Indian Literature The Indian literary tradition is primarily one of verse and is also essentially oral.

The earliest works were composed to be sung or recited and were so transmitted for many generations before being written down. As a result, the earliest records of a text may be later by several centuries than the conjectured date of its composition. Furthermore, perhaps because so much Indian literature is either religious or a reworking of familiar stories from the Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and the mythological writings known as Puranas, the authors often remain anonymous. Biographical details of the lives of most of the earlier Indian writers exist only in much later stories and legends. Other Themes In medieval Indian literature the earliest works in many of the languages were sectarian, designed to advance or to celebrate some unorthodox regional belief. Examples are theCaryapadas in Bengali, Tantric verses of the 12th century, and the Lilacaritra (circa 1280), in Marathi. In Kannada (Kanarese) from the 10th century, and later in Gujarati from the 13th century, the first truly indigenous works are Jain romances; ostensibly the lives of Jain saints, these are actually popular tales based on Sanskrit and Pali themes. Other example was in Rajasthani of the bardic tales of chivalry and heroic resistance to the first Muslim invasions - such as the 12th-century epic poem Prithiraja-raso by Chand Bardai of Lahore. Most important of all for later Indian literature were the first traces in the vernacular languages of the northern Indian cults of Krishna and of Rama. Included are the 12th-century poems by Jaydev, called the Gitagovinda (The Cowherd's Song); and about 1400, a group of religious love poems written in Maithili (eastern Hindi of Bihar) by the poet

Vidyapati were a seminal influence on the cult of RadhaKrishna in Bengal. The Bhakti Tradition The full flowering of the Radha-Krishna cult, under the Hindu mystics Chaitanya in Bengal and Vallabhacharya at Mathura, involved bhakti (a personal devotion to a god). Although earlier traces of this attitude are found in the work of the Tamil Alvars (mystics who wrote ecstatic hymns to Vishnu between the 7th and 10th centuries), a later surge of bhakti flooded every channel of Indian intellectual and religious life beginning in the late 15th century. Bhakti was also addressed to Rama (an avatar of Vishnu), most notably in the Avadhi (eastern Hindi) works of Tulsi Das; his Ramcharitmanas (Lake of the Acts of Rama, 1574-77; trans. 1952) has become the authoritative. The early gurus or founders of the Sikh religion, especially Nanak and Arjun, composed bhakti hymns to their concepts of deity. These are the first written documents in Punjabi (Panjabi) and form part of the Adi Granth (First, or Original, Book), the sacred scripture of the Sikhs, which was first compiled by Arjun in 1604. In the 16th century, the Rajaasthani princess and poet Mira Bai addressed her bhakti lyric verse to Krishna, as did the Gujarati poet Narsimh Mehta. Traditional Material In the 16th century, Jagannath Das wrote an Oriya version of the Bhagavata and Tuncattu Eruttacchan, the so-called father of Malayalam literature, wrote recensions of traditional literature. Added, in the 18th century, was a deliberate imitation of Sanskritic forms and vocabulary by pandits. In 18th-century evolved Assamese and Marathi prose chronicles, ballads, and folk drama involving much dance and song. The Tamil Tradition

The only Indian writings that incontestably predate the influence of classical Sanskrit are those in the Tamil language. Anthologies of secular lyrics on the themes of love and war, together with the grammatical-stylistic work Tolkappiyam (Old Composition), are thought to be very ancient. Later, between the 6th and 9th centuries, Tamil sectarian devotional poems were composed, often claimed as the first examples of the Indian bhakti tradition. At some indeterminate date between the 2nd and 5th centuries, two long Tamil verse romances (sometimes called epics) were written: Cilappatikaram (The Jeweled Anklet) by Ilanko Atikal, which has been translated into English (1939 and 1965); and its sequel Manimekalai (The Girdle of Gems), a Buddhist work by Cattanar. Linguistic and Cultural Influences Much traditional Indian literature is derived in theme and form not only from Sanskrit literaturebut from the Buddhist and Jain texts written in the Pali language and the other Prakrits (medieval dialects of Sanskrit). This applies to literature in the Dravidian languages of the south as well as to literature in the Indo-Iranian languages of the north. Invasions of Persians and Turks, beginning in the 14th century, resulted in the influence of Persian and Islamic culture in Urdu, although important Islamic strands can be found in other literatures as well, especially those written in Bengali, Gujarati, and Kashmiri. After 1817, entirely new literary values were established that remain dominant today. The Urdu poets almost always wrote in Persian forms, using the ghazal for love poetry in addition to an Islamic form of bhakti, the masnavi for narrative verse, and the marsiya for elegies. Urdu then gained use as a literary language in Delhi and Lucknow. The ghazals of Mir and Ghalib mark the highest achievement of Urdu lyric verse. The Urdu poets were mostly sophisticated, urban artists, but some adopted the idiom of folk poetry, as is typical of the verses in Punjabi, Pushtu, Sindhi or other regional languages.

Regional

Literature

Literary activities burst forth with the playwright Bharata’s (200 BC) Natya Shastra, the Bible of dramatic criticism. The earliest plays were soon overshadowed by Kalidasa’s Shakuntala, a heroic play, a model for ages. While Shudraka’s Mrichchhakatika, was a play of the social class. Bhavabhuti (circa 700AD) was another well-known figure, his best being Malatimadhavaand Uttaramacharita (based on Ramayana). The great Sanskrit poems are five – Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsa and Kumarasambhava, Kiratarjuniya of Bharavi (550AD), Sishupalavadha of Magha (7th century AD) and Naishadhiyacharita of Sriharsha (12th century AD). All of them draw from the Mahabharata. Shorter poems of great depth were composed on a single theme like love, morality, detachment and sometimes of grave matters. The earliest and best collections of such verses called Muktakas are those of Bhartrihari and Amaruka. Much of the early prose work in Sanskrit has not survived. Of the remaining, some of the best are Vasavadatta of Subandhu, Kadambari and Harshacharita of Bana (7th century AD) and Dasakumaracharita of Dandin (7th century AD). The Panchatantra and Hitopadesha are collections of wit and wisdom in the Indian style, teaching polity and proper conduct through animal fables and aphorisms. With a glorious life of over 3000 years, Sanskrit continues to be a living language even today, bobbing up during Hindu ceremonies when mantras (ritual verses) are chanted. And though restricted, it’s still a medium of literary expression, but ‘great works’ have long stopped being written. The Modern Period Poets such as Ghalib, lived and worked during the British era, when a literary revolution occurred in all the Indian languages as a result of contact with Western thought, when

the printing press was introduced (by Christian missionaries), and when the influence of Western educational institutions was strong. During the mid-19th century in the great ports of Mumbai, Calcutta, and Chennai, a prose literary tradition arose—encompassing the novel, short story, essay, and literary drama (this last incorporating both classical Sanskrit and Western models)—that gradually engulfed the customary Indian verse genres. Urdu poets remained faithful to the old forms while Bengalis were imitating such English poets as Percy Bysshe Shelley or T.S. Eliot. Ram Mohan Roy's (1774-1833) campaign for introduction of scientific education in India and Swami Vivekananda's work are considered to be great examples of the English literature in India. During the last 150 years many writers have contributed to the development of modern Indian literature, writing in any of the 18 major languages (as well as in English). Bengali has led the way and today has one of the most extensive literatures of any Indian language. One of its greatest representatives is Sir Rabindranath Tagore, the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize for literature (1913). Much of his prose and verse is available in his own English translations. Work by two other great 20th-century Indian leaders and writers is also widely known: the verse of the Islamic leader and philosopher Sir Muhammad Iqbal, originally written in Urdu and Persian; and the autobiography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, My Experiments with Truth, originally written in Gujarati between 1927 and 1929, is now considered a classic. Several other writers are relatively well known to the West. They include Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) for his Glimpses of World History, Discovery of India and An Autobiography (1936); Mulk Raj Anand, among whose many works the early affectionate Untouchable (1935) and Coolie (1936) are novels of social protest; and R. K. Narayan, writer of novels and tales of village life in southern India. The first of

Narayan's many works, Swami and Friends, appeared in 1935; among his more recent titles are The English Teacher (1980), The Vendor of Sweets(1983), and Under the Banyan Tree (1985). Among the younger authors writing of modern India with nostalgia for the past is Anita Desai—as in Clear Light of Day (1980). Her In Custody(1984) is the story of a teacher's fatal enchantment with poetry. Ved Mehta, although long resident in the U.S., recalls his Indian roots in a series of memoirs of his family and of his education at schools for the blind in India and America; among these works are Vedi (1982) and Sound Shadows of the New World (1986). The other well-known novelist/ writers are Dom Moraes (A Beginning), Nlissim E Zekiel (The Unfurnished Man), P Lal, A.K.Ramanujan (whose translations of Tamil classics are internationally known), Kamala Das, Arun Kolatkar and R. Parthasarathy; Toru Dutt; Sarojini Naidu; Aurobindo; Raja Rao, GV Desani, M Ananthanarayanan, Bhadani Bhattacharya, Monohar Malgonkar, Arun Joshi, Kamala Markandaya, , Khushwant Singh, Nayantara Sahgal, O.V. Vijayan; Salman Rushdie; K.R. Sreenivasa Iyengar, C.D. Narasimhaiah and M.K. Naik. Among the latest are Vikram Seth (A Suitable Boy), Allan Sealy (The Trotter-Nama), Sashi Tharoor (Show Business, The Great Indian Novel, Amitav Ghosh (Circle of Reason, Shadow Lines), Upamanyu Chatterjee (English August) and Vikram Chandra (Red Earth and Pouring Rain). History of India Ancient history of India can be divided into a period from 7000 BC to 1000 AD, then MedievalIndia (1000 AD to 1756 AD) and modern day (1757 to 1947 AD). Ancient India (BC to 1000 AD) Age Event

7000-3750 BCVedic Age Harappa (Indus and Saraswati) 3000-2000 BC Civilization Decline of Indus and Saraswati 2200-1900 BC Civilization Period of Complete chaos and 2000-1500 BC migration Aryans expand into the Ganga 1000 BC valley from the Indus valley 900 BC Mahabharata War Aryans expand into Bengal 800 BC (Epic Age of Mahabharata and Ramayana) 550 BC Composition of the Upanishads 544 BC Buddha's Nirvana 327 BC Alexander's Invasion Chandragupta Maurya defeats 324 BC Seleacus Nicator Rise of the Mauryas; 322 BC Chandragupta establishes first Indian Empire 272 BC Ashoka begins reign Fall of the Mauryas; Rise of the 180 BC Sungas Chola king Erata conquers 145 BC Ceylon Rise of the Satvahana Dynasty 30 BC in the Deccan Sakas in power in Indus Valley 40 AD and Western India Chandragupta I establishes the 320 AD Gupta dynasty Samudragupta conquers the 340 AD North and most of the Deccan Samudragupta conquers the 360 AD North and most of the Deccan

380 AD 405 AD 415 AD 467 AD 476 AD 606 AD 711 AD 892 AD 985 AD 1001 AD

Chandragupta II comes to power; Golden Age of Gupta Literary Renaissance Fa-hein begins his travels through the Gupta Empire Accession of Kumara Gupta I Skanda Gupta assumes power Birth of astronomer Aryabhatta Accession of Harshavardhan Gupta Invasion of Sind by Muhammad Bin Qasim Rise of the Eastern Chalukyas The Chola Dynasty: Accession of Rajaraja, the Great Defeat of Jaipal by Sultan Mahumd

Medieval India (1000 AD to 1756 AD) Age 1026 1191 1192 1206 1221 1232 1288 1290 Event Mahmud Ghazni sacks Somnath Temple Prithviraj Chauhan routs Muhammad Ghori: the first battle of Tarain Ghori defeats Prithviraj Chauhan: the second battle of Tarain Qutbuddin establishes the Slave Dynasty Mongol invasion under Genghis Khan Foundation of the Qutub Minar Marco Polo visits India Jalaludin Firuz Khalji establishes the Khalji dynasty

