Indian Literature

Ancient Indian Literature

Ancient Indian Literature | History Of Indian Classical Literature

Ancient Indian Literature
Ancient Indian Literature


Ancient Indian Literature is one of the most beautiful and voluminous to read and understand. Most of the literature was oral during the ancient period. At the beginning of the literature was transmitted orally from one person to another. There were no written records. Ancient Indian literature consists of four Vedas called ‘Rigveda’, ‘Yajur Veda’, ‘Sama Veda’, and ‘Atharva Veda’.

Ramayana And Mahabharata

            Ramayana and Mahabharata are considered great Indian epic poetry of ancient times. They were originally composed in Sanskrit, but have since been translated into many languages. Ramayana is an ancient epic poem that describes the struggle of Prince Rama to release his wife Sita from the hands of the demon Ravana. The author of Ramayana is Valmiki. It is considered one of the largest epic literature in the world. It consists of 24,000 verses and 500 Sargas.

            Mahabharata is an ancient epic literature that tells the story of the Bharata dynasty. The author of Mahabharata is attributed to Vyasa. It consists of 100,000 verses. Some of the important moral stories in Mahabharata include ‘Bhagavad Gita’ and ‘Damayanti’.

Early Buddhist Literature

            In 483 BC, the teaching of Buddha was rehearsed and validated in the first council, after which were separated into three Pitakas. The teachings of Buddha were written down in Pali. Pali is the language of the oldest Buddhist writings. Dialogues between the Buddha and his disciples make up the Sutta Pitaka. Buddhacharita is a Sanskrit text on the life of Buddha, authored by Ashvaghosha.

            A number of literary works written just prior to the beginning of the Gupta age had secular characters. This period saw the development of poetry and drama. The subject of these works were majorly political events, allegories, comedies romances, and philosophical questions.

Ancient Sanskrit Literature

Ancient Sanskrit literature refers to the vast corpus of texts written in Sanskrit, an ancient Indian language, over a period of more than 5,000 years. Sanskrit literature is an integral part of India’s cultural and religious heritage and includes a wide range of texts, such as hymns, epics, philosophical treatises, dramas, and poetry.

The most ancient Sanskrit texts are the Vedas, which are a collection of hymns and other religious texts that were composed between 1500 BCE and 500 BCE. The Rigveda is the oldest and most important of the four Vedas, and it is considered the oldest known religious text in the world

            Kalidasa is considered the greatest poet in Sanskrit literature. He wrote Raghuvansham and Kumarasambhavam along with many other works Meghadootam and Abhijnanshakntalam are the most famous plays of Kalidasa. These are some poets of Sanskrit literature and their works including,

  • “Banabhatta,” wrote ‘Harshacharita’, the biography of King Harsha and Kadambari.
  • “Bhavabhuti,” wrote ‘Uttar Ramayana’.
  • “Vishakadutta,” wrote ‘Mudra Rakshasa’.
  • “Shudraka,” wrote ‘Mriccha Katika’.
  • “Dandin,” wrote ‘Daskumarcharita’.

            There were also a large number of philosophical literature. The most important ones are those of “Sankaracharya”.

            Ancient Indian literature does not only mean the Vedas and the epics, it has much more to understand and learn from it. Ancient literature also clearly explains the duties of a person and how a person shows in character. There were Shastra who dealt with science and math. Kautilya’s “Arthashastra” deals with governance and economic policy which is written in Sanskrit.


            Now we can say that Ancient Indian Literature contributed greatly to the development of Indian English literature. India has a rich cultural heritage. The progress of humanity in the past is the subject matter of history. In order to understand the present we have to trace back its roots to Ancient India. Ancient Indian Literature is the most beautiful and complicated to read and understand. The Vedas, the Shastras, and the Upanishads help human being to develop their character and lead a good life.

Are you struggling to keep up with your English Literature Coursework? Do you need detailed, customized English Literature Notes to help you better understand the texts you’re studying? “Look no further! Our customized paid notes will help you achieve your study goals quickly.

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That Long Silence By Shashi Deshpande

That Long Silence


“If I were a man and 
Cared to know the
World I lived in,
I almost think it would
make me a shade uneasy –
 the weight of that
 long silence of one half
 of the world.”

            This statement by “Elizabeth Robin” forms the epigraph to Shashi Deshpande’s Novel, “That Long Silence”. Through this novel, this talented writer intends to break the long silence that has surrounded women their experiences, and their world. The writer wants to convey that it is not only the Patriarchal system wholly is solely responsible for the worsening condition of women, but even women share the responsibility. Women suffer everything in silence, without protesting which has caused their subjugation.

            In the present novel, silence is used as a metaphor. Silence is a patriarchal symbol. A girl is socialized to be silent, as being eloquent and loud are not the traits that society deems fit for them. Consequently, they keep on being silent and bear everything with this weapon but gradually this very silence eats away the very vital of their existence.

