The Murty Classical Library of India is set to Ensure the World Knows Kalidasa is as Important as Shakespeare

The Murty Classical Library of India is a continuation of the Clay Sanskrit Library Project headed by Sheldon Pollock. It was established through a $5.2 million gift from Rohan Murty
Entrepreneur Staff
Former Associate Editor, Entrepreneur India
3 min read

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While speaking to Entrepreneur India on bringing together ancient literature, the second generation of the Murthy family, Rohan Murty, the son of Infosys’ founder NR Narayan Murty, opened up about his work & passion.

After having donned the cover of Entrepreneur’s 35 Under 35 last year, we take stock of what Rohan Murty's project looks like.

Some snippets from his interview taken at the 35Under35 Class of 2018 celebration:-

The Founder of the Murty Classical Library of India told Entrepreneur India that the project meant for him.

“We are trying to showcase the world as well India and everywhere else when you think of classic, Indian classics are as important and as valuable as western classics or if not more people have read Indian classic everywhere,” Murty believes. In his view, Indian classics are as important as compared to the rest of the Classics in the world.

The Murty Classical Library of India is a continuation of the Clay Sanskrit Library Project headed by Sheldon Pollock. It was established through a $5.2 million gift from Rohan Murty.

The Library began publishing classics of Indian literature in January 2015. The books, which are in dual-language format with the original language and English facing, are published by Harvard University Press.

The series are expected to include translations from Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, other Indian languages and Persian. It will include fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and religious texts from all Indian traditions including Buddhism and Islam. The projected 500 volumes, to be published over a century, have a corpus of thousands of volumes of classic Indian literature to draw on.


What inspired the Harvard-educated Rohan Murty is a crucial question. His father co-founded one of the India’s largest MNCs Infosys and his mother Sudha Murthy is a social worker, engineer and author. He on the other hand ventured into a totally different genre. The only link being his association with Catamaran Ventures, a $127-million venture capital fund headed by Narayan Murthy.

His belief that people of all ages read a lot of literature from across the globe and Indian literature is liked by generations worldwide led him to launch the Classical Library. This library will have not only history or literature but also ancient scriptures written in different languages translated for the benefit of common language readers.

Value System

The 36-year old Murty’s fairly academic background has been an enabler for him. He says he is very inclined to know where India’s culture and civilization come from, what are the positives of it, what are our negatives, how can we improve, how we can become better. That’s the source of his thinking which comes from his value system, which he thinks is a protocol of interacting with the society and its people and that matters very much.  

The one thing Rohan Murty will be able to give the coming generation?

“They will think that Kalidasa is as important as Shakespeare.”

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