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Indian literature is generally acknowledged as one of the oldest in the world. India has 22 officially recognized languages, and a huge variety of literature has been produced in these languages over the years. In Indian literature, oral and written forms are both important. Hindu literary traditions dominate a large part of Indian culture. Apart from the Vedas which are a sacred form of knowledge, there are other works such as the Hindu epics Ramayana and Mahabharata, treatises such as Vaastu Shastra in architecture and town planning, and Arthashastra in political science. Devotional Hindu drama, poetry and songs span the subcontinent. Among the best known are the works of Kalidasa (writer of the famed Sanskrit play Recognition of Shakuntala) and Tulsidas (who wrote an epic Hindi poem based on the Ramayana, called Raamcharitmaanas). Tamil poetry of the Sangam poetry which dates back to 1st century BCE is well renowned. Muslim literary traditions also dominate a large part of Indian culture. In the medieval period, during which time India was mostly under Muslim rule, Indian Muslim literature flourished, most notably in the Persian and Urdu poetry. Among contemporary Indian literature Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore became India's first Nobel laureate. So far India's highest literary honor, the Jnanpith awards, has been conferred seven times upon Bengali writers, which is the highest for any language in India.

Nine Unknown Men

Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka.