Thursday November 23, 2017
Home India Diamond of Hi...

Diamond of Hindi and Urdu literature: Munshi Premchand

Premchand was born on 31 July, 1880 in a village named Lamhi near Varanasi. He was named Dhanpat Rai

0
1378
Munshi Premchand

By Shruti Pandey

 “Literature adds to reality; it doesn’t simply describe things”.- C.S. Lewis

Munshi Premchand is one of the peculiar writers of India who lived up to this thought and modified the trend of Hindi and Urdu literature, being all about religion and fantasy. He was a pioneer in writing who relished and even succeeded in bringing a change in society with his words.

Here are 10 quick facts about this exemplary writer-

Related article: 4 Indian litterateurs who should have got Nobel Prize

  1. Premchand was born on 31 July, 1880 in a village named Lamhi near Varanasi. He was born to Ajaib Rai and Anand Rai and was named Dhanpat Rai. Ajaib Rai did clerical jobs in a nearby post office. His mother met with a casualty and died when Dhanpat was only 8 years old. This followed a remarriage of Ajaib Rai. His early education was accomplished in a Madrsa, where he learnt Urdu and Persian.
  2. Although, he was very close to his elder sister, he shared bitter relation with his step-mother, which took him towards books and he became a voracious reader after that. Dhanpat was married at an early age of 15, but he renounced his wife later on as he couldn’t find competence with her. Things turned upside down when his father died due an illness in 1897 and Dhanpat was compelled to take care of his sisters and step-mother.
  3. He started working as a tuition teacher and along with this, he completed his matriculation. After struggling for years, he finally found his luck at Government District School in Baharaich. At the age of 20, he did his intermediate, privately, and completed his bachelor’s in arts. He even inspired himself to complete some creations in Urdu.
  4. Dhanpat Rai started writing under the pseudonym “Nawab Rai” and wrote his first short novel titled “Asrar-e-Ma’abid” ,that dealt with the issues of corruption among the religious preachers and their tendency to exploit poor women, sexually. He came under the watch glass in 1910, after he published a collection of short stories named  Soz-e-Watan. The copies were burnt by the British Government and were termed seditious as it contained elements that were intended at arousing nationalist sentiments. After his work was confiscated by the British, he relinquished “Nawab Rai” and instead opted for another pseudonym “Munshi Premchand”.
  5. His journey as a Hindi writer began in 1914. In this series, he wrote many short stories and novels. His first major Hindi novel was “Sevasadan”. The issue of this book was one of a kind. The story explored the life of a prostitute, who aspired to be educated and live a respectful life and finally ended up doing so. This was a rebellion of Premchand against the injustice done to women and he fought this with bullets of words.
  6. He also showcased this valor when he turned against social norms and married a child widow Shivarani Devi and had three children with her. As a part of National Freedom Movement, Gandhiji asked all the public servants to leave their jobs as a form of protest. Following the diktat, he renounced his job and joined to movement. He came to Varanasi and went on to establish his own publishing house: Saraswati Press in 1923.
  7. From Saraswati press, he published novels Nirmala and Pratigya and both the novels had women as the leading protagonist. They were shown being empowered in the novel. He started a Socio-political magazine in 1930, which failed to derive economic benefits and was finally shelved, forcing Premchand to look for more stable job. He became principal at Marwari College in Kanpur in 1931.
  8. Not a lot of people are aware of this fact that, Munshi Premchand did film script writing for a while. His financial condition was declining and to make up for it, he accepted the job of writing at Ajanta Cinetone where he wrote script for the movie “Majdoor”. But because of  his inability to walk hand in hand with the commercial writings, he left the job and finally came back to Varanasi and wrote a number of short stories and completed “Godaan” in 1936. He was working on his novel “Mangalsutra” before he embraced death on 8 October, 1936 out of illness.
  9. The peculiar thing about his writing was that, he never made use of Sanskritized Hindi which was in trend at that time. Instead, he used common Hindi language that was the tongue of majority of people in India in those times. The second thing; his stories never revolved around the upper classes of the society. The protagonists always belonged to some lower sections of the society which made everyone believe that there is a hero inside everyone of us.
  10. His most famous work, “Godaan” was based on a Dalit farmer family ,who were hand to mouth and how they were exploited. He didn’t write to please the élites, instead he wrote to please the masses. Apart from this, his short stories like “Poos Ki Raat” and “Namak Ka Daroga” dealt with contemporary problems of those times. He wrote around 300 short stories and novels and the anthology of his works has been named “Mansarovar”.  

