Chapter 7 – Indian Languages & Literature-II: Bengali, Assamese & Oriya Literature and Punjabi & Rajasthani Literature (For CBSE, ICSE, IAS, NET, NRA 2022)

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After Hindi, the next significant literature was the one that developed in Bengal. The Baptist Mission Press was established in Serampore near Calcutta in 1800. East India Company founded the Fort William College in the same year. It provided training to civil servants of the Company in law, customs, religions, languages and literatures of India to enable them to work more efficiently.

Bengali, Assamese & Oriya Literature

  • The growth of the Bhakti movement and the composition of various hymns associated with Chaitanya provided a stimulus to the development and growth of Bengali.
  • Narrative poems called theMangal Kavyas also grew during this period.
  • In this regards, a very important landmark was achieved by William Carey, who wrote a grammar of Bengali and published an English-Bengali dictionary and also wrote books on dialogues and stories.
  • It may be noted that the grammar and dictionaries are important in the development of a literature.
  • They guide the writers as to the correctness of a sentence and also help them in finding suitable words for a particular situation and idea.
  • In 1854, came Sir Charles Wood՚s Despatch and in 1857 the three universities of Calcutta, Madras and Bombay were established.
  • Besides textbooks for schools and colleges, other literature were also produced.
  • However, it was Raja Ram Mohan Roy who wrote in Bengali besides English that gave impetus to Bengali literature.
  • In addition to these, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Sharat Chandra Chatterjee, and R. C. Dutta, a noted historian and a prose writer, all contributed to the making of Bengali literature.
  • But the most important name that influence the whole of India was that of Rabindra Nath Tagore.
  • Novels, dramas, short stories, criticism, music and essays, all flowed from his pen. He won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913 for his Geetanjali.
  • Assamese like Bengali, Assamese also developed in response to the Bhakti movement. Shankar deva who introduced Vaishnavism in Assam helped in the growth of Assamese poetry.
  • Even the puranas were translated in Assamese.
  • The earliest Assamese literature consisted of buranjis. Shankardev has left several devotional poems, which people song with rapturous pleasure, but it was only after 1827 that more interest was shown in producing Assamese literature.
  • From Orissa, a couple of names are worth mentioning and these are Fakir Mohan Senapati and Radha Nath Ray, whose writings deserve considerable attention in the history of Oriya literature.
  • The works of Upendra Bhanja were important as they ushered a new period of Oriya literature.
  • In Orissa the works of Saraladasa are regarded as the first works of Oriya literature.

Punjabi & Rajasthani Literature

  • Punjabi is a language with several shades. It is being written in two scripts, Gurumukhi and Persian.
Punjabi Literature Two Scripts
  • The Gurumukhi script till the end of the nineteenth century was almost limited to the Adi Granth, the holy book of the Sikhs.
  • In the twentieth century, Punjabi had come into its own. Bhai Vir Singh composed an epic, named Rana Surat Singh.
  • Puran Singh and Dr. Mohan Singh are among the best known writers. Essays, short stories, poetry, novels, criticism and all other forms of writing have adorned the Punjabi literary scene.
  • Rajasthani, a dialect of Hindi, had its own part to play. The bards moved from place to place, providing entertainment and keeping the stories of heroes alive.
  • It was from these ballads that Colonel Todd collected the heroic stories of Rajasthan and put them in the Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan.