“The shaping of India’s future depends on understanding its past, and the Murty Classical Library of India deserves acclaim for making great works from the past widely available.”—Amartya Sen
To present the greatest literary works of India from the past two millennia to the largest readership in the world is the mission of the Murty Classical Library of India. The series aims to reintroduce these works, a part of world literature’s treasured heritage, to a new generation.
Translated into English by world-class scholars, reflecting the highest standards of contemporary book design, and featuring elegant, newly commissioned typefaces, these volumes are a modern invitation to diverse pre-modern literary worlds in languages such as Bangla, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Pali, Panjabi, Persian, Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. The series will provide English translations of classical works alongside the Indic originals in the appropriate regional script. New books will be added to the series annually.
This series is supported by a generous gift from Rohan Narayana Murty, computer scientist and true friend of the Indian classics.
Read Harvard Gazette coverage of the series.
The following is a list of works that have been printed so far:
The poetry of Bullhe Shah, which drew upon Sufi mysticism, is considered one of the glories of premodern Panjabi literature. His lyrics, famous for their vivid style and outspoken denunciation of artificial religious divisions, have been held in affection by Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs, and continue to win audiences today across national boundaries.
The History of Akbar, Volume 1
Thackston, Wheeler M.
The History of Akbar, by Abu’l-Fazl, is one of the most important works of Indo-Persian history and a touchstone of prose artistry. It is at once a biography of the Mughal emperor Akbar that includes descriptions of his political and martial feats and cultural achievements, and a chronicle of sixteenth-century India.
Therigatha: Poems of the First Buddhist Women
Therīgāthā is a poetry anthology in the Pali language by and about the first Buddhist women. The poems they left behind are arguably among the most ancient examples of women’s writing in the world and are unmatched for their quality of personal expression and the extraordinary insight they offer into women’s lives in the ancient Indian past.
The Story of Manu
Narayana Rao, Velcheru
The Story of Manu, by sixteenth-century poet Allasani Peddana, is the definitive literary monument of Telugu civilization and a powerful embodiment of the culture of Vijayanagara, the last of the great premodern south Indian states. It describes kingship and its exigencies at the time of Krishnadevaraya, Peddana’s close friend and patron.
Sur’s Ocean: Poems from the Early Tradition
Bryant, Kenneth E.
Hawley, John Stratton
Surdas, regarded as the epitome of artistry in Old Hindi religious poetry from the end of the sixteenth century to the present, refashioned the narrative of Krishna and his lover Radha into elegant, approachable lyrics. His popularity led to the proliferation, through an energetic oral tradition, of poems ascribed to him, the Sūrsāgar.
Read press coverage:
VIDEO: General Editor, Sheldon Pullock, speaks to Livemint
Livemint, Jan. 23, 2015
How to Design an Indian Classic
The New York Times, January. 8, 2015
The modern revivalists
Livemint, Jan. 24, 2015
Library of masterworks of Indian literature launched
Business Standard, January 15, 2015
New venture makes Indian literary classics accessible
The Times of India, January 16, 2015
First shelf filled in Murty Classical Library of India
The Higher Education, January 22, 2015
Where poetry meets math
The Hindu, January 22, 2015
The Books of Civilisation
Open Magazine, January 16, 2015
Narayana Murthy’s son Rohan Murty to take Indian lit classics global
The Financial Express, January 13, 2015
The Fifth Metro: Found in translation
The Indian Express, January 12, 2015
In 2015, A Milestone for Indian Literature
The Diplomat, December 12, 2014