In a shocking development, the entire editorial board of the Murty Classical Library of India series has been dismissed!

The chair of the Oversight Board Prof Parimal Patil of Harvard University dismissed the editorial board “without cause, explanation of documentation”, says a statement by well known scholars and academics Prof Whitney Cox of the University of Chicago, Prof Maria Heim of Amherst College, Prof Rajiv Kinra of Northwestern University, Prof Francesca Orsini of SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London and Prof Archana Venkatesan of University of California.

Read the statement:

The decision has plunged the work of the library into uncertainty. The Murty Library project was set up with a grant from Rohan Murthy, the son of Infosys founder Narayana Murthy with the objective of translating classical literary works from India into English, to be published by Harvard University Press. Now, with this latest development, the publication of ongoing translations of 43 books in different languages, including Apabhramsha, Bangla, Hindi, Kannada, Pali, Persian, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu are all in jeopardy.

The immediate reasons for the dismissal are still to emerge but clearly, from their statement, the trouble over their work was brewing for some time. There were some protests after the exit of the library’s founding general editor Prof Sheldon Pollock in 2022 following a campaign mounted against him by right-wing forces when he came out strongly in signed statements against the government repression of students of JNU.

As publisher Manish Modi put it, “It is really sad that we don’t do enough to support and promote our literature, our culture and our scholars. When other people are willing to do an excellent job translating our texts why should we obstruct them? We need more scholars working on Indian texts, and more publications of our classics. Not fewer publications!”

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