Remembering Munshi Premchand on 132nd Birth Anniversary

\"\"Premchand was born on 31 July 1880 in a village near Varanasi in India to Munshi Ajaib Lal, a clerk in the post office. His parents died when he was still very young. His mother died when he was no more than seven and his father passed away when Premchand was fifteen or sixteen, and still a student. After loosing his parents, Premchand became responsible for his step mother and his siblings born from her. It was in Allahabad, where he first started writing seriously. Premchand started his literary career as a freelancer in Urdu and wrote several short stories in the language. His first novella, Asrar e Ma’abid was first published in Awaz-e-Khalq, an Urdu Weekly. Soon after, he became associated with an Urdu magazine Zamana, where he wrote columns on national and international events. He also wrote a collection of short stories in Urdu which became known as Soz-e-Vatan. It was then that his career as a writer began to take shape and he became a reputed part of the literary world of Kanpur.  His literary work in Urdu gained him a reputation of a journalist with social aim, rather than a mere entertainer.\"\"

Premchand was born in the British India and the Indian Independence movement was at its peak when he started his writing career. His early writings were largely influenced by the nationwide movement in which he often expressed his support to the fight for freedom. In 1910, his collection of Soz-e-Watan was labeled as rebellious on account of its message which provoked Indians to fight for the nation. An agonized British government confiscated the book and all copies of Soz-e-Watan were burnt or destroyed. Premchand, who was writing under the name of Nawabrai at that time, began to use Premchand as his pen name. The prolific writer wrote more than 300 stories, novels and a number of plays.The writer is credited with the introducing realism into the Hindi literature when it only consisted of the fantasy stories, fairy tales and religious work. His creations are compiled and published as Maansarovar. In 1921, Premchand resigned from his job as his support to the Indian independence movement and Gandhi’s Swadeshi movement. He took up a job in a printing press and became the proprietor of the press. During that time he also worked as the editor of Hindi and Urdu journals to support himself.

 It was miserable to see that though he had established himself as a great writer and novelist, he failed to earn money and led a life of struggle amid poverty and financial crisis. Premchand believed that literature is a powerful medium to educate people and it showed in his writings. In his later life, he continued to write fictions with social purpose and social criticism. Now a revered author and thinker, he presided over conferences, literature seminars and received huge applause. He chaired the first All-India conference of the Indian Progressive Writer’s Association in year 1936. However, in his personal life he was still struggling to make both ends meet. He also suffered from health problem particularly ‘abdominal problems’. Despite ever difficulty and challenges, Premchand did not abandon writing and embarked on completing his last novel Mangalsootra. The novel still remains incomplete as he died in the middle of it on 8 October 1936.

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3 Responses to Remembering Munshi Premchand on 132nd Birth Anniversary

  1. dr pradeep jain says:

    Nice article!Kya badia lagta yadi ye article HINDI me lagata to shayad Munshiji bhi kahi khush hote.

    • Dinu says:

      Dr. Saheb,

      I agree with your sentiment.

      Kindly think of us, who were not fortunate enough to learn Hindi in Childhood.

      Last few months after crossing almost 66% of average Indian’s expected life expectancy I am trying to lean Hindi script together with my school going children.

      Sometime during my childhood there was strong anti hindi sentiment (cheap region based politics – I think) in certain states and I am one of the victim you can say. Had learned the Alphabets and smattering when suddenly the compulsory additional (yes it was compulsory but additional ) was closed.

      Thanks Mirza saab for the nice and touching article.

      Have a great day.

  2. N.A.Mirza says:

    Hamare desh mein hamari apni bhasha mein likhne walon k saath aksar yahi hota aaya hai. Par kisi had tak hamare shikhshakon aur addhyapakon ne agle logon ko bhulaya nahin aur nayee nasl tak unki likhi kahaniyan pahonchayee. Munshiji ki Gaodan to log aaj bhi bade chao se padhte hain.

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