Vividha Tīrthakalpa ► Preliminaries ► The Singhi Jain Granth Mala: An Introduction

Posted: 09.01.2011

The Singhi Jain Granth Mala

An Introduction

It was in the first part of the twentieth century that the initiative was taken by the Rajasthan (then: Rajputana) government to make important Indian texts available for scholars as a basis for their studies of Indian culture. The project was headed by a Jain muni, Muni Jinavijay, who was a great scholar of that time. The series of books produced was not limited to Jainism. For this purpose manuscripts were collected from all over Rajasthan.

The particular project on Jain texts within this wider framework was started in 1931 in Shantiketam in Bengal, with the foundation of the Singhi Jain Jñāna Pītha. (Seat of Knowledge). This project was meant for the study, and teaching of Jain works. Therefore, of course, books were needed, and that was why the Singhi Jain Series was launched with the purpose to make authentic quality works based on original manuscripts available in their original languages.

In the first years not much happened, but in 1938 the new promoter of the project became K.M. Munshi, founder of the Bharatiya Vidyā Bhavan, now a leading institute of learning in India. The project was entirely done under the auspices of the Bharatiya Vidyā Bhavan.

It was a well-to-do Jain family, the Singhi family, which financed the project. Mr. Bahadur Singh Singhi initiated the series called Singhi Jain Ganthmala (= book series) in honour of his late father Dalchand Singhi. The books deal with a great variety of subjects, from Jain stories to architecture, ethics and religion and travelogues and other subjects. Though these books have been available for scholarly study in the years after their publication, copies of them have become very difficult to find nowadays.

Because of the great value of the texts, Prakrit Bharati Academy (PBA) in Jaipur has decided to reissue these works to make them again available for experts (i.e. those who can read these languages) in the world. The books will become physically available through Prakrit Bharati Academy, and at the same time be published as PDF files online by based in Berlin, Germany.

The reprints are done by scanning and manual correction - a time-consuming task. It is also a finance-intensive project. Prakrit Bharati contacted the same family, now represented by the grandson of the founders, Ranjan Singhi and other members of the Singhi family, who willingly came forward to finance the whole reprinting project.

The plan is to publish the more than 60 books. The first four have now been done.

It is expected that universities, institutions, libraries and their experts will make use of these works and it would be our wish that they will be translated in modern languages so that they can come available for a wider public.

Surendra Bothara / Rudi Jansma
Jaipur, December 2010

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