Premchand biography, Early Life, Personal Life, Career

Premchand biography:- Dhanpat Rai Srivastava (31 July 1880 – 8 October 1936), better known by his pen name Premchand, was an Indian writer famous for his modern Hindustani literature.  Premchand biography was a pioneer of Hindi and Urdu social fiction. He was one of the first authors to write about caste hierarchies and the plights of women and laborers prevalent in the society of the late 1880s. He is one of the most celebrated writers of the Indian subcontinent and is regarded as one of the foremost Hindi writers of the early twentieth century. His works include Godaan, Karmabhoomi, Gaban, Mansarovar, and Idgah. He published his first collection of five short stories in 1907 in a book called Soz-e-Watan.

Born of Munshi Premchand
Dhanpat Rai Srivastava
31 July 1880
Lamhi, Banaras State, British India

8 October 1936 (aged 56)
Banaras, Banaras State, British India

Pen name of Munshi Premchand
Premchand, Nawab Rai

Occupation of Munshi Premchand
Novelist, short story writer

Hindi, Urdu

Adoption of the name Munshi Premchand

In 1909, Premchand was transferred to Mahoba and later posted to Hamirpur as the Sub-deputy Inspector of Schools. Around this time, Soz-e-Watan was noticed by British Government officials, who banned it as a seditious work. James Samuel Stevenson, the British collector of Hamirpur district ordered a raid on Premchand’s house, where around five hundred copies of Soz-e-Watan were burnt. After this, Munshi Daya Narain Nigam, the editor of the Urdu magazine Zamana, who had published Dhanpat Rai’s first story “Duniya ka Sabse Anmol Ratan” advised the pseudonym “Premchand”. Dhanpat Rai stopped using the name “Nawab Rai” and became Premchand.

In 1914, Munshi Premchand started writing in Hindi (Hindi and Urdu are considered different registers of a single language Hindustani, with Hindi drawing much of its vocabulary from Sanskrit and Urdu being more influenced by Persian). By this time, he was already reputed as a fiction writer in Urdu. Sumit Sarkar notes that the switch was prompted by the difficulty of finding publishers in Urdu. His first Hindi story “Saut” was published in the magazine Saraswati in December 1915, and his first short story collection Sapta Saroj was published in June 1917.

The early life of Munshi Premchand

Premchand biography: Premchand was born Dhanpat Rai on 31 July 1880 in Lamhi, a village located near Banaras, and was named Dhanpat Rai (“master of wealth”). His ancestors came from a large Kayastha family, which owned eight to nine bighas of land. His grandfather, Guru Sahai Rai was a patwari (village land record-keeper), and his father Ajaib Lal was a post office clerk. His mother was Anandi Devi of Karauni village, who probably was also his inspiration for the character Anandi in his “Bade Ghar Ki Beti”.Dhanpat Rai was the fourth child of Ajaib Lal and Anandi; the first two were girls who died as infants, and the third one was a girl named Suggi.[10] His uncle, Mahabir, a rich landowner, nicknamed him “Nawab”, meaning baron. “Nawab Rai” was the first pen name chosen by Dhanpat Rai.

Stay at Kanpur

From Pratapgarh, Dhanpat Rai was relocated to Allahabad for training and subsequently posted at Kanpur in 1905. He stayed in Kanpur for around four years, from May 1905 to June 1909. There he met Munshi Daya Narain Nigam, the editor of the Urdu magazine Zamana, in which he later published several articles and stories.

Premchand visited his village Lamhi during the summer vacation but did not find the stay enjoyable because of a number of reasons. He did not find the weather or the atmosphere conducive to writing. Plus, he faced domestic trouble due to quarrels between his wife and his stepmother. Premchand angrily scolded his wife, after she unsuccessfully tried to commit suicide by hanging. Dismayed, she went to her father’s house, and Premchand displayed no interest in bringing her back. In 1906, Premchand married a child widow, Shivarani Devi, who was the daughter of a landlord from a village near Fatehpur. The step was considered to be revolutionary at that time, and Premchand faced a lot of social opposition. After his death, Shivarani Devi wrote a book on him, titled Premchand Ghar Mein (“Premchand in House”).

