ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Premodern India

To Write Was to Cense

Poetics is always thought of as pertaining to the art of literary composition. However, by laying down the rules of composition, it can also condition the writer to produce socially acceptable works of art. The paper argues that kāvyaśāstra in ancient India functioned like a conditioning mechanism and persuaded the writer to voluntarily confine themself within the hegemonic limits set by the prevalent ethical and moral codes, making external controls redundant. This can perhaps explain why, unlike the different forms of restrictive forces, we have been accustomed to, at various points of history across different cultures, premodern Indian literature that is unmarked by any overt cases of censorship.