Genres of Indian Literature
Compiled by Vikas Kamat
Page Last Updated: October 31, 2016
The Epics or Mahakavyas, namely Mahabharat and Ramayana, are originally in
Sanskrit. Many great works have been created by many great saints and
poets on these two great epics of Hinduism. Some scholars classify the Bhagwad-Gita,
and the Bhagavata also as epics in their own merit.
It was customary in the ancient and medieval courts of India to have
distinguished poets or scholars who tried to create their own epics in their own
Ancient Indian Literature
We see that most ancient literature of India is in poetic form, in Pali and
Some notable works of ancient Indian literature are:
- Kadambari of Saint Tulasidas
- Swapnavasavadatta of Bhasa
Medieval Indian Literature
- Islamic Literature (see: Amir Khusru)
- Ragale Literature (especially of poet Harihara)
- Promise Literature or Vachana Literature of Veerashaiva saints
- The Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred text of Sikhism is a very
important literary compilation of hymns describing God, distills almost all
prior spiritual literature of India.
Modern Indian Literature (Indian Renaissance)
- Theater Screenplay Literature or Plays
- Radio Literature
- Personal Diaries and Letter Literature
- Sharatkadamari or Novellas of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhaya -- these
became so popular as to become a distinct genre of Indian literature.
- Short Stories
- Harate or Gossip Literature
- Rabindranath Tagore inspired Bengali Literature (Rabindra Sahitya)
- Translated Literature -- some scholars have ably translated great works
of literature from other countries.
Contemporary Indian Literature
- Dalit Literature -- As education became available to the
downtrodden classes of India, their expression found verbiage and great many
works have come out in the recent years of Dalit life and Dalit struggles as
told by Dalit writers.
- Indian Writers of English Language
- The Jnanapeeth Award