Literature in India During British Rule!
1. Bengali Literature:
Before the impact of the West, the Bengali literature had two distinct sources—that of the learned and the well-to-do, and of the common people. The aristocratic type of literature, that is the former type, was patronised by the Courts, the Chiefs, the landlords.
The poets who wrote for the common people were kabiwals, Kirtanias, Yatras, lappa, Panchi, Dhop etc. But the difference in the form and content of the aristocratic and the common types of literature was not radical.
From the beginning of the nineteenth century a new order began to emerge and a fresh era was inaugurated in Bengali literature. It was, in fact, after the establishment of the Fort William College that important steps towards the development of modern Indian languages were taken.
In order to teach the young English officials Indian languages the college had to undertake compilation works in different subjects and in different languages for the instruction of the students. Dr. Gilchrist was responsible for production of books in Hindustani, Persian and Arabic while William Carey was for Bengali and other languages. Bengali scholars who wrote text books were Mrityunjay Vidyalankar. Ramram Basu, Chandi Charan Munshi, Rajib Lochan Mukhopaydhyaya etc.
The Christian missionaries, were another agency in the development of Bengali prose—Carey, Marshman and Ward were the pioneers in this regard. Their main contributions were works on Bengali grammar, Dictionary, Translation from English. Felix Carey was responsible for the production of the first volume of an encyclopaedia dealing with Physiology and Anatomy. Kalimohan Banerjee an early convert to Christianity edited an encyclopaedia in thirteen volumes called Vidya Kalpadruma. Works on history, philosophy, science etc, were also brought out.
The development of the Bengali language was largely helped by the contributions of the journals like Samachar Darpan, of the Serampore missionaries, Sambad Kaumudi of Ram Mohan Roy, Tattwabodhini Patrika of Devendranath Tagore – Sambad Prabhakar of Iswar Chandra Gupta. Organisations like School Book Society established in 1817 arranged for the supply of cheap books for the schools, and publication of translation of books in Bengali on subjects like history, geography etc.
The Vernacular Literature Society founded in 1851 published books meant for use as rewards and prizes. Among its publications were translation of Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, St. Pierre’s Paul and Virginia, Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare and Elizabeth’s the Exiles of Siberia, the different types of movements such as social, religious and political gave a great impetus to the production of literature.
In James Long’s catalogue of Bengali Works 1400 Bengali books and pamphlets have been listed as have been produced in the first half of the nineteenth century. Of the writers of the period Ram Mohan must be reckoned as the precursor and leader. His claim to be recognised as the father of, the Bengali prose literature rests on his originality in composing Bengali in lucid, simple style “at the same time persuasive, orderly and suave, unruffled by winds of emotion or passion”. His works were mainly in prose but he was also a master in poetical composition. He translated Bhagavad Gita in verse and composed many religious songs.
In the second half of the nineteenth century the ‘flood of modernism of the West struck India’ and provided a powerful impulse for the revaluation of the old values and for harmonising the East and the West. Bengal in particular had drunk at the fountain of the English literature and studied “English poetry from Shakespeare to Swinburn and prose from Deniel Defoe to Thomas Hardy”. The result was the production of works in poetry, drama, fiction and other aspects of literature deeply soaked in English ideas.
The writers were also not confined to the old scholarly class but included members of the middle classes that had imbibed the ideas of modernism. The new literature that had developed reflected the current of the new ideas thoughts and feelings and helped to spread them in the country and the consciousness of the society. The result was that the Indian mind was awakened to a new mental process essential for reception of modern values. A new humanism pervaded the literature, and equality of all men and women was stressed and emancipation of conservative authority of the family, caste and tribe was effected.
Poetry, drama and prose witnessed a transformation in the hands of Iswar Chandra Gupta, Hem Chandra Bandyopadhyaya, Nabin Chandra Sen, Michael Madhusudan Datta, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Bankim Candra Chatterjee. Bankim Chandra’s Anandamath and his song Bandemataram enleavened the political resurgence of the nineteenth century.
Assam was conquered by the British in 1826 and made a part of Bengal. Till 1873 Assamese was regarded as a dialect of Bengali and Bengali was taught in Assam schools as vernacular to the exclusion of Assamese. But it was from 1873 that Assamese was given its rightful place as the language of the people and was taught in schools as vernacular, as well as used in the Courts of law as official language.
