Originally Posted by Pantisocrat
What would be the non-Western/non-European equivalent to the Harvard Classics? Does anyone have a list? Great works from Africa, Asia, Middle East, etc..? It could also be works published in the Western world but written by non-white authors.
Fiction or non fiction? Poetry or prose? I am assuming that you are indifferent to when the work was written?
In India I can think of the two epics, Mahabharata
and the Ramayana
( both from around 4th century BCE, I think), although the latter borders more closely to a religious text.. The Bhagvad Gita, as someone mentioned, although it is a part of the Mahabharata.Panchatantra
from the 3rd Century BCE- classic animal fables, the equivalent of Aesop's Fables.
- Indian treatise on statecraft, economic policy and military strategy, in the same category Machiavelli's The Prince
These are works in Sanskrit; there are a bunch of others in regional languages, including Tamil - Silapadigaram(
. Tamil ancient erotic poetry is an art form in itself.*
There's a bunch of great poets from the 12th to the 16th century- Bulley Shah, Mira, Tulsidas
Much closer to the present, the works of Ghalib (the Ghazal form of poetry) are regarded as a modern classic. Munshi Premchand was a great Hindi novelist of the 20th century (Gora, Godan
Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali (won the Nobel). Look him up.
These are just a few names, the list of good to great writers in the 20th century can be quite large, especially because of the number of languages spoken in India.
However, IMO, Indian writers in English are yet to have the impact of those who have written in native languages, even though English, or a type of English, can now be considered native to India.
* A famous erotic Tamil poem from that time (called: Red Earth And Pouring Rain
), translated:What could my mother be
to yours? What kin is my father
to yours anyway? And how
did you and I meet ever?
But in love our hearts are as red
earth and pouring rain:
The above was just for the heck of it; as I wrote this post I remembered the poem and decided to quote it.