Rajasthani Literature

Rajasthani Literature

The earliest form of Rajasthani Literature is what we get from rock edicts, inscriptions, coins and seals. The written form is influenced mainly by the tradition of oral literature, which carries the experiences and observations of the common masses. Rajasthani Literature dates back to the 11th century, with development of Maru-Gurjari as language in early 11th century.

We can divide Rajasthani Literature in 4 major time frames as per its relative history and contemporary traditions.

  1. Early period — also known as the “veer gatha” period extending from 1050 to 1450 AD
  2. Pre-medieval period –the bhakti period from 1450 to 1650 AD
  3. Post-medieval period – the “shringar , reeti and neeti” period from 1650 to 1850 AD
  4. Modern period – have various subjects and genres extending from 1850s to the current year.

Additionally, on basis of distinct forms Rajasthani Literature can be divided into:

  • Rajasthani Jaina Literature
  • Rajasthani Charan Literature
  • Rajasthani Saint Literature
  • Rajasthani Folk Literature

Early Period (1050 – 1450 AD)

  • It was an active period for north india specially the frontier state of rajasthan which was in the direct line of frequent foreign invasions. The need to propagate the values and morals of chivalrous local rulers taking stand against these chaotic invasions, a new genre arose telling their heroic deeds and social responsibilities in turn motivating the common crowds and the society against the tyrants.
  • Till 1169, Rajasthani language was essentially oral and so significant literature works does not exist before 1169 AD. Hence, the early period of Rajasthan Literature begins from 11th Century and continues till 1450 AD.
  • This early period was dominated by Jaina Scholars, Acharyas & Monks and important works include:
    • Bharatvarsh war Bahubali Ghor written by Vijrasen Suri
    • Bharateshwar Bhaubali raas authored by Shalibhadra Suri
    • Jiyadarya Raas by Asig
    • Padmavati Chaupai by Jinprabha Suri
    • Stulibhadra Phag by Hemraj
    • Gyan Manjari by Vijhana
  • Non- Jaina works
    • Prithviraj Raso by Chandbardai – 12th Century
    • Achaldas Khichi ri Vachanika by Gadan Shivdas
    • Visaldeo raas by Narpati Nath
    • “Rannmal chand” written by shreedhar vyas
  • The literature works belonging to early period are common heritage of Rajasthani and Old-Gujarati.

Pre-medieval period (1450 – 1650 AD)

  • Various bhakti saints and religious propagators tried to cool down the aggressive sentiments in the society by their literary creations leading the society back to its roots, spreading the idea of an ideal syncretic society. 
  • People started following various saints and their sects namely dadupanth, ramsnehi, Nathpanth, alakhiya religious system, bishnoi religious system etc. 
  • These poetic sects were divided into two major groups “sagun” and “nirgun” as per their way of reaching their ultimate divine aim.
  • The major works of this period are 
    • 1455 – Padmanabh wrote Kanhadade Prabandh – regarded as the link between Gujarati and separated Rajasthani. The work is considered as an encyclopedia of life in Rajasthan during those times.
    • 1473 – Dhola Maru ra Doha was composed by Kallol.
    • 1481- Bhandari Vyas – wrote Hammirayan
    • Prithvi raj rathod’s “veli kishan rukmani ri”, 
    • Madhodas dhadvaadiya’s “ramraso”
    •  “hariras and deviyan” by Isardas
    • “Naagdaman” by saayaji jhula
    • The works of Mirabai

The Post – Medieval period (1650 – 1850 AD)

  • The literary trends in this period were based on the ideas of “shringaar, reeti and neeti”
  • The extended period of political stability and peace motivated the rulers to give patronage to various men of letters and artisans.
  • Important creations are
  • “raghunath rupak” by poet Mancharam 
  • “rajiya ra sortha”
  • “chakariya ra sortha”
  • “motiya ra sortha”…etc.
  • 1568 – Buddhi Raso written by Jallah
  • 17th Century – Khuman raso written by Dalpat
  • 17th Century – Binhai raso written by Mahesdas
  • Halan Jhalan ra Kundaliya written by Baraith Isardas.

