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Munshi Premchand: India celebrates 136th Birth Anniversary of the Great Saint-Poet, Reformer and Philosopher

Premchand was one of the most notable novelists of Hindi literature and the aura of this literature would not have been so sparkling without him

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Munsi Premchand. Image source: belaljafri.wordpress.com
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  • Premchand was born as Dhanpat Rai Shrivastava in a village Lamahi near Varanasi on July 31, 1880
  • Premchand had first adopted a pseudo name ‘Nawab Rai’ and wrote his first novel, ‘Asrar e Ma’abid’
  • ‘Mangalsutra’ was the novel, which never completed as he became terribly ill during his last years

Beauty doesn’t need ornaments. Softness can’t bear the weight of ornaments” – a quote by Munshi Premchand, for Munshi Premchand on his birth anniversary. He doesn’t need any introduction, as his works and words have always found a way to the deepest inner spaces in people’s hearts.

NewsGram remembers Premchand on his 136th Birth Anniversary and here are few lines about him that will certainly bring you closer to the luminary and know him better as a person, the one who enlightened India and the world with his extraordinary ideas.

Premchand was one of the most notable novelists of Hindi literature. The aura of Hindi literature would not have been so sparkling without him. His softness was the part which helped him to relate to the people and the situations.

Munshi Premchand. Image Source: freehindibooksforyou.blogspot.com
Munshi Premchand. Image Source: freehindibooksforyou.blogspot.com

Here are some facts about Munshi Premchand-

  • Premchand was born as Dhanpat Rai Shrivastava in a village Lamahi near Varanasi on 31st July 1880. He was known for his modern Hindustani literature and was also conferred as Upanyas Samrat (king of novels).
  • Premchand’s mother died when he was just 7 and father was soon remarried. He did not have a good relationship with his stepmother. Premchand became gloomy after his mother’s demise and found comfort in reading. Since then he had become an avid reader.

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  • He married at an age of 15, but the marriage failed. Later he married a child widow, Shivarani Devi, in 1906. This step was revolutionary at that time and faced lots of criticism.
  • After his father’s demise, he became responsible for his step-mother and step-siblings. He had to discontinue his studies to earn for the family.
  • His first job was a tuition teacher at an age of 15 to a lawyer’s child and was given only Rs. 5 per month. It was only in 1900 he was offered a job as a teacher in Bahraich at District Government school. During this time, he started writing novels.
  • Premchand had faced poverty throughout his life. There was a time when he took a loan of two-and-a-half rupees to buy new clothes and it took him 3 years for the repayment of the loan.

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  • Premchand had first adopted a pseudo name ‘Nawab Rai’ and wrote his first novel, ‘Asrar e Ma’abid’, which deals with the corruptions among the priests and sexual exploitation of poor women.
Godaan by Munshi Premchand. Image Source: amazon.in
Godaan by Munshi Premchand. Image Source: amazon.in
  • In 1921, when Gandhiji asked the people to leave their jobs, Munshi Premchand left his job despite the financial crisis and responsibility of his wife and children.
  • After leaving his job, he came back to Varanasi and started his own printing press, named ‘Saraswati’ in 1923. Due to a financial crisis in 1934, he worked as a scriptwriter in Ajanta Cinetone production house and had written the script of the film-‘Mazdoor.
  • His most famous novel ‘Godaan’ was among his last works. The novel was later translated into English and made into a Hindi film in 1963. ‘Mangalsutra’ was the novel, which never completed as he became terribly ill during his last years. Unfortunately, he breathed his last on 8 October, 1936.

– by Aparna Gupta of NewsGram. Twitter @writetoaparna99

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  • Akanksha Sharma

    His stories are great. I read a lot of stories written by him in school and Idgah was my favourite

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“A Suitable Girl”: Most Awaited Novel By Vikram Seth, Finally Published

Seth suffered from writer's block after his break-up

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"A Suitable Girl": Most Awaited Novel By Vikram Seth, Finally Published, flickr

Hardly has any novel been awaited with as much curiosity and anticipation in recent times as Vikram Seth’s sequel to the monumental “A Suitable Boy” (1993). Five years on, since he was first expected to deliver the manuscript, the novel is still to see the light of the day. But what seems like a saga of missed deadlines can very well — far from our eyes — be a masterpiece in the making.

“The more I talk of her, the more shy she becomes,” Seth had told this correspondent in 2015 about “A Suitable Girl”, the novel-in-waiting.

Seth, as his literary agent David Godwin puts it, has been known to take his time with his books. The prolonged delay, however, was not acceptable to Hamish Hamilton (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and he was asked to return an advance payment of $1.7 million when the deal was called off. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, an imprint of the British publisher Orion, then acquired the novel — and it was scheduled to release in 2016.

But a flying bird — a friend and confidant of the writer — says that he is now giving the “final touch” to the novel and that one can expect “the big announcement” soon.

Seth released a collection of poems titled “Summer Requiem” in the meanwhile. In the collection, he traces the immutable shiftings of the seasons, the relentless rhythms of a great world that both “gifts and harms”. Composed as they were while he was (which he still is) writing the sequel, several poems in the offering open doors to his mind, or perhaps they may be preludes to the larger narrative that he is weaving.

“I have so carefully mapped/the corners of my mind/that I am forever waking/in a lost country,” he writes in the opening poem. Interestingly, Seth’s companion to “A Suitable Boy” will be a jump sequel — the characters have travelled from the 1950s and it will be very much a novel set in somewhat the present times.

novels By Vikram Seth
novels By Vikram Seth, flickr

In its title poem, he mourns that the “liberated generation lives a restrained youth,” and then adds: “I must forsake attachment”. On another occasion in the book, readers find him lamenting over “the peaceful love” that the narrator has “never found”. In another short poem “Late Light” he writes: “Outside the great world’s gifts and harms/ There must be somewhere I can go/To rest within a lover’s arm/At ease with the impending snow”.

Reportedly, Seth suffered from writer’s block after his break-up with French violinist Phillippe Honor but that was a long time ago and was reflected in “An Equal Music”. He has moved on or has he not?

Nonetheless, it has been about five years since “A Suitable Girl” was first expected to hit the stands but the wait is surely worth it. As writer-politician Shashi Tharoor says about his good friend’s technique — that “Vikram Seth draws an entire roadmap of his novel, planning every minute element in great detail” — the sequel, thanks to all the anticipation and the pressure on the writer, may actually be a masterpiece in the making, as sublime as its counterpart and yet set in the time of its readers.

Vikram Seth is a recipient of the Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award, and among several other prestigious honours, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. He has been widely translated and is among leading novelists on the global stage. He has published three novels — “The Golden Gate” (1986), “A Suitable Boy” (1993) and “An Equal Music” (1999) — along with several collections of poetry such as “Mappings” and “All You Who Sleep Tonight”.

Also read: Here is all the reason for Bookworms to look ahead for the upcoming year: A List of the Best Stories and Novels in 2017!

Seth — an openly gay man — is also one of the prominent faces of the campaign against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality. (IANS)