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Munshi Premchand Short Biography, Books, Film Scripts & Novels

munshi-premchandMunshi Premchand was a luminary literary figure of modern India. He used literature as a tool against the British oppression to awaken the Indian youth.

Munshi Premchand was born on July 31, 1880, at Lamhi, a village near Varanasi. His real and childhood name was Dhanpat Rai Srivastava. His father Ajaib Rai was a post office clerk. His mother’s name was Anandi Devi. He received his early education at a Madarsa from a Maulvi who taught Premchand Urdu and Persian. Despite poor financial position, Premchand completed his B.A. He got job offer of an assistant teacher at the Government District School in Bahraich in 1900. Around this time he had started writing stories and fictions in Urdu. He wrote his initial stories and novels under the pen name of ‘Nawab Rai’. His first short novel was ‘Asrar e-Maabid’ which was published in a series in the Urdu weekly ‘Awaz-e-Khalk’. His stories and novels were loaded with the anti-British sentiments, Indianism and mood of social reforms. His short story collection ‘Soz-e-Watan’ published in 1907, was banned by the British government for its huge anti-British content and tone. He was forced to relinquish the pen name of Nawab Rai. Now he adopted ‘Premchand’ as his pseudonym but he did not quit writing against the British rule. By the mid-191Os he had become a prominent writer of Urdu. He also started producing stories, essays, novels etc. in Hindi in 1914.

Premchand joined the Normal High School, Gorakhpur as an Assistant Master in 1916. ‘Seva Sadan’ was his great Hindi novel, published in 1919. It helped Premchand gain fame and recognition in the literary world. Munshi Premchand resigned from the post of Deputy Inspector of schools during the Non-cooperation Movement to give his full support to Mahatma Gandhi though he had a family to look after. He then moved to Varanasi to give full attention to his literary career. He set up ‘Saraswati Press’ there in 1923. He released his novels ‘Nirmala’ and ‘Pratigya’ which were chiefly based on women-centric social issues like dowry and widow remarriage. He launched a literary- political weekly magazine titled Hans in 1930. He propagated his nationalistic ideas in the magazine, inspiring Indian youth for freedom struggle of India. He also served Maryada magazine as an editor. He also moved to Mumbai to write scripts for movies. He wrote the script for the film ‘Mazdoor’ (The Labourer). ‘Kafan’ and ‘Godaan’ were great literary achievements of Premchand in his last phase of life. Premchand died on October 8, 1936.

  • Premchand earned huge recognition and fame in Hindi as well as Urdu literature.
  • Godaan was the magnum opus of Munshi Premchand. It is considered the greatest novel of the 20th-century Indian literature.
  • Apart from ‘Godaan’, ‘Seva Sadan’, ‘Premshram’, ‘Rangbhoomi’, ‘Karrnabhoomi’, ‘Nirmala’, ‘Caban’, ‘Kayakalp’ and ‘Pratigya’ are his great novels. He actually developed novels in Hindi literature and established it as a complete literary genre.
  • ‘Karbala’, ‘Prem Ki Vedi’, ‘Sangram’, “Tajurba’ are some great plays by Premchand.
  • He introduced realism in the literature. He picked characters of his novels and stories from common people and society to give a realistic touch to the characters. It is the reason why ‘Hamid’ of ‘Eidgah’, ‘Boodhi Kaki’ and ‘Haiku’ of ‘Poos Ki Raat’ represent the real face of the society.
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