This is a work in progress!

No work on Indian proverbs and quotations can really be said to be ‘complete,’ of course, given the depth and diversity of India’s philosophical traditions and the ongoing contributions of its prolific scholars, gurus, artistes, statesmen and leaders both in India as well as the globe-spanning Indian diaspora.

But this collection actually has its roots in my Loyola school years in Poona, when like many schoolkids I would make annual scrap-books of R.K. Laxman cartoons, newspaper cuttings, idioms, proverbs, poems and quotations. I gathered the proverbs and quotations from newspapers, magazines, the innumerable highly-affordable paperback compilations in India, and from friends and relatives.

This carried on in my college days in IIT-Bombay, grad-school days in the US at UMass Amherst, work postings in Brasil and Italy, and after my return to Asia. Many proverbs and quotations stayed in my scrap-books, but quite a few surfaced in my various PowerPoint presentations, guest-edited corporate newsletters, and as opening quotes in my books on new media and knowledge management. (In fact, I joke with my friends and colleagues that with this book I have now moved on from knowledge management to wisdom management!)

Fuelled in part by the growing global buzz about India, the unbelievable energy that India today exudes, and the boom in media about India, I decided to give my humble scribbled quotations a more permanent home in the form of this book.

All glory and thanks should of course go to the wise people and scriptures of India that graced this planet well before my time, but I hope by putting some of their words together I can bring some rays of inspiration and a smile of pride to you, my readers!

This book has now grown into a larger ongoing project called “The World of Proverbs” ( to document and chronicle humanity’s heritage through its proverbs in a multitude of languages, and share it worldwide via popular and authoritative books as well as 21st century tools ranging from social media and open access models to portable devices and mobile apps.

For instance, you can also get the proverbs translated into English as daily tweets on Twitter at @IndianProverbs and @WorldOfProverbs! Mobile subscribers in India can get proverbs via daily SMS messages by signing up online (at

You may choose to read this book from cover-to-cover, or open to any page and read as much as you want, or read a page a day, or…..   or whichever way you wish! Perhaps future enlarged editions of this book would have the proverbs classified by category, or be in the various Indian languages, or be brought out in the other languages of the world, or become a more rigorous academic work. This is a work in progress…..

My thanks go to my family, relatives, friends, colleagues and fellow-travellers in my innumerable journeys to the far corners of this world. Special thanks also to the countless Indian and world music artistes whose music has inspired me as much as the proverbs and quotations in this book (more on that in another book with the Indian Music Experience Museum!). And heartiest thanks to Osama Manzar, Shaifali Chikermane and their team for bringing this book to light!

If you have proverbs and quotations from your own collections that you would like share, or if there are inaccuracies and errors in any of the quotes in this book, please email me at or contact me via the Web sites or Your inputs will be incorporated into future enlarged editions of this book, new kinds of books, a multimedia CD, a companion Web site, and a collaborative wiki!

This is a work in progress. . . . . . . . .

 Madanmohan Rao

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