Elucidate the factors that contributed towards the growth of regional literature in India during the Sultanate period?

Published: February 17, 2017

The key factors that contributed towards growth of regional literature in India during sultanate period were as follows:

  • The siege of Baghdad (1258) and subsequent destruction of literary and cultural centres of West and Central Asia by Mongols led to an influx of numerous scholars, poets, artists and men of letters to Delhi. Due to this, Delhi emerged as one of the most important cultural centres of the Islamic World.
  • Those who came from abroad represented a trans-Indus tradition and were patronized the Sultans of almost all dynasties of Delhi Sultanate. Their works such as poems, anecdotes etc. brought Perso-Arabic elements in Indian language and later developed as Persian and Urdu literature in northern Indian subcontinent.
  • Between 6th to 12th centuries, peasants were stuck into the land grants and were not allowed to leave Brahmdeya villages which led to increased immobility and isolation of the population. By the time Sultanate era came, localized customs, vernacular languages, rituals and literatures had developed, that led to development of regional literature in the country.
  • Politically, India was not united during Sultanate era and numerous independent Kingdoms existed which developed their own art and literature, though influenced by the Islamic tradition. Whenever there was weak Sultan at Delhi, the provincial kingdoms strengthened and it reflected in all facets of life in them. Some of them were far away from Delhi and hence remained least affected by Perso-Arabic elements.
  • The increased Turkish domination and influence led the local independent rulers need to show that they were not under domination of sultans. Thus, they emphasized on their own language and script. This newfound love for their own language encouraged them to patronize poets, writers of regional language which led to the growth of regional literature. For example Rajtharanghi composed by Kalahana was patronised by Zain-ul-abidin and Krishnadeva Raya patronised Ashtadiggajas who contributed to Telugu literature

Further, rise of Sufi and Bhakti Movements also led development of extensive Bhakti literature in local languages including Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Marathi, Gujarati and so on.

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