About Shashi Deshpande

            “I don’t like to call myself a feminist writer.
             I say: I’m a feminist, but I don’t write to propagate an ism.”

            The words of Shashi Deshpande stress her inclination to the ideas of ‘Judith Butler’ (An American philosopher) who boldly stated that feminism reasserts the difference between male and female gender.

            Shashi Deshpande is an award-winning Indian Novelist. Shashi Deshpande’s chief thematic concern is with a women’s struggle in the context of contemporary Indian society, their effort to find and preserve her identity as a wife, mother, and most of all as a human being. She was born in 1938  in Dharwad, Karnataka. Her father was Sriranga, a well-known Sanskrit scholar.

Her first novel “The Dark Holds No Terror” was published in 1980. Her novel “That Long Silence” brought her a lot of praise and appreciation and she received the ‘Sahitya Akademi Award’ for it. Her other novel includes – ‘Come Up and Be Dead’, ‘If I Die Today’, ‘Roots and Shadows’, ‘The Binding Vine’, ‘A Matter of Time’ and ‘Small Remedies’.

Analysis of That Long Silence

            In ‘That Long Silence’ Shashi Deshpande has portrayed the irony of a woman writer, who is also a young wife. The novel opens with ‘Jaya and her husband ‘Mohan’ shifting from their well-settled, comfortable house to their old house in Dadar, Bombay, where they had stayed immediately after getting married when their financial condition was not good. They shift into their old apartment to escape the scene as Mohan has been caught in some business malpractice and an inquiry is in progress. Here is a small old flat Jaya gets out of touch with her schedule and becomes an introvert.

            Not satisfied with her married life, Jaya recalls her past days, her upbringing, the environment in which she was brought up, and the morals that were thrust upon her when she was growing up. She has been taught that “A husband is like a Sheltering tree”.

            Though Jaya has been educated and influenced by the modern thought of the West and other advanced countries and is herself a writer, she still wants to compare herself with the image of Sita, Draupadi, and other ideal mythological characters. She tries to keep a balance between husband and wife. She always wishes to go on with her husband’s wish.

She does not have any identity of her own. Her name keeps on changing according to the wishes of others. Jaya, which means ‘victory’ is the name given by her father when she was born and ‘Subasini’ was the name after her marriage. The former name symbolizes revolt and the latter submission. The dreams of her childhood, to change the situation of women, are shattered by the environment, the surroundings, and above all by the society which imposes all sorts of restrictions on women. She is absolutely helpless and is unable to improve her situation. She revolts in silence.

            Due to different attitudes, between Jaya and her husband, their marital life becomes more of a compromise than love, based on social fear rather than a mutual need for each other. In her streams of thought, Jaya looks at her marital relations where there is no conversation left. This unhappiness is reflected not only in her conjugal life but also in her social life.

            The novelist intends to break the long Silence, that has kept women as it were, in a state of hibernation. The novel is an exceptionally accomplished portrait of a passive woman Jaya. It is this reality that Deshpande tries to project through the female protagonist, who in the end, chooses to break her long silence.


            Thus, in the novel ‘That Long Silence’, Deshpande very exquisitely highlighted the inner struggle and suffering of middle-class women through the character of ‘Jaya’. In a male-dominated society, a woman has dependent on her husband and father or son for everything. But in the end, Jaya wishes to exercise her choice, her self-esteem motivates her to break the silence while her capabilities make her speak through writing. Jaya subverts the patriarchal system while remaining a part of it.\

Are you struggling to keep up with your English Literature Coursework? Do you need detailed, customized English Literature Notes to help you better understand the texts you’re studying? “Look no further! Our customized paid notes will help you achieve your study goals quickly.

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Natyashastra and Rasa Theory

Natyashastra and Rasa Theory | Type Of Rasa | Rasa Theory | Natyashastra Critical Analysis

Natyashastra and Rasa Theory
Natyashastra and Rasa Theory


                          “The Natyashastra” is the world’s oldest treatise on performing art. It is more than 2500 years old. Many scholars believe that the author of Natyashastra is “Bharatmuni”. It has been given the status of 5th Veda. It contains ancient Indian treaties on performing arts that is theatre, music, and dance.

This book was written in the form of dialogues between sage Bharata and other sages. It was compiled between 200 BC and 200 AD. It contains 36000 shlokas in verse style. There are a total of 36 chapters in it. There is a general misconception that drama, theatre, and music are western gifts to India. Manmohan Ghosh and Rangachara translated Natyasastra into English. In Indian aesthetics, a rasa (Sanskrit: रस) literally means “nectar, essence or taste”.

About Author:

                             There is not much information about the author of ‘Natyashastra’. Many scholars believe that the author of Natyashastra is ‘Rishi Bharata’ also known as Bharatmuni. Still, it is a matter of discussion for scholars whether Bharat Muni is the writer or compiler of the Natyashastra.