Ghiyasuddin Tughluk founds the Tughluk dynasty Accession of Muhammad-bin1325 Tughluk Foundation of Vijayanagar 1336 (Deccan) 1398 Timur invades India Rise of the Bahmani dynasty 1424 (Deccan) The Lodi dynasty established in 1451 Delhi 1489 Adil Shah dynasty at Bijapur Nizam Shahi dynasty at 1490 Ahmednagar 1498 First voyage of Vasco da gama 1510 Portuguese capture Goa 1518 Kutub Shahi dynasty at Golconda Establishment of the Mughul 1526 Dynasty; First Battle of Panipat: Babur defeats Lodis 1526-1530 Reign of Babur 1530 Humayun succeeds Babur 1538 Death of Guru Nanak Sher Shah Suri defeats Humayan 1539 and becomes Emperor of Delhi Humayun recovers the throne of 1555 Delhi Death of Humayun; Hemu reestablishes the Hindu Raj in India in Oct 1556, after winning 22 1556 battles against Afghan rebels and Akbar. After Hemu is killed in a freak accident in Panipat, accession of Akbar. Akbar abolishes poll tax on 1564 Hindus 1320

1565 1568 1571 1572 1573 1575 1576 1577 1580

1581 1582 1586 1591 1592 1595 1597 1600 1602 1605 1606 1607

Battle of Talikota: Muslim rulers in Deccan defeats Vijaynagar Empire Fall of Chittor Foundation of Fatehpur Sikri by Akbar Akbar annexes Gujarat Surat surrenders to Akbar Battle of Tukaroi Battle of Haldighat: Akbar defeats Rana Pratap; Subjugation of Bengal Akbar troops invade Khandesh Accession of Ibrahim Adil Shah II in Bengal; Rebellion in Bihar and Bengal Akbar's march against Muhammad Hakim and reconciliation with him Divine Faith promulagated Annexation of Kashmir Mughul conquest of Sind Annexation of Orissa Siege of Ahmednagar; Annexation of Baluchistan Akbar completes his conquests Charter to the English East India Company Formation of the United East India Company of Netherlands Death of Akbar and Accession of Jahangir Rebellion of Khusrav; Execution of the Fifth Sikh Guru, Arjan Sher Afghan first, husband of Nur Jahan, killed

1608 1609 1612 1615

1616 1620 1621 1622 1623 1624 1626 1627 1628 1631 1632 1633 1636 1639 1646 1656

Malik Ambar takes Ahmednagar The Dutch open a factory at Pulicat The English establish a factory at Masulipatnam Mughul Governor of Bengal defeats the Afghans; Mughuls annex Kuch ajo Submission of Mewar to the Mughuls; Arrival of Sir Thomas Roe in India The Dutch establish a factory at Surat Capture of Kangra Fort; Malik Ambar revolts in the Deccan Shah Abbas of Persia beseiges and takes Qandahar Shah Jahan revolts against Jahangir Suppression of Shah Jahan's rebellion Rebellion of Mahabat Khan Death of Jahangir; Accession of Shah Jahan Shah Jahan proclaimed Emperor Death of Shah Jahan's wife Mumtaz Mahal; The construction of Taj Mahal Mughul invasion of Bijapur End of Ahmednagar Dynasty Aurangzeb appointed Viceroy of Deccan Foundation of Fort St. George at Madras by the English Shivaji captures Torna The Mughuls attack Hyderabad

1657 1658 1659 1661 1664 1666 1674 1678 1680 1686 1689 1690 1691 1698 1699 1700 1702 1707 1714

and Golkunda; Annexation of Javli by Shivaji Invasion of Bijapur by Aurangzeb; Aurangzeb captures Bidar and Kalyani Coronation of Aurangzeb Battles of Khajwah and Deorai Cession of Bombay to the English; Mughul capture of Cooch Bihar Shivaji sacks Surat and assumes royal title Death of Shah Jahan; Shivaji's visit to Agra and escape Shivaji assumes the title of Chhatrapati Marwar occupied by the Mughuls Death of Shivaji; Rebellion of Prince Akbar English war with the Mughuls; Fall of Bijapur Execution of Sambhaji Peace between the Mughuls and the English Aurangzeb at the zenith of his power The new English company trading to the East Indies First Maratha raid on Malwa Death of Rajaram and regency of his widow Tara Bai Amalgamation of English and the London East India Companies Death of Aurangzeb; Battle of Jajau Husain Ali appointed Viceroy of the Deccan, signs treaty with the

1720 1739 1740 1742 1748 1750 1751 1756

Marathas Accession of Baji Rao Peshwa at Poona Nadir Shah conquers Delhi; The Marathas capture Salsette and Bassein Accession of Balaji Rao Peshwa; The Marathas invade Arcot Marathas invade Bengal First Anglo-French war in India War of the Deccan and Carnatic Succession; Death of Nasir Jang Treaty of Alivadi with the Marathas Siraj-ud-daulah captures Calcutta

Fast Facts: - The Mahabharata is said to be the longest poem in the world at 100,000 stanzas strong. - The Mahabharata is eight times longer than Homer’s two epics (the Illiad and the Odyssey) combined! Indian Culture On one of his trips to England, Mahatma Gandhi was asked by an English journalist "What do you think about the Western Culture?". His answer "It is a good idea" - is still a classic. Indian culture is a not an "idea"; it is a living reality. Its magic is such that - the more you try to go away from it, the more you feel enslaved by it.

The richness of Indian culture is evident by the fact that it easily and openly merges with outside influences. The main components of the Indian culture are its:
• • • • • • • • • • • • •

History Architecture Religions Vedas and Upanishads Family values Philosophy Democracy Languages Literature Arts and craft Music Movies Costumes

Many Hindu institutions, including the rigid caste system and it

Vedas and Upanishads

The oldest literature of Indian thought is the Veda, a collection of religious and philisophical poems and hymns composed over several generations beginning as early as 3000 BC. The Veda was composed in Sanskrit, the intellectual language of both ancient and classical Indian

civilizations. Four collections were made, so it is said that there are four Vedas. The four as a group came to be viewed as sacred in Hinduism. Some Vedic hymns and poems address philosophic themes, such as the henotheism that is key to much Hindu theology. Henotheism is the idea that one God takes many different forms, and that although individuals may worship several different gods and goddesses, they really revere but one Supreme Being. There are four Vedas: The Rig-Veda Its traditional date goes back to 3000 BC, something which the German scholar Max Mueller accepted. As a body of writing, the Rig-Veda (the wisdom of verses) is nothing short of remarkable. It contains 1028 hymns (10,589 verses which are divided into ten mandalas or book-sections) dedicated to thirty-three different gods. The most often addressed gods were nature gods like Indra (rain god; king of heavens), Agni (fire god), Rudra (storm god; the 'howler'), Soma (the draught of immortality, an alcoholic brew). The Sama-Veda The Sama-Veda or the wisdom of chants is basically a collection of samans or chants, derived from the eighth and ninth books of the Rig-Veda. These were meant for the priests who officiated at the rituals of the soma ceremonies. There are painstaking instructions in Sama-Veda about how particular hymns must be sung; to put great emphasis upon sounds of the words of the mantras and the effect they could have on the environment and the person who pronounced them. The Yajur-Veda The Yajur-Veda or the wisdom of sacrifices lays down various sacred invocations (yajurs) which were chanted by a particular sect of priests called adhvaryu. They performed the sacrificial rites. The Veda also outlines various chants

which should be sung to pray and pay respects to the various instruments which are involved in the sacrifice. The Atharva-Veda The Atharva-Veda (the wisdom of the Atharvans) is called so because the families of the atharvan sect of the Brahmins have traditionally been credited with the composition of the Vedas. It is a compilation of hymns but lacks the awesome grandeur which makes the Rig-Veda such a breathtaking spiritual experience. Upanishads The term Upanishad ('upa' near; 'ni' down; 'sad' to sit) means sitting down near; this implies the students sitting down near their Guru to learn the big secret. In the splendid isolation of their forest abodes, the philosophers who composed the Upanishads contemplated upon the various mysteries of life and its creation – whether common, or metaphysical. The answers were however not open to all, but only for select students. The reason for this was simple: not everyone can handle knowledge. The composition of the Upanishads marks a significant and stride forward in the direction of knowing the mystery of earth's creation and one comes tantalizingly close to the answers. Through episodes, commentaries, stories, traditions and dialogue, the Upanishads unfold the fascinating tale of creation, life, the essence of life and of that beyond to the seeker of truth. There is no exact date for the composition of the Upanishads. They continued to be composed over a long period, the core being over 7th -5th centuries BC. The Upanishads were originally called Vedanta, which literally means the conclusion to the Vedas. In the Upanishads, views about Brahman (the Absolute, or God) and atman (one's true self) were proposed.

There are 18 principal Upanishads viz: Brhad-aranyaka Upanishad The Brhad-aranyaka Upanishad is widely accepted to be the most important of all Upanishads. It has three khandas or parts. The madhu khanda contemplates on the relationship between the individual and the Universal self. The muni khanda or yajnavalkya is a debate which goes on to give the philosophical backing to the earlier teaching. The khila khanda tackles various rituals of worship and meditation. Chandogya Upanishad This Upanishad is a part of the Sama-Veda (see The Vedas). The name comes from the singer of the songs (samans) who is called Chandoga. The initial chapters of the Upanishad, discuss the ritual of sacrifice. The others debate the origin and profundity of the concept of Om, among other things. Aitareya Upanishad This one forms part of the Rig-Veda. The purpose is to make the reader understand the deeper meaning of sacrifice and to take him away from the outer trappings of the actual act. Taittriya Upanishad A part of the Yajur-Veda, this Upanishad is divided into three sections or vallis. The siksa valli deals with the phonetics of the chants, while the others, brahmananda valli and bhrgu valli deal with self-realization. Isa Upanishad Also called the Isavasya Upanishad, this book deals with the union of God, the world, being and becoming. The stress is on the Absolute in relation with the world (paramesvara). The gist of the teachings is that a person's worldly and otherworldly goals need not necessarily be opposed to each other. Kena Upanishad The name of this Upanishad comes from the first word kena, or by whom. It has two sections of prose and two of poetry.

The verses deal with the supreme spirit or the absolute principle (brahmaana) and the prose talks of ishvara (god). The moral of the story is that the knowledge of ishvara reveals the way to self-realization. Katha Upanishad Also called the Kathakopanishad, this Upanishad uses a story (katha) involving a young Brahmin boy called Nachiketa to reveal the truths of this world and the other beyond the veil. Prashna Upanishad Prashna literally means question, and this book is part of the Athrava-Veda. It addresses questions pertaining to the ultimate cause, the power of Om, relation of the supreme to the constituents of the world. Mundaka Upanishad This book also belongs to the Atharva-Veda. The name is derived from 'mund' or to shave, meaning that anyone who understands the Upanishads is s(h)aved from ignorance. This book inscribes the importance of knowing the supreme brahmaana, only by which knowledge can one attain selfrealization. Mandukya Upanishad The Mandukya is an exquisite treatise which expounds on the principle of Om and its metaphysical significance in various states of being, waking, dream and the dreamless sleep. The subtlest and most profound of the Upanishads, it is said that this alone will lead one to the path of enlightenment. Svetasvatara Upanishad The name of this Upanishad is after its teacher. It comments on the unity of the souls and the world in one allencompassing reality. The concept of there being one god is also talked about here. It is dedicated to Rudra, the storm god.

