Write a short essay (about 500 words) on the following:
This is what a famous historian of Indian literature, Maurice Wintemitz, wrote about the Mahabharata: “Just because the Mahabharata represents more of an entire literature…. and contains so many kinds of things….(it) give(s) us an insight into the most profound depths of the soul of the Indian folk.” Discuss.
Plenty of literary sources are available to reconstruct the ancient Indian history.
Mahabharata is one of them. It is an important literary and historical source. Its importance has been recognised even by the foreign writers. Its importance has also been recognised by Maurice Wintemitz because in his opinion the Mahabharata represents an entire literature. This great epic is full of various examples of different aspects of the Indians life. The reading of the Mahabharata gives a profound depth of the soul of the Indian folk. It has been written in simple Sanskrit and therefore widely understood.
Generally, historians classify the contents of the Mahabharata under two sections.They are narrative and didactic. Narrative section contains stories and didactic sections contains prescriptions about social norms. But at some instances, there were intermingling also.
Many historians believe that the Mahabharata was a dramatic, moving story and that the didactic portions were a later interpolation.
We get several different views about the authorship of the Mahabharata. It was believed that the original stories were composed by Sutas. Sutas were charioteer bards. They accompanied Kshatriya warriors to the battle field and composed poems celebrating their victories other achievements. These compositions were circulated orally. From the fifth, century BCE onwards, Brahmanas took over the story and started writing story.This great epic contains vivid descriptions of battles, forests, palaces and settlements.
It describes kinship, political life of the said period, social priority. Major features of the family life such as patriliny, different forms of marriage and rules related with marriage, position of women in the society, social differences of the Indian society can be traced back to the period of the Mahabharata. This great epic also describes social mobility.