Dr Ganganath Jha's Multi-volume Manusmrti, originally published by the University of Calcutta between 1920 and 1939 is as indicated by its subtitle "The Laws of Manu with the Bhasya of Medhatithi", mainly an edition and translation of the Mula text together with the explanation of the most celebrated commentator. Medhatithi's Manubhasya has been characterized by one of the leading scholars on Dharmasastra, J. Duncan M. Derrett, as a large repertory of opinion on the meaning of the "Smrti and on some fundamental questions of Dharma and Law."
The present work is divided into three sets, i.e. Sanskrit Text (Mula), English Translation, and Notes. These comprise of two, five, and three volumes-in all ten volumes. The first two volumes are devoted to (Mula) Sanskrit Text. The first consists of the first six Adhyayas and the subsequent carries the next six Adhyayas from Vii to XII and a detailed Index for both volumes. The next five volumes (Vol.3 to 7) belong to English Translation. Vol.3 carries Adhyayas I and II, Vol.4 contains Adhyayas III and IV, Vol.5 has Adhyayas V to VII, Vol 6 has Adhyaya 8, and Vol.7 has the last four Adhyayas (IX to XII). All volumes contain a detailed Index. The last three volumes (8 to 10 are devoted to detailed Notes conducive to understanding the subject of the Smrti even to an interested average reader. These belong to textual, explanation, and comparative respectively. These contain a lot of useful information.
Sir Gaṅgānāth Jhā (25 December 1872 – 9 November 1941) was a scholar of Sanskrit, Indian philosophy and Buddhist philosophy. He was also a paṇḍit of Nyāya-Śāstra.
Ganganath Jha was born in a Maithil Brahmin family of the Gandhara village of Madhubani district of Bihar. He was first taught using the Persian script then, when his family moved to Benares when he was aged seven, he learned Sanskrit. In 1880, he returned to his relatives in Darbhanga and was admitted to an English medium school. In 1886, after completing his school education, he returned to Benares for further studies and was admitted to the Government Sanskrit College there. He received his MA degree in Sanskrit with the first rank in 1892.
At the age of 24, he was appointed a librarian of the Darbhanga state by its Maharaja. In 1902, he was appointed a Professor of Sanskrit at Muir College in Allahabad, which he left in 1918 to become the first Indian principal of the Government Sanskrit College in Benares. Between 1920 and 1923 he served as a member of the Council of State in the Central British Government of India.
He was vice-chancellor of University of Allahabad (Prayag University) during 1923–32. The University of Allahabad established the Ganganath Jha Hostel in his honour.
Honours and awards
- D. Litt, 1900
- Mahāmahopādhyāya, 1901
- Member, Council of State (1920–1923)
- Honorary Fellow of the Asiatic Society, 1924
- Campbell Memorial Gold Medal, Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1935
- Honorary Member, Royal Asiatic Society, London
- Knight Bachelor, 1941 Birthday Honours List