Orient BlackSwan, India’s best known publishing house, has completed its 75th year on 7 January 2023

New Delhi: Known worldwide as an Indian institution which has consistently upheld the high standards of quality, scholarship, and the core values of ethical publishing and integrity, Orient BlackSwan traces its roots back to 1895 when British publishers Longman, Green, and Co. arrived on Indian shores. They began with premises in Bombay and then, in 1905, expanded to Calcutta. Buoyed by the rapid spread of colonial education, the company soon made its mark in educational publishing.


After India attained independence, it was officially registered as an Indian company on 7 January 1948, called Orient Longmans Limited. In 1961, the company received its first Indian Chairman. J. Rameshwar Rao took over as Chairman in 1964 and his family still runs the company.


In 2008, after the interests of Longman UK were taken over, it became Orient BlackSwan, an all-Indian company. It has since remained one of the most respected publishing houses in the country, offering a wide range of publication genres – from schoolbooks to college texts, from academic reference titles to works in translation, from anthologies to medical and engineering texts, atlases and dictionaries, all the way to bestselling titles that retail at popular bookstores.


In the words of Dr Y. V. Reddy, Padma Vibhushan awardee and former Governor of RBI, ‘In the 75 years of independent Indian publishing, no company has been as … intricately involved in the country’s future and well-being as Orient BlackSwan. It has been a pleasure to publish with an organisation that stands for quality, ethics, high standards, and integrity.’


Among its most renowned series of books are the Gul Mohar Graded English Course for Indian schools. Award-winning author Dr N. S. Prabhu, who anchored the series, reminisces, ‘I was invited by the company … to join a team of English language specialists to produce textbooks.’ At a time when such books were still being imported from the UK, Gul Mohar was written by Indians for Indian students. The series has stood the test of time and continues to be used in schools across India nearly fifty years later.


Other extraordinary works published by Orient BlackSwan and the companies in the group are the People’s Linguistic Survey of India, which offers a study of all extant and dying languages of India; A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s Wings of Fire, and Ananthanarayan and Paniker’s Textbook of Microbiology. Some landmark texts in the social sciences and humanities include Y.V. Reddy’s Economic Policies and India’s Reform Agenda: New Thinking; Krishna Kumar’s Education, Conflict and Peace; Ranajit Guha’s A Rule of Property for Bengal: An Essay on the Idea of Permanent Settlement; Rajni Kothari’s Politics in India; N. S. Prabhu’s Perceptions of Language Pedagogy; Susie Tharu, et al. (eds), A World of Equals: A Textbook on


Gender; Partha Chatterjee’s After the Revolution; Satyajit Ray’s Our Films, Their Films; and Arjun Dangle (ed.) Poisoned Bread: Modern Marathi Dalit Literature, to name but a very few among scores of cutting-edge titles.


Special mention must be made of Orient BlackSwan’s Indian languages publishing programme, which has, over the years, made available both textbooks and reference titles to readers across the country in languages that span the breadth of the country, from Hindi to Bangla, Marathi and Telugu.


Among Orient BlackSwan’s list of authors are luminaries such as Rakshanda Jalil, Ramin Jahanbegloo, M. N. Srinivas, Shahid Amin, Harsh Mander, Richard Falk, James Manor, Upendra Baxi, Romila Thapar, Veena Das, and Pratap Bhanu Mehta.


Some of Orient BlackSwan’s best-known and accomplished authors said, in their many congratulatory messages:


‘Most reliable, most professional, most consistent: OBS has been my publishers for over three decades. I congratulate the entire OBS team on the completion of a glorious 75 years.’

G. N. Devy, Padmashree awardee, cultural activist and literary critic


‘75 is a landmark year, all the more so when a publisher has remained a by-word for academic quality and intellectual integrity in these troubled times in the world at large.’

Mahesh Rangarajan, well-known academic


‘A big thanks to Orient BlackSwan for 75 years of bringing serious thought and reflection to readers. In their publications, theory meets practice, and academia meets activism, respecting both. We look to OBS to read, learn and contribute.’

Aruna Roy, Ramon Magsaysay awardee, social activist and writer


‘As publisher, Orient BlackSwan … has produced landmark tracts now considered modern classics in the history of nationalist thought. It has also brought to attention the works of new authors, … with unwavering care for details and standard. The world of publishing will justifiably celebrate the 75 years of its life.’

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