Kausitaki Brahmana Upanishad The Upanishad has come down to us in bits here and pieces there. The core of the text is dedicated to illustrating the fact that the path to release is through knowledge. Maitri Upanishad This is a comparatively later Upanishad as it has references to the Trinity of Hindu Gods (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma) which is a later development, and plus references to the world being illusory in character reflects Buddhist influence. Subala Upanishad Belonging to the Yajur-Veda, this Upanishad puts down a dialogue between the sage Subala and Brahma the creator of the Hindu Trinity of Gods. It discusses the universe and the absolute. Jabala Upanishad Belonging to the Athrava-Veda this Upanishad addresses some questions pertaining to renunciation. Paingala Upanishad The Paingala is again a dialog, this between Yajnavalkya, the sage mentioned the Brhad-aranyaka's muni khanda and Paingala, a student of his. It discusses meditation and its effects. Kaivalya Upanishad This Upanishad delves into the state of kaivalya or being alone. Vajrasucika Upanishad Belonging to the Sama-Veda the Vajrasucika reflects on the nature of the supreme being. The core of the teachings of the Upanishads is summed up in three words: tat tvam as… you are that. Languages

The government of India recognizes 112 mother tongues that have 10,000 more speakers. India has a total of 1652 different languages and dialects, and most people understand no more than five! This was bound to happen in a country where different races and stocks poured in for over five thousand years? They all came, mixed and stayed, making the land one big heterogeneous existence. The Principal languages of the World, 2004 World Almanac Source: Ethnologue Volume I, SIL International, USA and Prof. Sidney Culbert, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA (All figures are 2000 estimates, in millions) Native speakers Mandarin 874 Hindi 366 English 341 Spanish 322 Arabic 211 Bengali 207 Portuguese 176 Russian 167 Japanese 125 German 100 Korean 78 French 77 Chinese, Wu77 Malay-Indo 75 Chinese, Yue71 Telugu 69 Marathi 68 Vietnamese 68 Tamil 66 Language Total speakers 1,075 496 514 425 256 215 194 275 126 128 78 129 77 176 71 69 68 68 66

The top 5 English speaking countries of the World, 2010 World Almanac Source: Times of India, June 2010 Country USA India Nigeria UK Russia Official Languages of India Hindi and English are the co-official national languages of India. In addition, the Indian constitution recognizes 18 state languages, which are used in schools and in official transactions. These are Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada (Kanarese), Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Meithei (Manipuri), Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Telugu, Tamil, and Urdu. The regional languages have been recognized as the official language of the States. In many cases, the state boundaries are drawn between linguistic lines. Fast Facts: - Hindi is the second most widely spoken language in the world. - India has the most (1652)languages compared to any other country in the world History of Indian languages About the beginning of the 2nd millennium BC the citizens of the Indus migrated eastward (Ganges plains) and westward (Iran and Afghanistan). By about 1000 BC, the two language branches, Indic and Iranian, had probably separated. and dialects Speakers (millions) 263 125 79 60 60

The history of the Indian language branch is often divided into three main stages: (1) Old, comprising Vedic and classical Sanskrit; (2) Middle (from about the 3rd century BC), which embraces the vernacular dialects of Sanskrit called Prakrits, including Pali; and (3) New or Modern, (from about the 10th century AD), which comprises the modern languages of the northern and central portions of the Indian subcontinent. Vedic Sanskrit, the language used in the Vedas, the sacred Hindu scriptures, is the earliest form of Sanskrit, dating from about 1500 BC to about 200 BC. A later variety of the language, classical Sanskrit (from about 500 BC), was a language of literary and technical works. Even today, it is still widely studied in India and functions as a sacred and learned language. The Middle Prakrits existed in many regional varieties, which eventually developed literatures of their own. Pali, the language of the Buddhist canonical writings, is the oldest literary Prakrit. It remains in liturgical use in Sri Lanka, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), and Thailand. The Prakrits continued in everyday use until about the 12th century AD, but even by about the 10th century, the Modern Indo-Aryan vernaculars had begun to develop. Today, about 750 million people in India alone speak one of the three languages, as do more than 100 million in Bangladesh. The number of languages is difficult to specify. Roughly 35 are of some significance, particularly Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Bihari, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Tamil, and Telugu, each of which has at least 10 million speakers. Two major varieties of Hindi are spoken; Western Hindi, which originated in the area around Delhi, includes literary Hindi and Urdu and Eastern Hindi is spoken mainly in central Uttar Pradesh and eastern Madhya Pradesh; its most important literary works are in the Awadhi dialect (or Hindustani). It referred to the mixed Western Hindi-Urdu

language that developed in the camps and marketplaces around Delhi, was spread throughout India from the 16th to 18th century, and functioned as a lingua franca among the different language groups. The dialect that has been chosen as India's official language is Khariboli in the Devnagari script. Other dialects of Hindi are Brajbhasa, Bundeli, Awadhi, Marwari, Maithili and Bhojpuri. Bihari is actually the name of a group of three related languages—Bhojpuri, Maithili, and Magahi—spoken mainly in northeastern India in Bihar. Despite its large number of speakers, Bihari is not a constitutionally recognized language of India. Even in Bihar, Hindi is the language used for educational and official matters. Despite their separate names, Hindi and Urdu are actually slightly different dialects of the same language. The main differences lie in their vocabulary sources, scripts, and religious traditions. Hindi vocabulary derives mainly from Sanskrit, while Urdu contains many words of Persian and Arabic origin; Hindi is written in the Devanagari script, and Urdu in a Persian Arabic script. Hindi is spoken mainly by Hindus; Urdu is used predominantly by Muslims—in India as well as throughout Pakistan. Bengali is spoken in West Bengal and by almost the entire population of Bangladesh. Like Hindi, it is descended from Sanskrit, and has the most extensive literature of any modern Indian language. Oriya, Bengali and Assamese all come from the same Eastern Magadhi Apabhramsa and are considered to be sister languages. Punjabi (Panjabi), spoken in the Punjab, a region covering parts of northeastern India and western Pakistan, was the language of the gurus, the founders of the Sikh religion. The sacred teachings of Sikhism are recorded in Punjabi in the Gurmukhi script, which was devised by a Sikh guru. In India, Punjabi is close to the Hindi language; to the west, in Pakistan, Punjabi dialects differ markedly.

Sindhi is actually an offshoot of some of the dialects of the Vedic Sanskrit. Sindh, on the north west of undivided India, had always been the first to bear the onslaught of the neverending invaders, and as such absorbed Hindi, Persian, Arabic, Turkish, English and even Portuguese. Sindh is where Persian and Indian cultures blended Other significant Indic languages include Sinhalese, the official language of Sri Lanka; and Romani, the language of the Roma (Gypsies), which originated in India and was spread throughout the world. The Sanskrit origin of Romani is apparent in its sounds and grammar. The origin of most scripts for the Indic languages can ultimately be traced to Brahmi, which is of North Semitic derivation. Devanagari, a development of Brahmi, is used for Nepali, Marathi, and Kashmiri (by Hindus), as well as for Hindi, Sanskrit, and the Prakrits. Gujarati, Bengali, Assamese, and Oriya all have individual writing systems derived from Devanagari. A Persian Arabic script is used for Urdu, Sindhi (also written in Devanagari), and Punjabi. Dravidian Languages About 23 Dravidian languages are spoken by an estimated 169 million people, mainly in southern India. The 4 major Dravidian tongues are recognized as official state languages —Tamil in Tamil Nadu, Telugu in Andhra Pradesh, Kannada (Kanarese) in Mysore, and Malayalam in Kerala. They have long literary histories and are written in their own scripts. Telugu is spoken by the largest number of people; Tamil has the richest literature, is thought to be extremely ancient, and it is spoken over the widest area, including northwestern Sri Lanka. Other Dravidian languages have fewer speakers and are, for the most part, not written. The Dravidian languages have acquired many loan words from the Indic languages, especially from Sanskrit. Conversely, the Indiclanguages have borrowed Dravidian sounds and grammatical structures.

Other Language Groups The 12 or so Munda languages are spoken by people in scattered pockets of northeastern and central India. Of these, Santali is the most important, having the largest number of speakers and being the only Munda tongue that is written. Like the Dravidian languages, the Munda languages are known to have existed in India prior to the migration of people, from the Indus valley down southwards. Linguists consider the Munda languages to be related to the Mon-Khmer languages of Southeast Asia in a larger grouping called the Austro-Asiatic family. One Mon-Khmer language, Khasi, is spoken within India, in Assam Province. A few SinoTibetan languages are also spoken along India’s borders, from Tibet to Myanmar. Peace of Mind and Indian Philosophy Extended family cohesiveness and frequent contact is a notable feature of Indian families. Researchers have noted that people who do not belong to cohesive families have fewer coping resources and increased levels of social and psychological stress. Psychological stress is associated with heart disease, various cancers and increased mortality risk. Indians shed emotional stress exceptionally well. Their stress-shedding personalities and the familial support which they receive and contribute to are important stress-reducing mechanisms. According to a BBC survey of over 50 significant nations, India is the second happiest nation in the world! The survey asked people if they were satisfied with various aspects of their lives such as money, work, sex and leisure. It also questioned respondents about relationships with their families and the role of religion in their lives. Family and friends ranked as the biggest source of happiness in peoples' lives.

European nations; China and Russia were the saddest of all nations! Why Indians are generally happy people? In addition to being satisfied with oneself, personal control (self-knowledge) has been one of the best predictors of well-being. Volumes of research show clearly that the path to happiness and health is more easily pursued together than alone. Extreme positive moods were followed by lows which washed out happiness whereas steady, moderate pleasures sustained wellbeing over time. People who were socially involved and drew solace from religious faith had a 10 times greater chance of being happy. Indians live in the best possible environment as mentioned above. University of Chicago researchers, Kobassa and Maddi tried to find out why some stay well and others succumb to illness under the same difficult life conditions. They identified three personality traits of healthy persons--challenge, committment and control. The hardy individuals viewed change as a challenge rather than a catastrophe, were deeply committed to other individuals, causes and groups, and had a sense of personal control over their life destiny. People who control their life from within rather than merely responding to forces from without tend to achieve more in school, cope better with stress, and report more happiness. But a reality that cannot be denied is that the pursuit of happiness is furthered by an optimistic state of mind. Philosophy Indian Philosophy is one of the foremost Eastern traditions of abstract inquiry. Indian philosophy, expressed in Sanskrit, comprises of many diverse schools of thought and perspectives and includes a substantial body of intellectual debate and argumentation among the various views. Ancient Indian thought, which is also philosophic in a broader sense, originated as early as 2000 BC and appears in scriptures called Veda. Ancient Indian philosophy also

includes the mystical treatises known as Upanishads (700 to 100 BC), early Buddhist writings (300 BC to AD 500), and the Sanskrit poem Bhagavad-Gita. Classical Indian philosophy is less concerned with spirituality than ancient thought; rather, it concentrates on questions of how people can know and communicate about everyday affairs. Indian philosophy is extensive, rich, and complex. Scholars analyze not only its significance and its insights, but also its classical teachings about knowledge and language. Meanwhile, the majority of Western students of Indian thought have been drawn to its religious and mystical teachings. Some scholars have argued that Platonism (the philosophy of ancient Greek thinker Plato) and neo-Platonism (a 3rd-century movement based on Platonism) were greatly influenced by Indian thought. Nevertheless, the traditions of Indian and Western philosophy developed largely in ignorance of one another, and, until modern times, showed few signs of influencing one another. A famous Jain argument is that since animals are capable of pain, humans have an obligation not to harm them. Unlike in the West, the Indian classical philosophers often think about ethicsin connection with Indian views about actions, or habits (karma), and rebirth (the belief in reincarnation; see Transmigration). Indian philosophy is characterized by a highly refined ethical sensibility (common among Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism), along with standards of character and conduct that are common to many other cultures. The Indian intellectual environment extends beyond the universities, where continuation of India's spiritual philosophy is influenced by religious and mystical practices, such as yoga,atman and Dharma (Sanskrit for "duty" or "the right way to live"), that are distinct or much more prominent in Indian culture. Fast - India is the second happiest nation in the world! Facts:

- Plato, the ancient Greek thinker was greatly influenced by Indian thought. - Ancient concepts like karma, dharma, atman (re-birth) and yoga still govern daily lives of Indians. Democracy India is the largest practicing democracy in the world. The electoral process is well developed with free and fair elections at all levels, right down to individual villages, with universal adult suffrage. General elections, 14 of which have taken place in the 60 years of independence, are held every 5 years. India is a federal polity, with a Central government at New Delhi, the capital of the country and 29 State governments and 6 Union Territories. India's constitution is the longest and most detailed in the world at 395 articles and 10 schedules. It also has had the most amendments (77 times from 1950 to 1995) The Constitution provides for the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The Executive comprises the President, the Vice-President and the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister. All executive powers are vested in the President, who acts on the advice of the Council of Ministers. Government: The Union Legislature (Parliament) comprises two houses the Lok Sabha (Lower house, elected directly by the people of India) and the Rajya Sabha (upper house, elected by the State legislatures which in turn are elected directly by the people). The Parliament is responsible for enacting the Central legislation. Difference between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha:

Members of Lok Sabha are directly elected by the eligible voters. Members of Rajya Sabha are elected by

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the elected members of State Legislative Assemblies in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. The normal life of every Lok Sabha is 5 years only while Rajya Sabha is a permanent body. Lok Sabha is the House to which the Council of Ministers is responsible under the Constitution. Money Bills can only be introduced in Lok Sabha. Also it is Lok Sabha, which grants the money for running the administration of the country. Rajya Sabha has special powers to declare that it is necessary and expedient in the national interest that Parliament may make laws with respect to a matter in the State List or to create by law one or more all-India services common to the Union and the States.

