The wheel of time creaked again. And a whole edifice fell in its
aftermath. The fires of Partition, along with lots else, licked
MLBD. The homeless family fled to Varanasi. In those despairing,
dark times the uncle-nephew team dug in its heels. Help came
from Patna where MLBD had set up their first branch office while
they were still in Lahore. Life, as it always does, began again.
That was 1947.
A decade later,
Sunderlal Jain — now called Lalaji — brought MLBD to Delhi.
Dr A.S. Altekar, chairman of the All India Oriental Conference
held in 1958, inaugurated the brand new headquarters on Bunglaw
Road — a sprawling office on the ground floor and a splendid
home on the first. Just the way the late Motilal Jain saw it
happen in Lahore in 1903.
Four and a half
decades down, MLBD boasts of nearly 5000 titles in the fields of
Indology, Oriental research, Sanskrit, Hindu, Buddhist and Jain
studies. Be it reprinting a 1920s version of the controversial
tome on ancient Hindu law — the Manusmriti — running
into 10 volumes or a whopping 100 volumes of the 18 Mahapuranas
rendered in English; the 50-part sacred books of the East edited
by Max Mueller or the ancient Sanskrit lexicon —Shabdakalpadrum
(published at the instance of Drs S. Radhakrishan and
Rajendra Prasad respectively), MLBD has been the proverbial mint
Other than English
and Hindi, the house has published books in Sanskrit, Pali,
Prakrit, Apabhransh and Tibetan, and more recently, Vedic
mathematics in Marathi, Gujarati and Oriya.
Since most of
their market is overseas, many of their books have been
published in Spanish, Dutch, Italian, German, French, Korean and
Hundred years of
world-class writing, exacting selection, editing and production
standards, ideas and men have changed things at MLBD.
"Readers, reading habits, the business...a lot has changed.
We are also addressing this new reader who is interested in
spirituality, alternative healing, yoga and other new age areas
under New Age Books. But we remain dedicated to the cause of our
founder-father — the revival of the Indian tradition through
books on art, culture, philosophy and ancient esoteric
sciences," Narendra Prakash Jain, MD and fourth-generation
And so, even as
there are umpteen books on Ayurvedic cooking, remedies and
beauty care, on the goddess tradition and such like subjects for
women, children and the youth, Goswami Tulasidasa's Ramacharitmanas
is, perhaps, one of the most brilliant jewels of MLBD. The first
copy of the book, published with the original text and Hindi and
English translation by Dr R.C. Prasad, was presented to
President R. Venkataraman in 1989. Manas Sangam, one of India's
most prestigious institution, honoured MLBD for it. More honours
followed with the Padmasha for Lala Santilal Jain capping them
all in 1992. As with the brightest of jewels, the story goes
that the publication of Ramacharitmanas in this form was
the result of a dream of Shantilalji.
celebrate their centenary year with organising seminars and
lectures, honouring their staff at their seven branches in India
as also some of their top authors. They also plan to announce
scholarships and schemes for young, interested authors. The
fourth and fifth generations for the Jain parivar have
joined their skills and savvy to realise the dream that got a
life in Varanasi's Kachori Gali. The old building where Lalaji
set up business in India in 1948 still stands there to tell the