India Literature

Neo-Indian literature. – The neo-Indian literatures, apart from their real literary value, are worthy of particular study because they document the continuous renewal of the Indian soul: they have received vigor and have evolved and perfected due to the influence of great personalities, especially religious women who, breaking with tradition, expressed themselves in the language of the people.

In these literatures is reflected, so to speak, that spirit of reform which stirred medieval India and which was nourished by new concepts of life which blossomed in Indian society after the Muslim conquest or the first contacts with the Western world. Three of these literatures deserve particular mention because not only are they the richest, but also because they survive and are developing even to our day: Bengali, marāṭhī and hindī. For India 2015, please check

The marāṭha literature. – Marāṭha literature is also above all lyrical and religious, since it is made up especially of chants consecrated to Viṭobā or Viṭṭhal, a local form of Visnu. These songs also have the character of the poem bh ā kta, as the poets pour out the lyrical abandonments of their moving devotion to them: the poets who have gone down in history have continued a type of songs called abha ṅ g which since ancient times was recited in dedicated ceremonies to the cult of Viṭhobā.

Marāṭha literature begins with two great names: Jñāneśvar and Nāmadev. Brahmin by birth, the first completed around 1270 the Jñ ā ne ś var ī, a remake in marāṭha verses of the Bhagavadg ī t ā, in which the comment is inserted in the paraphrase of the text and a large part is given to the mystic bh ā kta. Nāmadev, on the other hand, who was of contemporary Jñāneśvar and a friend although of a lower caste, continues the tradition of the abha ṅ g. In his verses he sings the divine omnipresence, the immanence of God in all things that are not only in him, but are himself in his infinite unfolding and manifesting.

These poets succeed each other in a long series and as a modulation of the same theme they never tire of singing the divine ardor that animates them for Govinda; poetry therefore that could seem monotonous because the arguments are always the same, yet it is not because the sincerity of faith gives each poem its own particular character, its own individuality of expression and images as it always is in literature that is born from a strong and sincere passion. The devotee was almost always a poet and the life of these poets is almost always a life of ecstasy and mystical abandonment: so that a work of poetry was also to tell their ecstasies and their enthusiasms which were in fact sung by Mahīpati (18th century) in a long series of works among which it is worth noting the Bh ā ktavijaya and the Bhā ktal ī l ā m ṛ ta which are a series of the most notable figures of mysticism and marāṭha poetry. Among all the poets Tukārām (1608-1649) excels, who was a true minstrel of God and who, according to legend, was kidnapped by Viṣṇu in heaven: his devotion was expressed almost out of necessity in poetry, so that in the last years of his life seems to be unable to speak anything but verse. Verses all dedicated to singing the glory, the splendor and the power of Viṣṇu and the raptures that his vision and his imagined presence provoked in the soul of the poet. There is no doubt that with Tukārām the marāṭha poetry touches its fastiges.

Neo-Indian literature