Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature (Set of 5 Big Volumes)

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Item Code: NAB734
Language: English
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 9788126023844
Pages: 5160
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.5 inch X 9.0 inch
Weight 12.79 kg
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Book Description

Sahitya Akademi (The National Academy of Letters, India) is actively involved in the promotion and Dissemination of critical and creative literature, shaping the concept of an Indian literature encompassing the linguistic expressions of different regions and communities with a responsibility to carefully nurture this plurality as it is the very soul, the raison d'etre of our rich literary traditions and heritage.

A nation whose ideas, philosophies and potentialities have only begun to be understood in modern times, India is, not surprisingly, the possessor of a huge treasure-trove of multi—lingual literature, some of which have interesting parallels to the very best literary works in the world, while a considerable number of the is unique in style, form and mode of expression. We have genres and forms like mahakavyas, champus, dohas, ghazals, masnavis and Bhakti literature that portray the diverse creativity culture and the ways of life of people belonging to different ethnic and regional identities.

Multilingualism and polyglot fluidity have been the very characteristics of Indian literature and several of our authors, right from Kabir, Tukaram, Meera, Nanak and Vidyapati to Premchand and A.K. Ramanujan have been bilingual if not multilingual. A scrutiny of Indian literary history reveals significant fact about the culture and society, right from the Sanskrit and Tamil classics, epics, tribal traditions and folklore, Buddhist and Jain literature and Bhakti and Sufi movements to the patriotic literature of the freedom struggle, writings encouraging social reform, as well as the more contemporary concerns centering around Dalits, women and ecological and minority issues of modern society.

Another interesting phenomenon found in Indian literature is the thread of commonality like the quest for the spiritual realm, ethnic, religious and regional identities that find expression in the older languages like Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, etc., and in tribal languages like Bodo and Santhali, recognized officially only recently. The influence of concepts and trends prevalent in the far Eastern and Western literature, both classical and modern, is glimpsed in Indian literature too. The India? Mind has always been open to outside influences, and some of them have been grafted well and found expression here, albeit couched in the hues and colours of this country. This is how India has been from time immemorial, able to absorb the cultures and traditions from all over the world and allow: them to bloom on this soil, fragrant with the unique stamp of ‘Indianness'

It was to collect and share such diverse and rich heritage of Indian literature that the idea of this encyclopaedia was first mooted by the Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi in 1974. Work on the encyclopaedia soon surpassed the initial idea of two volumes as the wealth of data and information necessitated the creation of five volumes, followed by a supplementary sixth volume. It was a mammoth task; the first of its kind in India. The first edition of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature as a pioneering effort appeared from the year- 1987 to 1994. It was reprinted in 1997 and 2003. Inspite of the best efforts of the editors, there were some inaccuracies and gaps which needed to be redressed. The work of the revision started in the year 2001 and was assigned to the eminent scholar-critic and Malayalam poet, Professor K. Ayyappa Paniker. After his passing away the work on the first volume was executed by Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri, eminent scholar and former Secretary of Sahitya Akademi.

We sincerely hope that the revised edition of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature will reflect the traditions, literary history, genres and movements over the centuries. It is perhaps the most substantial work among the reference material published by the Akademi comprehensively attempting at documenting the significant authors, major works, genres, movements and texts that showcase the diverse wealth of India’s literary past and varied contemporary creativity

The work on the first volume of the revised edition being brought out under the chief editorship of Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri received the full support and care of Professor Gopi Chand Narang, former President of Sahitya Akademi. We sincerely hope that it reflects the care that has gone into the revising and updating of entries. Nevertheless, there might still be shortcomings that need to be further attended to. We would appreciate the response from readers to enable us to further improve the data and information.

We are pleased to state that our earlier edition was well-received and was found useful by scholars across the world. We look forward to a similar, if not warmer, reception to this revised edition.