A similar structure exists in the States, where the head of the Executive is the Governor, who is appointed by the President of India. The Council of Ministers is headed by the Chief Ministers is headed by the Chief Minister and is responsible to the State Legislature (Legislative Assembly). The people of each State elect the Legislative Assembly, which performs functions similar to those performed by Parliament. The Constitution of India has clearly demarcated the powers of the Centre and the States in the form of three lists- the union, state and concurrent lists. The Centre and State governments pass legislation on subjects under the union and state lists respectively. However, for subjects on the concurrent list, where both Centre and the States can enforce laws, the decision making powers of the Centre supersede those of the States. India is a secular country with no official religion. The Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to the people, including freedom of speech, occupation and religion. Judiciary: India has a well-developed independent judiciary. The

Supreme Court, the apex judicial authority, is vested with powers to enforce fundamental rights and act as a guardian of the Constitution. Further, the Supreme Court also has the power to adjudicate disputes between the Center and the States or between States. The judiciary, can and does overrule the Government and enforce the Constitution. Apart from the Supreme Court, the Indian judicial system has High Courts in every State, and lower courts at the town levels. Fast - India is the largest democracy in the world. - India is a secular country with no official religion. India's Law and Order India's enduring legal institutions, which are deep-rooted in the principles of democracy and justice, ensure a transparent, predictable and secure environment for business and foreign investment. One might tend to think that India has rampant Crime and Corruption problems, but facts speak a little differently. Corruption Corruption in India might still be rampant and people (mostly those in government) and embarrassing stinks like the Volker scandal, continue to be on the take. But to everybody’s surprise, Corruption Perception Index, a survey released by Transparency International, an anti-corruption watchdog, said corruption has decreased marginally in India and it has ranked the country 88th among 159 nations. The survey is not just limited to the monetary value of petty corruption. It also includes public services and states. Corrupt Countries of the World (19 October 2005) Source: Transparency International's Corruption Perception Ranking of 159 countries Facts:

Most CorruptScore (out of Countries rank 10) Bangladesh 158 1.7 Chad 158 1.7 Turkmenistan 157 1.8 Haiti 156 1.8 Myanmar 155 1.8 Pakistan 144 2.1 Afghanistan 117 2.5 Nepal 117 2.5 India 88 2.9 China 78 3.2 Sri Lanka 78 3.2 Least CorruptScore (out of Country Countries rank 10) USA 17 7.6 UK 11 8.6 Netherlands 11 8.6 Iceland 9.75 Finland 9.75 New Zealand9.75 Singapore 9.75 Country Crime At least 8 million people are being held in prisons and jails around the world, more than half of them in the United States, China and Russia. Worldwide Prison Statistics (May 2001): Sources: Worldwatch Institute, US Bureau of Justice & Britain's Home Office Research Rates of Highest imprisonment per Rates 100,000 population Russia 687 USA 682 Ukraine 413

S. Africa 321 Uzbekista 258 n 115 Canada 109 China 95 Turkey 90 France Rates of Lowest imprisonment per Rates 100,000 population Japan 39 Banglade 37 sh 29 Nepal 24 India 20 Indonesia Note - Fortune magazine and US Department of Justice peg US incarceration rate at 481 per 100,000 residents In absolute numbers too, USA, China and Russia each have atleast six times more prisoners than India.

Arts and Craft of India India is a land abundant in raw materials that have lent themselves to the creative hands of the Indian craftsmen. From expensive materials like ivory, gems and marble; to cheaper ones like clay, cane and bamboo and wood, Indian handicrafts have an amazingly captivating beauty. Another thrilling factor is the numerous processes that these materials go through before they take final shape. Processes like the 'chikan' work and 'phulkari and bagh' work on cloth; certain types of polishing and metal casting or even the filigree work on metals is unique to Indian art.

Indian art and crafts are truly fascinating; it is incredible how ancient practices and traditions have continued since time immemorial. The history of India is a story of unbroken traditions that have continued for over 5000 years. For centuries, Indian handicrafts have been distinguished for their aesthetic and functional value. Indian art has been influenced by many factors, mainly religious, political and social. India is a land of immense diversity. Various traditions, rituals, geographic and climatic conditions, lifestyles and cultures have given birth to numerous styles and designs. It has gradually evolved with the evolution of the civilization. Techniques have been experimented and perfected upon through centuries. Indian art features spiral and curvaceous lines, vines and tendrils, round figured women, circular amulets, colored gemstones, arches and domes, haloed deities, crescent moons and the sun. Nature has been very inspiring in this case, and Indian art has borrowed freely from it. These crafts remained coveted and the skills were handed over from generation to generation. The arts of India expressed in architecture, sculpture, painting, jewelry, pottery, metalwork, and textiles, were spread throughout the Far East with the diffusion of Buddhism and Hinduismand exercised a strong influence on the arts of China, Japan, Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, and Java. Early Period Examples of the 3rd millennium BC from the Indus Valley, found among the remains of the burnt-brick buildings of Mohenjo-Daro, include alabaster and marble figures, terracotta figurines of nude goddesses, terra-cotta and faience representations of animals, a copper model of a cart, and numerous square seals of ivory and of faience showing animals and pictographs. The similarity of these objects to Mesopotamian work in subject matter and stylized form

indicates an inter-relationship of the two cultures and a possible common ancestry. In Vedic and later times, from the 2nd millennium to the 3rd century BC, connections with Middle Eastern culture are not evident. An example of the earlier phase of this period is a 9th-century BC gold figurine of a goddess, found at Lauriya Nandangarh. Later, from 600 BC to historical times, common examples include finely polished and ornamented stone disks and coins representing many kinds of animals and religious symbols. The various forms of art included: Temple Sculptures Mostly produced in stone, clay, ivory, copper, and gold in the Hindu, Budhist and Jain temples. Painting Like the remarkable Buddhist murals in rock-cut shrines in Ajanta; the painting in the Jogimara cave at Orissa; Jain Palava paintings; murals at Ellora; Rajput paintings and Mughal paintings. Jewelry, Pottery and Textiles Valued for their royal patronage, besides artistic excellence, these artistic pieces are a culmination of exquisite workmanship and artistic perception. Flawlessly crafted using different raw materials and designs, with great attention invested on intricacy and detail, they are matchless in beauty and range. Coming in different range and variety, with exclusive styles and execution, their beauty is awesome. Beauty The spark of creativity was there since the beginning of civilization in India. The immortality of the handicrafts and arts of India maybe attributed to their ability to captivate the beholder. An inspiring range of products are available from timeless creations, which include crafts in wood, papier mache, wood, metal, glass and a variety of other materials.

They have remained coveted for their ability to transform homes into absolute places of beauty. From geometric designs to floral to images of gods and goddesses are included. Wall hangings are symbol of welcome and hospitality in the Indian context, besides whetting the craving for the aesthetic. Indian Music Music is the soul of the cosmos. It is found everywhere from the rustling of the trees, to the playful streams to the pitterpatter of the raindrops. Indian music in particular, is one of the oldest and finest forms of human passions like agony, ecstasy, sorrow, hope, desire etc. Indian music has strong connections with religious traditions and faiths. Origin of music, in India, is traced to the shabdha brahma, Om. The Vedas, representing the most ancient literature known to the world, are set to a distinctive melody that is absolutely soothing. In India, music has been categorized by the scriptures into two major streams known as the margi (classical) and the desi (folk). Indian Classical Music Indian classical music is complex and rich with direct emotional appeal. The origins of classical music can be traced to the Natya Shastra (Dhrupad - 4th century BC), a Sanskrit treatise on drama, which encompasses music as well.Dhrupad developed as a part of worship in temples and various rituals such as yajnas. Dhrupad has four distinct gharanas or schools namely, Gudiya Govarhar, Khandar, Dagar and Nauhar. Two classical traditions started to diverge only around 14th Century A.D: Hindustani in north India and Karnataka (Carnatic) in the south. Both traditions derive inspiration from the indigenous bhakti ("devotional") movements. Both systems are essentially monophonic (consisting of

unharmonized melody); employ a drone (one or more notes sustained against a melody); and are modal—that is, the melody line, which may either be composed in advance or improvised, is based on one of several hundred traditional melody matrices called raga. The fundamental elements of both Hindustani and Carnatic classical music are raaga and taala. Raga (melody) is India's contribution to the world of music. A highly scientific and practical scheme of raga classification introduced by Venkatamahi became the foundation for Indian classical music. The seven notes called sapta svaras of Indian classical music are Sa (Shadjam), ri (Rishabham), ga (Gaandhaaram), Ma (M adhyamam), Pa (Panchamam), dha(Dhaivatam) and ni (Nishaadham). A raaga is a scale of notes and melody is the aural form or the tune from the scale of notes. The other fundamental element of Classical music taala, is the rythm or the time-measure. Taalas always occur in cyclic pattern. Tala thus involves both a quantitative element (time units or counts) and a qualitative element (accent or stress). The basic building blocks for taala are angas. Various combinations of these angas give rise to various taalas. There are 35 principal taalas. The most common taala is the Adi (first, foremost) taala. Though they have similar origins and source, according to ancient scripts, they seem distinct. Carnatic music is kritibased and saahitya (lyric) oriented, while Hindustani music emphasises the musical structure and the possibilities in it. In western classical Piano one octave consists of 12 notes, whereas in Indian classical music the same consists of 22 notes or shrutis. Svara is generally defined as a note whereas a shruti is the microtonal intervals between twosvaras. The svaras in Hindustani music have a different nomenclature in comparison to Carnatic music. The 12 notes are called Shadja, Komal Rishabha, Shuddha Rishabha,

Fast Facts: - Indian music is one of theoldest and finest forms of human expression. - Raga (melody) is India's contribution to the world of music. Indian cinema has come a long way from the shaky flickering images and grating noises and sounds to a very sophisticated state-of-the-art technology for creation and projection of image and sound track. India's film business was $2.1 billion in 2006, as per PWC and FICCI. The people's lifestyle and sociology have been reflected in the mind-boggling number of 27,000plus feature films and thousands of documented short films in 52 different languages making it the largest and most fascinating film producing country in the world -- a phenomenon which the world cannot ignore. Ramoji Film City, outside Hyderabad (AP) is the biggest film single center in the world for making films, outside of the US. The Indian film industry is the largest in the world in terms of the number of films produced annually (1,091 feature films and over 1,200 short films were released in the year 2006 alone). In contrast, 473 films were produced in the US in 2003 (India produced 877 movies in 2003). Movie tickets in India are among the cheapest in the world. India accounts for 73% of movie admissions in the AsiaPacific region, and earnings are estimated at US$2.9 billion for 2007. The industry is mainly supported by the vast cinema-going Indian public. The Central Board of Film Certification of India cites on its website that every three months an audience as large as India's billion-strong population visits cinema halls.

