Motilal Banarsidass

Motilal Banarsidass (MLBD) is a leading Indian publishing house on Sanskrit and Indology since 1903, located in Delhi, India. It publishes and distributes serials, monographs, and scholarly publications on Asian religion, philosophy, history, culture, arts, architecture, archaeology, language, literature, linguistics, musicology, mysticism, yoga, tantra, occult, medicine, astronomy, astrology and other related subjects, and to date have published over 25,000 works.[1]

Motilal Banarsidass
Founded1903 (1903)
FounderMotilal Jain
SuccessorBanarasidass Jain
Country of originIndia
Headquarters location41 U.A. Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007.
Key peopleR.P Jain (CEO)
Nonfiction topicsIndology, Sanskrit

Its noted publications are the 100 volumes of the Mahapuranas, Sacred Books of the East (50 Volumes) edited by Max Müller; Bibliotheca Buddhica (30 Volumes in 32 pts); Ramcharitmanas with Hindi and English translation, the Manusmriti in ten volumes and the Sanskrit lexicon, and Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies (7 volumes). It also brings out books based on research and study conducted at organisations such as the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).[2][3] It has a turnover of approximately Rs 5–6 crore, roughly 75% coming from exports.[4]


Motilal Banarsidass Publishers was first established in Lahore in 1903 by Lala Motilal Jain, a descendant of the family of court jewellers to Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Amritsar. Motilal borrowed Rs. 27 from his wife's savings that she had earned from her knitting work, to start a bookshop selling Sanskrit books in 'Said Mitha Bazar' in Lahore. He named it after his eldest son Motilal Banarsidass Jain, who later took charge of the publishing business.

In 1911, MLBD opened a branch at Mai Sewan Bazar, Amritsar, under the supervision of Lala Sundarlal Jain, another son of Lala Motilal Jain, though after the untimely death of Lala Banarasidass in 1912, Sundarlal Jain, his only surviving brother had to close this establishment and relocate to Lahore to look after the family business. Soon he was joined by his young nephew Shantilal Jain, who had just finished school, who eventually became the company's chairman. Soon a printing unit was also set up and the publishing house was established.[5]

In 1937, a branch was started in Patna at the suggestion of Rajendra Prasad. Subsequently during the Partition of India a riot burnt down the Lahore shop. Post independence, the family moved to India and initially stayed at Bikaner and Patna, before moving to Varanasi in 1950, where it set up shop in 1951, and finally shifted base to Delhi in 1958. Today it is one of the few large publishing houses in the world which has its own in-house printing unit.

In 1992, Shantilal Jain was awarded the Padma Shri by the Govt. of India, the first ever Padma award for outstanding community service through publishing.[3] Today Shantilal's eldest son Narendra Prakash Jain, widely known as 'Prakash' and his four brothers and their sons, along with their mother, Leela Jain, who is the company's Chairperson, run the business.[1][2]

In 2003, the company celebrated its centenary at a function in Chennai, where Kanchi Sankaracharya, Jayendra Saraswathi, honoured three Sanskrit scholars: R. Balasubramaniam, B.M.K. Sharma and K.V. Sharma.[6] At a function held at Bangalore, Governor of Karnataka, T.N. Chaturvedi, felicitated centenarian Sudhakar Chaturvedi, S.M.S. Chari, and B.K. Krishnamurthy of Hyderabad for their contribution to Indology, and eminent astrologer B.V. Raman was honoured posthumously.[7]


Its main shop in Delhi is on Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, in the University of Delhi North Campus area, behind Kirori Mal College. It houses Indological literature of around 30,000 titles. The company has branches at Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Varanasi and Patna[8]


  • Sacred Books of the East (50 Volumes) edited by Max Müller (reprints, originally Oxford University Press);
  • Indian Kavya Literature by A. K. Warder (10 Volumes, 7 Volumes already published);
  • History of Indian Philosophy by S.N. Dasgupta (5 Volumes);
  • Aspects of Political Ideas and Institutions in Ancient India by Ram Sharan Sharma (Fifth revised edition, 2005)
  • Sudras in Ancient India: A Social History of the Lower Order Down to Circa A D 600 by Ram Sharan Sharma (Third Revised Edition, Delhi, 1990; Reprint, Delhi, 2002)
  • Ancient Indian Tradition and Mythology (English translation of the Mahapuranas, 60 Volumes already published);
  • Buddhist Tradition Series, edited by Alex Wayman (30 Volumes);
  • MLBD Series in Linguistics, edited by Dhanesh Jain (10 Volumes);
  • Lala Sundar Lal Jain Research Series edited by Dayanand Bhargava (10 Volumes already published).
  • Advaita Tradition Series by Shoun Hino & K.P. Jog (8 Volumes already published);
  • Performing Arts Series edited by Farlay P. Richmond (7 Volumes already published).
  • Wisdom of Sankara Series by Som Raj Gupta (2 Volumes published);
  • Kalamulasastra Series (21 Volumes published).
  • Bibliotheca Buddhica (30 Volumes in 32 pts) ed. Sergey Oldenburg, Fyodor Shcherbatskoy, (reprints, originally St. Petersburg)
  • Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies (7 Volumes already published).


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