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Hindi literature (हिन्दी साहित्य) is divided into 4 broad styles. These styles are Bhakti (भक्ति – devotional); Shringar (beauty), Veer Gatha (extolling brave warriors) and Adhunik (modern).
During Adi Kaal or Veer Gatha Kaal (आदिकाल या वीरगाथा काल) having a timeline of 1050 to 1375, saw the first account of Hindi literature. However, most of the Hindi work of this period was soon destroyed by Muhammad Ghori, who where on the military campaign to India. After this period, Bhakti Kaal period came in which, particularly Hindi poetry was developed and progressed.
Bhakti Kaal (भक्तिकाल – Devotion Period) was a period from 1375 to 1700 in which, Bhakti (devotion) movement had an remarkable influence (प्रभाव) on the development of Hindi literature. This devotion was toward God (ईश्वर).
Hindi along with its dialects such as Braj Bhasha, Bundeli, Awadhi, Kannauji, and Khariboli in Devnagari script were used during this period. Hindi literature could also be found in regional Hindi languages such as Marwari, Maithili, Magahi, Angika, Vajjika and Bhojpuri.
During this period, most of the Hindi literature was developed in the two dialects of Hindi, Avadhi and Brij Bhasha. The main works in Avadhi are Malik Muhammad Jayasi’s Padmavat and Tulsidas’s Ramacharitamanas. The major works in Braj dialect (बोली) are Tulsidas’s Vinaya Patrika and Surdas’s Sur Sagar. Sadhukaddi was also a language commonly used, especially by Kabir in his poetry and dohas. This period also witnessed much development in poetry. These included verse patterns like Doha (two-liners), Sortha, Chaupaya (four-liners) etc. Other notable writers or poets include Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, Guru Nanak, Dharma Das, Maluk Das, Dadudayal, Sunder Das, Jayasi, Manjhan, Kutuban, Agra Das, Nabha Das and Pran Chand Chauhan, Nand Das, Parmananda Das and Mirabai.
A famous & very meaningful message presented in a Kabir’s Doha (two – liner) :
दुःख में सुमिरन सब करे सुख में करै न कोय।
जो सुख में सुमिरन करे दुःख काहे को होय ॥
Dukh mein sumiran sab kare sukh mein kare na koy।
Jo sukh mein sumiran kare dukh kaahe ko hoy॥
In sorrow, all remember him (God) but nobody does so in happiness.
If remembered in happiness, how could you be sad.
This period united the Hindu and Muslim elements into Hindi literature and poetry. The works show light on secular and tolerable (सहनीय) outlook (दृष्टिकोण) of the society of that time.