Editor’s Note

The revised edition of the Encyclopaedia 0f Indian Literature is being brought out by the Sahitya Akademi in an attempt to enhance and improve on its original presentation and also to represent the latest trends and developments in Indian literature from a broader perspective, ranging from the time the first volume was published in 1987 to the present time, covering a period of almost two decades.

Besides focusing on accuracy in representation of facts and figures and verification of names and time periods, especially in the case of Ancient and Medieval Literature, this revised edition has endeavoured to reflect the changing dynamism in the different languages and literary forms. Several entries have been rewritten or edited again; many have been refurbished with up—to—date information and data, while some new entries have been included to reflect the remarkable strides made in the literary expressions in the different languages.

Our main emphasis throughout has been on accuracy of content, uniformity in presentation, aiding the readers' comprehension and improving the overall readability while maintaining the original structure and style of the encyclopaedia. This has meant scrutinizing the titles of works, their year of publication, years of birth and death of authors, years in which awards were received, etc., by consulting innumerable reference books and relevant articles. Despite our best efforts, however, regional variations in the names and spellings or other similar errors cannot be ruled out.

Late K. Ayyappa Paniker, a retired English professor and well—known Malayalam poet and critic, had been associated with the project as its chief editor for more than six years. I express my sense go gratitude to him for his dedicated work.

Sri Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee, formerly English Editor and Editor of Indian Literature, Sahitya Akademi, has been coordinating with the chief editor in this project. I express my thanks to him. The guidance and assistance of our language consultants has been of great help in presenting this voluminous collection of information. I thank them all.

The dedication and hard work of the two Assistant Editors, Mr. U. Pannir Selvan and Ms. Debasree Bhattacharjee, has been an invaluable help in bringing out the first volume.

The former President of the Sahitya Akademi, Professor Gopi Chand Narang, and others have extended great support in finalizing the revision of the first volume in record time. My thanks to all of them. I am sure the editorial team will receive similarly all possible support from the new President, Shri Sunil Gangopadhyay and the Secretary, Shri Agrahara Krishnamurthy in completing the revision of the remaining volumes.


Publisher’ Note

When Sahitya Akademi first published The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature in 1987, it was something that had been accomplished never before, and even to this day it remains so. India is a multi-lingual country with an amazing range of literary and cultural diversity. It has been on the path to unprecedented progress over the last twenty odd years owing to factors like economic liberalisation, influences of free market economy and globalisation. The rest of the world looks up to India as a country of burgeoning economy and a phenomenally expanding market. Presently, in our country, as expansion on the literary and cultural front is catalyzed by influences from all over the world, it is high time we revised and enhanced the information we have provided a quarter of a century ago in a work like The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. Moreover, following developments on the literary front like the unprecedented upsurge in literary translation, especially into English from all Indian languages, more and more writers are coming forward from their reclusion, to be counted on the national and international levels. It is in this context that the relevance of revising and updating the already available information and adding, new data becomes manifest in an unprecedented manner.

Indian culture is being observed keenly by people the world over, especially its concepts of transcendence and search for meaning of life that has been in existence for the past several millennia, in an unbroken tradition. India is the birthplace of three ancient religions like Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism, and modern ones like Sikhism and is home to religions like Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, the Jewish religions, and modern religious entities like the Baha’ais. Ancient scriptures like the Vedas, Upanishads, puranas, itihasas, kaavyas etc., and the re—renderings of these by great writers in common peoples' languages resulting in the origin and development of several of our major regional languages involve this quest for the hereafter and the zest for establishing the eternal values of life. It is not a tall claim that we make—it is there for everyone to see. Our modern languages have been founded and developed on par with major world languages owing to this strength of ’soul’ that these languages have acquired through their saint poets and other sage—like writers of the medieval and modern times.

Since the major regional languages had served as the vehicles of the aspirations of the people of those regions right from the early days of our nationalist movement or even before, it was but a matter of right for them to make themselves heard on the national stage after Independence. Sahitya Akademi was instituted in 1954 by the Government of India, with the prime motive of making it serve as a platform for the coming together of the literary activities from all parts of India. All regions and languages receive equal consideration here. Updating and revising existing data in all national languages and providing fresh data on writers and topics in the context of the changed scenario and also information on writers and writings in the languages newly recognised by the Akademi became imperative.

