Munshi Premchand was an icon of modern Hindi and Urdu literature. Born in Lamai, near Varanasi, he was one of modern India’s tallest icons of literature. After his patents were withdrawn and he struggled to make ends meet, he began writing under the pen name Premchand.
In 1921, Munshi Premchand attended a Mahatma Gandhi meeting in Gorakhpur. Soon afterward, he resigned from his government job. He married a child widow named Shivarani Devi. This was a controversial move, as society did not encourage the remarriage of widows. In 1936, Premchand was elected as the first President of the Progressive Writers Association in Lucknow. The following year, he died in a financial crisis.
The writer’s first Hindi works were published in 1919 when he was twenty. At the time, he had just finished his matriculation examination, and his father had died. His first novel, Seva Sadan, was published the following year. It is about an unsatisfied housewife who opens an orphanage for the daughters of brothel women. Mahatma Gandhi inspired his later works, and he left his post as a school inspector to concentrate on his writing.
Dhanpat Rai Srivastava
Dhanpat Rai Srivastava, known by his pen name Premchand, was a pioneer of modern Hindustani literature. He is credited with writing the first Hindi and Urdu social fiction. In his works, he often deals with the social problems faced by the people in society.
Premchand was born in 1880 in Lamai, near Varanasi. His parents were poor, and his education was limited. At the age of seven, he lost his mother. The family moved to Lalpur, where he attended school. He studied Urdu and Persian and later became married. In his twenties, he began writing stories. He was initially called Dhanpat Rai Srivastava but later changed his name to Premchand.
Premchand’s early education
Premchand received his early education in a village in northern India called Lamai. His father, Ajaib Rai, was a government official and his mother, Anandi Devi, was a land recorder. He learned Persian and Urdu at the local missionary school and was a keen reader. Unfortunately, at an early age, his mother died, and his stepmother raised him.
At the age of eight, Premchand lost his father. His stepmother and stepbrother were now financially dependent on him. So he began tutoring children for five rupees a month. This allowed him to earn money and support his family and siblings. Eventually, Premchand found a job as a primary school teacher and passed the matriculation examination. In 1902, he was transferred to a town near Allahabad and became the school’s headmaster. He also worked as a deputy sub-inspector of schools in the United Provinces.
His second marriage
Premchand’s first marriage ended in divorce when he was only 15. He married a 16-year-old girl who returned to her parents after the marriage. It was obvious that Premchand and the girl were not compatible. After some time, Premchand married a widow. In 1905, he married Munshi Devi Prasad, a child widow from the district of Fatehpur in U.P.
Premchand’s second marriage was equally troubled. The two argued Lamai, and his wife left him. After this, he turned to national activism, writing articles urging India to fight for freedom. At first, he sided with moderate political figures like Gopal Krishna Gokhale but later shifted to the more radical Bal Gangadhar Tilak. His second marriage was tragic, and it was controversial enough to draw criticism from his peers.
His literary career
The first major novel by Premchand was published in Hindi in 1919. He initially wrote it in Urdu but changed it to Hindi after being influenced by the freedom movement. Critics will receive the novel. It deals with the dowry system and widow remarriage.
After his father’s death, Premchand was forced to take over the responsibility of the entire family. As a result, he had to sell off his family’s assets to live a stable life. In addition, he divorced his first wife and married a widow to support his family. Premchand was also supportive of a second marriage.
When Premchand was eight years old, his mother died. He had a hard time getting along with his stepmother. He took refuge in reading and started reading translations of world literature. Eventually, he was offered a teaching job at a government district school in Bahraich. Around 1900, he began writing fiction under the pen name “Nawab Rai.” His first novel, Asrar e Ma’abid, dealt with temple priest corruption and the sexual exploitation of poor women. Premchand Rai’s father died a few days after his marriage. After his father’s death, he began working in a book distributor’s shop and teaching tuition.
Premchand was born as Dhanpat Rai Shrivastava in Lamahi village in Benares State. He spent most of his early years there. Then, at seven, he attended a Madrasa in Lalpur. His Maulvi taught him Persian and Urdu.