Assamese literature was not much developed till the Christian missionaries like Bronson and others did the pioneering work of writing Assamese grammar and dictionary, publishing monthly magazine in Assamese called Arunodaya Samvad Patra (1846) and writing school text books in history, elementary science, grammar besides books meant for general readers.
A new literary style based on the spoken Assamese in Central Assam gradually came into existence. Anandaram Dhekial Phukan was the first great writer in Assamese of the modern age. Others who followed him were Hem Chandra Barua (1835-96) and Gunabhiram Barua (1837-95). Hem Chandra Barua was a most versatile writer who was responsible for number of short novels, dramas, particularly satirical, and a very good Assamese dictionary named Hema-kosha. Gunabhiram brought out Assam Bandhu, a magazine in 1885.
A number of Assamese youth who received their education in Calcutta were inspired by the phenomenal progress in Bengali literature and brought out a literary magazine Jonaki in 1889 which exercised a great influence in building up modern Assames literature.
Younger writers wrote lyrics and poems and Bholanath Das (1858- 1929) sought to emulate poet Michael Madhusudan Datta and used Assamese blank verse. His work was, however, not received with much favour because of its “highly stiff style and Sanskritised language”. The greatest figure in moderh Assamese literature is Lakshmi- nath Bezbarua (1868-1938). He was a versatile writer—a dramatist, a poet, an essayist, a humorist and a short-story writer. His portrayal of the Assamese middle class life as well as of the villagers remains unsurpassed even today. It may be mentioned that he was one of the founders of the Jonaki. Many other Assamese men of literature flourished towards the end of the nineteenth century.
Modern Oriya Literature developed under the impact of the Western education and influence as in almost every where else in India. Three eminent Oriya writers were the pioneers of the modern Oriya literature. They are Phakir Mohan Senapati, Radhanath Ray and Madhusudan Rao. Oldest of these three was Phakir Mohan. “He was well-versed in five languages, with a working knowledge of English, and was pioneer printer, publisher and journalist in Orissa”. He was a prolific writer. “He translated single-handed, both the Ramayan and the Mahabharata, from the riginal into modern Oriya and tried his hand at short stories (the first to be written in Oriya) ballads, hymns narrative poems, rollicking satires and an epic on Buddha”.
But he distinguished himself chiefly as a novelist and his first novel was Chhamana Ata-Guntha (1909). It was a work of outstanding merit departing the life of the villagers exploited by the money-lenders. The themes of his novels were common men and simple village folk “the uneducated weavers, barbers and peasants, the village chowkidar who himself was an accomplice of the dacoits, the unscrupulous and the mischief- mongering maid servants”.
Radhanath Ray (1848-1908) was the harbinger of a new age in Oriya poetry. “His magnum opus the Mahayatra was the first attempt to introduce blank verse in Oriya poetry” in emulation of Madhusudan Datta of Bengal. He freed Oriya verse from the ‘verbal gymnastics which was characteristic of the Oriya poetry before him. His description of natural beauties, the hills, rivers and the Chilka Lake and other landscapes is inimitable. Radhanath wrote a number of small romances in verse in imitation of English poets. He was also the pioneer of Oriya prose. Madhusudan Rao wrote in a very forceful prose style a number of stories and essays.
He was also a lyrical poet. His Vasanta Gatha and Kusumanjali show ‘highest flights of his imagination in the realms of Truth and World, and Time. His sense of patriotism is portrayed in his Utkala-gatha”. Phakir Mohan, Radhanath and Madhusudan were the illustrious trio who inaugurated the ‘modern Oriya literature. Ram Sankar Ray introduced modern tune of Oriya drama. He wrote twelve dramas beginning with Kanchi- Kaveri. Among other dramatists mention may be made of Jagomohan Lala, Kamapala Misra and Raja Padmanava Narayan Deva. Raja Padmanabha of Parlakimedi wrote in collaboration with his teacher Syamasundara Raja guru. The Satinataka of Jagamohan is regarded as one of the best Oriya plays. Nanda-kishor Bai distinguished himself in writing historical and nature poetry.
Oriya periodical journals were started by the Christian missionaries they started two monthlies in 1849 and 1861. The first indigenous journal in Oriya the daily Utkala Dipika appeared in 1866. In 1871 came out the Anglo-Oriya jounal, a fortnightly, the vernacular portion called Utkala Hitaishini and the English part called the Orissa Pariot. In 1873 were started Utkala Darpana, a monthly and Utkala Patra, a fortnightly. Of the several other papers that followed mention may be made of the weekly called Oriya, Utkala Prabha and Utkala Sahitya.
