Motilal Banarsidass
Founded1903 (1903)
FounderMotilal Jain
SuccessorBanarsidass Jain
Country of originIndia
Headquarters locationA-44, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase-1, New Delhi-110028
Key peopleRajendra Prakash Jain (Chairperson)
Publication typesSee list
Nonfiction topicsBuddhology, Indology, Oriental studies, Sanskrit
Official website[1]

Motilal Banarsidass Publishing House (MLBD) is an Indian academic publishing house, founded in Delhi, India in 1903. It publishes and distributes serials, monographs, and scholarly publications on Asian religions, Buddhology, Indology, Eastern philosophy, history, culture, arts, architecture, archaeology, language, literature, linguistics, musicology, mysticism, yoga, tantra, occult, medicine, astronomy, and astrology.[1]

Amongst its publications are the 100 volumes of the Mahapuranas; the 50 volumes of the Sacred Books of the East, edited by Max Müller; Bibliotheca Buddhica (30 volumes in 32 pts); Ramcharitmanas with Hindi and English translations; the Manusmriti in 10 volumes and the Sanskrit lexicon; and the 7 volumes of Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies. It also brings out books based on research and study conducted at organizations 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 5–6 crore, roughly 75% coming from exports.[4]


Motilal Banarsidass Shop in North Delhi

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 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.

The interior of Motilal Banarsidass, in Delhi

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 government 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 office in New Delhi is at A-44, Naraina Industrial Area, Phase-1, New Delhi - 110028. It houses Indological literature of around 30,000 titles.[8]



  1. ^ a b A 100-year romance with books The Hindu, 13 March 2003.
  2. ^ a b Treasure trove of Indology The Hindu, 5 November 2004.
  3. ^ a b Motilal Banarsidass SASNET - Swedish South Asian Studies Network, Lund University, Sweden
  4. ^ 100 years on the spiritual trail Archived 13 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine TNN, The Times of India, 24 June 2002.
  5. ^ Indologists urge studying past Archived 8 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Asia Africa Intelligence Wire, 23 March 2003.
  6. ^ At the function held to mark the centenary of the Motilal Banarsidass, The Hindu, 17 September 2003.
  7. ^ Publishing house celebrates centenary The Hindu, 14 September 2003.
  8. ^ "Motilal Banarsidass". Archived from the original on 14 September 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2009.