A tribute to the emperor of Indian novels. It’s nostalgia that washes over us when we hear the name Premchand. His name has popped every year amongst the vast syllabus of our Hindi class. As we dreaded to see our Hindi teacher entering the class, smiles came across our faces when we read Premchand’s words. He is, therefore, a legend, a childhood hero and the emperor of Hindi-Urdu novels in India. Today on the occasion of what would have been his 136th birthday News Aur Chai presents a tribute to this Indian hero.
Born Dhanpat Rai on July 31, 1880, at Lamhi village in Uttar Pradesh, Premchand started writing at the age of 13. He wrote nearly 300 short stories, novels, and essays in his lifetime. His mother died at an early age and he himself was married when he was 15. His personal life was never at peace which was reflected in his work.
His last and most famous novel, Godaan (1936) is a literally masterpiece which earned him the title “Upanyas Samrat,” or, “emperor among novelists”. His work brought to life working-class characters which instantly became relatable. His other works include novels like Kaayakalp, Pratigya, and Gaban.
Along with being one of the most famous writers in India, Premchand was also a major part of the freedom struggle. While attending a lecture by Mahatma Gandhi, he was inspired by the ideas of Bapu and soon left his government job even though he had a family to support. He wrote extensively for Urdu and Hindi newspapers propagating the idea of freedom to the Indian people.
Today his work has become synonym to Indian literature. His work is taught in schools as well as colleges, researches are done on his writing style. In modern times, his work has been adapted to many art forms, Satyajit Ray filmed two of Premchand’s works– Sadgati and Shatranj Ke Khiladi. Sevasadan, was also made into a film
The Actor Factor Theatre Company, a young Delhi-based theater group, staged Kafan in 2010 in New Delhi. Dramatech, a 28-year-old amateur theater group in Delhi, staged Premchand: Three Comedies for Families and Children, at Sri Ram Centre, Delhi in August, September and October 2012.
When Munshi Premchand died, he left behind a legacy of literature to be read and appreciated by students and scholars all over the world.