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Munshi Premchand

From Academic Kids

Munshi Premchand (July 31, 1880-October 8, 1936) ("Premchand") was one of the greatest literary figures of modern Hindi literature.

Premchand was born Dhanpat Rai in Lamahi near Varanasi where his father was a clerk in the post office. Premchand's mother died when he was seven. His father didn't live long either - he passed away while Premchand was still a student, leaving Premchand responsible for his step-mother and step-siblings. Early in life, Premchand faced immense poverty. He earned five rupees a month tutoring a lawyer's child. Premchand passed his matriculation exam with great effort. He took teaching with a monthly salary of eighteen rupees. He was later promoted to the post of school inspector. In 1921, he answered Gandhi's call and resigned from his job. Premchand was a great social reformer too; he married a widow, Shivarani Devi, which was a courageous thing to do in India at that times.

Initially Premchand wrote in Urdu under the name of 'Nawabrai'. However, when his novel 'Soz-e-vatan' was confiscated by the British, he started writing under the pseudonym 'Premchand'. Before Premchand, Hindi literature consisted mainly of fantasy or religious works. Premchand brought realism to Hindi literature. He wrote over 300 stories, a dozen novels and two plays. The stories have been compiled and published as 'Maansarovar'.

The main characteristic of Premchand's writings is his interesting story-telling and use of simple language. His novels describe the problems of the urban middle-class. He never used highly Sanskritized Hindi (as was the common practice among Hindi writers), but rather he used Hindustani - the dialect of the common people.

Many of Premchand's stories have been translated into English and Russian.

Famous stories

  • Panch Parameshvar
  • Idgah
  • Shatranj ke khiladi (The chess players)
  • Poos ki raat
  • Atmaram
  • Boodhi Kaki (The Old Aunt)
  • Bade Bhaisahab (The big brother)
  • Bade ghar ki beti (The girl of an affluent family)
  • Kafan (Coffin)
  • Dikri Ke Rupai
  • Udhar Ki Ghadi

Novels

  • Gaban (The Embezzlement)
  • Godaan (The Gift of a Cow)
  • Karmabhoomi
  • Kaayakalp
  • Manorma
  • Mangalsootra - Incomplete
  • Nirmala
  • Pratigya (The Vow)
  • Prathijna
  • Premashram
  • Rangbhoomi (The theatre)
  • Sevasadan
  • Vardaan

External links

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