Munshi Premchand was extraordinary with a simple personality. It was Premchand who took Hindi literature to a height. The diversity of human experience in Premchand’s fictional world is situated on the ground of concrete reality. This experience was acquired by Premchand through ideological struggle and social contexts. The result of this is that in his literature, the common man has been kept in the center and not in the background. And the feelings, pain, and distress of the same ordinary person have been raised in the literature.
Parents Of Munshi Premchand
Munshi Premchand, who considers himself to be a pen worker, was born on 31 July 1880 in Lamhi village, five kilometers from Varanasi. His family was a common Kayastha family. His childhood name was ‘Nawab’, and his formal name was Dhanpat Rai. The name Dhanpat Rai remained confined to education certificates and job files, but the name Nawab Rai became very famous as a story and novel writer in Urdu. Premchand’s father’s name was Munshi Ajaib Lal. He was the postman in the post office. His mother had passed away before 1890 and his step-mother had entered the house.
Premchand’s education started in Persian. He did not know Hindi at all till the age of thirteen. After passing the eighth grade from the Mission School of Gorakhpur, he went to the ninth in the Queen’s College, Banaras. Dhanpat Rai was married off at the age of about 15. But due to the nature of his wife being bitter, he broke up with her. Dhanpat’s father died in 1897 when he was only seventeen years old. At such a young age, the responsibility of the whole family fell on him. In 1898, he gave his matriculation examination and passed in the 2nd division. But he could not get admission in Inter class due to weak in maths There was no source of income in the family.
His Career Life
Coincidentally, in 1898, he got a job as a teacher in a mission school in Chunar. The salary was only eighteen rupees per month. It was too little to take care of the whole family, so he kept on tuition and sometimes had to take loans. At the same time, he had once beaten up white students along with other students. Because of this, he had to leave the job within a year. In 1900, he was appointed to the district school of Bahraich and then transferred to Pratapgarh. There was no special difference in the economic condition, but life was passed through leisurely life. And then began the process of writing along with reading.
During the movement of Arya Samaj in North India, he became a member there. Enrolled in Allahabad’s teacher’s training in 1902 and passed in 1904. Along with this he also passed the special alphabetical examination of Urdu and Hindi. He reached Kanpur in 1905 after transferring as a teacher. There he also started writing stories and literary commentaries in the magazine called ‘Nawab Rai’. In 1906, he married a child widow girl ‘Shivrani Devi’. After this, the process of writing proceeded more rapidly.
List of Premchand’s stories
From May 1905 to June 1909, he remained in Kanpur. That time was an era of extreme activism in Indian politics. Dhanpat Rai was with Bal Gangadhar Tilak, leader of the ‘Garam dal‘ in thoughts. He supported Tilak in his political comments. In June 1909, he was transferred from Kanpur to Hamirpur as the Sub-Deputy Inspector of Schools. There was scope for rotation in this job, the experience of which proved invaluable to his writing. His ‘Sojevatan‘ was published in 1908. But it was during Hamirpur that the government came to know that ‘Nawab Rai’, the author of Soje Watan, is actually ‘Dhanpat Rai’.
In those stories, the government got a glimpse of sedition, for which Dhanpat Rai was summoned. Somehow Dhanpat’s job was saved but his writing was banned. But he could not stop writing at any cost. That’s why he took a risk and kept writing under the name ‘Premchand‘.
In Hamirpur itself, Premchand suffered from dysentery. In 1914, he was transferred from Hamirpur to Basti. He left the job of inspection and came as a teacher on a low salary. Despite his poor health, school job, and literary work, he completed his F.A. in 1916 and passed the exam. During that time he was transferred to Gorakhpur. It was on this that he composed ‘Bazare Husn’ in Urdu. This is where he came in contact with Mahavir Prasad Poddar. He helped Premchand a lot in coming from Urdu to Hindi. His first Hindi story collections Sapta Saroj and the Hindi form of Bazarehusn ‘ Sewa Sadan’ were published in the Hindi Book Agency during the same period. In 1919, he passed his BA examination. In the same period, he also composed Goshaye Afiyat, which was later published under the name Premashraya.
The Ups and Downs Of His life
Impressed by Gandhiji’s message of non-cooperation on 16 February 1921, Premchand resigned from his job. After resigning from the government job, he took over as the headmaster of Marwari Vidyalaya in Kanpur after four months. On 22 February 1922, due to a rift with the manager of the school, he also resigned there. After that, on 22 March he was appointed as the officiating editor after Sampoornanand in Banaras. This job also ended in July. In 1923, he established Saraswati Press in Banaras but the press did not run properly. In August 1924, he reached Lucknow as a literary advisor to the Ganga book series. During this period he was engaged in the creation of ‘Chugane Hasti’ which was published in Ganga Book Mala in 1925.
On 29 August 1925, he left the job of the Ganga Book series and returned to Banaras. On 15 February 1927, he again reached Lucknow as the co-editor of Madhuri. His wife and children also came from Banaras to Lucknow on 15 May. In October 1931, he left the job of Naval Kishore Press. Then, he returned to Banaras from Lucknow in February 1932. Staying in Banaras for about one and a half years, he was engaged in arranging Hans, Jagran, and Saraswati press. Along with this, he also continued to do the literary practice.
How Premchand Became Munshi Premchand?
The editors of ‘Hans‘ were Premchand and Kanhaiyalal Munshi. But later the readers understood ‘Munshi’ and ‘Premchand’ as one and ‘Premchand’ became ‘Munshi Premchand’. On 1 June 1934, he went to Bombay at the invitation of M. Bhavanani, the proprietor of Ajanta Cinetone Company. During this period he traveled to Madras, Mysore, Bangalore, Poona, etc. Due to the closure of the Cineton company, He returned to Banaras from Bombay via Khandwa, Sagar, Allahabad. He composed Godan in Bombay itself, which was completed after coming to Banaras. At this time Premchand had joined the top personalities of Hindi literature.
The Progressive Writers’ Association session was held on 10 April 1936, which was presided over by Premchand. Godan was published but health did not support it. Ultimately, he died on 8 October 1936 in Banaras.
List of Some Available Hindi Literature of Premchand
- समर यात्रा
- साहित्य का उद्देश्य
- पाँच फूल
In the field of Hindi stories and novels, the period from 1918 to 1936 is called the ‘Premchand era’. Premchand took the ideas related to women’s emancipation and freedom from social stereotypes from Arya Samaj itself. In his editorial remarks, Premchand has shown his progressive consciousness by opposing his national power, attachment to farmers and atrocities on women and Dalits.