Premchand (1880-1936), real name Dhanpat Rai was an Indian short-story teller, novelist and essayist who wrote profusely in both Urdu and Hindi.
He was born at Lamhi, a small village near Baranas in Uttar Pradesh. He took his early education in a local madrasa. His first collection of short stories in Urdu entitled Soze-Watan (The Lament of the Country) was published in 1908 under the pseudonym of Nawab Rai. The book was declared inflammatory and he was accused of sedition. All the seven hundred printed copies of ‘Soze-Watan’ were burnt in front of him. This was the first time that a literary work of any Indian writer had been treated with hostility. Then Dhanpat Rai changed his pseudonym Nawab Rai to Premchand with which he established himself as a writer and earned popularity.
He wrote over three hundred short stories, a dozen novels and two plays, apart from innumerable essays and reviews. As a short story writer, he modernized the form of this genre of literature. He wrote on the themes of caste discrimination, blind faith, follies, dishonesty of the government officials, greed for money with a tone of irony and ridicule. Among his novels Sevasadam, Gaban, Nirmala and Godaan are well-known. Some of his well known short stories are ‘Panch Parmeshwar,’ ‘Namak Ka Daroga’, ‘Idgaah’, ‘Sadgati’ and ‘Kafan’.
He also translated some fictions from Urdu and English into Hindi. He had the credit of editing the magazine Madhuri and Hans.
Premchand chaired the first convention of the ‘Indian Progressive Writers Association’ in 1936. His writings provide evidence of his commitment to social causes. Many of his works such as Mazdoor, Seva Sadan, Godaan, Gaban, Shatranj Ke Khiladi and Sadgati have been given film versions.
Contributing much to the storehouse of Indian literature he died in 1936. 0 0 0