Today marks the 84th death anniversary of Munshi Premchand, India's greatest Hindi-Urdu writer of the early twentieth century. He is a novelist, a storyteller, and a playwright. Among novelists, he is regarded as the Upanyas Samrat, which translates to "great emperor.
Munshi Premchand was born in the village of Lamhi in Varanasi on July 31, 1880. He had his early schooling at a local madrasa, where he studied Urdu under the tutelage of a maulvi. He was responsible for his stepmother and stepsiblings when his parents died. He then became a teacher in Chunar, near Varanasi, to make up for the lack of funds. While working as a teacher, he obtained his Bachelor's of Arts degree and quit in 1921 at Mahatma Gandhi's request.
As we remember the legendary writer today, have a look at his best work:
It was originally written in Urdu under the title Bazaar-e-Husn but was first published in Hindi from Calcutta as Seva Sadan in 1919. It was Premchand's first major novel. It is a tale of an unhappy housewife who becomes a courtesan and goes on a journey of reformation.
Karmabhoomi is set against the backdrop of Uttar Pradesh in the 1930s. It was a time of extreme exploitation of the illiterate and poor masses by the rich privileged upper class. His sympathy for the masses comes across in his writing.
This novel tries to highlight the falling moral values among lower middle class Indian youth in the era of British India, and the extreme measures that a person can go to create the illusion of elitism.
One of the most famous Hindi novels by Premchand, Godaan reflects themes of socio-economic deprivation and exploitation of the lower classes. It is a realistic depiction of rural India.
Premchand attacks the age old Indian exploitation of dowry through this novel. A novel which was way ahead of its time, it is about the suffering of a young girl married off to an elderly man. It gives a reflection of the unfair treatment pf women in society.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)