India Public Domain 2021: Seventeen Indian Authors whose Works are Entering the Public Domain in 2021

Hello 2021! It’s that time of year again. Every year on January 1, the copyright of a number of creative works expires and they enter the public domain in India and in other countries of the world.

The criteria for creating this list for 2021 is that the author died in the calendar year 1960 and the work was published before his death. In case the work was published after the author’s death, it will only come out of copyright after 60 years from the date of publication.

Check out the Public Domain Lists we have created in the previous years: 2012,20132014, 201520162017, 2018, 2019, 2020.

What happens when the work enters the public domain? It is now free to be republished, translated, and converted to different formats.

We have collected the data from various sources including Wikipedia and other online sources, some of which we will be linking here. Please intimate us if you come across any errors and let us know if you are aware of any other authors from India who died in 1960.

Sripada Krishnamurty Sastry (1866- 1960)

Sripada Krishnamurty Sastry was a prolific writer in Telugu and the first poet laureate of Andhra Pradesh. His works include Sri Krishnasweeyacharitam, an autobiography in Sanskrit. He won many awards including the Padma Sri in 1958.

A book by the author here.

Indira Devi Chaudhurani  (1873 – 1960)

Indira Devi Chaudhurani was born to the Tagore family. She grew up in England and corresponded regularly with Rabindranath Tagore. She was well-versed in Bengali, French and English and used her language skills to translate Rabindranath’s works. Indira was a strong proponent of women’s issues and also had a keen interest in classical music.

Click here to see the book with letters that Tagore wrote to Indira Devi.

An interview: Interview of Indira Debi Choudhurani–Interview by Khitish Roy (1960) – YouTube

M. Raghava Iyengar (1878–1960)

Black and white image of M. Raghava Iyengar from Wikipedia
M. Raghava Iyengar

Raghava Iyengar was a well-known Tamil literature scholar, editor and professor. He worked on establishing the time periods of the old Tamil Poets and focused primarily on the Alwars. He collaborated with Pandithurai Thevar to promote the Tamil Language. He also collaborated with the archeologist T.N. Gopinatha Rao to understand the temple inscriptions of Tamil Nadu. He has authored twenty books including Toklaapia Poruladikaara Araichi, Alvargal Kaala Nilai, Alvargal Varalaru, Kesava Perumal Erattai Mani Malai and many others.

A. Chakravarti (1880 –1960)

Chakravarti served the Indian Educational Service (IES) and was a professor of philosophy at the Presidency College in Chennai, India. He is most famous for translating the Tirukkural, a classic Tamil language text consisting of 1330 short couplets, into English in 1953.

Navaratna Rama Rao (1877 – 1960)

Navaratna Rama Rao was an Indian writer, lawyer and scholar based in Mysore. He was pivotal in the establishment of the silk Industry in Mysore and the Central Silk Board of India. He was well-versed in French, English and Kannada and translated Masti’s Kannada novel Chenna Basava Nayaka to English and Niccolò Machiavelli’s book The Prince to Kannada. He chronicled the lives of the Mysore dynasty rulers and wrote extensively on Shakespeare’s work.

You can read his memoir published by his two grandchildren, Navaratna Srinivasa Rajaram and Rajeshwari Rao: The Vanished Raj: Rajaram N S: Books

Kshitimohan Sen (1880-1960)

Kshitimohan Sen was Indian scholar, writer and  Sanskrit professor. He was the first Deshikottam (1952) of Vishwa Bharati and has the added distinction of being the grandfather of Amartya Sen. Some of his books include Kabir (1910–11), Bharatiya Madhyayuger Sadhanar Dhara (1930), Bharater Sangskrti (1943), Banglar Sadhana (1945), Hindu Sangskrtir Svarup (1947), Bharater Hindu-Mussalman Yukta Sadhana (1949), Prachin Bharate Nari (1950), Chinmay Banga (1957), etc.

If you wish to find books by him, check this.

Rajshekhar Basu (1880-1960)

Black and white Image of author Rajshekhar Basu from Wikipedia
Rajshekhar Basu

Rajshekhar Basu, better known as  Parashuram, was a Bengali writer, humorist, chemist, freedom fighter and lexicographer. Even as a child he was scientifically inclined and ended up graduating in chemistry and law.  He worked as a chemist and wrote humorous pieces, eventually graduating to novels that received great appreciation from no less than Tagore. He is well-known for Chalantika, a monolingual Bengali dictionary. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956. Some works by him include Anandibai Ityadi Galpa, which won him the Sahitya Akademi Award for Bengali literature in 1958.