In 1905, inspired by nationalist activism, Premchand published an article on the Indian National Congress leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale in Zamana. He criticized Gokhale’s methods for achieving political freedom and instead recommended the adoption of more extremist measures adopted by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Premchand’s first published story was “Duniya ka Sabse Anmol Ratan” (“The Most Precious Jewel in the World”), which appeared in Zamana in 1907. According to this story, the most precious ‘jewel’ was the last drop of blood necessary to attain independence. Many of Premchand’s early short stories had patriotic overtones, influenced by the Indian independence movement.

Last days of Munshi Premchand

After leaving Bombay, Premchand wanted to settle in Allahabad, where his sons Sripat Rai and Amrit Kumar Rai were studying. He also planned to publish Hans from there. However, owing to his financial situation and ill health, he had to hand over Hans to the Indian Literary Counsel and move to Banaras.

Premchand was elected as the first President of the Progressive Writers’ Association in Lucknow, in 1936. He died on 8 October 1936, after several days of sickness and while still in office.

Godaan (The Gift of a Cow, 1936), Premchand’s last completed work, is generally accepted as his best novel and is considered one of the finest Hindi novels. The protagonist, Hori, a poor peasant, desperately longs for a cow, a symbol of wealth and prestige in rural India. According to Siegfried Schulz, “Godān is a well-structured and well-balanced novel which amply fulfills the literary requirements postulated by Western literary standards.” Unlike other contemporary renowned authors such as Rabindranath Tagore, Premchand was not appreciated much outside India. Schulz believes that the reason for this was the absence of good translations of his work. Also, unlike Tagore and Iqbal, Premchand never traveled outside India, studied abroad, or mingled with renowned foreign literary figures.

In 1936, Premchand also published “Kafan” (“Shroud”), in which a poor man collects money for the funeral rites of his dead wife, but spends it on food and drink. Premchand’s last published story was “Cricket Match”, which appeared in Zamana in 1938, after his death.

read – Ramchandra Shukla ,Historian in Hindi literature,Biography

Why is Premchand biography so famous?

He is famous for his modern Hindustani literature and is one of the most celebrated writers of the early 20th century. Premchand’s works are representative of the socio-economic conditions that prevailed during the nationalist movement.

Premchand biography

Premchand biography
Premchand biography

Munshi Premchand, a Hindustani literature (Upanyas Samrat) and Indian writer (novel writer, story writer, and dramatist), was born in the year 1880 on the 31st of July in the Lamhi village (near Varanasi). He is a famous writer of the early 20th century. He left us on the 8th of October in 1936 after serving people with his great writings. His birth name was Dhanpat Rai Srivastav and his pen name was Nawab Rai. He wrote his all writings with his pen name. Finally, he changed his name to Munshi Premchand.

Munshi is an honorary prefix given by his lovers in society because of his quality and effective writing. As a Hindi writer, he wrote approximately a dozen novels, 250 short stories, numerous essays, and translations (he translated a number of foreign literary works into the Hindi language).

Munshi Premchand Biography Early Life

He spent his childhood in Lamhi with a joint family. He was the 4th child of Ajaib Lal (a post office clerk) and his mother named Anandi Devi (a housewife from Karauni village). His grandfather Sri. Gur Sahai Lal (a patwari means the village accountant) loved him the most. His uncle used to call him Mahabir which means Nawab ( Prince in English) and therefore he chose Nawab Rai as his pen name.

He started his early education at the age of 7 in a madrasa in the Lalpur village (around 2 and a half km away from Lamahi) where he learned Urdu and Persian languages. He lost his mother at the age of 8 because of her illness and later his grandmother too. He felt alone and his father got re-married to his stepmother who later became a recurring theme in his works.

Munshi Premchand Biography Early Career

He developed a lot of interest in reading books after his mother’s death that’s why he did the job of bookselling to a book wholesaler to get a chance to read more books. He took admitted at a missionary school where he learned English and read George W. M. Reynolds’s eight-volume named The Mysteries of the Court of London. He was in Gorakhpur when he wrote his first literary writing. He always believed to write about social realism in his Hindi literature and discuss the status of a woman in society.