Indian films are popular in various parts of the world, especially in countries with significant Indian communities. The most important trend for the Indian entertainment industry is that the number of Indians scattered around the world are numbering close to the affluent population back in India. And as entertainment becomes a strong ethnic bond for Indians in alien lands, theatre owners, TV/cable channel operators, event managers are all hankering for Indian entertainment products. Brief History of Indian Cinema Legacy In 1886 the Lumiere Brothers Cinematographe unveiled six soundless short films at Bombay's Watson's Hotel. Soon after, Hiralal Sen and H.S. Bhatavdekar started making films in Calcutta and Bombay, respectively. Bhatavdekar made India's first actuality films in 1899. Though there were efforts at filming stage plays earlier, India's first feature film Raja Harishchandra was made in 1913 by Dadasaheb Phalke (the Father of Indian Cinema). By 1920 there was a regular industry bringing out films starting with 27 per year and reaching 207 films in 1931 to about 1000 feature films in 1999. Talkies: Alam Ara (1931) was the genesis of the talkie feature films. The film's popular Hindustani dialogues and seven songs made it a big hit which resulted in other filmmakers to raise the number of songs in their films till it reached a whooping 71 in "Indrasabha". Film songs became a Pan-Indian phenomenon. Regional culture and craving to see-hear a film in one's own language caused the mushrooming of the regional film industries beginning with Bengali, Tamil & Telugu followed by Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Assamese, English and several other dialects.

Golden Era The post independence period saw the golden era of Indian cinema with melodious socials & melodramas. The first International recognition came with Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali(1955), Aparajito (1956), and Apur Sansar (1958). Satyajit Ray is considered as one of the greatest directors of all times. He was awarded an Oscar for life time achievement shortly before his death in 1995. The 70's saw the birth of the parallel cinema which promoted realistic cinema. At around the same time was born the long lasting trend on the angry young man pitted against the Establishment as represented by Amitabh Bachchan, the superstar of the Indian Film Industry. Amitabh Bachchan was virtually a one man industry and this trend lasted till the late eighties. The Advent of the Video and Cable Television in the late 80's resulted in a dip in the box office collections but the industry managed with a force, few people had expected. Current scenario: The 90's saw the Indian Cinema come to a full circle withHum Aapke Hain Kaun turning out to be the biggest grosser ever by crossing Rs. 1 billion. Much of the action in this movie is centering around music. Although the prerecorded cassette market is growing at a slower pace of 7 to 8 per cent annually, that for Hindi film music, an estimated Rs 3 billion a year market, is growing by 25 to 30 per cent. The "mast mast" music from Mohra is reported to have sold 6 million cassettes, while actual sales were probably more. The time is not far when the same recording studios which are dubbing Jurassic Park in Hindi and Aladdin in Tamil, will be dubbing Indian movies in foreign languages for the South Europeans, the Latin Americans, the Africans or the South Asians.

International Film Festival of India This festival is oldest motion-picture festival in Asia, and an important forum for international cinema. Although the International Film Festival of India was founded in 1952, nine years passed before the second festival took place (1961) and four years passed before each of the next two events (1965 and 1969). The festival was not held again until 1976 in Bombay. Since then, the festival, with its unique cycle of locations, has taken place every January. While the festival is best known for its extensive survey of Indian cinema (all films are subtitled in English) and its Third World Women's Film Program, each year it also features a selection of more than 100 films from around the world and exhaustive coverage of a particular national cinema. In addition, it offers retrospective showcases of films by master filmmakers from India and abroad; for example, the 1984 festival presented films by Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, Polish director Andrzej Wajda, Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, and German directorVolker Schlöndorff. The festival nonetheless attracts thousands of local attendees and remains a favorite among filmmakers who understand the importance of festivals in marketing new work. It has become a crucial venue for American and European film promoters seeking to attract Indian and Southeast Asian buyers and distributors. Fast Facts: - India is the largest and most fascinating film producer in the world. - Indian film industry is more than 100 years old. - Satyajit Ray was awarded the life-time achievement award at the Oscars in 1995. - India makes more than2,000 movies each year.

What is Yoga? Loosely translated, Yoga means "to yoke or join together" - it is the practice of unifying the individual consciousness or inner Self (jivatman) with with the Universal consciousness. This occurs when the mind is silenced and we merge into the unlimited, boundless and timeless state of Universal consciousness. Astanga Yoga is the name given to the system of Yoga codified in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. It is a codified system of personal Self development which ultimate leads to the awakened state of bliss. In our normal state of consciousness we identify through our egos. This level of identification is limited because the ego is a limited separate entity. It gives us a sense of "I" that is distinct and separate from everything else. As a result, ego level identification leaves us feeling separate - isolated - and small. The ego focuses our identity onto our physical body, our thoughts, our feelings, our status and our possessions etc. For example, we feel happy when we are in a good mood, when our relationships are going well, when we get promoted or when we buy an new car. But these external states or objects that the ego identifies with are inherently unstable and must change. For example: the physical body must eventually die, we eventually retire and loose our work status, our possessions age, we can loose our fortune or our relationships. As a result, when we become sick or, when our relationships or work are a problem, we feel contracted and insecure. Because the ego identifies with the physical body it also lives in constant fear of death - death of the body seems like death of the ego self .... and it is. The ego tries to overcome this fear by increasing it's power and status in the outside world. But the more it gathers power, status and material

property the more it feels insecure. This occurs because the more we have the more there is too loose. The higher our status the further we have to fall. Yoga provides us with a way out of this ego driven, contracted, isolated and fear driven life. The rewards are a sense of total connection (vs. isolation), a sense of expansiveness (vs. contraction), a sense of peace and security (vs. stress and insecurity), a sense of timelessness (vs. time bound), and sense of love for everything (vs. fear of death) How does this work? An analogy - Consider for a moment what it feels like when you fall in love with someone new. Life feels wonderful - you feel full of energy and enthusiasm for life. You feel expanded and that you can accomplish anything - in other words you feel boundless. When you are with our loved one time seems to stand still. What has happened to make you feel this state of bliss? It is simple you have expanded your sense of self. You have collapsed your ego's boundaries and merged with your loved one. Unfortunately, as we all know, this state of bliss which accompanies new love subsides. The question is, when and how does it subside? It subsides when you start to feel separate again and you start focusing on your own needs. Your boundaries contract and you feel small, isolated and contracted once again - "self centred". Yoga is the science of shifting us permanently away from our isolated contracted ego state to the permanently expanded and unbound state of connectedness, love and bliss. Yoga is the practice of expansion - of shifting our identity from the limited, time bound, separate and externally focused ego to an identity with the unlimited, timeless, all encompassing and totally connecting Universal consciousness which is who we truly are. This requires a fundamental shift of focus from the outside world to the inside world. We accomplish this by learning to control that part of our mind which focuses on the outside world and by strengthening, refocusing and

sharpening that part of our mind which can focus inside. Yoga has identified and codified a set of practices which teach us how to do this. Yoga has a view about the way the mind is structured and functions. It is from this knowledge of the mind and its workings that the various limbs of yoga were developed as a way for practitioners to understand and control the mind. The structure and function of the mind Ego - ahamkara provides a sense of separate self identity or "I" ness through which the mind works. It also introduces the idea of ownership.The ego focuses on outside world for a sense individual self identity. This keeps us focused on the past (the ego's sense of self is always based on our personal history) which is a state of "deep sleep". In this state we are ignorant of real truth and our real Selves. This state is called TAMASIC. Mind - manas - emotional / sensate outer mind. The Mind connects us to the outside world through our senses and controls our activity in the outside world through the organs of action. Its action is like the stomach in the physical body. It collects our experience but cannot digest it, interpret it, or place a value on it. Its functions include volition, imagination and sensory control. The mind focuses on the outside world as action. This keeps us focused on the future and in the world of imagination, "doing" and trying to become which is a "dream" state. This state is called RAJASIC Intelligence - buddhi. Our Intelligence digests the input received from the outer mind and places a sense of value on it. This intelligence can either be focused on understanding the outer world of form and name or the inner world of wisdom and truth. Its function is like that of the small intestine in the physical body. It is also that part of the mind which can shed light on our deep held beliefs, feelings, habits and fears which are stored in our inner mind. It's functions include perception, discrimination and reason.Buddhi focuses the outside world

as intellect or outer knowledge and On the inside world as intelligence or inner knowledge. It brings us into an awakened state of the present where we can access true knowledge and wisdom (as opposed to being in the past and future). This state is called SATTVIC Consciousness - chitta inner mind. This part of the mind is like the physical body of the mind. It absorbs and stores the output from the intelligence. It is the storehouse of our deepest seated beliefs, feelings, habits and fears. It is the inner mind. Its functions include memory, sleep and bliss. Here the focus is onLove and our deepest inner desires - our instincts and intuition. Inner Self - Jiva AtmanSelf awareness - the sense of our self as part of the timeless, unbounded Universal consciousness rather than as the limited, contracted and time based ego.The focus here is on Self realisation, Pure Knowledge and the eternal present. It is a state of pure "being" or "sat". Understanding the structure of the mind is fine but what keeps it working? - what keeps us alive or anything else alive for that matter? Yoga realises that the Universe is based on the principal of energy. This energy is called prana or Shakti . The Chinese call this same energy Chi and the Japanese call it Ki. Prana underlies all life and movement in the Universe. It is the driving force behind our minds, our bodies and the operation of the whole Universe. It leaves our physical bodies when we die. Because prana controls the mind and Yoga is a process of mind control, it follows that building and controlling prana is a very important aspect of Yoga. Yoga also focuses strongly on the physical body. We need a pure healthy body to live fully and practice yoga. When we are weak and sick our minds become unfocussed and scattered. A strong foundation is the key to spiritual growth our capacity to expand upwards is dependant on the strength and integrity of our roots.

Fast - Yoga originated in India. - It is one of India's greatestspiritual gift to mankind Success stories

Facts:

There are several success stories involving people from India and associated to India as well, and this section will be an ever-evolving one. The most prominent examples the world has seen are Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore (1913 Nobel Prize in Literature), CV Raman (1930 Nobel prize for Raman effect), JC Bose's discovery of microwaves by 1895, and numerous other scientists and technicians like Dr Abdul Kalam, unfortunately all of whom cannot be mentioned. Other achievements included:
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India developed Geometric theorems in 600 BC, much before Pythagoras By 1500 BC, Indians used figures like square, circle, rectangle, angles, triangle, fractions and also numbers to the 10th and 12th power, algebraic formulae and astronomy and metaphysics. India was using numerals by 400 AD and zero by 600 AD Grammar (Panini's) originated in India in the 4th century BC. Originated in India - Pharmacology, brain surgery, medicine, artificial colors and glazes, metallurgy, recrystallization, chemistry, textile production, hydraulic engineering, water powered devices, etc.

