The Upanyas Samrat of India: Munshi Premchand

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“To be successful in life what you need is education, not literacy and degrees.” – Munshi Premchand. Writers have the power to create a change in society with their work. Munshi Premchand was one such inspirational writer who encouraged thousands in the early 20th century about Independence, poverty, and social discrimination. He was the first Indian author to write on sensitive issues like caste discrimination and difficulties faced by women in society. The exploitation of the rural poor and peasantry is best portrayed in his novels and short stories through Rangbhumi (1925), Godan (1936), and many others. He was schooled in Urdu and Farsi, hence his early writings were in Urdu only. Later on, he moved towards Hindi and wrote many masterpieces in the language.his blog will take you through the life journey of Munshi Premchand. 

Credits – Britannica 

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Who is Munshi Premchand?

Munshi Premchand was a famous Indian writer. His real name was Dhanpat Rai Srivastav and he started writing with “Nawab Rai” as his pen name. Later on, he switched to “Premchand”. The title Munshi was given to him by his admirers in the honor of his quality and effective writing.  He was a novel writer, story writer, dramatist, and also known as “Upanyas Samrat”. His works include more than a dozen novels, 250 short stories, several essays, and translations of famous literary works in Urdu and Hindi. 

Credits: ScoopWhoop

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Childhood & Early Life 

Premchand was born and brought up in Lemhi, India in a joint family. He was the 4th child of Ajaib Lal who worked as a post office clerk and Anandi Devi. His grandfather Sri. Gur Sahai Lal loved him the most and his uncle used to call him Mahabir which means Nawab and therefore he chose Nawab Rai as his pen name. He started studying at the age of 7 in Madras in Lalpur village and specialized in Urdu and Persian languages. He lost his mother at a young age and was later raised by his stepmother. 

Early Career 

Premchand had a keen interest in writing about social realism and discussed the status of a woman in society. He attended the Queen’s College at Banaras as a day scholar after his father posted to Jamniya in the mid-1890s. He got married at the age of 15 in the year 1895. Premchand left studies after his father died in the year 1897. Later, he got the job of a teacher with a salary of 18 rupees.  

In the year 1990, he got a government job as an Assistant Teacher at the Government District School, Bahraich, and started earning 20 rupees per month as salary. Around 3 years later, he was posted to the District School of Pratapgarh. He wrote his first short novel by the title of Asrar e Ma’abid means Devasthan Rahasya or The Mystery of God’s Abode. Later he moved to Allahabad and his magazine “Zamana” was published where published his articles and stories for few years. 

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Major Achievements of Munshi Premchand

  • He published several works including, Duniya Ka Sabse Anmol Ratan in the year 1907, Hamkhurma-o-Hamsavab, Krishna, Roothi Rani, Soz-e-Watan, etc
  • In 1909, He became a sun-deputy inspector of schools
  • In 1914, He changed his name to Premchand because 500 copies of Soz-e-Watan were burnt in a raid of a British collector
  • In 1915, the first Hindi writing Saut was published in Saraswati Magazine, and in 1917, Sapta Saroj was published
  • In 1916, He got promoted as an Assistant Master at the Normal High School, Gorakhpur
  • In 1921, He decided to resign from the Government job after attending a meeting held at Gorakhpur on the 8th of February

From a School Teacher to Owning a Publishing House

In 1921, Premchand started focusing on his literary work. In 1923, he successfully established his own printing press and publishing house in Varanasi named Saraswati Press where he published Rangabhumi, Nirmala, Pratigya, Gaban, Hans, and Jagran. In 1931, he was relocated to Kanpur as a teacher at Marwari College. In 1932, he published his novel Karmabhumi and served as a headmaster at Kashi Vidyapeeth and later as an editor of the Madhur magazine in Lucknow. 

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Entered the Entertainment Industry

In 1934, Premchand got a job in scriptwriting from the Ajanta Cinetone production house. He also wrote the film script of the movie Mazdoor by Mohan Bhawnani and use to stay in Dadar. He did not like the environment of the film industry and came back to Banaras after completing a one-year contract. In 1936, he was nominated as first President of the Progressive Writers Association in Lucknow. India lost the gem of literature, Munshi Premchand on the 8th of October in the year 1936. His famous writings in that year were Goddan, Kafan, and the last story on a cricket match published in Zamana. 

Credits: RajpyaSabhaTV

Writing Style & Inspiration

Munshi Premchand was born and brought up in a village. He saw various social discrimination and ill practices at a young age. This motivated him to spread awareness about such small things. He used simple language along with proverbs and idioms in his writings.  He was inspired by the work of Gandhi Ji. He even left his job to participate in the noncooperation movement! 

Famous Munshi Premchand Stories & Novels 

Munshi Premchand has written the most fascinating stories and novels in different genres. Here are some of the famous stories and novels by Munshi Premchand that are still read by millions today:

Story Books Novels
Kafan Soz-e-Watan
Lottery Prema (Hindi)
Poos Ki Raat Vardaan (Hindi)
Balidan Bazar-e-Husn (Urdu)
Saut Karmabhoomi
Cricket Match Gaban
Boodhi Kaki Godaan
Durga Mandir Bewa (Urdu)
Duniya Ka Sabse Anmol Ratan Premasharam (Hindi) 

Kafan

Credits: Golden Stories TV Adventure 

Soz – e – Watan 

Credits: Deshaj

Poos Ki Raat

Credits: Kidda TV

Gaban

Credits: InspiredCorner

Godaan 

Credits: Desi Masterji

Premchand was the first Hindi author whose writings prominently featured realism. His novels and stories describe the problems of the poor and the urban middle class. His work depicted a rationalistic outlook. This was all about Munshi Premchand, a greatly admired personality of India. 

Which book by Munshi Premchand is your favourite and why? Let us know in the comment section below! Stay tuned to Leverage Edu for more such inspiring content! Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to know the latest educational updates across the world!

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