He got enrolled at the Queen’s College in the Banaras as a day scholar after his father posted to Jamniya in the mid-1890s. He was studying in class 9 when he got married at the age of 15 in the year 1895. The match was arranged by his maternal grandfather. He stopped his studies after his father’s death in the year 1897 because of his long illness. He had started taking tuition to a Banarasi advocate’s son just for 5 rupees per month. Later he got the job of a teacher with a salary of 18 rupees and it was the headmaster of a missionary school in Chunar who helped him to get this job.

In the year 1900, he got a government job as an assistant teacher at the Government District School, Bahraich, and started getting 20 rupees per month as salary. Around 3 years later he was posted to the District School in Pratapgarh. He wrote his first short novel by the title of Asrar e Ma’abid means Devasthan Rahasya in Hindi “The Mystery of God’s Abode”.

 Munshi Premchand Career

Later he moved to Allahabad from Pratapgarh for the training purpose and afterward posted to Kanpur in the year 1905 where he met the editor of a magazine Mr. Daya Narain Nigam his magazine was ‘Zamana’ where he published his articles and stories in the later years.

Because of his wife and stepmother’s quarrel, he was unhappy. His wife also tried to commit suicide because his mother used to scold her a lot. Finally, she decided to go to her father’s home and never returned. Then Munshiji got married a child widow named Shivarani Devi in the year 1906 and became a father of two sons named Sripat Rai and Amrit Rai. After his second marriage, he faced several social oppositions. His wife wrote a book on him after his death named Premchand Ghar Mein means Premchand in House.

He published his first story named Duniya Ka Sabse Anmol Ratan in Zamana in the year 1907. In the same year, he published his second short novel named Hamkhurma-o-Hamsavab. Another short novel is Krishna and the stories are Roothi Rani, Soz-e-Watan and etc.

He was posted to Mahoba and then to Hamirpur as a Sub-deputy Inspector of Schools in the year 1909. Around 500 copies of Soz-e-Watan were burnt in a raid by a British collector. This is the reason why he changed his name from “Nawab Rai” to “Premchand”. He started writing in Hindi in 1914. The first Hindi writing Saut was published in the Saraswati magazine in the month of December 1915 and Sapta Saroj in the month of June 1917.

He got promoted to Assistant Master at the Normal High School, Gorakhpur, in the month of August 1916. At Gorakhpur, he translated many books into Hindi. His first Hindi novel named Seva Sadan (original language was Urdu the title Bazaar-e-Husn) was published in Hindi in the year 1919. He got promoted to Deputy Inspector of Schools in the year 1921 after completing his BA degree from Allahabad in 1919. He decided to resign from the government job after attending a meeting held at Gorakhpur on the 8th of February 1921 when Mahatma Gandhi asked people to join the non-cooperation movement.

Career in Varanasi

He went back to Varanasi after leaving his job on the 18th of March in 1921 and started focusing on his literary career. During this period he suffered financial problems and poor health till his death in 1936. He became successful in establishing his own printing press and publishing house in Varanasi named Saraswati Press in the year 1923 where he published his writings Rangabhumi, Nirmala, Pratigya, Gaban, Hans, Jagaran.

Again he relocated to Kanpur in the year 1931 as a teacher in a Marwari College. After leaving the college he came back to Banaras as an editor of the Maryada magazine, where he published the novel Karmabhumi in the year 1932. Shortly he served as a headmaster at Kashi Vidyapeeth and later as an editor of the Madhuri magazine at Lucknow.

His Later Life till Death

He went back to Varanasi after leaving his job on the 18th of March in 1921 and started focusing on his literary career. During this period he suffered financial problems and poor health till he also tried his luck in the Hindi film industry in Bombay in the year 1934 and got a job in scriptwriting from the Ajanta Cinetone production house. He became successful in maintaining his family’s financial difficulties. He wrote the film script for the movie Mazdoor by Mohan Bhawnani and use to stay in Dadar. He played a cameo role (leader of laborers) in the same film. He did not like the commercial film industry environment of Bombay and came back to Banaras after completing the one-year contract.

Because of his bad health, he was unable to publish his writing named Hans and handed it over to the Indian Literary Counsel. In the year 1936, he was nominated as the first President of the Progressive Writers’ Association at Lucknow. Because of his illness, he died on the 8th of October in the year 1936. His last and one of the premium Hindi novels is Godaan. He never moved outside the country for writing or studying purposes that’s why he never became renowned among foreign literary figures. Kafan was one of his best writers in the year 1936. His last story was Cricket Match which was published after his death in Zamana in the year 1937.