Sadly, today the only way to rank success is on the basis of financial achievements. Members of Forbes magazine's annual ranking of India's 40 richest businesspeople are worth a collective $170 billion, up from $106 billion last year, as of 16 November 2006. India's top ten, worth $112 billion, account for two-thirds of that wealth. The rankings include 36 billionaires, nine more than last year. India's hot stock

market, up 39% this year, and its robust real estate market helped swell most fortunes. The most prominent Indians, as they appear in Forbes 500 All figures in US Dollars (Billion) As of 9 January/ 16 November 2006 Ran k Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Lakshmi Mittal* Mukesh Ambani* Anil Ambani* Azim Premji* Kushal Pal Singh Sunil Mittal Kumar Birla Tulsi Tanti Pallonji Mistry Anurag Dikshit Shiv Nadar Shashi & Ravi Ruia Adi Godrej Anil Agarwal Dilip Shanghvi Naresh Goyal Indu Jain Venugopal Dhoot Malvinder Shivinder Singh Rahul Bajaj Net Worth $ Age City 25.00 11.50 9.3 9.0 5.00 4.90 4.40 3.70 3.30 3.10 3.00 2.70 2.30 2.10 2.00 1.90 1.70 1.60 &1.55 1.50 55 49 47 61 74 48 38 47 76 60 62 63 52 50 56 52 London Mumbai Mumbai Bangalor e Delhi Delhi Mumbai Pune Mumbai Delhi Mumbai Mumbai London Mumbai Mumbai Mumbai

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NA Delhi NA Delhi 67 Pune

Note: The top 4 rankers are as of 16 November 2006 (Forbes magazine) The net worth changes with stock market fluctuations. As of 8 November 2005, three Indian business-women have made it to the Fortune magazine's list of 50 World’s most powerful women in international business. 52-year-old Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman and Managing Director, Biocon was ranked 44 in the list. ICICI Bank Executive Director Chanda Kochhar, 43, has been ranked 47. The third Indian women in the list is Vidya Chhabria, Chairman of the Jumbo Group, is at 49. Fast Facts: - Over a hundred Indians are worth over millions of dollars around the world. - Three Indians rank amongst the 500 richest Americans. Classical Dances of India Dance and music are an integral part of Indian life. The body is used most beautifully as a medium of communication to express the various moods and emotions most effectively. TheNatya Shastra, written by Bharatha around fourth century BC, is the source of all forms of Indian classical dance. It is regarded as the fifth Veda. The uniqueness of Indian classical dances is that they are all devotional in content. Brahma, the supreme Creator, is believed to have created Natya by taking literature from theRig Veda, songs from Sama Veda, abhinaya or expression from Yajur Veda and rasa or aesthetic experience from Atharva Veda. It speaks in great detail of the different kinds of postures, facial expressions, mudra or hand expressions, and the attire and ornaments to be used. All dance forms are structured around the nine rasa or emotions. They are hasya(happiness), shoka (sorrow), krodha (anger), karun

a (compassion), bhibasta (disgust),adhbhuta (wonder) bhaya (fear), viram (courage) and shanta (serenity). All dance forms follow the same hand movements, with variation creeping in due to local demands. Folk dances have gained more popularity, as they are easier to understand and perform. They do not require the skill and expertise of a classical dance performer. They are performed by the rural folk and are extremely enjoyable. Almost every village has its folk dances. These are performed on festivals, ceremonies etc. All night dance dramas are popular throughout India and mark all major festivals. Bharatha Natyam This dance is the oldest of the classical dance forms, and its origins can be traced to Bharatha's Natya Shastra. It is a highly traditional and stylized dance form. Strict about the techniques used in performing it disallows any kind of innovations except in the repertoire and forms of presentation. Kathak Kathak finds its roots in katha- story. A band of story-tellers, attached to temples in Northern India, narrated stories from Indian epics. Later they added mime and gesture to their recitation. With the advent of the Muslims, it was brought out of the temples and in to the courts of the rulers. Kathakali It is one of the most refined and most scientific dance forms of Kerala. This art demands complete control over practically every fibre of the body. Kathakali draws heavily from drama and is danced with elaborate masks and costumes. The stories for attakathas, the verse text for Kathakali piece are selected from epics and mythologies. Kuchipudi This dance drama of Andhra Pradesh is the corresponding style of the Bhagvata Mela Nataka of Tamil Nadu. Except

that the emphasis is on the animation, the grammar is derived from the Natya Shastra. Manipuri Manipuri is the dance form of Manipur and is inextricably woven into the life of the people of the state. The dance form is mostly ritualistic, and has still preserved the dance drama technique, which draws heavily from the rich lore of the legend and mythology. Mohiniyattam This dance form too belongs to the Devadasi dance heritage, like Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi and Odissi. The word 'mohini' literally means the maiden who steals the hearts of men. It is essentially a solo dance. Odissi This is also based on the Natya Sashtra and it can be traced back to 2nd Century BC., when the Jain king Shastra ruled. The present Odissi is a solo form. Its technique is built round a basic motif in which the human bodies takes the thrice deflected (tribhanga) position of Indian sculpture. Yaksha Gana This belongs to Karnataka and has a rural origin. It is an blend of dance and drama. Its heart lies in 'Gana' meaning music. The language is Kannada and the themes are based on Hindu epics. The costumes are almost akin to the Kathakali dance costumes and the style too seems to have drawn inspiration from it. As prescribed in the Natya Shastra, it has the Sutra Dhara (conductor) and the Vidhushaka (the jester). Chakiarkoothu This form is performed only by the menbers of the Chakiar caste. A highly orthodox type of entertainment, it can be staged inside temples only and witnessed by the Hindus of the higher castes.

Among the various dance forms are Krishnanattam and Ottanthullal. Folk Dances of India

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Folk dances vary according to the region and sub-cultures. Puppet dances/ drama are also dominant in Indian folklore. In some places puppets are so highly regarded that actors study how to move like puppets.Fold dances have no specfic grammar. They fit in with the scheme of festivals in each region. Entertainment No other country exists on earth which offers such a dazzling array of Entertainment choices as India does! In India, entertainment encompasses a wide plethora of options. Right from cinema (the largest of its kind in the world) to television (amongst the fastest growing in the world) to soothing music (the most diverse in the world) to awesome festivals (richest in culture) and richestpossible food and finally its fanatical devotion to sports like cricket. Travel in India constitutes a major componenet of Indian leisure and entertainment industry. India offers mindboggling variety for travel from highest mountain ranges of the world to serene beaches to historical forts, palaces and temples to beautiful deserts. Exotic forestsand national parks in India are uncomparable in the world. Scenic hill-stations (mountain resorts) still remain popular Indian travel hot-spots. Music Music in India is as rich as can be. Music in India is a means for spiritual exploration, a path of realisation, in addition to deriving aesthetic entertainment.

Be it classical or the folk or the modern Indian pop-bhangra, Indian music reflects Indian life, having no predetermined beginning or end, but flowing uninterrupted through the composer-performer. The purpose of Indian music is to refine one's soul, discipline one's body, to make one aware of the infinite within one, to unite one's breath with that of space and one's vibrations with that of the cosmos. The basic tenets of classical music have been laid down by numerous ancient texts. The classical music is not preconceived but pre-written. While the underlying notes are pre-written, within the framework of the rules governing the raaga, the musician has complete freedom to exercise full imagination and creativity. In tribal societies, from birth to death, songs, dances and musical instruments are used to mark every occasion. The origins of classical music are also traced back to tribal tunes and songs. The music of India is a mosaic of different genres and levels of sophistication. At one extreme, classical music is performed in the urban concert halls for purely artistic reasons, and, at the other, many kinds of functional rural music accompany life-cycle and agricultural rites. In between are many other musical genres of different regions of the country, reflecting the diversity of its peoples, their lifestyles, and their languages. Indian literature is generally believed to be the oldest in the world. With vast cultural diversities, there are around two dozen officially recognized languages in India. Over thousands of years, huge literature has been produced in various languages in India. It is to be noted that a large part of Indian literature revolves around devotion, drama, poetry and songs. Sanskrit language dominated the early Indian literary scene whereas languages like Prakrit and Pali too had fair share as they were the languages of the common people.

It is interesting to note that the Hindu literary traditions have dominated a large part of Indian culture. These traditions are well reflected in great works like Vedas and epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. Treatises like Vaastu Shastra (architecture), Arthashastra (political science) and Kamsutra are true reflection of the Indian literary excellence. Early Hindi literature, in dialects like Avadhi and Brai, began around religious and philosophical poetry in medieval period. Sant Kabir and Tulsidas were the greatest exponents of the Hindi literature during this period. With the passage of time, the Khadi boli (dialect) became more prominent and saw a great upsurge, which continues to this day. During the medieval period, Muslim literary traditions dominated a large part of Indian literature and saw flourishing of Muslim literature. Muslim rule during the medieval times saw rapid growth and development of Persian and Urdu literature in India. A huge variety of literature spanning across history, culture and politics was written in this period. With the coming of the British in India, works started to be written in English language. As more and more Indians became well versed with the English language, the number of works in English literature began to grow. During the contemporary times, numerous Indian authors have made their mark on the world English literature scene. Some of the most noted Indian born or Indian writers are R. K. Narayan, Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Amitav Ghosh, Khushwant Singh, Anita Desai and Jhumpa Lahiri. Vedas Perhaps the earliest written records of Indian civilization are contained in the holy Vedas. The Vedas are considered to be the literary records of the entire Aryan race. The Hindu Vedas are divided into four major groups:

These four Vedas contain a priceless treasure of knowledge. This Vedic literature is aimed at not just sacred rituals, but also at attaining higher levels of understanding about survival, life and death. The word Veda is derived from the word "Vid" which literally means, "Root". Thus, Vedas basically contain root knowledge about the essentials of life. The oldest of the four Vedas is the Rig Veda that contains sacred hymns that represent the ancient Hindu thoughts and philosophies, dating back to a period around 1500-1000 B.C. The Rig Veda is a storehouse of knowledge about self, attaining Moksha, the theory of self-sacrifice, etc. The Yajur Veda has information regarding the various methods of performing sacred rituals and rites. It is a manual of performing these sacred ceremonies to attain the maximum benefit of the ceremony. The Sama Veda consists of most hymns from the Rig Veda that are supposed to be sung instead of just being recited. The last and the fourth of all the Vedas, the Atharva Veda is a collection of hymns that speak of a different aspect of human society. The diverse hymns contained in the Atharva Veda speak about the dark side of science and other religious practices. The Upanishads also a part of the Holy Scriptures, though not a part of Vedas. The Upanishads contain teachings of ancient sages and mystics. You shall find information on these topics in our related sections. AtharvaVeda Often called the fourth and the last Veda, the Atharva Veda is different from all the other three Vedas. Though the classical Atharva Veda is related to religious and sociocultural aspects of the society, it dwells on an entirely different level of knowledge. The hymns that are contained in Atharvaveda are more diverse in nature and character than the ones in Rig Veda. Rigveda Of all Vedic scriptures, Rigveda is the oldest existing script.

Classical Rigveda is the basis of all other Vedas and it contains of a vast variety of hymns, some of which date back to almost 2000 B.C. The Rig Veda is the oldest book in Sanskrit or any other Indo-European languages. Sama Veda Sama Veda consists of a collection of hymns and sacred texts that are supposed to be sung instead of just being recited. In classical Sama Veda, the hymns are sung in praise of God and are basically religious and philosophical in nature. The hymns of Samaveda are derived from the Rig Veda and thus impart the lessons of the Rig Veda. Yajur Veda If one has to know about Yajur Veda in simple terms, it basically talks about the various steps by which religious rituals should be performed. It is a step-by-step guide about the right way of performing religious ceremonies and sacred rituals. The word Yajur Veda is a combination of two words, "Yajus" meaning sacrifice and "Veda" meaning knowledge. But when one dwells deeper into the meaning of classical Yajur Veda, one finds that it has much deeper significance than just being a book of rituals. Sanskrit Literature India is a land of rich classical heritage. The land of many great thinkers and writers, our collection of literature in Sanskrit is priceless. Known as the mother of many languages, Sanskrit is abundant in the treasure of literature. Many people think of Sanskrit in terms of chants, hymns and verses. Not many know the vast collection of poetry, drama, stories and even epics in Sanskrit literature. Sanskrit language literature is a very broad category that requires elaborate understanding of this varied language. In our related sections, you shall find information about various Sanskrit epics, plays and major Sanskrit pioneers of India. With time, the definition of classical Sanskrit literature has

also changed. It used to be primarily a source of gaining knowledge and was used a lot during religious rituals. Now, Sanskrit has become a language that is solely seen upon as an entity for entertainment. People follow Sanskrit to amuse themselves rather than gain knowledge. People may go to see plays or listen to legendary folklores in Sanskrit with the sole aim of entertaining themselves. Priests who perform religious rituals use pure Sanskrit in India. Though attempts are being made to revive this ancient language in India, it will be a long time before people realize the value of this ancient language in the contemporary world. As we progress by leaps and bounds in the 21st Century, we fail to value some of the most important things of life. More often than not, they form the backbone of our progress and give us our own identity in this era of globalization. This ancient classical language is a plethora of knowledge that is useful even in this century. We only need to use it judiciously in the right way and it is never too late to learn. Classical Sanskrit Literature Sanskrit literature came into being with the making of Vedas and left a rich legacy of literary knowledge for the times to come. However, the language of the Vedas differs from the language used in poetry and drama. Classical Sanskrit literature is found to be in vogue when it comes to writing poetry and dance dramas. Sanskrit Drama The combination of different genres of drama and Sanskrit resulted in a unique amalgamation that gave us the literary treasure of Sanskrit dramas and Sanskrit plays. The famous dramatists of Sanskrit literature were Kalidasa, Bhasa, Shudraka and Asvaghosa who gave us many famous Sanskrit plays. Sanskrit Poetry Sanskrit poetry is a vast treasure of knowledge that gives us immense information about ancient thoughts and principles.

