LITERATURE AND LANGUAGE OF NORTHERN INDIA

The languages were evolved at two levels namely the spoken and the written language. The old Brahmi script of Ashoka has uneven letter size by the period of Harsha, the size of letters become even and regular. By comparing the scripts of Hindi, Gujarati, and Punjabi, we can easily discover the changes of how they slowly developed over a long period. About 200 languages are prevailing for spoken languages in India. But some of the languages are spoken in only particular regions. Out of these only 22 languages have been recognized by our constitution. Hindi is spoken by different people in different forms. Rajasthani, which is a language spoken in Rajasthan is another variant of Hindi. This classification is based on the literature written by several poets over years. The Hindi that is spoken now is called Khadi Boli. In the 13th century, Khusrau has used Khadi Bholi in his compositions. But the extensive use of Hindi has started in the 19th century and also it shows some influences of Urdu.

PERSIAN AND URDU:

By the end of the 14th century AD, Urdu emerged as an independent language. By the existence of Turks and Mongols in India, Arabic and Persian were introduced. Urdu was served as an interaction between Hindi and Persian since Persian served as a court language for many centuries. After the conquest of Delhi (1192), the Turkish people acquired this region and slowly Urdu has become a formal language. As time passes, many people around Hindi started speaking Urdu. It became more popular in the early 18th century. Poetry in Urdu is also written by some Mughal emperors.

Khusrau(1253-325) is the earliest known Urdu poet. He was a follower of Nizam ud-din Auliya and he was a poet in the court of Sultan Balban. About 99 works have been completed by him. Laila Majnun and Ayina- I-Sikandari dedicated to Alau-din-Khalji was the most popular works written by him. Ghalib, Zauq, and Iqbal were the other well-known poets in that period. Iqbal’s “SareJahann se achcha Hindostan Hamara” is sung in many national celebrations of India. The Nawabs of Lucknow patronized the Urdu language and slowly it reached its height and now it has been adopted by the Pakistanis as their state language.

Most of the literature was written in Persian since Persian was the language of court during that period. Amir Khusrau and Amir Hasan Dehelvi wrote poetries in Persian. The account of kings, important political events, and incidents during that period was written in Persian by the historians like Minhas-us-Siraj and Zia Barani, and Ibn Batuta. The tuzuk(autobiography) of Babar is originally written in Turkish by him. But later it was translated to Persian by his grandson Akbar. He patronized many scholars and got Mahabharata translated to Persian. Another unique piece of literature in Persian is Jahangir’s autobiography (Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri). The history of Akbar is dealt in it. Abul Fazl’s Akbarnamah and Ain-e-Akbari. Another good piece of poetry was written by Faizi. The Shahjahan’s days were written by Chandra Bhan. By the 20th century, Iqbal wrote some good poetry. All of these have become a part of Indian culture.

HINDI LANGUAGE:

During this time, there was growth in many regional languages like Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, Oriya, Marathi, and Gujarati. The 1st book in Hindi was Prithviraj Raso. It dealt with the exploits of Prithviraj Chauhan. The language has undergone several changes as the area where it was originally spoken expands. Many Hindi writers had looked to Sanskrit classics for guidance while writing literature. Due to the influence of the Bhakti movement in southern India, many poetries and prose written in Hindi were affected. Between the 7th and 8th centuries AD, the Hindi language has evolved during the Apabhramsa stage. This was characterized as Veergatha Kala (early period). Many Rajput rulers have patronized the poetry written in this period. Kabir and Tulsidas were the famous figures of this period. Surdas wrote Sur Sagar in which he talks about Lord Krishna as an infant. The festivals of Rama and Krishna are still celebrated grandly. Another important poet in this period was Nandadasa. Rahim and Bhushan wrote spiritual stories. In the 17th century, Bihari wrote Satsai which talks about shringar(love).   

Many writers have contributed to the development of modern Indian literature over the last 150 years. And in 1913, Rabindranath Tagore Tagore became the first Indian to win the Nobel Prize for literature (Geetanjali). Hindi prose came into its own during the 19th century. Bharatendu Harishchandra and Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi translated the works in Hindi from Sanskrit and other languages. Vande Mataram, a patriotic song in Sanskrit was composed by Bankim Chandra Chatterji (l 838-94). IT was later translated to Hindi and became very popular. Swami Dayananda has also contributed to the growth of the Hindi language. His SatyarthaPrakash was the important literature. Mahadevi Verma was awarded Padma Vibhushanis the first woman writer in Hindi to highlight issues related to women. Maithili Sharan Gupt is another important name. Jaishankar Prasad wrote beautiful dramas.

HINDI LANGUAGE MAKES PROGRESS IN MODERN PERIOD:

By the end of the 18th century, the development of modern language was started. The main writers of this period were Sadasukh Lal, Inshallah Khan, and Bhartendu Harishchandra. Shakuntala is translated to Hindi by Raja Lakshman Singh. Many proses of Hindi literature were written by Bhartendu Harish Chandra, Mahavira Prasad Dwivedi, Ramchandra Shukla, and Shyam Sunder Das. A great contribution to the development of Hindi poetry was given by many poets like Jai Shanker Prasad, Maithalisharan Gupta, Sumitranandan Pant, Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, Mahadevi Verma, Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ and Haribans Rai ‘Bacchan’ made a great contribution to the development of Hindi poetry. Prem Chand, Vrindavan Lal Verma, and Ellachandra Joshi were great novel writers of Hindi.