The progress of English education, foundation of educational newspapers and associations, and the efforts of the Christian missionaries gave a great impetus to Gujarati language. In 1814 The Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor within the Government of Bombay was founded by Archdeacon Barnes which gradually set up six schools four in Bombay city one in Surat and one in Broach; in 1826 it set up another school at Ahmadabad. Under the patronage of this society Ranchhorbhai Girdharbhai who had learnt English produced first series of Gujarati text books and became the guide of almost all the aspiring youngmen who took to literature and social reform. The work was carried forward by the students of Elphinstone College founded in 1827 and of the Bombay University founded in 1857.
Kinloch Forbes, an Assistant Judge at Ahmadabad took interest in the study of Gujarati language and history and secured the services of poet Dalpatram Dayabhai who collected old manuscripts and folksongs and folk-tales. In 1848 Forbes founded at Ahmadabad the Gujarat Vernacular Society later named Gujarat Vidya Sabha and started the first Gujarat fortnightly called the Buddhiprakas. After his transfer to Surat he set up a similar society there and started a literary journal called Surat Samachar. Dalpatram’s zeal for social reforms found expression in his poems.
Some of his poems found place in the school text books and had an influence over the young minds for nearly forty years. His poem Hunnarkhanni Chadai (1850) dealt with the evil effects of modern industries on Indian crafts, and was regarded as the first expression of Swadeshi. Narmada Sankar Lal-shankar was the most outstanding literary figure of the second half of the nineteenth century.
His principal works are on Gujarati prosody, Gujarati figure of speech, Gujarati dictionary and a Dictionary mythology. He is regarded as the father of modern Gujarati prose. The only other important prose writer of this period was Navalram Laksh- miram who was a friend of Narmada Shankar. Other important writers were Mahipatram Rupram Nandshankar Tuljashankar.
The best attempt at writing fiction at this time was made by Jehangir Ardeshir Talyar-khan. Bholanath Sarabhai under the influence of Brhamo Samaj wrote psalms rich in prayerfulness. With the Muslim conquest of Gujarat it lost its stage and drama. But these were revived after the study of Shakespeare. Ranchhorbhai Udayram wrote the first modern Gujarati play. During the last part of the nineteenth century Gover-dhanram, Manilal Nabhubhai Dvivedi, Narasingha Rao. Manishankar Ratnaji Bhatt, Sursinhji Gohel, Thakor of Lathi Balvantrai Kalyanrai, Thakor Ramanbhai Mahipatram Nilkanth worked for the progress of the different aspects of the Gujarati literature. A new age of the Gujarati literature, however, began in 1865 with the publication of Vasantotsav by Nanalal.
5. Marathi Literature:
With the passing of the Peshwa’s kingdom into the hands of the British in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, a situation similar to that had developed in Bengal began to rise in ‘the Bombay Presidency and factors—political, social and economic began to operate as they did in Bengal. The Marathi language and literature began to be transformed in the way similar to that of Bengal.
Marathi literature in the eighteenth century and earlier was largely in verse expressing folk sentiments of love and heroism as well as conveying religious and moral teachings. A new literary development began with Eknath and followed by writers like Tukaram, Mukteswar Ramdas etc. In the eighteenth century Marathi literature, mainly poetry, had two distinct divisions, one secular and the other religious and classical.
In the secular literature were the love lyrics, historical ballads etc. while in religious and classical group, composition in imitation of Ramayana and Mahabharata, legends of Puranas etc. appeared. In prose there was not much excellence to start with and there were adaptations from Sanskrit fables and lores like Betal Panchaishi, Singhasan Battisi etc. Letters, despatches and official records constituted the third form of prose.
The new trend in literature made its appearance from the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Christian missionaries were pioneers in the new Marathi language and literature and Carey published the first Marathi grammar with the help of Marathi Pandit Vaijnath in 1805. In 1814 the Serampore Press published the first Marathi book Singhasan Battisi. Under the patronage of Monstuart Elphinstone, the first governor of Bombay Presidency Bombay Native Education Society was founded in 1920 which undertook preparation of text books in local vernacular. English treatises on surveying, mensuration, anatomy nosology and materia medica were translated in Marathi.