It was under these circumstances that a veteran scholar, academic, translator and poet of repute like the late K. Ayyappa Paniker had been assigned with the task of revising the existing material and accessing and editing new material for the Encyclopaedia. He served in the capacity of Chief Editor of the project of revision of the Encyclopaedia for more than six years. Then the task was assigned to Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri, former Secretary of Sahitya Akademi. Professor Gopi Chand Narang, the former President of Sahitya Akademi, had extended unstinted support and guidance in this endeavour. Now, the work on the first volume has been completed.

The challenge of checking the correctness and accuracy of the information provided by the contributors of each entry rests primarily with the editor of the project in a particular language. However, the Chief Editor has had to verify the entries a second time, to make sure that the information that has passed through a particular language editor is up to date and relevant for our purposes. I<.Ayyappa Paniker, and, following him, Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri, have done their best in accomplishing this task. The data we have in the revised first volume which is being launched, is the latest available and it is hoped that the volume would serve the requirements of scholars, researchers and students of Indian literature, and also that of lay readers. We are in the process of bringing out the succeeding volumes revised, within the shortest time possible.

I hope this process of revision of all volumes of The Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature will meet with the approval and acceptance of all seekers of literary knowledge in this country and that the present volume would be received with much enthusiasm.


Note On Volume II

In the language map based on the 1971 census and published in the first volume of the ENCYCLOPAEDIA, the percentage of people who speak the four (English speaking natives are negligibly few) out of the seven languages, additionally recognized by the Sahitya Akademi, has been mentioned. The two languages excluded in the ‘map are Maithili and Rajasthani. Maithili, according to the 1961 census report is spoken by 49.84 lakhs of the people of Bihar and its contiguous areas, though Sir George A Grierson had put the number of Maithili—speaking people at 1.02 crore in 1911. The 1971 census report is silent on this score. Whatever the actual number there is no denying the fact that Maithili is spoken by the third largest group of people in Bihar.

The number of Rajasthan speaking people is difficult to ascertain for a special reason. Rajasthani was not perhaps entered as the mother tongue by the natives of the place in any census and the percentage of Rajasthani-speaking people is difficult to come by from any authentic source. It may, therefore, be presumed that most of the natives of Rajasthan speak Rajasthani.

In the chart showing the scripts used by different Indian languages (Vol.I) we have only scripts which are currently in use. There may be scripts used in ancient time by some languages, but they are, if at all, very seldom used by modern writers. Maithili and Manipuri, for instance, had different scripts in the past, but they are no longer in popular use. Relevant information about these old scripts is, however, given in the entries on ‘Alphabet’ in the first volume. It may also be noted that the restriction about the date of birth of an author (born in or before 1947) has been relaxed only and very rarely in the case of the Sahitya Akademi award winners.

In transliterating the proper names and words commonly used by most of the languages we have accepted the conventional spellings, that is the received spellings of the different regions. As a result, it may be found that ‘ee’ and ‘i’ ‘oo’ and ‘u’ and three sibilants, dental, palatal and cerebal, are inter—changeable. We thought it advisable not to interfere with the regional modes of spelling in transliteration. Thus we have accepted both Siva and Shiva. Vishnu and Visnu, Namboothiri and Nambuthiri or Namputhiri. Sarma and Sharma etc. Any uniformity in this regard is impossible, unless these spellings are standardised by common consent, though in some cases of surnames, with various spellings, we have accepted one uniform; spelling for the sake of convenience. We have, however, standardised the spellings of words like Amrita, Jnana, Satya, Skandha, etc. though they are spelt as Amruta, Dnyana or Gyana, Sathya, Skantha etc. respectively sometimes in transcription. It may be noted that only the names of books, journals and magazines have been printed in italics.

