Hindi is a direct descendant of the Sanskrit language through Prakrit and Apabhramsha. It has been enriched by incorporation of words from languages such as Persian, English, and Arabic etc. It is spoken largely in North India in Delhi, Haryana, western Utter Pradesh, North-Eastern Madhya Pradesh and parts of Eastern Rajasthan.
The literature of Hindi language can be divided into four different styles i.e. Bhakti (devotional), Sri Nagar (beauty), Veer Gatha (Praising brave warriors and Adhunik (modern). Evolution of Hindi literature can be batter understand through the four stages of Adi Kal, Bhakti kal, Riti- Kavya kal and Adhunik Kal.
Adi Kal (CE 1050 to 1375)
This Period is also known as Veer-Gatha Kal. Prithviraj Raso by Chand Bardai is considered as one of the first works in Hindi Literature. Other literary works from this period belong to the Siddha, Nathpanthi, Jaina and Rasau poetical works.
The poetry of this period either highlights certain religious ideologies or praises the heroic deeds of the Rajput rulers and warriors in the form of verse-narratives (raso-kavyas). The earliest poetry of this period is represented by the Apabhramsha poetry, which includes the Siddha literature (AD 750-1200), the Nath literature and Jaina literature.
Siddha literature was written in the popular languages and this echoed devotional themes combined with a strong erotic feeling. The Nath literature represents the Mystic-devotional poetry, written between the 7th and 14th century. During this period, Jaina Poets like Swayambhu, Som Dutt Suri, Sharang Dhar and Nalla Singh composed the Charit Kavyas, which propagate moral tenets and portrayals of nature.
Bhakti Kal (CE 1375-1700)
This Period witnessed the rise of Bhakti Kavyas or devotional poetry. This form of poetry has been divided into two schools: Nirguna and Saguna schools, depending upon the devotional attitude of the poets towards the lord.
The Nirguna believed in a formless God, while the Sagunas believed in a human incarnation of God. Kabir (AD 1399-1518) was the most important poet of the Nirguna School. The Saguna poets were either the followers of Lord Rama or of Lord Krishna.
Tulsi das is the foremost among the Ram Bhakt poets. He depicted Rama as the ideal man in his classic works Ramacharitamanaca, Gitavali, Kavitavali and Vinay Patrika. The Krishna Bhakt poets composed devotional pieces portraying different aspects of Lord Krishna’s life, mainly the popular image of the playful Krishna. Surdas (1483-1563) is the greatest among this stream among poets. His Sur Sagar and Sur Saravali are the masterpieces of devotional Hindi Poetry.
Meera Bai(1499-1547) She is the most celebrated of the woman poets of medieval times. Several works like Narsiji ki Mahero, Gitagovinda ki Tika, Ragagovinda, Garva-Gita and Raga-vihaga are attributed to meera Bai.
Ghanananda (1699-1740) Bodha (b. 1747) and Thakur (1766-1823) were the leading names of this genre of poetry. Ghanananda (Sujana-Sagara, Rasa-Kelivalli and Kripa-Kanda) is by far the best writer of the non-rhetorical tradition of Hindi poetry.
Riti-Kavya Kal (CE 1700 to 1900)
Literature in this period emulated the Sanskrit rhetorical traditions and tackled different aspects of poetics like Rasa, alankara and nayika bheda through Saviyas and Kavithas. Emphasis on poetry theory in this period however reduced the emotional aspects of poetry. The poet of this period can be classified into two groups on the basis of their subjects: Ritibaddha (those wedded to rhetoric ) and Ritimukta those (free from rhetorical conventions ).
Adhunik Kal (CE 1900 onwards)
The Most important development of this period was the evolution of Khari boli prose and proliferation of the use of Khari boli in poetry in place of Braj bhasha.
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