my earliest encounter with the simple yet captivating world of dhanpat raia shrivastava, popularly known as munshi premchand, was in class 8th with his ballad on friendship and loyalty: do bailon ki katha. not a single book fair i went to; missed out on mansarovar collections of the beloved hindi author's collection, copies of which sit neatly in my father's bookshelf too. the most recent interaction with premchand's writing was when i attempted to translate his story on the ugly reality of caste oppression; thakur ka kuan. a story published in 1932 still resonated with the world of a person born 65 years after its publication. how does premchand do this? how are his stories still so relevant?