As a rule, the names of the authors have been entered with their surnames first but in some cases the popular names of the authors have been accepted as first names. It may also be helpful to note that ‘ch’ should be pronounced as ‘ch’ as in English ‘chalk’ ,and ‘c’ as in English ‘cock’ though this sound has been mostly represented by that of English ‘K’. The table showing the general mode of transliteration in Roman alphabet may be of further help.

The topics for the encyclopaedia, divided into three categories, general authors and books, were chosen by the expert committee in each language and the entries were prepared under the supervision of the respective language—editors—cum-advisers who also subsequently verified them. All possible care has been taken to get the facts right, but in a pioneering work of this magnitude the possibility of inadvertent errors cannot perhaps be completely ruled out. Important entries, if any, pertaining to this volume and left out owing to unavoidable reasons, will be included in the last volume of addenda and indices.

The opinions expressed by the contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Sahitya Akademi. Inaugurating the establishment of the Sahitya Akademi in 1954 Radhakrishnan said that the intellectuals and literary critics "must be in at position to think according to their own conscience, to act according to their own wishes, conform or not conform, do, undo, misdo, so long as they do not interfere with the like freedom of other people. No great literature can be produced unless men have the courage to be lonely in their minds, to be free in their thoughts and to express whatever occurs to them." The Sahitya Akademi also believes that the writers should' have this freedom of expression.


Note On Volume III

THIS volume of the Encyclopaedia concentrates on histories of different languages including Tibeto-Burman and Austro-Asian, and of literature in them. The usual fare of entries 0n significant authors and books is also provided in alphabetical order. These surveys mention, willy-nilly, a good many of the authors and books on which separate entries also occur in the Encyclopaedia, leading, maybe, to an impression of repetition; but in order to offer a clear perspective for an understanding of the growth and development of Indian literature, it was thought necessary to err by a reasonable excess, allowing the entries on books and authors to serve as illustrations of trends and turns in the process of development.

It has been noted by some reviewers that the general entries are not common to all languages. In fact, they cannot be. Some forms of literature are not as popular or important in some languages as they are in others. And since the representative character of the entries was expected to be maintained, we could not insist on the inclusion of entries on the same general topic in all the languages. Additionally, in the lists prepared by the expert committees of all the languages, all the general topics were not found to be common. We could not naturally interfere with the lists and in some cases, the entries on the general topics found in the lists, did not reach us even at the last stage of printing. As it has been editorially promised in the first volume, we will include all important entries, left out owing to unavoidable reasons, in the last volume of addenda. We will also accommodate in the last volume entries on the general topics, if on second thought, the expert committees decide to have them in common with other languages.

It has been observed by some that the major authors in different languages do not sometimes get the coverage they deserve. But if we note that all their major works are separately dealt with and that taken together, all that is written on them and their works makes for an adequate assessment of their achievement, then this criticism may not appear to be valid.

The nature of this work is foundational and the limitations are many, because the material for a work of this magnitude is being explored for the first time. Some errors therefore cannot be avoided in spite of the best efforts of all those concerned with the publication of this pioneering venture. But the errors detected can be and will be rectified and the entries, particularly on authors, updated in the later editions. The opinions expressed by the contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the Akademi or the Editorial Board.


Editorial Volume IV

This volume of the Encyclopaedia covers a wide range of entries on books and authors, besides studies in some major literary genres, movements and trends—genres (or sub-genres) like Novel, Prose, Poetry, Poetics and Prosody: movements like Realism, Renaissance and Romanticism: trends like Patriotism and Progressivism. A general topic like Printing and Publishing, a sub-form of literature like Pen-Portraits, and philosophical systems like Nyaya and Samkhya also appear in the volume. Broad surveys of genres or pointed studies of movements, trends and schools of thought have been retained even at the risk of a certain overlapping of material found in entries on books and authors, since they offer a historical and literary perspective for the broad spectrum of Indian literature covering some 4000 years of growth and development. A certain degree of repetition, it was felt, could do little harm in a reference work of this nature meant as much for non—specialised readers as for the educated and scholarly ones. A cultural tradition like ours, so rich and varied and yet with an essential unity at the core, is indeed ‘a collaboratively sustained reality’, to borrow a phrase from F.R. Leavis, in the way exemplified by our languages.