School Book Society founded in 1822 encouraged production of books for schools boys as well as adults and Goldsmith’s History of Rome, Malcolm’s Persia, Wilk’s History of the Arabs and History of the Chinese, works on Physics, Chemistry, Ethics, History of Gujarat,
Orme’s Account of Hindusthan. Ain-i-Akbari, Sikandamama etc. were listed for translation by the Society. In this way the foundations of the new Maratha Prose were laid through which secular and scientific knowledge was propagated.
In 1833 the government took a retrograde step by setting up the Bombay Board of Education presided over by Sir Erskine Perry, which became a strong protagonist of English and began to discourage publication in local varnacular. But Bal Sastri Jambhekar, Dadoba Pan-duranga took up the challenge and wrote a number of Marathi books.
An urge and taste for reading Marathi had been created by the Maratha journals that came out at that time. In 1832 Bombay Darpan the first Marathi journal was established by Jambhekar and a second journal Digdarshan came out in 1840. Bhau Maharaja brought out Prabhakar in 1841. Likewise Dnyanodaya, Dnyan Prakash, Vicharlahari etc. came out in subsequent years. These Marathi journals gave a great stimulus to Marathi writing as well as reading Marathi literature.
During the second half of the nineteenth century original writings in Marathi language began to appear and names of writers like Vinayak Janardan Kirtane, Baba Padmanji, Harinarayan Apte deserve special mention. In 1874 Vishnu Sastri Chiplunkar in his Nibandhamala showed the height to which Marathi literature could reach. His essays became models both in style and expression of ideas in Marathi language. “His writings liberated the educated class from the chains of servitude that bound it to foreign thought”. His work of enriching the Marathi language was followed up by Angarkar, Tilak Shivaram Mahadeo Paranjape. Biography, history, humorous essays, poetry, drama etc. breathed the modern spirit and new Marathi language and literature attained a great height and excellence.
6. Urdu & Hindi Literature:
Under the new conditions Urdu and Hindi began to make rapid progress. While Urdu followed the normal course of progress, Hindi was hampered by a hesitancy as to whether Braja Bhasa or Khari Boli should be adopted as literary language. While Braja Bhasa possessed considerable treasure of literature both prose and poetry, Khari Boli was not considered to be sufficiently elegant as a medium of poetical composition.
But after the establishments of the Fort William College books were being produced in Khari Boli and the language was shown to have the capability of serious writings. But in the hands of Sadasukhlal, Lalluji Lai, Sadal Misra and Insallaih Khan Khari Boli was used in prose composition to excellent effect.
As to the dialect to be used in Hindi poetry the controversy continued. Development of Hindi as a vigorous language took place in the nineteenth century. Hindi journals, historical treatises, essays and dramas prepared the ground for subsequent development of Hindi language and literature.
Some of the important Hindi prose writers such as Raja Shiva Prasad, (1823-95) who was responsible for writing a history of India in three volumes used many Persian words in his work. Raja Lakshaman Singh based his composition on highly elegant Sanskrit style while Bharatendu Harish Chandra followed a middle course, and based his dramas on English models.
Hindi poetry composed in Braja Bhasa was largely revivalist in nature. It was not until Sridhar Pathak (1859-1928) made use of Khari Boli in Hindi poetry that the tradition of exclusive use of Braja Bhasa for Hindi poetry was broken, His lead was followed by many others and the Khari Boli became the main medium of the new Hindi poetical literature.
Urdu developed with even pace and had already made great progress. It was in the writings of Ghalib that Urdu prose and poetry showed new, modern trends. Ghalib’s style of prose in his letters-simple yet rich conversational style became a model for modern expression. In poetry Ghalib’s preference to meaning and thought, spontaneity of style and expression, originality in use of simile and metaphors marked a great advance in Urdu literature.
The post-Revolt (1857) era which saw the disappearance of the remnants of the Mughal aristocracy and the setting up of a modern administration and socio-economic changes, effected a great transformation of the social milieu of northern Indian provinces. With new education, new problems and a new world of ideas opened before the people which gave an impetus to new Urdu literature. In preference to Gazals, Mathnavi and Musaddas received attention of the writers. “Natural sights and phenomena like the rainy season, winter and summer, flowing rivers and mountain scenes entered poetic imagery. Imaginary narrative, historical, didactic and patriotic themes became common”.
Under the impact of new factors of the contemporary time there was a break with the traditional literary ideals and new Urdu literature began to develop in quick pace. Syed Ahmad khan pioneered a natural Urdu prose dispelling illusory tradition of artificialities of the past. Nazir Ahmad also was in favour of discarding unreal, artificial nature of the past Urdu literature and advocated real beauty of facts.