Modern Period (1850 Onwards

This includes literature works in Rajasthani after 1850. The main difficulty in surveying Rajasthani Literature is that a large number of literary works have remained unpublished.

  • Mixed genre works dominate this particular period.
  • The new political and social awakening among the masses brought by the events of 1857 revolt affected the literary creations of the era as well.
  • Marwar’s poet Bankidas  and Suryamal misran of Bundi played an important role in carrying forward this patriotic zeal to the next generations.
  • The traditional heroic poetry consisting of Kavya & Raso declined by end of 18th century
  • In middle of 19th century, Surya Mal Mishran of Bundi (also called as Bhushan of Rajasthan) attempted to revive heroic poetry and wrote Vansh Bhaskar & Veer Satsai.
  • Another great poet of the same period was Ramnath Kaviya of Alwar who wrote Draupadi Vinaya & Pabuji ra Soratha.
  • Another poet a champion dadupanthi scholar Swarup Das wrote Pandava Yashendu Chandrika.
  • Maharaja Chatur Singh translated Geeta, Patanjali’s Yogasutra into Mewari language.
  • Atyudhan Mahariya also wrote Veer Satsai
  • Chandra Singh wrote Kah-Mukrani & the famous book – Badli in 1940.
  • Meghraj Mukul composed poem Sainani.

Modern Rajasthani Literature

  • Kaviraj bankidas of marwar and suryamal misran of boondi played a crucial role in shaping the idea of nationalism in the minds of common masses.
  • Poet umardaan wrote extensively about the sufferings and grief of people during the “chappaniya kaal “ of vikram samvat 1956. 
  • Poet ramnath highlighted the subject of women empowerment in his collection of poems named “draupadi vinay”
  • Famous poets who contributed in the freedom struggle with their direct efforts as well as through their motivational words – kesari singh barhath,vijay singh pathik, manikyalal verma, jai narayan vyas, ganesilal vyas.
  • Senani – meghraj mukul
  • Dharti dhora ri , meenjhar , leeltons – kanhaiyalal sethiya
  • Maanjhal raat ,amolak vaatan , moomal, gir ooncha ooncha garha”, k era chakwa baat” by laxmi kumara chundawat
  • Works of vijaydaan detha – baatan ri phulwari (collection of folk tales of rajasthan), Duvidha (movie paheli made on it), Uljhan , alekhun hitler, sapan priya
  • Novels  -Jamaro  and samand aur thaar by yadvendra Sharma
  • Story – Paranyodi-kunwari by nathmal joshi 
  • Novels – aabhay patki , dhoran ro dhori, ek been ni do been by nathmal joshi

Types of Rajasthani Literature

Rajasthani Literature can also be divided based on the nature of compositions.

Rajasthani Jaina Literature.

  • The literature is related to Jaina Religion.
    • Hemchandra Suri – Deshinaammala, Shabdanushasan
    • Hrishivardhan Suri – Nal Damyanti Raas
    • Hemratna Suri – Gora Badal ri Chaupayi

Rajasthani Charan Literature

  • Lifestyle & Valor of Rajput era is represented beautifully by Charan literature.
    • Badar Dhaadhi – wrote Veer Bhayan
    • Chandbardayi – wrote Prithviraj Raso
    • Nainsi wrote – Nainsiri Khyat
    • Baankidas – Baankidas ri Khyat
    • Dayaldas – Dayaldas ri Khyat
    • Achaldas Khichi ri Vachanika by Gadan Shivdas
  • In Poetry (Doha)
    • Dhola maru ra Doha
    • Sajjan ra Doha
  • Prithviraj Rathore (Bikaner) wrote Valley Krishan Rukamani ri
  • Surajmal Misrana (1815-68) – Bundi State Poet.
    • Vansh Bhaskar: Ram Singh (Bundi)
    • Vir Satsai:
    • Balwant Vilas:
    • Chhandomayush:

Rajasthani Saint Literature:

  • Meera ki Padavali
  • Daddu ki Vaani
  • Narsingji ro maheero
  • Ram Charan ji ki Vaani