His Writing Style

He was from a village and was well aware of the assent and tone used in a village. We can find a combination of proverbs and idioms in his writing. His writing was simple but also interesting at the same time.

Basically, he started writing in Urdu so we can find some modernized words that can be known as the mixture of Urdu and Hindi in his work. He used the language of a common man and it became easy for common people to relate his stories.

His work was the reflection of a pure village and was also very effective, he became a hero just because of his work, and also teaches us that good content and gaining the attention of the audience is more necessary in this field and is a simple formula to be a good writer. Still, it is not everyone can be a good writer.

His Inspiration

Premchnad was strongly influenced by Gandhiji when he met him in a meeting in Gorakhpur as there was a strong opposition among people to resign from all kinds of government jobs. Premchand followed him and resigned from the post of Deputy Inspector of Schools in Allahabad. Apart from his social inspiration, his stepmother is also considered as his inspiration because she inspired him in his studies and reading books after his father’s death he became closer to books and started his literary work.

Munshi Premchand Stories

Some popular stories of Premchand are:

*Adeeb Ki Izat
*Bade Bhai Sahab
*Beti ka Dhan
*Boodhi Kaki
*Cricket Match
*Duniya ka Sabse -Anmol Ratan
*Durga ka Mandir
*Gupt Dhan
*Hinsa Parmo *Dharma
*Ishwariya Nyaya
*Namak Ka Daroga
*Panch Parameshvar
*Poos ki raat
*Putra Prem
*Sajjanata ka dand
*Shatranj ke khiladi (Hindi)
*Shatranj ki bazi (Urdu)

Premchand Novels

*Asrar-e-Ma’abid (Urdu)
*Devasthan Rahasya (Hindi)
*Prema (Hindi)
*Hamkhurma-o-Ham Sawab (Urdu)
*Roothi Rani
*Soz-e-Watan (collection)
**Vardaan (Hindi)
*Jalwa-e-Isar (Urdu)
*Seva Sadan (Hindi)
*Bazaar-e-Husn (Urdu)
*Premashram (Hindi)
*Gosha-e-Afiyat (Urdu)
*Rangbhoomi (Hindi)
*Chaugan-e-Hasti (Urdu)
*Kaayakalp (Hindi)
*Parda-i-Majaz (Urdu)
*Pratigya (Hindi)
*Bewa (Urdu)
*Gaban (also *transliterated as Ghaban)
*Karmabhoomi (Hindi)
*Maidan-e-Amal (Urdu)
Mangalsootra (incomplete)

Godaan Novel

Godan, generally considered Premchand’s masterpiece, is a story of peasant India. It highlights the struggle between the peasant and the money lender backed by various forces. It depicts an agricultural community with its hard work and simple pleasures, its exploitations and misery, and its frustrations and hopes. Premchand’s artistry and realism are at their best in the creation of some of the central characters, particularly Hori, who emerges as an immortal symbol of the Indian peasantry. Hori as well can be taken as a symbol of Premchand’s own life. Though Premchand had a tendency toward idealization, this novel is realistic, controlled in form, and disillusioned in spirit. The extract, included here is about an undercover undertaking that Gobar, Hori’s child, had with Jhunia, Bhola’s girl. Pregnant and startled that her dad will murder her in the event that he finds this, she swings to Gobar for help. Yet, afraid of the results, he stealthily leaves the town. Late in the night, Jhunia goes to Hori’s hovel, yet he is in the fields. Jhunia concedes her quandary to Dhania, Hori’s better half. She hurries to Hori. Annoyed and maddened, they concur not to offer the safe house to Jhunia. Slowly, however, as they are strolling back to the cabin, their determination gives away, and their despise transforms into love. They allow Jhunia to remain with them, in spite of the fact that they realize that this will mean distancing the whole town.

The story revolves around many characters representing the various sections of the Indian community. The peasant and rural society is represented by the family of Hori Mahato and his family includes his wife Dhania, daughters Rupa and Sona, son Gobar, and daughter-in-law Jhunia.

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