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Art and Culture - Modern Indian Literature - UPSC 2020

Updated on 20 May 2021
UPSC & State PSC 2021
6 min read 86 views
Updated on 20 May 2021

Art and Culture is quite an important topic for UPSC 2020 Exam and in this article, we are going to discuss Modern India Literature which is a part of Indian art and culture, so make sure to have a good idea about Indian art and culture if you are trying to target UPSC 2020 Exam

The Indian modern literature era began in the late nineteenth century. Vernacular schools were being established and importation of the printing press, popular prose were encouraged in which Bengali writers were taking the lead. Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, and many others used the text to help motivate the Indian independence movement.

Different types of literature were being produced during this period. Some prominent modern writers in Indian languages include Sunil Gangopadhyay in Bengali, Tarashankhar Bandopadhyay, Premchand, Amrita Pritam in Punjabi, Tara Shankar Joshi in Gujarati, Shiv Shankar Pillai, etc. 

Rabindranath Tagore was the most famous Bengali writer. His translation of Gitanjali into English brought him International fame. Another famous novel by him is Gora in Indian literature. Several Indian writers have distinguished themselves not only in Indian languages but also in English in the last century. 

Modern literature was the synthesis between Indianization and westernization. The modern state took root in Indian society because of India’s contact with western ideas because was being ruled by the Britishers during that period. 

One of the most important personalities was Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. He was a Bengali and his famous works include Durgesh Nandini, Anand Math, Kapalkundala, and Devi Chaudhurani.

He was in charge of the famous monthly literary magazine called Bangadarshan. Anand Math is the source of the national song Vande Mataram. Rabindranath Tagore composed the national anthem for two countries India and Bangladesh is Jana Gana Mana and Amar Shonar Bangla. Rabindranath was also the person who inspired the national anthem of India. 

Subramanya Bharathi was a Tamilian and is known for the Mahakavi Bharati.. He translated Vedic hymns, Patanjali Yoga Sutra and the Bhagavad Gita to Tamil. 

Another writer was Maithili Sharan Gupt from Uttar Pradesh. He is one of the pioneers of Khari Boli poetry. He also awards the Padma Bhushan and also received the title of Rashtra Kavi by Mahatma Gandhi. His famous works include Bharat-Bharati and Rang Mein Bhang. 

First novels of that period were Pratap Mundaliyar Charitram written in Tamil, Sri Ranga Charitra in Telugu, Indu Lekha in Malayalam, Pariksha Guru in Hindi, etc. Patterns of response and articulation towards social problems were the main theme of their writings. 


The writers and poets wrote in their respective languages which were Jaishankar Prasad and Mahadevi who wrote in Hindi, Vallathol, and Kumaran Asan in Malayalam, Viswanath Satyanarayan in Telugu, Kalindi Charan in Oriya, etc. 

Post Independence a number of experiments had taken place. Quest for new values arose during that time. Some of the famous writers post-Independence were S.H. Vatsyayan Ajneya wrote in Hindi, Navakanta Barua in Assamese, and Harbhajan Singh in Punjabi. 


Their main concern was the socially underprivileged and the evils they suffered. They asserted the socio-political stature of these underdogs of the society. Some of the famous writers of Dalit Literature are Shree Narayana Guru and Jyotiba Phule.

The famous writers for Dalit Literature were poets and novelists like Namdev Dhasal, Naryan Surve, Daya Pawar, and Laxman Gaikwad who wrote in Marathi, and Mahadev Devanur wrote in Kannada. During the 20th century, some poets like Salman Rushdie won the Booker prize controversy for Midnight's children in 1981, and Anita Desai’s In Custody became an award-winning film in 1993. 

Modern Indian Literature is an important topic according to the UPSC 2020 schedule and the UPSC 2020 notification will be out on 12th February. Keep yourself updated in case of any changes. I hope this article helped you understand Modern Indian Literature. 

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