Some ‘stories’ are novels in Modern Sanskrit literature: An observation through Rakesh Das’s Indoścandrikā
Dr. Santigopal Das
The modern Sanskrit novel is a relatively new development in Sanskrit literature, with the first Sanskrit novel being published in the 19th century. The Sanskrit language, which is an ancient Indian language, has a rich literary history dating back thousands of years. However, the Sanskrit language has been largely replaced by other Indian languages as the primary language of communication. The modern Sanskrit novel is a unique literary form that blends the ancient Sanskrit language with modern themes and styles. These novels are typically written by authors who have a deep understanding of the Sanskrit language and literature, as well as a keen awareness of modern literary trends. Some of the most well-known modern Sanskrit novels include "Sarasvatīkaṇṭhabharaṇa" by Bālabhadra, "Bhāsaṇṭarasa" by Kṛṣṇabhaṭṭa, "Abhinavaguptacaritam" by Lakṣmīdhara, and "Rājarṣi" by V. Raghavan. Despite the challenges of writing in a language that is no longer widely spoken, modern Sanskrit novelists have continued to produce a rich body of work, often with the support of literary organizations and cultural institutions. While the audience for these works may be relatively small, the modern Sanskrit novel remains an important part of India's literary landscape and a testament to the enduring power of this ancient language. Poet Narayan Dash says in the preface to his collection 'Lajja' - "prakāradr̥ṣṭyā paśyāmaśccet ādhunikakathāsāhityasya - nimnabhēdāḥ syuḥ. 1. Ṭupkathā 2. Laghukathā/ khaṇḍakathā 3. Kathā/ kathānikā 4. Dīrghakathā/ sakalakarā 5 upanyāsikā/ laghupanyāsaḥ 6. Upanyāsaśca." Although 'Indoścandrikā' of Poet Rakesh Das is mentioned as a katha, it can be called a novel or short novel in terms of size and characteristics.