This Encyclopaedia is the first serious attempt of its kind in the country which aims at providing the reader, within the compass of some five volumes, a perception of Indian literature in twenty-five languages, including Pali, Prakrit and Apabhramsha—languages no longer in use. A work of this magnitude, undertaken for the first time, involves many limitations of which we are fully conscious, though we would not like to make them an excuse for our weaknesses. Since the publication of the first volume of the Encyclopaedia in 1987, we have received a good deal of feedback from various quarters, some of it balanced and sympathetic, some sharply critical of the deficiencies. We are grateful for all sensitive review of the work and would bear it in mind while revising and updating the volumes in the next edition. In fact, in this volume itself we have tried to organise the material with greater precision and accuracy, reducing details to coherent order, though without infringing too far on the basic character of the entries.

The quality of an encyclopaedia depends on many factors; editing is only one of them, of crucial importance certainly. Effective coordination between the central editorial unit and language advisers—cum-editors spread all over the country, response from contributors, availability of expertise, and a reasonable time frame for the preparation of a volume are some other factors which go into the making of a standard work of reference. Our attempt has been to commission entries from the ablest scholars in each field of specialisation in the country, but sometimes their contributions do not reach us on schedule, or do not come at all, resulting in improvised attempts at the last hour. Equally important is the task of maintaining balanced proportions between the different items—entries on books, authors and general topics- written by a large number of contributors in diverse languages. Many writers from different parts of India have worked with us in this endeavour, and differences in conception and approach, perhaps, cannot always be resolved in order to allow everything to fall into a pattern.

All important entries missing in the first four volumes for one reason or another will be duly accommodated in the addenda of the last volume—hopefully the next one—together with necessary cross-references and indices. Let me also add that the views and opinions expressed by the contributors in this volume do not necessarily represent those of the Akademi.

As we complete this volume, let me address this to ourselves. An encyclopaedia of literature, more so a foundational work like ours, is perhaps only a partially achieved reality as it is ever in the process of growing and becoming – an ideal that must, in Tagore’s words, compel tireless striving, on our part, to stretch its arms towards perfection.

Now a word of appreciation and gratitude. Professor Amaresh Datta, former Chief Editor, retired in the middle of February 1990. During his six ears of tenure, the Encyclopaedia Unit was greatly energized, leading to the publication of the first three volumes, and we would like to express our sense of appreciation for this dedicated work. The Unit is grateful to members of the Steering Committee, particularly Dr B.K. Bhattacharya, President, Professor Gangadhar Gadgil, Vice-President, and Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri, Secretary, for their constant encouragement and understanding. And, finally, for editorial assistance and warmth of cooperation I must express my gratitude to my colleagues on the editorial team, Sri Jagdish Chandra Arora, Dr Sudha Gopalakrishnan, Sri Param Abichandani, Mrs Arundhati Deosthale, Dr Shankar Basu, Sri K.C. Dutt and Mrs Yashodhara Mishra.


Editorial Volume V

As we complete this volume, we virtually come to the end of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature publication project. Of course, there will be the usual last volume (Vol. VI) of indices and cross-references, which will also carry additional entries that should have been there in earlier volumes, but had to be left out partly due to oversight but mostly due to reasons beyond our control.

Perhaps this is an opportune time to look back in retrospect. The momentum that Professor Amaresh Datta, erstwhile Chief Editor, gave to the project by bringing out the first volume in l887 has thus been carried to its logical conclusion in 1992. It is way back in the seventies that the idea of publishing an Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature was? First mooted. The plan was to bring in its ambit everything significant in Indian literature - ancient, medieval and modem - by involving a large number of scholars and writers from all Indian languages, We were well aware that the work was foundational in nature and that the limitations and constraints were many, for the material for a work of such magnitude would be explored for the first time in India. We were also aware that in spite of the best efforts of all concerned, such a pioneering venture could not perhaps be totally error-free and criticism-proof.