About Natyashastra:

                                                            Natyashastra is based on the much older Gandharva Veda.
It is believed that Rishi Bharata collected different knowledge, wisdom, and experience from the four Veda and compiled it into one book named Natyashastra. The Natyashastra consists of four elements of text taken from ‘Rig- Veda’ songs from the Sama-Veda acting from the ‘Yajur-Veda’ and rasa or aesthetic experience from the ‘Atharva-Veda’.

                        In the first chapter of Natyashastra talk about the response and involvement of the spectators in the drama. The second chapter describes the method of building different types of stages. The third chapter talks about the religious ceremony to be performed in the auditorium. The fourth chapter tells the story of Amritmanthana. Various aspects related to dance and music have been discussed in fourth and the fifth chapters. The only two dance styles that have their origin in Bharata’s Natyashastra are Bharatanatyam and Odissi.

Type Of Rasa

                        In the sixth chapter, Bharat Muni has given special emphasis on Rasas and discusses the nature of rasas. In this chapter, he talked about the process by which different types of rasas are generated. According to Bharata Muni, there are nine types of rasas and he identified specific colours, emotions, and deities for the Rasas as shown in the table.

Sr. No.RasaEmotionColoursDeities
1.ShringarDelight / LovePale Light greenLord Vishnu
5.VeeraHeroismPale OrangeShiva-mahakala
Natyashastra and Rasa Theory Structure

(1) Shringara Rasa (Erotic Sentiments):

                                                                        The Shringara Rasa proceeds from the dominant state of love and is associated with the Lord Vishnu. Love is found not only between man and woman but also between man and woman but also birds, animals, and other creatures. It should be represented on the stage by the consequents of eyes, eyebrows, soft, and delicate movements of the body, sweetness, words, and similar other things. Kalidasa in the scene of the union of Shakuntala and Dushyant at that time write the best example of Shringara Rasa.

(2) Hasya Rasa (Comic Sentiments):

                                                                        The Hasya Rasa means laughter tension and worries. It is broadly classified into two types – Atmastha is the self-laughter where one is laughing at oneself while Parastha is making others laugh. The best example  of Hasya Rasa is “Tarak Mehta Ka Ulta Chasma”. It creates big laughter among the audience. It shows both types of laughter.

(3) Karuna Rasa (Pathetic Sentiments):

                                                                        The Karuna Rasa arises from the dominant state of sorrow. It is usually presented through separation from dear ones, loss of wealth, death, accident, or any type of misfortune. The best example of karuna Rasa is – ‘Abhigyan Shakuntalam’ the separation of Shakuntala and Dushyant due to a curse, it generates paths.

(4) Rudra Rasa (Furious Sentiments):

                                                                        Rudra Rasa refers to the “furious sentiment” or the “Sentiment of Anger” used in dramatic performance. To portray this rasa, the actor keeps his eyes wide open, his eyelids flatter and his eyebrows lifted up. Red eyes, Knitting of eyebrows, biting of lips, restlessness, and trembling are the best expressions for Rudra Rasa. An example of Rudra Rasa is – ‘Amba and her Anger’.

(5) Veera Rasa (Heroic Sentiments):

                                                                        The Veera Rasa reflects the superior type of person and has the energy or enthusiasm has its basic. In the Character of Mahabharata, such as – Karana, Yudhishthira, and Arjuna, we can find ‘Veera Rasa’.

(6) Bhayankar Rasa (Terrible Sentiments):

                                                                                   The Bhayankara Rasa has its dominant state of fear. It is usually created by fearful atmospheres like hideous, noise, side of ghost panic, and anxiety. In many horror movies, we found Bhayanka Rasa. When Rama was in the forest and fighting with “Rakshasa” at that time we fell “Bhaya”.

(7) Bibhastya Rasa (Odious Sentiments):

                                                                         The Bibhastya Rasa has its basic dominant state of disguise. It is created by determinants like hearing unpleasant, offensive, impure, and harmful things or singing them or discussing them. For example – When Prince Siddhartha was a young man and for the first time he saw sickness, old age, and death, he was moved to disgust which later translate into sorrow, deep introspection and peace as he transformed into Gautama, “The Buddha”.

(8) Adhbuta Rasa (Marvellous Sentiments):

                                                                              Adbhuta Rasa deals with wonder. It is the sentiments of mystery astonishment and curiosity. It should be recognized through special features such as – marvelous statements, conduct, actuary, etc. For example – the glory of a king returning from a successful battle, and the magical feats of a god are both Adbhuta for a common man.


                         Thus the combination called Natyashastra is a mixture of races, bhavas, abhinayas, dharmas, vrittis, pravrttis, svaras, etc. There are many topics described in Natyashastra and their finer details are given. It shows how well-developed art was right from the ancient period.

Are you struggling to keep up with your English Literature Coursework? Do you need detailed, customized English Literature Notes to help you better understand the texts you’re studying? “Look no further! Our customized paid notes will help you achieve your study goals quickly.

Varsha Singh

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