and Padal Tirattu of V.O. Chidambaram; Malarum-malaiyum and
Umarkkayyam-padalkal of Desikavinayagam; Podumai Vettal, Tamiizhan
Idayam and Sankoli of Kalyanasundaram; Avalum Avanum of N.K.
Ramalingam; Azhakin Sirippu and Pandiyan Parisu, of Bharatidasan.
    Paramartta Gurukathai written by Viramamunivar in the 18th century
affords the earliest specimen of Tamil novel writing. However, Vedanayagam
Pillai (1824–1889) is credited with writing the first novel in Tamil, Pirataba
Mudaliyarcharittiram in 1875. C.N. Annadurai has two important works to
his credit-Nallatambi and Rangoon Radha (1952).
English Writing in India
The beginning of Indian literature in English is traced to the end of the 18th
century and the beginning of the 19th, by which time English education was
more or less firmly established in the three major centers of British power in
India-Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.
    It may be mentioned that most Indian writers in English from the early
period hailed from Calcutta, the first stronghold of the British. Ram Mohun
Roy was the pioneer of Indian writing in English. Roy was followed in the
early 19th century in Bengal by the poets Henry Derozio and Michael
Madhusudan Dutt. Dutt started out writing epic verse in English, but returned
to his native Bengali later in life.
    The poems of Toru Dutt (1855–1876), who died at a tender age of 21, and
the novel Rajmohan’s Wife by Bankimchandra Chatterjee have received
academic acceptance as the earliest examples of Indian literature written in
English. Toru Dutt not only composed poetry in English, but more
interestingly, translated French poetry as well. Her best works include
Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan.
    However, the most famous literary figure of this era was Rabindranath
Tagore (1861–1941), who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his
book Gitanjali, which is a free rendering of his Bengali poems. Sarojini
Naidu (1879–1949) was a great poetess whose romanticism charmed readers
in India and Europe. Her Golden Threshold (1905) and The Broken Wing
(1917) are works of great literary merit. Aurobindo Gosh (1872–1950) was a
poet philosopher and sage, for whom poetry was akin to a form of mediation.