20 (18+2) Writers of Indian interest entering Public Domain this New Year

Every year on 1st of January, works of many authors enter the public domain world over. Public domain consists of works for which copyright has expired and anyone is free to republish, translate, extend and use them in other creative endeavors. Since the copyright laws vary all over the world, this lists varies from country to country.
In India, the copyright extends for 60 years from the date of author’s death. After that all the books published by the author during his lifetime enter the public domain. However it is difficult task to determine precisely which books are now out of copyright since there is no central place to get the required information.
Starting this year, we are making an effort to bridge this gap. Below is a list of 20 Indian authors who died in 1951 and thus their copyrights have expired as of today. We have consulted various sources for compiling this list and have provided links to available books wherever we have found them. If some information reported here is incorrect, please do let us know.
  1. Abanindranath Tagore was the principal artist of the Bengal school and the first major exponent of swadeshi values in Indian art. He was also a noted writer, particularly for children. Popularly known as ‘Aban Thakur’, his books Rajkahini, Budo Angla, Nalak, and Ksheerer Putul are landmarks in Bengali children’s literature.
  2. S. Wajed Ali was a Bengali story writer and nationalist. He wrote novels, short-stories, travelogues and essays. His books include Guldasta, Mashuker Darbar, Bhanga Banshi, Darbesher Doya, Jiboner Shilpo, Bhabishyater Bangalee, Badshahi Galpo and Galper Majlish.
  3. Nirupama Devi  was a Bengali novelist and short story writer. She wrote about a dozen novels including Annapurnar Mandir, Bidhilipi, Shyamali and Didi.
  4. Kalikrishna Bose (Swami Virajananda) was an activist in the Hindu reform movement. Born as the son of Trailokyanath Bose and Nishadkalidevi on 10 June 1873, Virajananda was the first person to join the Ramakrishna Order after the direct disciples of Sri Ramakrishna. In 1897, he was initiated into Sanyasa by Swami Vivekananda. He is the writer of Towards the Goal Supreme, Strive to attain God and The Story of an Epoch. He was the publisher of Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda and The Life of the Swami Vivekananda, by His Eastern and Western Disciples.
  5. Jyoti Prasad Agarwala was a great Assamese playwright, songwriter, poet, writer and film maker from Assam. Jyoti Prasad Agarwala had written around 300 songs, many of which he had set to music himself. His plays include Sonit Kunwori, Karengar Ligiri, Rupalim, Nimati Konya or Rupkonwar, Sonpakhilee, Khanikar, Kanaklata, Sundarknowar and Lobhita. Jyoti Raamaayon and Luitor Paaror Agnixur are his poetry collections.
  6. Kamalananda Bhattacharya was an Assamese actor and playwright. He wrote 4 plays: Nagakowar, Avasan, Chitrangada and Savitri. He was born in Nowgong and was closely associated with Nowgong Dramatics Club.
  7. Homvati Devi was a Hindi short story writer working in Meerut. She has four story collections to her credit. They are titled Dharohar, Swapanbhang, Apna Ghar and Gote Ki Topi. She also wrote two poetry collections, Udgaar and Ardhi.
  8. Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy OM, also popularly known as Sir C.R. Reddy, was an educationist and political thinker, essayist and economist, and poet and literary critic. He wrote his works in Telugu and English, which reveal his deep love and learning of classics as well as modernity of his outlook. Reddy was the foremost educationalist who played a major role in shaping the educational policy in India. He was also the recipient of Knighthood by the British crown in honour of his service to the country. He was the founder of Andhra University and also served as its Vice-Chancellor from 1926 to 1931 and in a further second term from 1936 to 1949. His noted works are Arthashastra and Vijnana Chandrika series.
  9. Varyar Eruvayil Chakrapani was a noted Malayalam scholar. He is famous for writing musicals which were popular at that time. His major works are Ganasamghatitamaya Harishchandra Charitam (Harishchandra’s Story), Sangitasakuntalam (Shakuntala – A Musical Play) , Sangitsamghatitamaya Rugmangadacharitam Bhashanatkam (Rugmangada’s Story) and Madhvisekharam Bhashabhanam (Madhvisekharam – A Bhan in Malayalam)
  10. Sikkim Mahinda, commonly known as S. Mahinda, was a Buddhist monk from the state of Sikkim. He was a poet and author, and participated in the Sri Lankan independence movement. Although he was from Sikkim, he identified himself as a Tibetan, presumably because it was more well known in Ceylon. S. Mahinda arrived in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) at a young age and was ordained as a Buddhist monk. Having learned the Sinhala language, he became a poet, creating several literary works inspiring patriotism among the Ceylonese and urging them to fight for their freedom. He is now considered a national hero of Sri Lanka. He has written over 40 books, most of them poems inspiring patriotism. He also wrote a lot for children. His first book was Ova Muthu Dama. His final book is believed to be Sri Pada. His most famous works include Nidahase Dehena, Nidahase Manthraya, Lanka Matha, Jathika Thotilla, Ada Lak Mawage Puttu, Nidahasa, Videshikayakugen Lak Mawata Namaskarayak and Sinhala Jathiya.
  11. Maulana Hasrat Mohani was a romantic poet of Urdu language, journalist, politician, parliamentarian and a fearless freedom fighter of Indian Sub-continent . His real name was Syed Fazl ul Hasan. He was born in 1875 at Mohan in Unnao district of U.P. India. A few of his books are Kulliyat-e-Hasrat Mohani (Collection of Hasrat Mohani’s poetry), Sharh-e-Kalam-e-Ghalib (Explanation of Ghalib’s poetry), Nukaat-e-Sukhan (Important aspects of poetry), Mushahidaat-e-Zindaan (Observations in Prison), etc. He is the writer of the Ghazal “Chupke Chupke raat din” made popular by Ghulam Ali’s rendition of it. Also, the famous slogan of Indian freedom fighters Inquilab Zindabad was coined by him.
  12. Seemab Akbarabadi, born Aashiq Hussain Siddiqui, was a renowned Urdu poet belonging to the Daagh School. He hailed from Agra where his family had lived for nearly three hundred years. His important works include Naistan, Ilhaam-e-manzoom, Kaar-e-imroz, Kaleem-e-ajam, Dastur-ul-islah, Saaz-o-aahang, Krishna Gita, Aalam Aashool, Sadrah almantaha, Sher-e-inqlaab, Loh-e-mahfooz and Wahi -e – manzoom.
  13. Arzu Lakhnavi Sayyed Anwar Hussain was a poet, dramatist and film writer. He was primarily famous for his ghazals. Some noted collections are Fughan-e-Arzu, Jahan-e-Arzu, Nishan-e-Arzu, Surili Bansri and Mizan-ul-Huruf. He also wrote a highly esteemed grammar of Urdu language called Nizam-i-Urdu. (Taken from The Encyclopedia of Indian Literature by Amresh Dutta)
  14. Abu Said Bazmi
  15. Mian Abdul Aziz
  16. Maulavi Mahesh Prasad
  17. Mirza Mohammad Askari
  18. Tajvar Najibabadi