These considerations, however, did not deter the Akademi from launching the project. The original plan was to complete the work in two volumes of approximately 1000 pages each. But as the work progressed, we were overwhelmed by the wealth of material gradually garnered. Soon it became evident that the number of volumes would have to be increased to accommodate all these materials. What was more important was that the materials received were not just routine literary essays or accidental fragments of literary information. Amalgamated and collated together, they turned out to be highly significant documents throwing new light on and allowing new insight into our sensitive literary heritage. Naturally, this was quite a jolt for our original modest plan. But the whole Encyclopaedia Unit rose to the occasion. With a feverish excitement the Unit went to work evolving innovative methods for sharing with the readers this new knowledge about the development of Indian literature through ages.

As will be observed, the scope of the Encyclopaedia is tremendously vast. The historical survey of genres and movements may reveal to the discerning eye a striking continuity of the great Indian tradition from the ancient to the modem and then on to the post-modem times. The regional tradition has its peculiarities, but it is unmistakably an integral part of the composite culture of the whole nation. Moreover, the character of the great works of literary art produced during the last 150 years, as revealed in the Encyclopaedia, also gives a lie to the commonly held belief that the modern Indian literature in different languages represents a distinct departure from the tradition.

The works of distinguished writers in the regional languages also indicate that they are all of a piece, inasmuch as they present a view of life and an ethos which are essentially and perennially Indian. Considering the magnitude of the Encyclopaedia, the efforts of the professionals working on it have been to bring into focus the richness of the literary culture of a country as big as India and the rhythm and flow of its life over some four thousand years. In the process, we were confronted with an astonishing variety of forms and an amazing diversification of themes and contents. From the most profoundly sublime and spiritual to the most grossly mundane and sensual have found a place in it. For example, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Bhagwata are quite nonchalantly juxtaposed with the Kamasutra and the Arthashastra. Taken together, they have proved through the centuries an inexhaustible source of inspiration - a source of both seminal concepts and archetypes of experience. And through literature, the ideas and thoughts they embody have become an inseparable part of our collective consciousness.

Obviously enough, editing is only one of the factors, of crucial importance certainly, that go into the making of a qualitative encyclopaedia. The other important factors are the effective coordination between the controlling Editorial Unit and language Advisers—cum-Editors spread all over the country, response from contributors, availability of expertise, and a reasonable time frame for the preparation of a volume, which go a long way to produce a standard work of reference.

The Unit owes the members of the Steering Committee, particularly Dr. B.K. Bhattacharyya, President, Professor Gangadhar Gadgil, Vice-President, Professor Indra Nath Choudhuri, Secretary, a debt of gratitude for their constant encouragement and understanding. And finally, for editorial assistance and warmth of cooperation, I must express my gratitude to my colleagues on the editorial team, Sri Param Abichandani, Mrs Arundhati Deosthale, Dr Shankar Basu and Sri K.C. Dutt. I join with all of them in wishing that this pioneering work will prove to be a useful tool of reference for both the comman man and the cognoscenti.


Preface Volume VI

The idea of bringing out an encyclopaedia that embraces literature in 25 Indian languages, with entries running into several thousands on every conceivable literary topic on eminent authors and their significant works, literary movements, genres and concepts was mooted way back in the seventies. It was contemplated that the encyclopaedia of this nature should bring in its ambit everything about literature in Indian languages brought out during the ancient, medieval and modem periods. The Sahitya Akademi embarked upon the project in right earnest in 1984. The efforts of the highly skilled and professional editorial staff started showing results and the first volume covering the entries from ‘A’ to ‘Devo’ was brought out in 1987. The second volume was brought out in 1988, the third in 1989, the fourth in 1991 and the fifth in 1992. Presently the sixth volume is in your hands.

