has 17 major languages and 844 different dialects.
of the Aryan settlers has merged with the earlier Dravidian vernaculars to
give rise to new languages. Hindi, spoken by about 45 per cent of the
population, is the national language.
English has also been
retained as a language for official communication. Indian literature dates
back several millennia to the hymns of the vedic Aryans.
oral tradition nurtured lassical literature, and produced great works of
philosophy and religious doctrine. It also accounted for compilations of
anecdotes like the Panchatantra and the Jataka tales, as well as epics
like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.
In southern India, the
creative energies of the Tamil poets found expression in the great works
of Sangam literature.
The epic Tirukkural by Tiruvalluvar is a
masterpiece of this age. In the north, dramatists like Kalidasa and Bhasa
produced great dramas in Sanskrit.