The work of following two writers would have gone out of copyright if they were published during their life time. But since they were published post-posthumously, we have to wait for 60 years from the date of publication for them to go out of copyright.

  1. Advaita Mallabarmana was a Bengali writer born near the Titas River in the Brahmanbaria District of Bengal. He is famous for his novel Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (English: A River Called Titash) which was published five years after his death.
  2. Bahinabai Chaudhari was a noted Marathi poetess. Though Bahinabai was totally illiterate, she was an accomplished poetess. She verbally composed her poems in ovi (ओवी) metre, and her son Sopandev Chaudhari wrote them down on paper. Her poems in Leva Ganboli language reflected her minute observations of nature and human life around her. They displayed her sense of subtle humor and much wisdom. The poems were published by G. P. Parchure Prakashan Mandir, Mumbai under the title Bahinaichi Gani in 1952.

Here are an assorted set of links we discovered for the books of these authors. Some are available for purchase, some for free download.

  1. Abanindranath Tagore
    1. Bengali Children’s Books at Flipkart
    2. English Translations of Books (Not out of copyright)
  2. Kalikrishna Bose (Swami Virajananda)
    1. Books on Flipkart
    2. Books on Vedanta Press
    3. Downloads on Vivekananda.net
  3. Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy OM
    1. Downloads on archive.org
  4. Maulana Hasrat Mohani
    1. Kulliyat-e-Hasrat Mohani, Selected Poems in English with Translation (himself), Mushahidat-e-Zindaan for download on Hasrat Mohani Trust Website. More information available on the website.
    2. Books on Abebooks
    3. The famous Ghazal, Chupke Chupke Raat Din Aansoon Bahana Yaad Hai
  5. Tajvar Najibabadi
    1. Downloads on archive.org

If you have links to any other work of theirs for download or for purchase, please leave a comment. And yes – you are now free to digitize their out of copyright works in India! 🙂

12 thoughts on “20 (18+2) Writers of Indian interest entering Public Domain this New Year”

  1. Wow, I never knew such a site existed. Maybe in a year or two I would like to write a book. I wish Pothi.com all the very best and Happy New Year of course.

  2. Shrimati Homvati Devi Agarwal is one’s Great Grandmother… the information provided by you is correct …

  3. is there any source to know which Indian films are coming in the public domain

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