European Impact

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Ruskin BondThe heritage of the ancient and medieval periods of Indian culture is still a part of India today. But when India became exposed to European culture--and eventually became part of the British Empire--it came heavily under the influence of Western ideas. Some Indian writers reacted to the European presence by reviving the ancient values of Hinduism. Other writers eagerly adopted Western forms of writing such as journalism and the novel. Even some European writers like Ruskin Bond settled down in India and established their own trend which largely effected the modern Indian literature.

The modern period of Indian literature began in the 1800's, a period of great social change. All the major languages evolved a thriving literature which they still possess. The most important development was the increased importance of prose. Although prose works had existed in earlier Indian literature, most traditional texts (which were largely religious in content or feeling) had been written in verse. During the modern period, Indian prose achieved maturity as a vehicle for expressing a wide range of ideas.

Two related developments helped the process of change. One was the introduction of the printing press by Christian missionaries (scribes had hand-copied texts in earlier times). The other development was the birth of Indian journalism. The spread of Western-style education helped produce a new readership for the new literature. Writers expressed ideas of social reform, and laid great emphasis on realism.

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