P. Lal

Purushottama Lal (August 28, 1929–November 3, 2010) was an Indian poet, essayist, translator, professor and publisher. His translations from Sanskrit have included a number of other religious works, as well as plays and lyric poetry. In 1958, Lal founded the publishing house, Writers Workshop, in Calcutta. Writers Workshop has published many contemporary Indian literary authors into the English language, including Vikram Seth, Pritish Nandy, and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. P. Lal spent a lifetime translating the Indian epic Mahabharata—the world’s longest poem—into contemporary English. He died before completing the final section, “Anushashana Parva.”

Great Sanskrit Plays In Modern Translation


Translated by P. Lal

Edited by P. Lal

The wonderful world of classical Indian drama has been obscured for most readers by the stilted style of the existing 19th-century translations. Here, an Indian Sanskrit scholar, P. Lal, who is also a fine poet in his own right, has produced new versions in modern idiom which brings across the full richness and vitality of the originals. And these “transcreations” are so presented that they will “play” on our stage today.…
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Professor Lal’s business was publishing Indian writers in English. Of the great old works he made masterly translations; new writers he encouraged. When he began, ten years after independence, the practice was controversial.
The Economist
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