Assamese literature developed on the basis of folk oral creative works (tales, ballads, and work, festival, and cradle songs). Some conception of the prewritten state of Assamese literature is provided by present- day Assamese folklore. Written literature appeared in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. In the early stage of its development Assamese literature intensively assimilated its rich classical heritage. The translations and adaptations of the Sanskrit epics and puranas into Assamese usually introduced elements of everyday reality and of Assamese folklore into the traditional plots. During the 15th and 16th centuries Assamese literature reflected ideas which had developed in Northern India within the antifeudal, religious reform bhakti movement, whose ideologist in Assam was the talented poet and founder of Assamese drama, Sankardeb. The idea of the equality of people before god was characteristic of the works of Assamese literature during this period—narrative poems, plays, and hymns in honor of Vishnu.
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