Contribution of Munshi Premchand in Fields of Literature

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Baffling as certainly an endeavour to provide an exhaustive list of Tagore’s achievements in the various fields like music, dance, painting, histrionics, education, etc., would be, even the effort to describe his output within the limited field of literary and poetic writing would be, difficult. Indeed his contribution to ever so many types and forms of writing is amazing, if not defying adequate enumeration. As one of his admirers, the lateMahamahopadhyaya Harprasada Sastri, said: “He has tried all phases of literature–couplets, stanzas, short poems, long pieces, short stories, fables, novels and prose romances, dramas, farces, comedies and tragedies, songs, opera, Kirtans, Palas and, last but not least, lyric poems. He has succeeded in every phase of literature he has touched, but he has succeeded, beyond measure, in the last phase of literature. His essays are illuminating, his sarcasms biting, his satires piercing. His estimate of old poets is deeply appreciative, and his grammatical and lexicographical speculations go further inwards than those of most of us.”  

We can add to what has been said above, that he has written also much on religious topics, educational problems, social questions, economic and philosophical speculations and on music. He is reported to be an authority on metrical forms. He is also one of the most informed of Bengali critics. His epistolary exuberance is perhaps unrivalled, in his own language, for its quality, quantity and manner. In his venture on prose poems he has few equals. His familiarity and real interest in modern science received no greater satisfaction than in producing a beautiful book upon it by the name of Visva Parichaya. In the field of writing charades in Bengali he was almost a genius. Dance-plays were of his favourite creations. Nursery rhymes, primers for school children, nonsense verses, picture books for youngsters, can also be added to illustrate the fecundity of his imaginative writings.  

Still, though Rabindranath’s range is so enviably extensive, his genius is essentially lyrical. But even the term ‘lyrical’ in his case has to be taken with a qualification, in that, however much he has given scope to his personal experience, there is a vast deal more of his output, in which he has objectively reacted to life. Maybe the lyric is one-pointed at any particular moment and can be distinguished from the dramatic. In other words, in some of his moods the author remains intensely aware of one aspect of a matter which, in such moments, cannot be anything far removed from his own conception of the Truth. It is in this way Tagore is lyrical. In all his short stories, essays, dramas, songs, he is taken up with one extremely intimate theme and is identified with it. One thing is certain and we need not hesitate to express it, that creativity in literature derives much of its vitality and sustenance from sincerity of feeling, keenness of insight, skill in delineation of character, artistry and deftness with which observation is related. Indeed both lyric and drama trace their sources to one particular individual’s experience; still they are representative of many other kindred souls that are dumb of poetic speech. In lyric we perceive, an empathy and identification by the author with his theme, while in play-writing is visible an amount of detachment and forbearance of opposition. Call it lyricism or by any other name, Tagore’s sympathy for all forms of life was real and rich. It looks as if there is no bit of what he observed in life that could escape his pen. He was fond of describing himself as only a poet, as if it meant something very insignificant. But the fact is, to be a poet in his manner is to be immeasurably great.  

A criticism is generally levelled at him that, because of the large quantity of his writing, he fell a prey to frequent repetition of some idea or thought in them. True, there is repetition of ideas and situations as well, occurring in some of his plays...
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