Motilal Banarsidass having established a book shop in 1903 at Lahore (Pakistan) after an unhappy experience in Lahore as a result of partition of India in 1947, have risen up like Phoenix from the ashes, and have concentrated on publication of books, books of lasting permanent value, those that delve deep in cultural heritage of India and Indian Philosophy. MOTILAL BANARSIDASS can legitimately be proud that the Indian Philosophy is the one which has been appreciated by the West more than any other Philosophy, even more than Greek or Roman Philosophies
Therefore, if Motilal Banarsidass have taken to the publication of books by encouraging research on Indian Religions and Philosophy and have explored the hoary traditions and culture of Indian Philosophy, it is a matter of approbation and applause. They have succeeded in placing before the world many a gem and have by now more than 3000 publications to their credit.
Motilal Banarsidass had a modest start. In 1903, Lala Motilal, a descendent from the family of Court Jewellers to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, set up a family business by opening a Religious Bookshop at Lahore which he placed under the charge of his son Lala Banarsidass. In 1912 Lala Banarsidass died at a young age and the responsibility of managing the bookshop devolved upon his younger brother, Lala Sunder Lal who was a man of vision possessing a dynamic personality. These qualtities inspired him with a zeal to formulate a comprehensive programme of publication of ancient Sanskrit works in the manifold branches of this extensive literature. In doing so, he sought the cooperation of many eminent scholars.
In 1937, a branch of the firm was started at Patna (Bihar) and yet another in 1950 at Varanasi. In 1958, the family moved to its present address, 41 UA, Bungalow Road, Delhi. The shop at Delhi was inaugurated in 1958 by Prof.A.S.Altekar during the International Oriental Conference at Delhi University.
In 1978, Lala Sundar Lal, the architect of this temple of learning, left for his heavenly abode leaving the responsibility of the firm on the shoulders of Lala Shantilal Jain, his nephew assisted by his able five sons. On shifting to Delhi the firm started export of books in a rather big way. The first major breakthrough in this regard was accomplished in 1965 immediately after Shri N.P.Jain, the eldest son of Lala Shantilal Jain had a very fruitful tour of Europe and America. At present the firm is a leading exporter of books on indology and allied fields and in recognition thereof quite a number of export promotion awards have been bestowed on it and in addition Shri Shanti Lal Jain was confered with Padma Shri Award by the Govt. of India in 1992 . Lala Shanti Lal Jain left for his heavenly abode in 1997 . Presently his four sons headed by Shri J.P.Jain are ably pushing forward the ideals of their ancestors in a manner that has won them nothing but applause. It is no doubt a unique adventure ably supported by age-old traditions of joint family, a rare phenomenon in modern India.
In addition to Branches at Patna (1937) and Varanasi (1950) the firm in order to make its books easily available had opened Branches at Chennai (1980), Bangalore (1988), Calcutta (1995), and Mumbai (1997). Motilal Banarisdass Publishers P. Ltd, is another associate company which is the flag bearer of Publication of various Indological Books.
The firm circulates a monthly Newsletter "MLBD News Letter" to its customers and well wishers about 20000 in number keeping them informed of its activities and related news items.