • Poets who in these assemblies were patronised by kings and chieftains produced the Sangama literature over a period of three to four centuries.

  • Such assemblies were called “Sangamas”, and the literature produced in these assemblies was called “Sangama literature”.

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