Model Question and Answers for APSC | Discuss the social, cultural, economic and political contribution of Bhakti literature.
Discuss the social, cultural, economic and political contribution of Bhakti literature.
Ans: An important landmark in the cultural history of medieval India was the silent revolution in society brought about by a galaxy of socio-religious reformers, a revolution known as the Bhakti Movement. This movement was responsible for many rites and rituals associated with the worship of God by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs of the Indian subcontinent. For example, Kirtan at a Hindu Temple, Qawwali at a Dargah (by Muslims), and singing of Gurbani at a Gurdwara are all derived from the Bhakti movement of medieval India (800-1700).
Social and cultural contribution of Bhakti literature Social: towards a more egalitarian society
It opposed the class and caste distinction, and male and female distinction. It taught the Hindu-Muslim communities to live in harmony, by removing the conflicts between them.
In the cultural sphere, a profound impact is felt in the development of local languages. Braja Basha was developed by Vallabha and Meera, Bhojpuri by Kabir Das, Awadhi by Tulsidas, Mythili by Vidhyapathi and Chandidas, Bengali by Chaitnya Prabhu, Assami by Shankar Dev, Maratha reformers for Marathi, Tamil Shaiva saints called Nayanars and Vaishnava saints Alvars were all responsible for the development of Tamil language.
Several Sufi saints composed literary works in vernacular languages. Amir Khusro, a disciple of Nizam-ud-Din Aulia, was a noted ‘guzzle’ writer. The poetry of Khusro was so full of sweetness that he was called ‘Tutiy-i-Hind. He is credited with more than 90 works on different subjects i.e. historical and romantic as well. Devotional works of Surdas, Tulsidas, and devotional songs of the poet-saints of Maharashtra and Gujarat are valuable contributions of the Bhakti Movement to literature.
- The Hindustani and Carnatic music traditions were influenced by and Meera Bai introduced Bhajans, Chaitanya Prabhu Kirthans and great Amir Khusro under the influence of Sufism introduced Sama (congregational music) and devotional music Qawali. The Carnatic music in its form and content is devotional, the essence of the Bhakti Movement.
- An important contribution of Bhakti saints was the development of Jayadeva of Bengal composed the Gita Govinda in Sanskrit, each song composed in a particular raga and tala. A significant impact that these saints had on music was the use of Bhajan, Kirtan and Abhang. These songs which emphasised Emotional experience had a tremendous appeal to the common people.
Both Bhakti and Sufi Movements influenced Classical Dance with the idea of Devotion. Both the movements left behind them a permanent legacy in the form of a composite culture which is still followed in India.
For example, devotion to Lord Vitthala gave rise to the Varkari sect which laid emphasis on an annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur.
On the economic front, both the movements inculcated a sense of dignity of labour removing the idea of condemned profession or Neechavrithi. Secondly, the Bhakti Movement opposed the economic exploitation of agricultural labour by Vaishnava landlords in Karnataka during the Lingayat Movement of Basaveshwar.
Political contribution of the Bhakti/Sufi movement
In the realm of polity particularly Bhakti Movement inspired the formation of new kingdoms like the Vijayanagara Empire and Swaraj of Shivaji Maharaj. The Sufi Movement on its part liberated the stigma attached to the Islamic State that it belonged only to Muslims. Both were responsible for inspiring great monarchs of medieval times like Md. Bin Tughlaq, Akbar, Alauddin Hussain of Bengal, Ibrahim Shah, Jagadguru of Bijapur, and Jain- ul-Abdeen (Akbar of Kashmir).