Some of the best works in ancient Sanskrit literature are in the form of Sanskrit poems. Some of the most famous and respected poets have given us the treasure of poetry in Sanskrit. Indian Epics India is the land of famous mythologies and folklores. Some of the greatest works of ancient classical literature are found here. The two famous works that are synonymous to epic literature of India are Ramayana and Mahabharata. These two classical epics of India are written in ancient Sanskrit and present the most common ideals of human civilization that seem to have gone down the drain in the modern times. Sanskrit Poets Sanskrit has its roots deeply embedded in our culture. It is further glorified by the famous Sanskrit writers who wrote masterpieces in classical Sanskrit thus giving the language a very prestigious place in the cultural heritage of India. Sanskrit poets of India are an integral and inseparable part of the historical and cultural legacy of this country. Vedas These four Vedas contain a priceless treasure of knowledge. This Vedic literature is aimed at not just sacred rituals, but also at attaining higher levels of understanding about survival, life and death. The word Veda is derived from the word "Vid" which literally means, "Root". Sanskrit Drama The combination of different genres of drama and Sanskrit resulted in a unique amalgamation that gave us the literary treasure of Sanskrit dramas and Sanskrit plays. The famous dramatists of Sanskrit literature were Kalidasa, Bhasa, Shudraka and Asvaghosa who gave us many famous Sanskrit plays. With the revival of Sanskrit theater in modern times, these Sanskrit plays are gaining much popularity

again among Sanskrit scholars and theater enthusiasts. Given here are some famous Sanskrit plays that are worth a read. Abhijnanasakuntalam Abhijnanasakuntalam is a beautiful tale of love and romance and how one moment can make or break a relation. Written by one of the greatest poets of India, Shakuntalam Kalidasa is synonymous to its author, Kalidasa. Malavikagnimitram The first play composed by the great poet Kalidasa is Malavikagnimitram. Often it is called Kalidasa Malavikagnimitram, as an honor to Kalidasa. This beautiful play of intrigue grips its readers and keeps them glued till the very end. The plot of the play is cleverly constructed and it revolves around the King's love interest who is a maid in the royal palace. Ritusamhara India has always believed in the harmonious relation between man and forces of nature and the importance of each season has been beautifully brought into light by the great poet Kalidasa in Ritu Samhaara, a poem written by him. It can be called the "Medley of Seasons" or "Garland of Seasons". The Ritusamharam has been divided into six main chapters, each chapter describing vividly, the seasons of India. Vikramorvasiyam Written by the most famous poet Kalidasa, Vikramorvasiyam is a play that tells the tale of a mortal king Vikramaditya who is in love with a heavenly damsel, Urvashi. It tells the story of his effort and determination and how he wins the love of the divine nymph, who is supposed to be the most gorgeous heavenly fairy. Out of desperation, the king wanders through dense forests in search of his love. A truly intriguing tale of love and possessiveness, it contains beautiful verses that describe true love.

Mrichakatika Regarded as one of the earliest Indian plays written in Sanskrit, Mrichakatika is a beautiful play by Shudraka. The play is a comedy set in the royal backdrop in which love and mistaken identity play a part. Translated in English, the name means little clay cart. It was written around the Gupta Period in Sanskrit. Natya Shastra Written by the sage Bharata Muni, this beautiful text was written in Sanskrit around 400 B.C. The text contains information on the minutest details that should be taken care of during dance. Thus, it can be said that Natya Shastra is set of rules and regulations that are implemented in fine arts in India. The Natya Shastra is the first known text on dance and it has had a strong impact on classical dance forms in both olden and modern times. Bhasa's Plays Bhasa's plays are generally shorter as compared to other epic poems and plays. This great Sanskrit dramatist lived before Kalidasa and wrote many short plays that are staged even today. Most of his plays were based on the two major epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Most of his plays have graphic depictions of violence, something that was frowned upon by the Natya Shastras. Some of his famous plays are Madhyamavyayogam, Urubhangam, Karnabharam, Pancaratram, among others. Sanskrit Poetry Sanskrit poetry is a vast treasure of knowledge that gives us immense information about ancient thoughts and principles. Some of the best works in ancient Sanskrit literature are in the form of Sanskrit poems. Some of the most famous and respected poets have given us the treasure of poetry in Sanskrit. These poets are synonymous with Sanskrit poetry and most poems are followed by the name of the poet. We

are covering some great works of these poets in our related sections. Read on further to know more about these Sanskrit poems. Kumarasambhavam Anyone interested in the Sanskrit language is sure to know the story of Kumarasambhavam. One of the gems of Sanskrit literature, Kumarasambhava poem is one of the greatest epic poems written by the famous poet Kalidasa. Both the names go hand in hand and the poem is often called Kumarasambhavam Kalidasa. Meghadutam A beautiful piece of literary treasure, the Meghadutam Kalidasa is a short poem of a little over 100 verses. The stanzas are uniform in length of four sentences each. This convenient length makes it a favorite among scholars and translators. The Meghaduta poem is a beautiful work of literary art and the descriptions given in it are so vivid that one visualizes what the poet wants to convey. Ritusamhara India has always believed in the harmonious relation between man and forces of nature and the importance of each season has been beautifully brought into light by the great poet Kalidasa in Ritu Samhaara, a poem written by him. It can be called the "Medley of Seasons" or "Garland of Seasons". The Ritusamharam has been divided into six main chapters, each chapter describing vividly, the seasons of India. Raghuvamsa Raghuvamsa play is a literary magnum opus written by the famous poet Kalidasa. The play is synonymous with the creator and is often called Raghuvamsa Kalidasa. The play basically traces the roots of the great lineage of Lord Rama and his descendants and the great conqueror Raghu. Raghuvamsam basically talks about the valor and strength of the great warrior Raghu.

Indian Epics India is the land of famous mythologies and folklores. Some of the greatest works of ancient classical literature are found here. The two famous works that are synonymous to epic literature of India are Ramayana and Mahabharata. These two classical epics of India are written in ancient Sanskrit and present the most common ideals of human civilization that seem to have gone down the drain in the modern times. The value of truth, the importance of self-sacrifice, etc. that make an able individual are explained in much detail over here. The Indian epics are full of moral teachings and sacred discourses that are relevant in today's life also. Sage Valmiki wrote the Ramayana centuries ago. It tells the story of Lord Rama, who was sent to an exile of 14 years along with his brother and wife. He fights a battle with the demon king Ravana of Lanka who had abducted his wife Sita. The epic is full of morals and thought provoking lines that make you realize the importance of being truthful always and never deter from the path of good. The devotion of each and every character in this epic is commendable and we all have something to learn from this. Our section on Ramayana shall provide you with more information about this epic. The Mahabharata is another famous Indian epic that is a treasure in the Indian epics literature. Written by the famous sage, Ved Vyasa, this epic talks about the importance of following one's assigned duties in life. It talks of deceit, lies and other vices and yet tells how the good always emerges triumphant over the evil. The Mahabharata is a brilliant portrayal of ancient politics and shows the extent to which people can let go off their principles to gain some selfish desires. Read on our section on the Mahabharata to know more about this brilliant epic. Mahabharata

The longest Sanskrit epic ever written, Mahabharata has a collection of more than 74,000 verses, divided into 18 books. The Mahabharata story is much revered in India and basically among the Hindus. The Mahabharata contains the Bhagawad Gita, the famous gospel of duty that was taught to the great warrior, Arjuna by Lord Krishna. Ramayana Ramayana is one of the most read and famous epics of all times. Maharshi Valmiki wrote the Ramayana epic. Every boy and girl in India knows the Ramayana story by heart. Every Hindu has the highest respect for this great epic, which is also given the status of a holy book. Sanskrit Poets Sanskrit has its roots deeply embedded in our culture. It is further glorified by the famous Sanskrit writers who wrote masterpieces in classical Sanskrit thus giving the language a very prestigious place in the cultural heritage of India. Sanskrit poets of India are an integral and inseparable part of the historical and cultural legacy of this country. They are the priceless gems of Sanskrit literature. Sanskrit has influenced many Indian and European languages. These poets have made priceless contribution in making the literature of India flourish. All plays and poetry revolved around love. The main Sanskrit poets of India have been discussed in details in our related sections. Asvaghosa Born in a Brahman family, Asvaghosa was a noted poet and is considered to be instrumental in the spread of Buddhism. He was born in Central India and was a noted philosopher and poet. He was considered as great as Kalidasa. Though a written biography of Asvaghosa does not exist, legends say that he was a strict opponent of Buddhism. Banabhatta A great poet of India, Banabhatta was born around the 7th

century in a village in India. Born in a Brahman family, he was a poor but clever child. Even during his childhood, he showed signs of great potential and finished his education with much dedication and hard work. Bharavi Bharavi was a great Sanskrit poet who wrote one of the greatest classical Sanskrit epics that was hailed as Mahakavya or great poetry. His epic was called Kiratarjuniya or Arjuna and the mountain man. This epic talks of the great warrior Arjuna and his battle with a savage mountain man, who then turns out to be Lord Shiva. Bhasa One of the greatest pioneers of classical Sanskrit drama, Bhasa is said to have lived around 3rd Century A.D. He is one of the earliest known Sanskrit dramatists of ancient India. An Indian scholar, Mahamahopadhyaya Ganapati Sastrigal, rediscovered thirteen of his plays in the year 1912. Kalidasa One of the greatest Sanskrit poets that India has ever had, the life history of Kalidas is absolutely fascinating and interesting. Though the exact time of his fame is not known, it is estimated that he survived around the middle of the 4th or 5th century A.D. This is roughly the period of the reign of the famous Chandragupta Panini There are hardly any written records or biography of Panini as such that have information on the time he was born. It is however estimated that he was born around the 4th, 5th or 6th B.C. Historians differ in these dates as well. It is also said that he was born in Shalatula, near Indus River. This place is now in the present day Pakistan. Valmiki Perhaps the greatest poet India has ever had, the life history of Valmiki is a roller-coaster ride. The variations that this

saint has had in life are beyond anyone's imagination. Born in the Naga clan, the details of Valmiki's life are not very clear as there no written records. He was the author of Ramayana, one of the greatest epics of India. Ved Vyas The life history of Ved Vyas is an interesting one. The author of the great epic Mahabharata, Ved Vyas was the first and greatest acharya of Sanatan Dharma. He is responsible for classifying the four Vedas, wrote the 18 Puranas and recited the great Mahabharata. In fact, the Mahabharata is often called as the fifth Veda.

