Munshi Premchand is one of the biggest names in Hindi Literature. No discussion about Hindi Literature is complete without the mentions of his works. His stories were simple, heart-touching and worked as a mirror which showed us the true face of societal norms which prevailed at that time.
His stories are timeless, which is proved by the fact that they are still taught in schools. His stories presented human mind and its conflicts so simplistically that he became one of the most beloved Hindi writers of India.
Though it is tough to choose, but here are his 10 best stories :
Still taught in schools at primary level, it is probably Premchand’s most simple and heart-touching story. This story is all about a little boy’s bond with his grandmother and everything he learns about hardships, love, and care. When he gets some money to spend, he chooses to get a Chimta for his grandmother so she wouldn’t burn her hand while making rotis. This story is one of the most warming ones which you can read.
Without a doubt, ‘Kafan’ is one of his best short stories. It depicts the emotions and struggles of the poor father and son duo, who are too lazy to do anything about their situation. Kafan is a must-read tale of how the father-son duo with their talks, justify spending the money that they had borrowed to buy a Kafan (shroud) for their dead mother and wife, on drinks and food. The tale which seems to be full of selfishness will end up making you feel sympathy for them.
Do Bailon Ki Katha
Do Bailon Ki Katha(The story of two oxen) is an emotional tale of two oxen who are best friends and committed to staying together. Many problems arise in their life which they struggled with together. It’s a heartwarming tale of how the two friends stick together in every difficulty and finally reach home. Premchand, through this story also tried to attract readers’ attention towards the cruelty towards animals. This story also has a sublime plot about how submissive beings are exploited in this society of selfish.
Poos Ki Raat
This is another masterpiece from Premchand. ‘Poos Ki Raat’ or a night of January is a heart-wrenching account of a farmer named Halku, who had no option but to pay off his debt with all the money he had been saving to buy a blanket for winters. Read this story to know how Halku managed to survive the winters, with just an old tattered blanket and his loyal dog by his side.
Thakur Ka Kuan
Thakur Ka Kuan is about the degrading condition of Dalits in the old days when they were denied clean drinking water by people from upper caste. When a Dalit woman’s ailing husband complains of an unbearable odour in drinking water, she asks him to wait until she fetches clean water from somewhere. This story is all about the woman’s resilience and strength. This story will make you repent the caste-based discrimination in our country.
Like most of Premchand’s stories, this one also highlights the struggles of poor and helpless people. This time, his central character is an old and blind woman whose husband and sons have died. With no one to look after her in this age, her nephew promises to keep her, but not before transferring all her property to his name, after which they ill-treated her. With this story, Munshi Premchand gives out a message that old age is just a re-arrival of childhood. This story can melt even the toughest of hearts.
Bade Bhai Sahab
Bade Bhai Sahab is a light-hearted story of two brothers. The elder brother’s rant about the importance of education and how ridiculous he finds it is a satire on the education system. Despite the seriousness and lecturing of elder brother and loitering around of younger brother, unfortunately, every year, the younger one passes with flying colours while the elder brother fails. The story gives the lesson that it’s naive to disregard elders on the basis of their educational qualifications. It is a funny story with a serious side.
Godan is considered Munshi Premchand’s best work. It was published in 1936, the year he died. Godan people who are almost starved, but refuse to give up on hope and optimism. This story can make your eyes water on various occasions, especially when the characters get humiliated because of their low caste. The book is heart-touching and makes one thinks of the discrimination which lower castes face.
Again an eternally relevant tale of two best friends, who blindly trust each other. But their friendship takes a U-turn when some unforeseen family drama happens. The story ends with a life lesson about how each person perceives a situation from their own perspective, and how each perspective should be respected.
Premchand’s Nasha is set in the days of pre-independence before Zamindari was abolished by the government. The story is all about how Bir who is accidentally identified as a Zamindar starts to enjoy the lavish life, living a lie, despite, having negative opinions about the system himself. The story is all about hard-hitting realities of people before the Zamindari System was abolished.