All the six volumes together include approximately 7500 entries on various topics, literary trends and movements, eminent authors and significant works. Hundreds of eminent scholars have contributed to these volumes while a full team of editors skilled in the profession have helped process the entries. The first three volumes were edited by Prof. Amaresh Datta, IV and V volumes by Prof. Mohan Lal and the sixth by Sri Param Abichandani and Sri K.C. Dutt. I thank all of them from my heart.

The scope of an Encyclopaedia of Indian literature is truly vast. The general historical surveys of genres and movements, the notes on the established writers and reviews of the works of lasting significance may reveal to the discerning eye a striking continuity of a living tradition from the ancient to the modem times. The Bhasha traditions have their specific characteristics and they together constitute the literary culture of the nation. The efforts of the professionals working on this monumental reference book have been to bring to the fore the literary culture of our heterogeneous nation formed during the long and eventful period of about five thousand years, and bring to focus its salient features—the astonishing variety of its forms and genres, mostly indigenous, the vast areas of experience creatively transformed by it and the great diversity of its themes and concerns developed through various historical epochs.

I am glad to present to our discerning readers and scholars this last volume of the Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature that is sure to promote greater awareness of India’s pluralistic literary culture.


Editor’s Note Volume VI

One can appreciate the implication of Johnson’s definition of the lexicographer as a harmless drudge’ only when one undertakes the task of making an encyclopaedia. One always begins with a lot of confidence and an element of optimism, but as one proceeds, the work grows in dimension beyond imagination and surpasses the number of entries originally listed. And the fear always lurks in a corner -of mind that something has been overlooked. Something is still missing. This is what actually happened to us when we brought out the first volume of Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature way back in 1987, and, as a result, the sixth volume of E.I.L., the last in the series, is presently in your hands. This volume includes entries on the topics, biographical sketches and very significant titles which for one reason or the other could not find a place in the earlier five volumes.

For the sake of brevity only concise biographies have been given in this volume. However, these are highly selective. The main consideration that has gone into the treatment of these authors is that their lives are an integral element in the acclaim earned and are, therefore, significant for posterity. They have left their impress on the sands of time and have helped to push their successors a few steps up the hill. Another consideration for this inclusion is the use that their biographical sketches and works may possibly have for research scholars. The scope of entries on books in the present volume has been changed inasmuch as the detailed evaluation of these works has been dropped and only essential data has been given. The original scope of treatment of the topics, literary movements, etc. has, however, been retained to allow the reader to be informed of the impact these movements had on literatures in Indian languages.

The contributors have spelt the names of persons and places in the entries differently at different places. A few of them have become barely recognizable. After Independence in 1947, a radical revision of these spellings has taken place, in that these were consciously Indianised, as they had been altered in our earlier age in order to adjust them to the phonetic values of an alien lingua franca. Efforts have been made to spell these names according to current usage in order to avoid confusion.

A comprehensive index has been given at the end, which has been prepared by our bibliographer. This index serves as a key to all the six volumes. It includes the names of the authors and their works appearing in the text. The references from the index to the text are made by page number.

In a work like encyclopaedia where the entries are garnered from various sources and hundreds of scholars proficient in the field, it is almost impossible to thank them individually, but I am grateful to all of them. I am especially indebted to Prof. U.R. Anantha Murthy, President, and Prof. I.N. Choudhuri, Secretary, Sahitya Akademi, who gave me a great deal of help and encouragement, suggestions and advice in accomplishing the task of bringing out this volume, the last in the series.

The editors of encyclopaedia are looked upon as slaves, doomed only to remove rubbish. Those who delve deep into the material that the editor painstakingly provides in order to help their progress, rarely bestow a smile on the humble drudge. While the users of the material so provided for their research that ultimately culminates into a literary work aspire to praise, we only pray for a bit of luck and hope to escape reproach.


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