Great literary and cerebral works with their very nature of being relevant for all times, holding a conversation with the serious readers of any specific era in the context of the values obtained during those given periods to which the readers belong, transcend the languages in which they are written and speak a common idiom of universal appeal.
Ramayana, for instance, starting from the Adhi Kavi’s epic in Sanskrit, allowed itself to be interpreted in hundreds of ways in so many languages within India and also in dialects of many of the South East Asian countries, much in relation to the period and that particular region’s culture. More than grasping the meaning of the original work, it is still more engaging to study what it could have meant to the diverse readers, that helps to comprehend the versatility of the early classic. In the recent past, Peter Brook’s visual understanding of Mahabharata was a delight to watch.
So I suggest a list of world classics of the past and present may be prepared and speakers from different languages can discuss them in the context of their own culture and literary experience.
My short list of world classics(in Indian languages) would be as under:
(1) Ramayana (in Sanskrit and other Indian languages)
(2) Mahabharata(including Bhagavad Gita)
(3) Thirukural by Thiruvalluvar (Tamil)
(4) Cilappadikaram by Ilango (Tamil)
(5) Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore (Bengali)
(6) Abhijnasakuntalam by Kalidasa (Sanskrit)
(7) Swapanavasavadattam by Bhasa (Sanskrit)
(8) Katha Upanisad (Sanskrit)
(9) Panchali Sabhatam by Subhramanya Bharati (Tamil)
(10) The mystic poems of the Vaisnavite Alwars(Tamil)
These texts may be studied in the context of their contemporary relevance.