Shruti Pandey is a third year engineering student in HBTI, Kanpur and aspires to bring a change through words. Twitter  @srt_kaka

Next Story

Checkout Ten Must-Read Books For Women

0
29
Must reads for a woman.
Must reads for a woman. Pixabay

Nothing in this world can give you the feeling which books do. Some stories, some word just touch your heart and end up giving you the greatest lessons of life. Books can be inspiring at times, and help you make the toughest decisions of life. Below are ten must-read books for women:

  1. A Thousand Splendid Suns

The book, “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini, who has also authored ‘Kite Runner’ revolves around the lives of two women, Mariam and Laila. The beautiful friendship of these two and the things they go through is mesmerizing. The book’s subtlety puts it under the category of must-read books for women.

2. Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson

The Millennium series has three books- “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl who kicked the Hornet’s Nest” and “The Girl who Played with Fire”. The lead character of the series, Lisabeth Salander, is a confident and bold woman who never follows the old norms of the society and leads her life differently. Her rebellious nature can inspire the girls out there to stand for themselves.

3.  Pride And Prejudice

Must-Reads for women
Pride and Prejudice. Wikimedia.

The classic by Jane Austen teaches you to distinguish between the essential and the superficial. It makes you come across a way of looking at women, which is not judgmental. It teaches you to stand up for righteousness. It is definitely ones of the must-read books for women.

4. The Book Thief

Th novel, “The Book Thief” by the Australian author Markus Zusak gives out the inspiring message that no matter what the situation is, women can come out of it strongly on their own.

5. How To Be A Bawse

The Book, “How to be a Bawse”, by the Canadian YouTuber Lily Singh is a beautiful guide on tackling tough situations in life, supported by the examples of real-life situations. Lily’s classy and sassy video style has already been loved by a lot of women out there.

6. The Hunger Games Trilogy

Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games Trilogy is one of the must-read books for women out there as the book’s lead character Katniss, makes you feel proud of being a girl. Her character motivates you to be your own hero.

7. Daughter By Court Order

“Daughter By Court Order”, by Ratna revolves around the story of a woman who has been disowned by her own family. The woman is fighting against money, power, deceit, and for her right to be recognized as a daughter. She has to handle everything on her own.

8. To Kill A Mocking Bird

The book is written by Harper Lee and is an all-time classic. The book revolves around a six-year-old protagonist who is a feminist and refuses to accept the societal norms and always challenges them.

9. The Diary Of A Young Girl

Must-Read Books For Women
The Diary Of A Young Girl. Wikimedia.

The novel by Anne Frank is set during the time of Nazi invading Netherlands. Anne Frank shares her feelings with her diary while she was in hiding for two years. The emotions and struggles make it one of the must-read books for women.

10. The Palace of Illusions

The book Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni shows the epic Mahabharata, through Draupadi’s eyes. Her problems and shortcomings are shown, along with the fact that how ego can lead to a battle.

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram. She can be reached at @ImMeghaacharya

Next Story

Meet ‘Power Talking Books’ ! New Bangla Audiobook App Makes it Easier to Go Through Bengali Literature

The app has a free section consisting of single short stories and a subscription section (at Rs 200 annually) consisting of novels and short story collections

0
51
2017 man booker prize
This year's winner, George Saunders, is an acclaimed short story writer but this is his first novel which fetched him the prize. (Representative image) Wikimedia
  • Power Talking Books is the “first and leading free Bangla audiobook app in India”, claim its developers
  • The app provides access to a treasure-trove of rich Bengali literature
  • The app has a free section consisting of single short stories and a subscription section consisting of novels and short story collections

New Delhi, August 30, 2017: Want to soak in the gems of Bengali literature, but don’t have the time to read?

Meet Power Talking Books which, its developers claim, is the “first and leading free Bangla audiobook app in India”.

Making reading easier on the go, the app provides access to a treasure-trove of rich Bengali literature: works of eminent Bengali authors like Sunil Gangopadhyay, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Indranil Sanyal and Suchitra Bhattacharya, among others.

