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Motilal Banarsidass, having established a book shop in 1903 at Lahore (Pakistan), after an unforseen experience at Lahore as a result of the partition of India in 1947, built everything from the ground up in India post partition. Focusing on publication of books, books of lasting value, those that delve deep in cultural heritage of India and Indian Philosophy, which was being greatly appreciated by the west at the time. After a modest start in 1903, Lala Motilal, a descendent from the family of Court Jewellers to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, set up a family business by opening a Religious Bookshop at Lahore which he placed under the charge of his son Lala Banarsidass. In 1912, Lala Banarsidass died at a young age and the responsibility of managing the bookshop devolved upon his younger brother, Lala Sunder Lal, who was a man of vision possessing a dynamic personality. These qualities inspired him with a zeal to formulate a comprehensive programme of publication of ancient Sanskrit works in the manifold branches of this exntensive literature. In doing so, he sought the cooperation of many scholars.
"If we were to look over the whole world to find out the country most richly endowed with all the wealth, power and beauty that nature can bestow, in some parts a very paradise on earth-- I should point to India. If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has mostly deeply pondered on the greatest problems of liege and found solutions to some of them-- I should point them to India"
Soon, a printing unit was set up and the publishing house was established. In 1937, a branch was started in Patna at the suggestion of former President Dr. Rajendra Prasad. Subsequently, during the Partition of India a riot burnt down the Lahore shop. Post independence, the family moved to India and initially stayed at Bikaner and Patna, before moving to Varanasi in 1950, where it set up shop in 1951, and ﬁnally shifted base to Delhi in 1958.