Munshi Premchand - Novelists, Timeline and Personal Life

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Munshi Premchand's Personal Details

Munshi Premchand was one of the greatest writers of modern Hindi and Urdu literature

InformationDetail
BirthdayJuly 31, 1880
Died onOctober 8, 1936
NationalityIndian
FamousAuthor, Novelists, Writers, Novelists, Short Story Writers
SpousesShivarani Devi (m. 1895)
SiblingsSuggi
Childrens Amrit Rai, Kamala Devi, Sripath Rai
Universities
  • madarsa
Birth PlaceLamhi
ReligionHindu
GenderMale
FatherAjaib Lal
MotherAnand Devi
Sun SignLeo
Born inLamhi
Famous asNovelist and Author
Died at Age56

// Famous Author

Munshi Premchand's photo

Who is Munshi Premchand?

Munshi Premchand was an Indian writer counted amongst the greatest Hindustani writers of the early 20th century. He was a novelist, short story writer, and dramatist who penned over a dozen novels, hundreds of short stories, and numerous essays. He also translated a number of literary works of other languages into Hindi. A teacher by profession, he began his literary career as a freelancer in Urdu. He was an independent minded patriotic soul and his initial literary works in Urdu were replete with descriptions of the Indian nationalist movement that was building up in various parts of India. Soon he switched over to Hindi and established himself as a much loved author with his poignant short stories and novels that not only entertained the readers, but also carried significant social messages. He was much moved by the inhumane manner in which Indian women of his time were treated, and often depicted the miserable plight of girls and women in his stories hoping to create awareness in the minds of his readers. A true patriot, he quit his government job as a part of the non-cooperation movement called by Mahatma Gandhi even though he had a growing family to feed. He was eventually elected as the first President of the Progressive Writers' Association in Lucknow.

// Famous Novelists

Childhood & Early Life

Premchand was born as Dhanpat Rai Srivastav on 31 July 1880 in Lamhi, a village near Varanasi, in British India. His parents were Ajaib Rai, a post office clerk, and Anandi Devi, a homemaker. He was their fourth child.

He received his early education at a madrasa in Lalpur where he learned Urdu and Persian. He learned English at a missionary school later on.

His mother died when he was just eight years old and his father soon remarried. But he did not enjoy good relations with his step-mother, and felt very isolated and sad as a child. He sought solace in books and became an avid reader.

His father too died in 1897 and he had to discontinue his studies.

Career

After struggling for a few years as a tuition teacher, Premchand was offered the post of an assistant teacher at the Government District School in Bahraich in 1900. At around this time he also started writing fiction.

Initially he adopted the pseudonym “Nawab Rai”, and wrote his first short novel, ‘Asrar e Ma'abid’ which explores corruption among temple priests and their sexual exploitation of poor women. The novel was published in a series in the Benares-based Urdu weekly ‘Awaz-e-Khalk’ from October 1903 to February 1905.

He shifted to Kanpur in 1905 and met Daya Narain Nigam, the editor of the magazine ‘Zamana’. He would write several articles and stories for the magazine in the coming years.

A patriot, he wrote many stories in Urdu encouraging the general public to participate in India’s struggle for freedom from British colonial rule. These stories were published in his first short story collection, titled ‘Soz-e-Watan’ in 1907. The collection came to the notice of the British officials who banned it. This also forced Dhanpat Rai to change his pen name from “Nawab Rai” to “Premchand” in order to escape persecution at the hands of the British.

By the mid-1910s he had become a prominent writer in Urdu and then he started writing in Hindi in 1914.

Premchand became the Assistant Master at the Normal High School, Gorakhpur, in 1916. He continued writing short stories and novellas, and published his first major Hindi novel ‘Seva Sadan’ in 1919. It was well received by the critics, and helped him gain wider recognition.

In 1921, he attended a meeting where Mahatma Gandhi urged people to resign from their government jobs as part of the non-cooperation movement. By this time Premchand was married with children, and had been promoted to Deputy Inspector of Schools. Yet he decided to quit his job in support of the movement.

