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"Prem Chand" redirects here. For other uses, see Premchand (disambiguation). Munshi Premchand
| Dhanpat Rai
July 31, 1880
Lamhi, North-Western Provinces, British India
| October 8, 1936 (aged 56)
Varanasi, United Provinces, British India
| Nawab Rai
| Writer, Novelist
| Hindustani (Hindi-Urdu)
| British Indian
| Godaan, Bazaar-e-Husn, Karmabhoomi, Shatranj ke khiladi
| Shivarani Devi
| Sripath Rai, Amrit Rai, Kamala Devi
Munshi Premchand (Urdu: منشی پریم چند, Hindi: मुंशी प्रेमचंद, pronounced [mʊnʃi preːm t͡ʃənd̪] ( listen)) (July 31, 1880 – October 8, 1936) was an Indian writer famous for his modern Hindustani literature. He is one of the most celebrated writers of the Indian subcontinent, and is regarded as one of the foremost Hindustani writers of the early twentieth century. Born Dhanpat Rai Srivastav, he began writing under the pen name "Nawab Rai", but subsequently switched to "Premchand", while he is also known as "Munshi Premchand", Munshi being an honorary prefix. A novel writer, story writer and dramatist, he has been referred to as the "Upanyas Samrat" ("Emperor among Novelists") by some Hindi writers. His works include more than a dozen novels, around 250 short stories, several essays and translations of a number of foreign literary works into Hindi. Biography Premchand was born on 31 July 1880 in Lamhi, a village located near Varanasi (Benares). His ancestors came from a large family, which owned six bighas of land. His grandfather Gur Sahai Lal was a patwari (village accountant), and his father Ajaib Lal was a post office clerk. His mother was Anand Devi of Karauni village, who could have been the inspiration for the character Anandi in his Bade Ghar Ki Beti. Premchand was the fourth child of Ajaib Lal and Anandi; the first two were girls who died as infants, and the third one was a girl named Suggi. His parents named him Dhanpat Rai ("the master of wealth"), while his uncle, Mahabir, a rich landowner, nicknamed him "Nawab" ("Prince"). "Nawab Rai" was the first pen name chosen by Premchand. When he was 7 years old, Premchand began his education at a madarsa in Lalpur, located around 2½ km from Lamahi. Premchand learnt Urdu and Persian from a maulvi in the madarsa. When he was 8, his mother died after a long illness. His grandmother, who took the responsibility of raising him, died soon after. Premchand felt isolated, as his elder sister had already been married, and his father was always busy with work. His father, who was now posted at Gorakhpur, re-married, but Premchand received little affection from his step-mother. The step-mother later became a recurring theme in Premchand's works. After his mother's death, Premchand sought solace in fiction, and developed a fascination for books. He heard the stories from the Persian-language fantasy epic Tilism-e-Hoshruba at a tobacconist's shop. He took the job of selling books for a book wholesaler, thus getting the opportunity to read a lot of books. He learnt English at a missionary school, and studied several works of fiction including George W. M. Reynolds's eight-volume The Mysteries of the Court of London. He composed his first literary work at Gorakhpur, which was never published and is now lost. It was a farce on a bachelor, who falls in love with a low-caste woman. The character was based on Premchand's uncle, who used to scold him for being obsessed with reading fiction; the farce was probably written as a revenge for this. After his father was posted to Jamniya in the mid-1890s, Premchand enrolled at the Queen's College at Benaras as a day scholar. In 1895, he was married at the age of 15, while still studying in the 9th grade. The match was arranged by his maternal...
References: * Schulz, Siegfried A. (1981). Premchand: a Western appraisal. Indian Council for Cultural Relations. OCLC 10062769. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
* Gupta, Prakash Chandra (1998). Makers of Indian Literature: Prem Chand. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 978-81-260-0428-7.
* Sigi, Rekha (2006). Munshi Prem Chand. Diamond. ISBN 978-81-288-1214-9.
* Amrit Rai; Harish Trivedi (1991)
* Francesca Orsini (2004). The Oxford India Premchand. Oxford University Press. p. ix. ISBN 978-0-19-566501-7.
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