The foundations of the new school of Urdu literature were laid by Md. Husain Azad and Altaf Husain Hali at Lahore to promote progressive Urdu literature. Md. Husain Azad composed poems in new style and in new themes such as Sham ki Amad, i.e. Advent of Evening, Mathnavi Hubbi Watan i.e. Love of Mother land, Dad-i-lnsaf, i.e. Praise of Justice, Zanustan i.e. Winter, and Khwab-i-Amn, i.e. Dream of Peace. Hali’s contribution was even greater. He was equally great poet, prose- writer and a critic. His poems dealt themes of patriotism, social reforms Nature, elegy etc.
His masterpiece was Musaddas-i-Hali other poets of the time were Muhammad Ismail, Durga Sahai Surur, Akbar etc. Among the new prose writers mention may be made of Mir Amman and his associates. The new Urdu prose made its appearance under the patronage of Fort William College. Later authors who greatly enriched Urdu literature were Azad, Nazir, Ahmad, Shibli Nifmani, Zakaullah etc. Among those authors who had made their mark as humanists, satirists, novelists and story-writers mention may be made of Sajjad Husain, Ratannath Dhar Sashar, Abul Halim etc.
7. Tamil and Telegu Literature:
What we have noticed in the case of the development of vernacular language and literature in the north, is repeated in the south in regard to Tamil, Telegu, Kannada and Malayalam.
Tamil is an ancient language with a highly developed literature. The Tamils came under the influence of the West quite early, with the arrival of the Portuguese and later, of the French and the English. With the establishment of College of Fort St. George at Madras on the model of the fort William College, Calcutta, Tamil language was being taught to the employees of the East India Company; a Tamil library was set up and books in Tamil were being published.
The Pandits who at first taught Tamil in the Fort St.George College adopted Western outlook, produced critical works and translation of English books in Tamil. Grammars and dictionaries were also compiled. In this way the language for modern and original literature came into existence. Minakshi Sundaram Pallai who was a great Tamil scholar encouraged his students to write and express themselves in their own language—Tamil. Sundaram Pillai’s pupil Vedanayakam Pillai wrote the first novel in Tamil language. U.V. Swaminatha Iyer was another worthy pupil of Sundaram Pillai and was the ‘harbinger of Tamil renaissance’, and was the inspirer of generations of Tamilians including Subramania Bharati.
After a period of translation of English literature into Tamil, began a period of original work in Tamil language. Historical, social, romantic, and patriotic literature came to be produced in Tamil.
The Press also helped the development of Tamil language and propagation of modern ideas. With the spread of English education there was an urge for creative literary works and a receptiveness to modern ways of thinking. A class of Tamil scholars and writers grew up who created the new, i.e. the modern Tamil literature.
Telegu language and literature showed the same process of literary development as we notice in other vernaculars. But in case of Telegu literature one century from the middle of the eighteenth to the middle of the nineteenth century had been a period of decadence. From the middle of the nineteenth to the end of the century the period was, generally speaking, one of transition in regard to Telegu language and literature and its was not until 1880 that a new movement had set in for the development of the Telegu language and literature of which Kandukari Vinesalingam was the inaugurator.
In his journal Hasya Sanjivan he ridiculed the prevalent social customs and his another journal Vivekavardhini fostered creative art in literature. With him a new era of literature began and a simple natural style was introduced. He was also the first Telegu writer who composed essays, dramas, novels as well as scientific treatises. Among others who promoted modernism in Telegu style were G.V. Apparao, Kumaraju Venkata Lakshmanrao, Gidugu Venkata Ramamurthi, D.K. Nageswararao etc. They were the harbingers of Renaissance in Telegu literature and prepared the ground for the new era and Telegu literature.
In conclusion it may be mentioned that the literary movements in some of the languages of India showed common trends in the development of Indian mind and thought. Although the Indian mind was ready to absorb the Western ideas and adopt Western attitudes towards expression of thought yet it was never detached from the moorings of its own traditional heritage. In her efforts to effect a harmony between the Eastern and Western ideas, Indian mind did not abandon the essentials of the East. A common outlook, a community of ideas and sentiments characterised the minds of the Indians, which were the preconditions of a natural consciousness that we notice towards the second half of the nineteenth century.
