importance of literary elements in writing the history of ancient India:-
Ancient Indian literature:- ‘O talk of the past’
History is informative, history without information, essays make the elements of dull history come alive, help to determine the truth of history. The contribution of information in the history of ancient India is immense. It is almost impossible to compose an actual history of ancient India because, according to Herodotus or Thucydides of Greece, no historian of India was born. However, there is some hint of ancient India from ancient theology, literature and other writings. Despite the richness of ancient Indian literature, history is almost non-existent. Historian Tob says that “much disliked hasbeen felt in Europe at the sterlity of the historical more of Hindustan”. As a result of the hard work and perseverance of scholars, elements of the history of ancient India have been collected from various sources. One of which is the literary element. Literary material is divided into two parts- a) domestic literature b)
Country Literature: – Indigenous literature plays a significant far-reaching role in the history of ancient India. They have to be used very carefully due to the scarcity of contemporary historical texts in ancient times.
Vedic Literature: – Vedic literature needs to be mentioned first among Indian literature. From Vedic literature it is known about the state, society, economy, religion, etc. of Aryans. Vedic civilization was created based on the Vedas. Rik, Sam, Jajuh, meaning Vedic literature has developed with these four Vedas. However, the Rikveda is known as the oldest Veda. The Vedas tell the story of the arrival, migration, and change of social and economic life of the Aryans. Apart from Charkhani, it includes Brahman, Aranyaka, Upanishads and Vedic literature.
The importance of the two epics in the history of India is immense. Although it is not possible to give a definite opinion about the period of composition, its place on the Vedic literature. The Mahabharata with 90,000 verses is known as the largest poem in the world. Its author was Krishnadvaipayana Bedavasya and the author of the book containing 24,000 verses was Balmiki. It can be generally thought that the Ramayana was written before and the Mahabharata after. The Ramayana was probably written before the fifth century BC and the Mahabharata in the third or second century BC. The battle of Rama-Ravan in the Ramayana is actually the story of the Aryan-Anarya conflict and the establishment of political unity in the battle of Kurukshetra after the spread of Aryan civilization to Sinhala. Old: – The main component of historiography dating back to the sixth century BC is the Puranas. The subject matter of the Puranas is a summary of ancient stories and religious disciplines. The genealogy of kings is included in the Puranas. However, the importance of many accounts of valid and Jain literary myths in the writing of history cannot be said to be absolute.
Ancient Indian literature Buddhist and Jain Literature: –
The most notable of the Buddhist literature as an element of history is the Sinhala, the island dynasty and dynasty of present-day Sri Lanka, and the invaluable offspring of Buddhist literature in India. The Maurya emperor Ashoka’s biography occupies a prominent place in the Deepavamsa and Mahavamsa. The Mahabharata written by Mahaman is more coherent and consistent in terms of narration. One can be informed about the abyss of Magadha. From the Buddhist texts ‘Dirghanikaya’ and ‘Adduror Nikaya’ to Ashwaghosa’s ‘Buddhacharita’ helps in composing the history of Buddhism. Jain literature began to be used to compose the history of ancient India. The Jain book ‘Bhagwati Sutra’ helps us to know about the political situation in India in the 6th century BC. The book is useful in composing a history.
Ancient Indian literature Other Literature: –
Kautilya’s ‘Arthashastra’ is one of the most significant of the Maurya and post-Maurya literature among other literatures. Besides, two notable books are Panini’s ‘Ashtadhyayi’ and Patanjali’s ‘Mahabhasya’. Apart from all its scriptures in the Gupta period, the number of other literary elements is not less. Samudragupta’s meeting poet Allahabad Prasasti is famous as a poet. Samudragupta’s activities are known from his writings. Besides, Kalidasa has wandered in both the poetry and drama of this era. His plays ‘Abhijnanmashakuntalam’ and Raghubansham Meghdoot are valuable resources in Sanskrit. For the history of the later Gupta period to have any Ganjana like Puranas, one has to rely on biographies and regional history. Among the biographies, the Buddhacharita of the Ashvaghosa of the Krishna period is particularly noteworthy. Banabhatta’s Harshacharita is a notable book. Foreign Literature: – Only the writings in Indian literature have not embellished the history of ancient India. Foreigners have contributed to the writing of the history of ancient India in India. Foreigners have come to India to travel or preach. They have written eyewitness accounts. Many of them have written books based on legends. The works of foreigners are especially valuable as a source of history. Because by judging the analysis from the point of view of foreigners, every nation is able to accurately assess the achievements of its own civilization. Greek writers: – The oldest historians among foreign writers are Herodotus and Tesias. They never came to India but probably collected various information about India from the Persians. Herodotus discusses a lot of historical facts with legends and myths. But the historical value of Tesias’s work is very small. His ‘Indica’ is full of many strange and incredible details. There is little room for disagreement about the veracity of the history of the writers who came to India during Alexander’s invasion. Moreover, nowhere in Indian literature is there any mention of Alexander’s invasion of northeastern India. That is why Alexander relied entirely on Greek historians for information on the history of the invasion of India. They could not be free.
Ancient Indian literature:- Later Greek and Roman writers: –
The general history of Polybius in the second century BC of the Mauryan period is particularly noteworthy. Many elements of the history of the Bactrian Greeks can be gathered from this text. The Periplus of the Erythriansi, written by an anonymous Greek sailor, is one of the most important books written in India, including an account of the geography and natural history of ancient India. In the second century AD, Ptolemy wrote a book on the geography of India. Most of the descriptions in this book are flawed for collecting material from others. Among the Roman writers, the names of Pliny Quintum, Cantius, Rukas are particularly significant. The natural history of Pliny was written in the first century
Ancient Indian literature:-
Chinese tourists: –
Chinese writers, like the Greeks, occupy a very important place in collecting material on the history of ancient India. A lot of information about the history of the Maurya era can be found in the history of China and other books. Chinese tourists describe their travel experiences in India in detail. Among these tourists are the fifth-century Fa-Hien and the seventh-century UN-Sang, R. Singh. Fa-Hien and UN-Sang were familiar with the local language and had the opportunity to travel to many places in India. From 401 AD to 410 AD, Fa-Hien lived in India. He recorded the details of the Buddhist kingdoms in 40 chapters in his Pho-Kwaku. The Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang was undoubtedly the greatest. The Tibetan and historian Taranath wrote a book entitled ‘Birth of Buddhism in India’. The book generally describes the history of Buddhism and the Pala kings. Arabic Literature: – In addition, after the conquest of Sindh by Muhammad bin Qasim in the eighth century, the interest of Arab tourists in India increased. Suleiman Masudi’s name is particularly significant among Arab tourists. Apart from this, the scientific point of view is specially discussed in mathematics, physics, ethnography, social ethics and thought in Al-Biruni’s Tah-Kok-e-Hind. In conclusion, the role of literary material is very important in the history of ancient India. Because the form of literary history brings variety and tradition to life. So its importance cannot be overstated.