Books by him here: : Rajshekhar Basu

Nathuram Premi (1881-1960)

Image of Nathuram Premi from Wikipedia
Nathuram Premi

Nathuram Premi was a writer, teacher, publisher, poet, editor, linguist in Jain and Hindi literature and a social reformer. He was a clerk in Mumbai and ended up starting his own publishing house and bookstore Hindi Granth Ratnākar Kāryālay which published writers like Munshi Premchand and Rabindranath Tagore.


Kesari Balakrishna Pillai (1889–1960)

Akathoot Balakrishna Pillai, better known as Kesari Balakrishna Pillai, was the founder of the newspaper Kesari and a Malayalam literary critic of great standing. His career as a lawyer did not take off and he moved instead to write for a popularly weekly. He ran his own publication Kesari for four years until he was close. He was well-known for his incisive mind and he introduced world literature and progressive arts to the Malayalee audience. One of his famous works is Outlines of the proto-historic chronology of Western Asia. Some of his books mentioned here: Kesari A. Balakrishna Pillai Books (

Jigar Moradabadi (1890 – 1960)

Image of Jigar Moradabadi from Wikepedia
Jigar Moradabadi

Ali Sikandar, also known as Jigar Moradabadi, was an Indian Urdu poet and ghazal write. He started his career as a traveling salesman but later put to use his education in Arabic, Persian and Urdu to write poetry. He belonged to the classical school of ghazal writing and was a mentor to the famous lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri. He received the Sahitya Akademi Award Award in 1958 for his poetry collection Atish-e-Gul.

You can see some of his work here: All writings of Jigar Moradabadi | Rekhta

Acharya Chatursen Shastri (1891 –1960)

Black and white Image of Acharya Chatursen Shastri
Acharya Chatursen Shastri

Acharya Chatursen Shastri was a Hindi writer and ayurvedic physician. He was born in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh. It was while he worked at a dispensary that he began writing and became recognized for his stories. The book that bought him into the spotlight was Satyagraha Aur Asahyoga (Civil Resistance and Non-cooperation). Many of his nuanced historical fictions have been adapted into feature films (take his novel Dharamputra which adapted into the Hindi film, Dharmputra (1961) by Yash Chopra. It also won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi). He has also written fiction and essays and some of his writing is centered on Ayurveda- 72 books in all. You can find many of his books at the Amazon Store.

More about him in a Hindi article here.

Bal Krishna Sharma Naveen (1897 –1960)

Born in Madhya Pradesh, Bal Krishna Sharma dabbled in Hindi poetry and politics from a young age. He was an Indian freedom activist and post-independence he became an active politician.  Some of his anthologies include Kumkum, Rashmirekha, Apalak, Kwasi, Vinoba Stavan and Urmila and his prose Balkrishna Sharma Gadya Rachanavali was published in five volumes.

Kothainayaki Ammal (1901–1960)

Kothainayaki Ammal was a feminist, singer,  author of detective fiction and freedom fighter. Her husband and friend were instrumental in her achieving great literary heights as she had married when only a child and was unschooled. Social reform was dear to her and her plays were a reflection of this sentiment. Besides plays, she wrote 115 novels and established a printing press. Many of her novels were adapted into movies.

Sudhindranath Dutta (1901- 1960)

Black and white image of Sudhindranath Dutta from Wikepedia
Sudhindranath Dutta

Sudhindranath Dutta was a well-known Bengali Indian poet, essayist, lecturer, journalist and critic. He studied literature and law and started a literary magazine called Parichay, besides writing for other prominent literary magazines as well. Sudhindranath is one of the most notable poets after the Tagore-era in Bengali literature. Some of his works include Tanvi (1930), Orchestra(1935), Uttar Falgunee (1940), Sangbarto (1953) Signet Press, and others. Some of his poems here.

Sushila Samad (1906 – 1960)

Sushila Samad was an Adivasi Hindi poet, journalist, editor, publisher and freedom fighter. She completed her BA Honors. She edited and published a magazine with social intent and was the only known tribal freedom fighter at the time. Her works include two poetry collections: Prallap (1935) and Sapne Ka Sansar (1948).