After leaving his job he moved to Benares (Varanasi) and focused on his literary career. He established a printing press and publishing house called Saraswati Press in 1923, and published the novels ‘Nirmala’ (1925) and ‘Pratigya’ (1927). Both the novels dealt with women-centric social issues like dowry system and widow remarriage.

He launched a literary-political weekly magazine titled ‘Hans’ in 1930. The magazine aimed at inspiring Indians in their struggle for independence and was known for its politically provocative views. It failed to make a profit, forcing Premchand to look for a more stable job.

He became a teacher in the Marwari College, Kanpur, in 1931. This job, however, did not last long and he had to leave because of differences with the college administration. He returned to Benares and became the editor of the ‘Maryada’ magazine and also briefly served as the headmaster of the Kashi Vidyapeeth.

Desperately seeking to revive his declining financial situation, he went to Mumbai in 1934 and accepted a script writing job for the production house Ajanta Cinetone. He wrote the script for the film ‘Mazdoor’ ("The Labourer") in which he also made a cameo appearance. The film, which depicted the miserable conditions of the labor class, incited the workers in many establishments to stand up against the owners and was thus banned.

The commercial environment of the Mumbai film industry did not suit him and he yearned to leave the place. The founder of Mumbai Talkies tried his best to convince him to stay, but Premchand had made up his mind.

He left Mumbai in April 1935 and moved to Benares where he published the short story ‘Kafan’ (1936) and the novel ‘Godaan’ (1936) which were among the last works he completed.

Major Works

His novel, ‘Godaan’, is considered one of the greatest Hindustani novels of modern Indian literature. The novel explores several themes such as caste segregation in India, exploitation of the lower classes, exploitation of women, and the problems posed by industrialization. The book was later translated into English and also made into a Hindi film in 1963.

Awards & Achievements

In 1936, a few months before his death, he was elected as the first President of the Progressive Writers' Association in Lucknow.

Personal Life & Legacy

He was married to a girl selected by his grandfather in 1895. He was just 15 years old at that time and was still studying in school. He did not get along with his wife who he found to be quarrelsome. The marriage was very unhappy and his wife left him and went back to her father. Premchand made no attempts to bring her back.

He married a child widow, Shivarani Devi, in 1906. This step was considered revolutionary at time, and Premchand had to face a lot of opposition. This marriage proved to be a loving one and produced three children.

He suffered from ill health during his last days and died on 8 October 1936.

The Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters, established the Premchand Fellowships in his honor in 2005. It is given to persons of eminence in the field of culture from SAARC countries.