After the creation of the new Hindu State of Mysore at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Mysore was looked upon as the centre of Karnataka culture. The ruler Mummadi Krishnaraja gathered round him Sanskrit and Kannada scholars and himself composed fifty works in Kannada. During long fifty years of his patronage of literature Krishnaraja brought round him number of scholars of all communities. Among the Jaina scholars were Santaraja Pandita, Devachandra, and Charu Kirti Pandita. Aliya Linga Raja was an author in Sanskrit and Kannada. Among other writers patroniset by Mummadi Krishnaraja were were Venkata Rama Sastri Subrahmanya, Rangadasa Srinivasa Tammayya and Maddagiri Nanjappa.
Apart from the above group of scholars and authors who received patronage of Krishnaraja. Krinshnamachrya of Srirangapattanam who was a Vakil at the Sadar Adalat Court at Madras wrote grammar and lexicon for both old and new Kannada. His grammar was one of the first Kannada works to be printed. The influence of the Brahmo Samaj is found in the work of Rama Brahmanda Yogi.
In the later half of the nineteenth century the Kannada writers were inspired by new movements in India the missionaries of Mangalore Basel Mission, the Wellesley Mission etc. were responsible for the publication of number of works, such as English Kannada dictionary, Kannada-English lexicon. Carey, Karel, Zeigler, Kittel, Maben and Campbell wrote grammars of the Kannada language. Kittel produced an excellent English-Kannada dictionary with the help of many Pandits. Rice, the famous epigraphist edited Kannada classics in the Bibli-otheca Carna.
He also edited Amarkosa in Kannada and his introduction to the classical works gives us a comprehensive history of the Kannada language and literature. Chama Raja Wodeyar encouraged dramatic production. Among the author of dramas mention may be made of Basavappa Sastri, Motaganhali Sankara Sastri, Ayya Sastri, N. Subba Sastri and S.G. Narasighacharya. Benkatacharya was the novelist in Kannada. His knowledge in Bengali enabled him to translate the important works of Bankin Chandra into Kannada.
The activities of the Christian missionaries of the Basel mission and particularly the work of Dr. Gundert, a German missionary of exceptional linguistic talents gave a spurt to Malayalam language and literature. The Malayalam-English Dictionary produced by Dr. Gundert was a great step in this regard and his book remains an authoritative work even today.
The establishment of the Madras University and the need for Malayalam textbooks and the influence of the Western education gave an impetus to the growth of Malayalam language and literature. Prose was the first branch of the Malayalam literature to receive the impetus by contact with English.
The contributions of Swathi Thirunal and Ayiliyam Thirunal were very great indeed in the growth of Malayalam language and literature. Kerala Verma was an eminent Malayalam prose writer and his prose was modelled on some of the best essayists in English. Maharaja of Travancore Ayiliam Thirunal and Vishakham Thirunal the heir apparent, were Malayalam prose writers of great ability.
Growth of journalism helped in a large measure in the development of Malayalam prose. Began by the Christian missionaries for religious propaganda journalism was taken up by local scholars who started news papers and journals for literary and political purposes. Literary articles, reviews and poems also enriched the Malayalam language and literature. Another aspect of the new literary activities was the production of novels.
In 1887 Kundalata was produced by Appu Nedungadi, an early graduate of the Madras University. C.V. Raman Pillai and Chandu Menon were two other novelists of great ability. In drama and poetry the names of Venmani Nampoodiris (Sr. and Jr.), Kerala Varma Kunju Kuttan Thampuran, Kachunni Thampuran may be mentioned. The leader of the a new romantic school of poetry in Malayalam was given by A.R. Raja Raja Varma, the famous professor of Malayalam in the Maharaja’s College of TriVandrun. He was both a poet and critics himself.
Contact with English literary criticism was the origin of literary criticism in Malayalam and the name of C.P. Achutha Menon deserves special mention in this regard. P.K. Narayana Pillai, in fact, laid the foundation of scholarly criticism and he owed much to his preceptor Raja Raja. Most important of the essayist in Malayalam was Kunju Raman, known by his pseudonym Kesari.
In the early decades of the twentieth century there was a great urge in translating Sanskrit and English works into Malayalam. Dewan Bahadur Govinda Pillai translated several of Shakespeare’s dramas. One of the most successful of the later translators who set a good model by his translation was C.S. Subramanian Potti. He translated Bankim Chandra’s Durgesnandini from its English version.