Rajasthani Folk Literature:

  • Faad
    • Shahpura in Bhilwara is famous
    • Happening from life of Lok Devta like Pabuji, Dev Narayan ji, Ramdev ji etc are depicted in Faad.
    • Padam Shri Lal Joshi ji from Bhilwara – gave international recognition to Fad

Various types of Rajasthani Prose and Verse

  • Khyat  –
    • It comprises of the detailed historical events and glorified achievements from the lives of the local kings.
    • “Dayaldas ri khyat” contains history of Bikaner rulers from Rao bikaji to maharaja anup singh.
    • “muhnot nainsi ri khyat’ is another important example.
  • Vachanika
    • Contains details about a historical event having  a typical repetitive usage of certain adjectives.
    • “Achaldas khichi ri vachanika” by shivdas gadan
    • “rathod rattan singh maheshdasot ri vachanika” by khidiya jagga.
  • Davavait
    • It is an artistic version of vachanika , thought it has quite a heavy influence of  urdu and Persian language in it, written mainly to glorify the glamorous life style of the main lead.
    • “akhmal deora ri davavait”
    • Maharana jawan singh ri davavait
    • Raja jai singh ri davavait
  • Vaat
    • It proceeds like a story where the teller keeps on going with the flow with constant motivational feedbacks from the listeners’ side.
    • It represents a mixture of all aspects of life told in the form of a prose, a verse or both.
    • “rao amarsinghji ri vaat”,
    • pabu ji ri vaat
    • achaldas khichi ri vaat
  • Jhamaal
    • It is a “maatrik channd” of rajasthani literarure .
    • Where the story is told in the form of couplets.
    • “rao indrasingh ri jhamaal”
  • Jhulna
    • It is a kind of verse.
    • Amar singh rathod ra jhulna
    • Gajsingh ra jhulna
    • Man singh ra jhulna by Dursa arha of sojat
  • Parchi
    • It is used to describe the life history of saints.
    • Sant namdev ri parchi
    • Sand pipa ri parchi
    • Kabir ri parchi
  • Prakash
    • It emphasize on the achievements of a particular person , clan or a historic moment.
    • “raj-prakash” by kishoredas
    • “mahayash prakash” by aashiya maansingh
    • “suraj prakash “ by poet karnidaan
  • Marasiya- 
    • It is written after the death of a king or some other prominent personality depicting the popular public sentiments.
    • It describes the great deeds and popular social image of that person.
    • “rana jagpat ra marasiya” written after the death of maharana jagat singh of mewar.
  • Raso
    • The detailed version of the chivalrous battles and victorious wars from a warrior’s life constitute a raso.
    • Prithviraj raso by chndra bardai
    • Bisaldev raso by narpati nalha
    • Sagat raso by girdhar asiya
    • Khoman raso by daulat vijay
    • Hamir raso by jodhraj
  • Rupak
    • The forms of the achievements of a ruler or his clan depicted in a particular manner.
    • “gaj gunrupak” by keshavdas describing the reign of Gaj singh of jodhpur
    • “rupak gogadeji ro”
    • “Rajrupak” 
  • Vigat
    • It is a gazetteer providing all sorts of information about a region and its people.
    • “Muhnot nainsi’s  – Marwar ra pargana ri vigat provides a diverse factual information about the population in various divisions of marwar state, type of agricultural land , the crops grown in the area , means of irrigation and much more.
  • Veli
    • Written in the specific “velio” prose style, where the subject varies from religious to historical style.
    • Prithviraj rathod’s “veli kisan rukmani ri “ is an important work of this genre.
  • Saakhi
    • It has detailed explanations of the personal enlightening experiences of various saint poets.
    • Derived from the word “sakshi- observer”.
    • Sortha way of prose is used in writing these accounts
    • “kabir ki saakhiyaan”
  • Siloka
    • These are specifically written by common people which displays the sentiments of general masses.
    • “rao amarsingh ra siloka”
    • “rathod kusal singh ro siloka”

Literature in Rajasthan

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