One can easily just snap on a pair of headphones or play it out loud and surrender to enriching content belonging to mystery, novel, romance, social fiction, short story, surreal, suspense horror, motivational and science fiction genres.

“There is also a large number of people who cannot read Bengali but can talk and understand. The app will also be a boon for the visually challenged,” said Power Publishers founder Pinaki Ghosh while introducing the app here on Tuesday.

The app has a free section consisting of single short stories and a subscription section (at Rs 200 annually) consisting of novels and short story collections. (IANS)


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

 

Next Story

Munshi Premchand: An Acclaimed Hindi Fiction Writer and his many Achievements

10 unknown facts about literary genius Munshi Premchand

0
60
Munshi Premchand's Statue in Varanasi
Munshi Premchand's Statue in Varanasi. Wikimedia
  • Premchand’s work was based on social evils of society like exploitation, greed, submission, poverty and caste system among others.
  • Premchand stressed on the fact that a writer’s natural gifts can be enhanced with education and curiosity about the world around him.
  • His noteworthy works are Godan, Seva Sadan, Nirmala, Gaban, Karmabhoomi, and Pratigya.

August 3, 2017: Premchand, a Realist Hindi-Urdu writer once said, “I write for only one sake: To present a human truth, or to show a new angle of looking at common things.” His work was based on social evils of society like exploitation, greed, submission, poverty and caste system among others.  He was born with the name Dhanpat Rai on 31 July 1880 in Lamhi, a village near Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

“Ek Betuke Aadmi Ki Afrah Raatein” : A Film inspired by Indian Writer Munshi Premchand and Russian Novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Works

His stories had a moralistic overtone to it and might not appeal to the modern readers but teach about goodness and to follow the right path.  Literature for him was simply ‘the criticism of life’. He was of the belief that language is a means and not an end, and a writer is born, not made.

Premchand stressed on the fact that a writer’s natural gifts can be enhanced with education and curiosity about the world around him. He said, “We will have to raise the standard of our literature so that it can serve the society more usefully… our literature will discuss and assess every aspect of life and we will no longer be satisfied with eating the leftovers of other languages and pieces of literature. We will ourselves increase the capital of our literature.”

His noteworthy works include Godan, Seva Sadan, Nirmala, Gaban, Karmabhoomi and Pratigya among others. Here are some unknown facts about the great author:

  • Premchand began writing under the pen name Nawab Rai (his uncle nicknamed him Nawab) and later shifted to the name Premchand. He was later known as Munshi Premchand, the prefix Munshi was given as the honorary title to him by his readers.
  • He got married at a very young age of 15 to Shivarani Devi when he was a class 9 student.
  • Premchand started his career as a sales boy in a book shop so that he could read more and more books. Then he became a home tutor and after that, he joined government school as an assistant teacher, on a monthly salary of 20 rupees.
  • He resigned from the school, became a staunch supporter of Mahatma Gandhi and started a press in Varanasi known as Saraswati Press.
  • His works include 14 novels, 300 short stories, several essays and translated a number of foreign literary works into Hindi.
  • His first collection of short stories, Soz-e Watan (The Dirge of the Nation), written in 1908 was deemed controversial, got banned by the imperial government and on top of it, all the copies of the book were burnt. 
  • Premchand was elected as the first president of the All-India Progressive Writers’ Association (PWA) and also wrote a non-fiction piece for them. His speech, called Sahitya ka Uddeshya (The Aim of Literature), was heard by an attentive audience comprising both young and established writers from across the country. It also talked about what concerns or should concern, all writers irrespective of language. 
  • There have been many movies made inspired by his works like Heera Moti -based on a short story Do Bailon ki Kahani, Oka Ori Kath (South Indian film)- based on Kafan and  Shatranj ke Khiladi by Satyajit Ray is based on the novel of the same name. His other novels like Godan and Gaban have been turned into movies too.

[sociallocker][/sociallocker]

  • Gulzar turned Munshi Premchand’s Godan into a 26-episode serial for Doordarshan called Tehreer. 
  • Premchand died from a gastric ulcer on 8 October 1936. At that time he was composing the novel Mangalasutra, but could not complete it.  His one son, Amit Rai, became a noted Hindi writer, and the other, Sripath Rai, a talented painter.

–by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
Click here- www.newsgram.com/donate