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Forum LockedIs Indian literature weak?

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    Posted: 14-Dec-2007 at 04:54
I have rarely come across qoutes or proverbs from sanskrit or other lanaguages in the indian subcontinent (except urdu because urdu has a lot persian influence).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Dec-2007 at 06:55

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ANd I repeat myself
 
?
 
Pushto has a lot "something which is round and is sour is undoubtedly a grapefruit".
 
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote maqsad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Dec-2007 at 08:01
Sanskrit is a dead language but here is a controversial quote from it:

"I have become death, the shatterer of worlds"

which is thousands of years old but was resurrected and immortalized by a German last century.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jayeshks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Dec-2007 at 13:51
Originally posted by Sparten Sparten wrote:

?

 
ANd I repeat myself
 
?
 
Pushto has a lot "something which is round and is sour is undoubtedly a grapefruit".
 


I second that. 

Pretty much every language in the sub-continent has a lot of proverbs.  Look harder. 
Once you relinquish your freedom for the sake of "understood necessity,"...you cede your claim to the truth. - Heda Margolius Kovaly
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote anum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Dec-2007 at 22:06
well i tried to find it on the internet about indian literature but they had mostly urdu literature which is mostly borrowed from persian and arabic. I couldn't find a lot on actual ancient indian literature.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jayeshks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2007 at 14:15
Well, wikipedia has a lot on various Indian literary traditions.  You can search for literature in Sanskrit, Pali, Tamil, Bangla, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Punjabi and many more.  It's a good place to start.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote anum Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2007 at 16:31
^ I am not saying they dont have literature, i am saying is it weak? and thats why its not popular.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jayeshks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2007 at 17:23
Popular amongst whom?  It's popular in India. 

I'm reminded of a quote by a British colonialist about how after supposedly having spoken to scholars of Indian languages he was convinced that Western literature was inherently superior and more rational, and that at best, all of the wisdom of the subcontinent would barely fill up one shelf in a library of Western literature. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparten Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Dec-2007 at 20:16
And in the 19th century, he would have been right.
The Germans also take vacations in Paris; especially during the periods they call "blitzkrieg".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jayeshks Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Dec-2007 at 16:41
I disagree.  The quantity of surviving writing was definitely less than in Europe or China, but the "inherently superior and more rational" stuff was colonialist BS.  
Once you relinquish your freedom for the sake of "understood necessity,"...you cede your claim to the truth. - Heda Margolius Kovaly
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote arze Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26-Jan-2009 at 22:08
Sanskrit was acutally invented in present day northern Pakistan, thats why it so closely related to avestan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Copperknickers Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Jan-2009 at 18:23
The only reason it is not well known is that most of it is either oral and never written down, or has not been translated into European languages yet. That especially goes for the Dravidian languages, but there is also a lot of Sanskrit that was displaced, not written, destroyed or simply ignored by the Europeans after the 200 year reign of the Mughals who did not really care for preserving what came before them. There was never a 'rennaissance' in India when classical texts were rediscovered, translated and commentated on like the European one, but we are gradually translating the Puranas and Brahmanic writings slowly.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2009 at 10:11
Originally posted by maqsad maqsad wrote:

Sanskrit is a dead language but here is a controversial quote from it:

"I have become death, the shatterer of worlds"

which is thousands of years old but was resurrected and immortalized by a German last century.


You mean this guy?




Actually, he's Jewish American.  Here's his wiki page.  Also the quote itself isn't controversial.  The controversy lies in the context to which he applied it to.  He's the "father of the atomic bomb", btw.


As for Indian lit, there's three big ones I know of:

Bhagavad Gita

Mahābhārata

Rāmāyaṇa

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gharanai Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2009 at 10:18
Originally posted by Sparten Sparten wrote:

?

 
ANd I repeat myself
 
?
 
Pushto has a lot "something which is round and is sour is undoubtedly a grapefruit".
 
 
One of the most famous of Pashtu is "You have watches, but we have time!"
It was used in 19th cent. while the campaign of Britians, again in 1970s and 80s during Soviet and now again it's regularly used against Nato and Americans.
 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2009 at 10:51
Indian literature weak? I don't think so. If anything, I believe the problem for the western reader to reach Indian literature is the complexity of it and the lack of context we have to read it.
Most Indian literature is embedded in a religious context of extraordinary complexity, that we simply don't understand.
No matter that, some Indian tales (such the fable about "the sky is falling") and texts like the Bagabadgita, are well known in the west.
 
 
 
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TranHungDao Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2009 at 10:58
Sorry, but I forgot Slumdog. Cool
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edgewaters Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2009 at 14:48

Originally posted by jayeshks jayeshks wrote:

I disagree.  The quantity of surviving writing was definitely less than in Europe or China, but the "inherently superior and more rational" stuff was colonialist BS.  

And it definately wasn't a universal sentiment ... there were alot of people in Europe absolutely fascinated with Indian literature and philosophy, eg Arthur Schopenauer 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AksumVanguard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2009 at 19:44
Inida has given rise to at least 2 major world religions and has contributed a vast amount of literature. It is said that Vedic math was studied a whole lot in the anicent world.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rider Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2009 at 20:21
Didn't Hesse also use lots of Indian symbolics in his works, creating into them a level of deep understanding?
 
I wouldn't call the literature weak - it's not the amount that matters, it's the depth.
There is no emotion, there is peace.
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hmmm Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2009 at 23:18
This is a rather interesting discussion.  For the benefit of members I did a brief count and came up with the following numbers regarding ancient Indian literature (it does not include ancient classical literature, which is also ancient but not part of this list):

Vedas - 4
Upnishads - 108
Dharmashastrs - over 100
Itihas - 5 (this list includes Ramayan and Mahabharat also)
Purans - over 15
Sutras - over 10

This is an incomplete list, neither official nor final, but it gives between 200-300 works which can be classified as ancient India literature.  If we add couple of hundred more from say Agams and Dharshan then the count goes up quite a bit.
I will agree with pinguin here when he write - "Most Indian literature is embedded in a religious context..."
Yes, most of them are religious but also carry works which can now be classifed as Philosophy, Geography, History etc.

Weak or strong is a value judement.  If one is able to read them then only weak or strong can be assigned to them.  Nowadays, a lot of translation is available online if anybody is interested.

But there is a quicker way to decide if all this ancient Indian literature is strong or weak. Bundle all these works together and drop them on somebody's head from a little height.  If the skull breaks then the literature is strong else not, at least for that person.Smile


Edited by hmmm - 18-Feb-2009 at 00:15
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