Krishnalal Shridharani  (1911-1960)

Black and white image of Krishnalal Shridharani
Krishnalal Shridharani

Krishnalal Shridharani was an Indian poet, playwright, journalist and freedom fighter. He studied sociology, economics and journalism at various institutions in India and the US. : His work on Gandhian philosophy was well-known in the US. Other books include The Adventures of the Upside-Down Tree (1959), Story of The Indian Telegraph (1953), The Journalist in India (1956), Smiles From Kashmir (1959) and The Mahatma and the World (1946). He was awarded the Ranjitram Suvarna Chandrak in 1958.

One of his books is available here.

C. J. Thomas (1918-1960)

Image of C. J. Thomas from Wikepedia
C. J. Thomas

C. J. Thomas or C. J as he was known, was an Indian playwright and literary critic of Malayalam literature. He was born in Kerala and after his schooling, he trained to become a priest though he quit the vocation. C. J trained to become a priest and also had a stint with studying law but could not sustain it. He also taught and worked for a while at the All India Radio. He authored 11 plays and is famous for introducing modernism to Malayalam theater. He was best known for his plays- Aa Manushyan Nee Thanne, Avan Venndum Varunnu and 1128-il Crime 27. He is also remembered for his book designing skills and translations.

Some books by the author are available here.


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India Public Domain 2015: 13 Indian authors whose works entered public domain in 2015

Cross Posted on InstaScribe Blog

In keeping with our our tradition  (2012,2013, 2014), we have compiled a list of Indian authors whose work has entered public domain at the beginning of this year. The criteria for a particular work to enter public domain this year is for the author to have died in calendar year 1954 and the work to have been published before his death. If the work has been published after the author’s death, it will only come out of copyright after 60 years from date of publication.

We collected the data from various sources including Wikipedia, books on the history of Indian literature (brought out by the Sahitya Academy) and other online sources. While the sources for individual photos and pieces of information have not been attributed, we would like to acknowledge all these sources here. Many of the sources are linked below.

There are bound to be mistakes in this data. So please point out anything you notice. If you know of more Indian authors who died in 1954 and hence have entered public domain this year, do let us know and we will add it to the list with your reference.

Why should you as a writer or someone who loves books care? An author entering public domain means that most of his works are now free to be republished, translated, and converted to different formats and introduced to a new audience in any way you can imagine. It is possible to digitize these works and conserve them forever. So dig into the list and find some gems. And when you find one, let the whole world know.

Cornelia Sorabji(1864-1954)



She was India’s first woman lawyer. Born to a Christian, Parsi family in Nasik in 1866, Cornelia Sorabji had an illustrious career that spanned nearly sixty years. Sorabji’s writing reflects colonial India and her life as a woman and as a lawyer. Her stories like those in Love and Life behind Purdah (1902)  deal with the lives of women in the zenana and draw on the need for engagement and social reform. She was an active advocate of children and women as is evident in her books Sun-Babies: Studies in the child life of India and Between the Twilights : Being studies of India women by one of themselves (1908).

V.V. Srinivasa Aiyangar (b.1871-1954) This doyen of the Madras Bar used his expertise in writing the farcical to create a book called Dramatic Divertissements(2 volumes were published by 1921). This work is a series of playlets that exposes the weaknesses of the urban South Indian middle class: Blessed in a wife, The Point of View, The Surgeon General’s Presumption, Vichu’s Wife.

Lalcand Amard’inomal Jagatiani (1885-1954) At the age of 26, this versatile Sindhi author was the first Hindu to write a biography of Hazrat Muhammad entitled Muhammad Rasul Allah (1911), a work which won critical acclaim. Along with Bherumal Mahrichand and Jethmal Parsrum, he was a formidable doyen of Sindhi literature. He taught for a while at the Sind Madrasatul Islam where he studied Islam. His knowledge had no barriers- he was adept at the Vedas, Upanishad, Islamic philosphy, Theosophical Society literature, the Sindhi Sufi mystic thought (his work Sunharo Sacal published in 1916 deals with the work of Sacal Sharmast, a Sindhi Sufi poet) besides the poetic works of Tagore and the philosophies of Marx and Lenin as well as Gandhian ideals. He wrote sixty books including novels, essays, short stories and plays. His fiction Coth Jo Candu (1909) is well-known.

