Read Indian Literature to understand India
Any given day, if you ask me, I will choose books over anything else offered to me. I love books. I love reading. I love collecting books as well. And that is why I have a mini library with about 1000 books in my room. However, what did I get with so many books? What is the ultimate good of having so many books at home? Have you ever thought? I thought about it many times. I have realised you can get anything out of books... other than rejection, loss or suffering in their raw forms!
I have read many books over the years. I came across the British classics, American classics, even Greek and Roman classics in translation. However, before anything else, I read Indian classics and this is what shaped my wisdom, intellect and understanding of life. Indian classics offer much more than mere reading pleasure and you can see it once you start reading these books from the bygone era without any prejudice or conjecture in mind.
Books from the Indian classics category are many in numbers and various in terms of genres. You will have to very selective because all of them are almost at part with each other. And if you can interpret them wisely, you will learn many things about life. If you misinterpret or get lost, you will have many fragments of the wisdom-sauce that you can use as you wish. That's why I said books will never hit you back with rejection of any kind.
Good books are your best friends. If you have friends like Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads and various other wise books by the Indian sages, you will never lose yourself into the grip of stress, anxiety or confusions or any kind. On the other hand, to get an idea about life and various facets of it, you can always read epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata or the acts of Sri Krishna in his childhood to understand why every action in our lives has some strings attached to it... nothing is in isolation if you understand things carefully.
To understand India, you will have to love Indian literature. You can use the Ferdinand de Saussure's discovery of Langue and Parole to discover more about Indian literature of the ancient times in the context of its grand civilisational history and heights. The history that India had can be understood the best way by positing its literature in the grand sequence of various ages... mainly two, Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The contemporary Indian literature has miserably failed to synchronise itself with the grand ethos of India. It might be throwing light on the seamy side of it or the lighter, humorous or non-existing side of it but it does not make any meaningful sense. Indian authors should always keep in mind that any nation is judged by its history and history is judged by the literature a nation has on its back. What are leaving for our future generations? We got the gifts of wonderful literature from the ancient ancestors. Shouldn't we return the favour?
We have to create a great context to give rise to grand text. This is also something that one has to keep in mind. Either the society or the literary figures, someone will have to initiate the rotation cycle and then keep the ball rolling until we create a wonderful body of work...
Written by Jitesh for IamReading Book Blog