// Famous Novelists

Munshi Premchand biography timelines

  • // 31st Jul 1880
    Premchand was born as Dhanpat Rai Srivastav on 31 July 1880 in Lamhi, a village near Varanasi, in British India. His parents were Ajaib Rai, a post office clerk, and Anandi Devi, a homemaker. He was their fourth child.
  • // 1895
    He was married to a girl selected by his grandfather in 1895. He was just 15 years old at that time and was still studying in school. He did not get along with his wife who he found to be quarrelsome. The marriage was very unhappy and his wife left him and went back to her father. Premchand made no attempts to bring her back.
  • // 1897
    His father too died in 1897 and he had to discontinue his studies.
  • // 1900
    After struggling for a few years as a tuition teacher, Premchand was offered the post of an assistant teacher at the Government District School in Bahraich in 1900. At around this time he also started writing fiction.
  • // Oct 1903 To Feb 1905
    Initially he adopted the pseudonym “Nawab Rai”, and wrote his first short novel, ‘Asrar e Ma'abid’ which explores corruption among temple priests and their sexual exploitation of poor women. The novel was published in a series in the Benares-based Urdu weekly ‘Awaz-e-Khalk’ from October 1903 to February 1905.
  • // 1905
    He shifted to Kanpur in 1905 and met Daya Narain Nigam, the editor of the magazine ‘Zamana’. He would write several articles and stories for the magazine in the coming years.
  • // 1906
    He married a child widow, Shivarani Devi, in 1906. This step was considered revolutionary at time, and Premchand had to face a lot of opposition. This marriage proved to be a loving one and produced three children.
  • // 1907
    A patriot, he wrote many stories in Urdu encouraging the general public to participate in India’s struggle for freedom from British colonial rule. These stories were published in his first short story collection, titled ‘Soz-e-Watan’ in 1907. The collection came to the notice of the British officials who banned it. This also forced Dhanpat Rai to change his pen name from “Nawab Rai” to “Premchand” in order to escape persecution at the hands of the British.
  • // 1914
    By the mid-1910s he had become a prominent writer in Urdu and then he started writing in Hindi in 1914.
  • // 1916
    Premchand became the Assistant Master at the Normal High School, Gorakhpur, in 1916. He continued writing short stories and novellas, and published his first major Hindi novel ‘Seva Sadan’ in 1919. It was well received by the critics, and helped him gain wider recognition.
  • // 1921
    In 1921, he attended a meeting where Mahatma Gandhi urged people to resign from their government jobs as part of the non-cooperation movement. By this time Premchand was married with children, and had been promoted to Deputy Inspector of Schools. Yet he decided to quit his job in support of the movement.
  • // 1923
    After leaving his job he moved to Benares (Varanasi) and focused on his literary career. He established a printing press and publishing house called Saraswati Press in 1923, and published the novels ‘Nirmala’ (1925) and ‘Pratigya’ (1927). Both the novels dealt with women-centric social issues like dowry system and widow remarriage.
  • // 1930
    He launched a literary-political weekly magazine titled ‘Hans’ in 1930. The magazine aimed at inspiring Indians in their struggle for independence and was known for its politically provocative views. It failed to make a profit, forcing Premchand to look for a more stable job.
  • // 1931
    He became a teacher in the Marwari College, Kanpur, in 1931. This job, however, did not last long and he had to leave because of differences with the college administration. He returned to Benares and became the editor of the ‘Maryada’ magazine and also briefly served as the headmaster of the Kashi Vidyapeeth.
  • // 1934
    Desperately seeking to revive his declining financial situation, he went to Mumbai in 1934 and accepted a script writing job for the production house Ajanta Cinetone. He wrote the script for the film ‘Mazdoor’ ("The Labourer") in which he also made a cameo appearance. The film, which depicted the miserable conditions of the labor class, incited the workers in many establishments to stand up against the owners and was thus banned.
  • // 1936
    In 1936, a few months before his death, he was elected as the first President of the Progressive Writers' Association in Lucknow.
  • // 8th Oct 1936
    He suffered from ill health during his last days and died on 8 October 1936.
  • // 2005
    The Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters, established the Premchand Fellowships in his honor in 2005. It is given to persons of eminence in the field of culture from SAARC countries.

// Famous Writers

Munshi Premchand's FAQ

  • What is Munshi Premchand birthday?

    Munshi Premchand was born at 1880-07-31

  • When was Munshi Premchand died?

    Munshi Premchand was died at 1936-10-08

  • Where was Munshi Premchand died?

    Munshi Premchand was died in Varanasi

  • Which age was Munshi Premchand died?

    Munshi Premchand was died at age 56

  • Where is Munshi Premchand's birth place?

    Munshi Premchand was born in Lamhi

  • What is Munshi Premchand nationalities?

    Munshi Premchand's nationalities is Indian

  • Who is Munshi Premchand spouses?

    Munshi Premchand's spouses is Shivarani Devi (m. 1895)

  • Who is Munshi Premchand siblings?

    Munshi Premchand's siblings is Suggi

  • Who is Munshi Premchand childrens?

    Munshi Premchand's childrens is Amrit Rai, Kamala Devi, Sripath Rai

  • What was Munshi Premchand universities?

    Munshi Premchand studied at madarsa

  • What is Munshi Premchand's religion?

    Munshi Premchand's religion is Hindu

  • Who is Munshi Premchand's father?

    Munshi Premchand's father is Ajaib Lal

  • Who is Munshi Premchand's mother?

    Munshi Premchand's mother is Anand Devi

  • What is Munshi Premchand's sun sign?

    Munshi Premchand is Leo

  • How famous is Munshi Premchand?

    Munshi Premchand is famouse as Novelist and Author