Kota Venkatachalam (1885-1954): A Telugu scholar, he is most known for his work Brahmanda Srsti Vijnanam(1949), an analysis of the Sanskrit puranas in nationalistic terms.
kota venkatachalam 1


Garuda Sadashiva Rao (1874-1954): He was a popular Kannada playwright.  This actor and supporter of the freedom movement wrote a new chapter in the history of professional theatre in India. He founded Sivasuta Prasadika Nataka Mandali (1907) and Dauatreya Nataka Mandali (1916). Garuda Sadashiva Rao has a famous story associated with him – he wrote a play about Jesus Christ and discussed it with his veteran friends- Karanth and Padukone Ramanand Rao. Although they were unable to stage it initially on religious grounds, it was a Christian scholar from Dharwad called Uttangi Channappa who supported the play, which later on went to become a success. The veteran dramatist also wrote many other plays including Sri Rama Paduka Pattabhisheka (1929) and Yaccama Nayaka (1949).

Rayasam Venkata Sivudu (1874?- 1954?): He was a writer and social reformer. He was most well known for his Telugu short stories titled under Cithrakta manjari.He wrote novels and biographies, and was the editor of Zanana Patrika, a magazine for women.

Lala Dhani Ram Chatrik (1876-1954): Known as the founder of Punjabi poetry.this much revered poet was the first to standardize the typeset for Gurumukhi script. He is famous for the use of traditional Punjabi poetic genre Kissa- famous works include Kaser Kiari(1940) and  Navam Jahan(1945). His work rings of realism and imagery straight out of the Punjabi countryside.



Nalappatu Narayana Menon(1887-1954)- He was a noted Malayalam poet and translator, famous for his  elegy to his wife titled Kunnunirthulli(1924). It was so popular a poem that many fans were disheartened when he did marry a second time fifteen years after the death of his first wife. Nalapat was a formidable writer alongside his companion Vallathol.

His best known work includes Paavangal, a translation of Victor Hugo‘s Les Misérables.It has been said that Mahatma Gandhi advised this stalwart to rewrite Les Miserables as a transliteration, supplanting the characters and the plot in the Kerala milieu.  Yet, it was not to be and Nalapat created a translation that triggered off a social revolution in the the Southern state of Kerala.



Ramanlal Vasantlal Desai (1892-1954): He was a very popular Gujarati writer in the 1930s and his writing primarily dealt with middle class life in Gujarat. He was influenced by Gandhian ideals and communism. His well-known novels are Divyacaksu(1932), Purnima(1932),Bharelo Agni(1935), Gramalakshmi in four volumes( astory of rural resurgence), Apsara(1933-1949)and Gai Kal(1950) ( a part of his autobiographical writing). Desai’s plays such as Samyukta (1915) were successful.

Teja Singh (1894-1954). A major Punjabi prose writer and educator, he introduced the litewrary essay in Punjabi on western models. Navian Socan(1949) and Sabiacar(1952) are his collections of essays. His autobiography Arsi is considered his best work and his Anglo-Punjabi dictionary is still considered useful.



Jibananda Das(1899-1954): Considered to be the most significant poet of the subcontinent after Tagore, Jibananda Das was often called the loneliest poet. He was a recluse and true to his introvert behavior, his poetry resonated with pain, seriousness and an interesting mix of the self-absorption leading to the knowledge of experience. He taught in various colleges in Kolkata. His poetic career began with Jhara Palak (Fallen feathers) in 1928. In his subsequent volumes of poetry, he cast off tradition and delved into complex metaphors and striking language that the more contemporary audience enjoyed.

Besides poetry, Jibananda Das has written essays, short stories and novels as well. Although he initially started his career with descriptions of the rural world, the later part of his short life was spent in analysing depression and loneliness, and the complexities of relationships.


Some of his works include  Dharsar Pandulip(The Faded Manuscript-1936), Mahaprathibi(The Great Earth-1944), Satti Tarar Timir(The darkness of the seven stars-1948), Banalata Sen(1952) and Satti Tarar Timir(1954).

Prabhat Chandra Adhikari (1900-1954) An Assamese poet famous for his collection called Dohavali.

Harinder Singh Rup (1907-1954). A major Punjabi poet, he wrote in neo-classical style.  His Vars or collections were traditional poems imbued with a modern world view. His famed works include Nave Pandh (1945), Dunghe Vahin (1947) Punjab dian varam(1942) and Manukh di var(1952).