Premchand Full Biography
Premchand (31 July 1880 – 8 October 1936) was one of the greatest Indian writers of Hindi and Urdu. Original name Dhanpat Rai Srivastava, Premchand is also known as Nawab Rai and Munshi Premchand. Seeing his contribution in the field of novel, the famous novelist of Bengal, Saratchandra Chattopadhyay addressed him as novel emperor. Premchand developed a tradition of Hindi story and novel which guided literature throughout the century. By deeply influencing an entire next generation, Premchand laid the foundation of the realistic tradition of literature. His writings are such a legacy of the Hindi literature without which the study of Hindi development shall be incomplete. He was a sensitive writer, alert citizen, skilled orator and suddhi (scholar) editor. In the first half of the twentieth century, when Hindi lacked technical facilities, his contribution is incomparable. After Premchand, those who worked to advance literature with social concerns and progressive values include Yashpal to Muktibodh. His son is the famous Hindi litterateur Amrit Rai who named him as a soldier of the pen.
Premchand was born in Lamhi village near Varanasi. His mother’s name was Anandi Devi and father Munshi Ajaibarai was a postmaster in Lamhi. His education started with Urdu, Persian and he became fond of reading through teaching for a living since childhood. At the age of 13, he read Tilism-e-Hoshruba and was introduced to the novels of famous Urdu writers Ratannath ‘Sharsar’, Mirza Hadi Ruswa and Maulana Sharar. After passing his matriculation examination in 1898, he was appointed a teacher in a local school. Along with the job, he continued his studies. In 1910 he passed Inter with English, Philosophy, Persian and History and in 1919 he completed B.A. After passing, he was appointed to the post of Inspector of Education Department.
His early life was a struggle due to the death of his mother at the age of seven and his father at the age of fourteen. His first marriage took place at the age of fifteen as per the tradition of those days which was not successful. He was influenced by Arya Samaj, which was a huge religious and social movement of that time. He supported widow-remarriage and in 1906 married a second child-widow Shivrani Devi in accordance with his progressive tradition. They had three children – Shripat Rai, Amrit Rai and Kamala Devi Srivastava. In 1910, he was summoned by the District Collector of Hamirpur for his work Soze-Watan (The Lament of the Nation) and accused him of instigating the public. All copies of Soje-Watan were confiscated and destroyed. The collector instructed Nawabrai that now he will not write anything, if he writes then he will be sent to jail. Till this time Premchand used to write under the name Dhanpat Rai. Munshi Dayanarayan Nigam, the editor of Zamana magazine published in Urdu and his dear friend, advised him to write Premchand. After this he started writing under the name of Premchand. He did his initial writing in Zamana magazine itself. He fell seriously ill in the last days of his life. His novel Mangalsutra could not be completed and he died on 8 October 1936 after a prolonged illness. His last novel Mangal Sutra was completed by his son Amrit.
Premchand is considered the father of modern Hindi story and novel emperor. Although his literary career had begun in 1901, his first Hindi story was published in the December issue of Saraswati Patrika under the name Saut in 1915 and in 1936 the last story was published under the name Kafan. In this period of twenty years, many colors of his stories are seen. Before him, only fictional, Aiyaari and mythological religious compositions were done in Hindi. Premchand introduced realism in Hindi. “A lot of the discourse of Indian literature which later emerged in prominence, whether it is Dalit literature or women’s literature, has its roots somewhere deep in the literature of Premchand.” According to Premchand’s article ‘Pehli Rachna’, his first composition was a satire written on his maternal uncle, which is now unavailable. His first available writing is his Urdu novel ‘Asrare Maabid’. Premchand’s second novel ‘Humkhurma aur Humsawab’, whose Hindi adaptation was published in 1907 under the name ‘Prema’. This was followed by Premchand’s first short story collection called Soze-Watan which was published in 1908. Soze-watan means the pain of the country. Due to the feeling of patriotism, it was banned by the English government and warned its author not to do such writing in future. Because of this, he had to change the name and write it. His first story under the name ‘Premchand’ was published in the December 1910 issue of Bade Ghar Ki Beti Zamana Patrika. Posthumously his stories were published in 8 volumes under the name Mansarovar. Katha Samrat Premchand said that the writer is not the truth behind patriotism and politics, but the truth showing the torch before it. This is reflected in his literature. In 1921, he left his job on the call of Mahatma Gandhi. He took over the editing of Maryada magazine for a few months, edited a magazine called Madhuri for six years, started his monthly paper Hans from Banaras in 1930 and a weekly called Jagran in early 1932. He presided over the conference of All India Progressive Writers Association in Lucknow in 1936. He also worked as a story-writer in Mohan Dayaram Bhavnani’s Ajanta Cinetone Company. Wrote the story of a film called Mazdoor, released in 1934, and fled to Benares without completing the contract for two months, because he did not like the air and water of Bombay (modern Mumbai) and above all, the film world. Came. He started writing stories originally in Hindi from 1915 and novels from 1918 (Seva Sadan). Premchand wrote a total of about three hundred stories, about a dozen novels and many articles. He also wrote some plays and did some translation work. Many of Premchand’s literary works were translated into many languages including English, Russian, German. Godan is his classic creation. The Shroud is believed to be his last story. He wrote with full authority in Hindi and Urdu. Most of his compositions originally written in Urdu, but they went first publication was in Hindi. In a creative life of thirty-three years, he handed over a legacy of literature that is priceless in terms of qualities and limitless in terms of size.
Premchand’s creation-vision got involved in various literary forms. Multi-talented Premchand created literature in many genres like novel, story, drama, review, article, editorial, memoir etc. He was mainly known as a storyteller and during his lifetime he was honored with the title of ‘Novel Emperor’. He composed a total of 15 novels, a little more than 300 stories, 3 plays, 10 translations, 7 children’s books and thousands of pages of articles, editorials, speeches, roles, letters etc. But the fame and reputation he got from novels and stories , it could not be obtained by other means. This situation is equally visible in both Hindi and Urdu language.