Sujay-1537211-Towards the concept of New Nationhood: Languages and Literatures in India

Towards the Concept of a New Nationhood: Languages

and Literatures in India

  1. R. Ananthamurthy

(Talk delivered at Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar, India on 3 September,



U.R. AnanthaMurthy further discusses the various components of culture, history, literature, politics etc. to signify the subcontinent India.  It is this varied elements of the country which acts as a proof for the diversity of India. Another interesting thing to be noticed here is the Indian literature predominantly Sanskrit literature is “Religio-Based” in nature. Our philosophies are versatile and changes from one region to another. We have histories and not history. We have cultures, not culture, yet we are united and fall under one category called “Indians”.  Further, the author here mentions about the Indian literature especially, Sanskrit literature which enriched the scope of academic world much before the advent of English. It was an official language and produced great authors like Kalidasa, Vishakadatta, Surudraka, in literature. Although it is religio-centric, it had never denied the “Rasas” and other aesthetic elements of a literary text. Hence it validates itself, as a great literature from then prevailing vernacular literatures in India.

But since independence, we are again attracted towards the “Occident” in the name of globalisation. Today the crazy for brands, corporate institutions, films etc. are all unconsciously shaping our ideologies and identities. Subtly illustrating; Ananthamurthy gives an autobiographical example of fore-yard and backyard cultures. He remarks that the regional\vernacular languages and literature are left in the backyard (behind) whereas, the advancement of globalisation which acts as a fore-yard, has taken away the pride and sensibilities of the language and literature. Shift has been happening swiftly, and continuously from post-independent era in the domains of language and literature. Today English has taken over the role of the Sanskrit of ancient India and writing in English has surpassed the regional literature because of the conditioning of the colonial minds by the colonizers with Occidental ideologies and socio-cultural influences.

Sujay 1537211 Towards the concept of New Nationhood: Languages and Literatures in India.

Towards the Concept of a New Nationhood: Languages

and Literatures in India U. R. Ananthamurthy

(Talk delivered at Institute of Physics, Bhubaneswar, India on 3 September,


The essay “Towards the concept of New Nationhood: Languages and literatures in India” is one of the widely read essays in English, which is basically a speech given by U.R. Ananthamurthy. In this treatise he reflects the Indian hetrogenious culture, through the medium of language and literature. According to the author, the Indian nation contains, many Indias in itself, because it breaks the European notion of one race, one religion, and one nation. U.R. Ananthamurthy, mentions there are 1,652 mother tongues which are classified under 105 languages. These languages belong to four different language families namely, Indo – Aryan, Dravidian, Tibetan, and Astro – Asiatic. But 90 percent of these languages are spoken by less than 5 percent of the people, specifically 65 tribes. There are 15 languages in India which are written, read, and spoken by 95 percent of Indians that’s why it seems like the tower of Babel.

In India most of the people knew at least three languages, which are used in different occasions. A individual might use kannada at home, Hindi in streets, and English at office. When someone narrates some event which happened at office to their mother, they are translating spontaneously, continuously, and unconsciously. Hence plurality in language and translation are insuperable. In India, the more the person becomes literate, the fewer languages he or she is learns. For example, if one person is well versed in English he or she is tempted to use English. But in some cities of Karnataka, even a less literate person, like bus stand colie can speak, kannada, Malayalam, Tamil some Hindi and some English. According to the author it is these people who are upholding the diversity of the Indian languages.

In India, people of ancient past have also lived ambitious lives. The Indian Literature or literatures had filled with richness of both knowledge and rationality. Shankarachaya, a well known philosopher of the south India   wrote many books in Sanskrit, though he knows Malayalam.  Anandatirtha, a famous kannada writer spoke Tulu at home, kannada in streets, and wrote in Sanskrit.  Again Sanskrit is considered as the language of dignity and hegemony in the ancient period, as contrary to English in modern society. The social issues were questioned much before the Europeans advent in the country. In 12th century the great reformer from Karnataka called Basaveshwara who tried to abolish the caste system from the society. In order to do that he wrote “vachanas” in kannada the language spoken by the local people which reaches to larger audiances and thereby change takes place. Not just that, many classics of India like, Kalidasa’s Shankutala, Vedas, Mahabharata, Ramayana, etc, are translated into different languages, who spread the same message in a different way.

However the Article is not fully analysed because of the time constrains and will be analysed next week.

Sujay-Indian culture and Literature-1537211

Research Area: Indian culture and lliterature

Name of the Article: Genealogies of Indian Literature

Author Name: P P Raveendran

Source: Economic and Political Weekly, Vol. 41 No. 25 (Jun. 24-29, 2006), pp. 2558 – 2563.

Annotated analysis of Genealogies of Indian Literature.

The article “Geneologies of indian literature” was written in 2006, by P P Raveendran. This article was written when the question of who or what is Indian became predominant in the intellectual circle. As a result of this the term Indian literature also became more difficult to understanding. It is because in South-Asian subcontinent, there exists diversified cultures which determine its existence, in the world. Hence it becomes a matter of contention to decide, what is Indian and Indian Literature. As all literatures of the world are reflection of their respective culture and civilization, Indian literature also determined by its socio-economic, political, and religious domains, which localises its literatures. However, the proper thrust for Indian literature and philosophy began from the dawn of 19th century, which gave birth to the new field of enqury called Indian literature. It is agreed that the literature is the output of the society and its contemporary literary circles. Since India is a diversified country with different cultures it had produced huge accounts of literature in various languages, predominantly Sanskrit. The holy texts of Sanskrit were translated into many Indian languages, according to their literary cultures. Many European indologists like Micheal Hardt, Antinio Negri etc have tried to understand the culture and literature of south Asian subcontinent. However further article is not annotated now, because of the time constrains and will be continued.