Munshi Premchand (\(31\)/\(07\)/\(1880\) - \(08\)/\(10\)/\(1936\))
Dhanpat Rai Srivastava, known by his pen name Premchand, was a renowned writer and thinker of modern Indian literature. The prefix Munshi is generally attached to his pen name as an honorary title. It is also noteworthy to remember that he has written his earlier work using the pen name Nawab Rai. He wrote both in Hindi and Urdu, and he is widely regarded as one of the most famous writers of Indian literature.
Premchand was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, on \(31\)st July \(1880\). As a child, he had a turbulent life. It could be said that his writings were influenced by both his personal and public lives. The events and situations such as the loss of his mother at the age of \(7\), a father who was always away due to his work, the presence of unloving stepmother, child marriage to a girl he didn't like, the economic conditions of his family, the social and political conditions of India, its age-old traditions and the religious-hypocrisy, the colonial rule in India, the independence movement, the problems of the poor and the middle-class people, etc. have shaped his views and approach to life and literature.
Premchand has written novels, short stories, essays, biographies, and children's books. He had also scripted Mohan Bhavnani's movie "Mazdoor" (a.k.a. "The Mill" in English) in \(1934\). He had also translated works of Tolstoy, George Eliot, John Galsworthy, Anatole France, and Ratan Nath Dhar Sarshar into Hindi. As a writer, he has written around \(300\) short stories, more than a dozen novels, and several essays.
Several of Premchand's works are noteworthy, yet, and much of his best work is to be found among his short stories. They are collected in Hindi under the title Manasarovar (“The Holy Lake”). It is an \(8\)-volume collection published between the years \(1900\) and \(1936\). The stories such as "Kaafan" ("Shroud") and "Panch Parameshwar" ("The Holy Panchayat") are some of his well-known short stories.
As a writer, he first gained renown for his Urdu-language novels and short stories. His first novel "Asrar-e-Ma'abid" ("The Mystery of God's Abode") was written and published in Urdu in the year \(1903\). Some of his well-known novels are Premashram (“Love Retreat”) published in the year \(1922\), Rangabhumi (“The Arena”) published in the year \(1924\), Ghaban (“Embezzlement”) published in the year \(1928\), Karmabhumi (“Arena of Actions”) published in the year \(1931\), and Godan ("The Gift of a Cow") published in the year \(1936\).
He died in Benares, Uttar Pradesh, on \(8\)th October \(1936\).