Classical Sanskrit Literature Sanskrit literature came into being with the making of Vedas and left a rich legacy of literary knowledge for the times to come. However, the language of the Vedas differs from the language used in poetry and drama. Classical Sanskrit literature is found to be in vogue when it comes to writing poetry and dance dramas. This form of classic literature in Sanskrit is a huge contribution in the field of literary knowledge. Sanskrit poetry is different from Vedic poetry. Read on further about literature in classical Sanskrit and check our related sections on Sanskrit plays and Sanskrit poetry. Sanskrit drama evolved as early as 2nd century B.C. Shudraka, the great Sanskrit writer wrote the earliest play in Sanskrit Mricchakatika around this time. The central theme of these dramas and plays used to be based on heroic tales of the protagonist. The Natya Shastra, which was written by Bharata, literally means the Science of Theater. It contained all the essential elements that go into making a successful dance drama. Other famous dramatists are Kalidasa, Bhasa, Asvaghosa, etc. Check our related sections for further information on their works.

Classical Sanskrit poetry is a varied genre and has many forms of poetry in it. The most famous examples of epic poetry are Ramayana and Mahabharata, the two epics that are held in high reverence by Indians. Romantic poetry was given a boost during the time of Kalidasa, the great poet of India. The epics poems can be recited as well as sung. Thus, one can say that classical music also started from classical Sanskrit literature. Classic literature in Sanskrit is indeed a valuable treasure of Indian cultural heritage. Indian English Literature India has a sizable number of populations that have English as either primary or secondary language of communication. This is precisely because India had been a colony of the then British Empire for close to 200 years. Its association with British and hence English is even older. Emperor Jahangir granted William Hawkins permission to trade in India in the year 1608 and that was when English put its first step. In the due course of history, British concluded their conquest of India and spread English language along with the empire. English replaced Persian as the court language in early 19th century and understanding English became a matter of survival for the urban class rather that a matter of pride. As a new block of population started to emerge from the grassroots, English spread its wings. Most of the early exponents of English Literature in India were British though. The likes of George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling and Jim Corbett gave the initial push that was later carried on by several British authors. Rabindra Nath Tagore and Sarojini Naidu who contributed a lot to the English literature initially represented the natives but it was only in mid seventies that a new breed of boarding-school educated, elite brand of English authors started to appear on the radar. These writers gave a much-needed oxygen to English literature with their crisp, tongue-in-cheek and realistic fictions that were read all over the world.

The present condition of Indian English literature is heartening. New crops of English language writers are replacing the old breed and are representing India through their unique writings. Some of them have even won prestigious Booker Award. This has led to a sudden surge in the number of books published in English every year. New breed of English writers are trying to break glass ceiling. They are venturing in to newer genres by refusing to follow dotted lines. With English language becoming part of curriculum, the number of people knowing English language is increasing rapidly in every consecutive census. This is opening newer windows for the Indian English writers to experiment. In present context, with its all pros and cons, the future of English Literature in India looks nothing but bright. History of Indian English History of English language and literature in India starts with the advent of East India Company in India. It all started in the summers of 1608 when Emperor Jahangir, in the courts of Moguls, welcomed Captain William Hawkins, Commander of British Naval Expedition Hector. It was India's first tryst with an Englishman and English. Indian Authors English There is no dearth of Indian authors who write in English language, as of today. But it was not same a century ago. English literature and writing was still in its nascent phase in India and most of the Indian writers were either used to be Indian born British or Britain educated Indians.

Urdu Literature in India Urdu literature is a vast field of immense knowledge and rich literary works by famous poets and writers. Though Hindi and Urdu have the same root, they have developed and evolved on distinct lines. Urdu language literature has

basically drawn much inspiration from Persian literature. Even today, Urdu has many words that belong to Persian, Arabic and Turkish languages. Hindi has drawn inspiration mainly from Sanskrit. A unique blend of all these languages can be found in the literature in Urdu language, which can be called an amalgamation of the richest languages. The vocabulary of Urdu language has an enormous reserve of literary words that are absolutely meaningful and beautiful. The refinement and elegance of Urdu language is due to its rich vocabulary. The most noted poet who gave the first push to Urdu poetry was Amir Khusro, who is still revered today, centuries after his death. His poems are still read with much enthusiasm and compassion by poetry lovers all over the world. The strongest developmental phase of Urdu poetry was during 16th and 17th century that saw the emergence of many famous poets and writers during the Muslim reign in Deccan, Bijapur and Golconda in India. The 18th century saw the refinement of words and many forms of writing like Ghazals, nazms, Doha etc. came into use. The start of 19th century saw the rich works of Urdu being translated into modern Urdu in the Fort William College, Calcutta. The rhyming proses of ancient period also thrived in the early 19th century. The holy book of the Muslims, Quran was translated into Urdu language in the year 1803. In the modern times, the Osmania University founded in 1918 in Hyderabad uses Urdu language as the medium of instruction of education. Urdu Literature History One the sweetest language in the world, the history and origin of Urdu literature is vivid, colorful and harmoniously conjoined that has led to the development of this language. The style of writing the Urdu language has developed tremendously with the domination of Ghazals and nazms, the most dominant forms of verses. Indian Urdu Writers

Many famous Indian authors have written numerous novels in Urdu language. These novels highlight different aspects of human emotions and society as a whole. In Urdu, novel writers flourished in India as well as countries like Pakistan and other Urdu speaking nations. Urdu has been derived essentially from Persian, Arabic and an offshoot of Sanskrit. Many Urdu novel writers composed brilliant novels in this beautiful language. Urdu Poets India Urdu poetry is one of the most vivid and colorful fields of poetry that is read with much enthusiasm and admiration even in the contemporary world. Some of the most famous Urdu poets who have made immense contribution in this field have been discussed in our related sections. Urdu Poetry in India The Urdu language is a concoction of many languages and tongues. ‘Urdu’ is a Turkish word, which literally means ‘camp’. Delving into history, we see that when Delhi was ruled over by the Muslim sultanate in the late 12th century, the languages spoken around Delhi (mainly Brij Basha and Sauraseni) got heavily immersed with Persian, spoken by the Muslim rulers. At the same time, other languages such as Turkish and Arabic also arrived in India.

Sanskrit Literature India is a land of rich classical heritage. The land of many great thinkers and writers, our collection of literature in Sanskrit is priceless. Known as the mother of many languages, Sanskrit is abundant in the treasure of literature. Many people think of Sanskrit in terms of chants, hymns and verses. Not many know the vast collection of poetry, drama, stories and even epics in Sanskrit literature. Sanskrit language literature is a very broad category that requires elaborate understanding of this varied language. In our related sections, you shall find information about various

Sanskrit epics, plays and major Sanskrit pioneers of India. With time, the definition of classical Sanskrit literature has also changed. It used to be primarily a source of gaining knowledge and was used a lot during religious rituals. Now, Sanskrit has become a language that is solely seen upon as an entity for entertainment. People follow Sanskrit to amuse themselves rather than gain knowledge. People may go to see plays or listen to legendary folklores in Sanskrit with the sole aim of entertaining themselves. Priests who perform religious rituals use pure Sanskrit in India. Though attempts are being made to revive this ancient language in India, it will be a long time before people realize the value of this ancient language in the contemporary world. As we progress by leaps and bounds in the 21st Century, we fail to value some of the most important things of life. More often than not, they form the backbone of our progress and give us our own identity in this era of globalization. This ancient classical language is a plethora of knowledge that is useful even in this century. We only need to use it judiciously in the right way and it is never too late to learn. Classical Sanskrit Literature Sanskrit literature came into being with the making of Vedas and left a rich legacy of literary knowledge for the times to come. However, the language of the Vedas differs from the language used in poetry and drama. Classical Sanskrit literature is found to be in vogue when it comes to writing poetry and dance dramas. Sanskrit Drama The combination of different genres of drama and Sanskrit resulted in a unique amalgamation that gave us the literary treasure of Sanskrit dramas and Sanskrit plays. The famous dramatists of Sanskrit literature were Kalidasa, Bhasa, Shudraka and Asvaghosa who gave us many famous Sanskrit plays.

Sanskrit Poetry Sanskrit poetry is a vast treasure of knowledge that gives us immense information about ancient thoughts and principles. Some of the best works in ancient Sanskrit literature are in the form of Sanskrit poems. Some of the most famous and respected poets have given us the treasure of poetry in Sanskrit. Indian Epics India is the land of famous mythologies and folklores. Some of the greatest works of ancient classical literature are found here. The two famous works that are synonymous to epic literature of India are Ramayana and Mahabharata. These two classical epics of India are written in ancient Sanskrit and present the most common ideals of human civilization that seem to have gone down the drain in the modern times. Sanskrit Poets Sanskrit has its roots deeply embedded in our culture. It is further glorified by the famous Sanskrit writers who wrote masterpieces in classical Sanskrit thus giving the language a very prestigious place in the cultural heritage of India. Sanskrit poets of India are an integral and inseparable part of the historical and cultural legacy of this country. Vedas These four Vedas contain a priceless treasure of knowledge. This Vedic literature is aimed at not just sacred rituals, but also at attaining higher levels of understanding about survival, life and death. The word Veda is derived from the word "Vid" which literally means, "Root". Urdu Literature in India Urdu literature is a vast field of immense knowledge and rich literary works by famous poets and writers. Though Hindi and Urdu have the same root, they

have developed and evolved on distinct lines. Urdu language literature has basically drawn much inspiration from Persian literature. Even today, Urdu has many words that belong to Persian, Arabic and Turkish languages. Hindi has drawn inspiration mainly from Sanskrit. A unique blend of all these languages can be found in the literature in Urdu language, which can be called an amalgamation of the richest languages. The vocabulary of Urdu language has an enormous reserve of literary words that are absolutely meaningful and beautiful. The refinement and elegance of Urdu language is due to its rich vocabulary. The most noted poet who gave the first push to Urdu poetry was Amir Khusro, who is still revered today, centuries after his death. His poems are still read with much enthusiasm and compassion by poetry lovers all over the world. The strongest developmental phase of Urdu poetry was during 16th and 17th century that saw the emergence of many famous poets and writers during the Muslim reign in Deccan, Bijapur and Golconda in India. The 18th century saw the refinement of words and many forms of writing like Ghazals, nazms, Doha etc. came into use. The start of 19th century saw the rich works of Urdu being translated into modern Urdu in the Fort William College, Calcutta. The rhyming proses of ancient period also thrived in the early 19th century. The holy book of the Muslims, Quran was translated into Urdu language in the year 1803. In the modern times, the Osmania University founded in 1918 in Hyderabad uses Urdu language as the medium of instruction of education. Urdu Literature History One the sweetest language in the world, the history and origin of Urdu literature is vivid, colorful and harmoniously conjoined that has led to the development of this language. The style of writing the Urdu language has developed tremendously with the domination of Ghazals and nazms, the most dominant forms of verses.

Indian Urdu Writers Many famous Indian authors have written numerous novels in Urdu language. These novels highlight different aspects of human emotions and society as a whole. In Urdu, novel writers flourished in India as well as countries like Pakistan and other Urdu speaking nations. Urdu has been derived essentially from Persian, Arabic and an offshoot of Sanskrit. Many Urdu novel writers composed brilliant novels in this beautiful language. Urdu Poets India Urdu poetry is one of the most vivid and colorful fields of poetry that is read with much enthusiasm and admiration even in the contemporary world. Some of the most famous Urdu poets who have made immense contribution in this field have been discussed in our related sections. Urdu Poetry in India The Urdu language is a concoction of many languages and tongues. ‘Urdu’ is a Turkish word, which literally means ‘camp’. Delving into history, we see that when Delhi was ruled over by the Muslim sultanate in the late 12th century, the languages spoken around Delhi (mainly Brij Basha and Sauraseni) got heavily immersed with Persian, spoken by the Muslim rulers. At the same time, other languages such as Turkish and Arabic also arrived in India.

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