Premchand: Whose pen revolutionized Hindi literature

Kriti Billore
Prem chand was a great novelist, dramatist, he wrote many books along with hundreds of heart touching short stories. His name has always been mentioned amongst the most popular Indian writers.

Personal Life
Premchand was born as Dhanpat Rai Shrivastava on 31 July 1880 to Ajaib lal his father and mother Angad Devi in Lamhi village near Varanasi. He was their fourth child. He lived in a huge family. His father worked as Post Office Clerk and mother was a housewife. He was very much loved by his grandfather who was the Patwari (accountant) of the village. His name Dhanpat was given him intentionally by his parents as it means “master of wealth”. His uncle used to call him Nawab, which in turn became his first pen name when he started writing.

His initial education was done from a Madarsa at Lalpur where he learned Persian and Urdu. Later, while studying in a missionary school he learned English. When he was merely 8 years old his mother died. His father got married again. Premchand's relations with his step mother were not good. He used feel alone and sad so as to console himself he used to read books and became a devoted reader.  

Then his father died in 1987, after that he had to terminate his studies.

His was married at the age of fifteen but that marriage didn’t work out. Then he married a child widow named Shivrani Devi. The couple had three children Amrit Rai, Kamala Rai and Sripath Rai.

  • While he was taking tuitions to earn his living, he was offered a job of teacher at Government District School at Bahraich in 1900. By this he had started writing fiction.
  • He matriculated in 1898 and passed BA in English, Persian and Urdu.
  • With his pen name Nawab Rai he wrote a novel Asrar-e-Maabid which was published in a series in Urdu Magazine Awaz-e-Khalk from October 1903 to 1905.
  • In 1905, premchand shifted to Kanpur, he met the editor of magazine ‘Zamana’ Daya Narain Nigam. He wrote stories and articles for it.
  • Being a patriot he wrote a lot of stories to motivate people to fight for their freedom, and take part in the struggle. These stories were collected and published as his first short story collection in 1907. This book caught the sight of British official and was banned. After that he changed his penname to Premchand, to escape the oppression.
  • By 1910, Premchand became a renowned Urdu writer and around 1914 he started writing in Hindi.
  • Premchand then shifted to Gorakhpur in 1916 and started working for Normal High School as assistant master. His first Hindi novel ‘Seva Sadan’ got published in 1919. This novel helped him in being recognized as a writer.
  • He then joined Non-cooperation movement in 1921, and left his job as a teacher. Then shifted to Banaras to focus on his writing career.
  • Premchand started his printing press named Saraswati Press in 1923, and also published his women centric novels ‘Nirmala’ in 1925 and ‘Pratigya’ in 1927. 
  • Premchand also started his own political magazine called ‘Hans’. It had politically instigating views. Later, he looked for stability in his career so he decided to work as a teacher at Marwari College in Kanpur in 1931 but the job didn’t last longer. 
  • He returned to Banaras and became editor of a magazine ‘Maryada’. Also he published his novel Karmabhumi in 1932. He served as headmaster of Kashi Vidyapeeth.
  • He also went to Mumbai to try his luck in the field of script writing and got his first opportunity to work for Ajanta Cinetown Production house. 
  • He wrote script for the film Mazdoor by Mohan Bhawnani and he also played a small role in that film. 
  • He was able to satisfy his financial needs there but he didn’t like the industry and returned back to Banaras.
  • He because of his ailment he couldn’t publish his writings and handed it over to Indian Literary Council.  
  • In 1936, he was nominated as the first president of Progressive Writer’s Association Lucknow.

Due to his constant illness he died on 8th of October 1936.

His last works include Godan, kafan and his last short story ‘Cricket Match’ was published after his death in Zamana in the year 1937.


  • Asrar-e-Ma’abid (Urdu)
  • Devasthan Rahasya (Hindi)
  • Prema (Hindi)
  • Hamkhurma-o-Ham Sawab (Urdu)
  • Bazaar-e-Husn (Urdu)
  • Premashram (Hindi)
  • Gosha-e-Afiyat (Urdu)
  • Rangbhoomi (Hindi)
  • Chaugan-e-Hasti (Urdu)
  • Nirmala
  • Kishna
  • Roothi Rani
  • Soz-e-Watan (collection)
  • Vardaan (Hindi)
  • Jalwa-e-Isar (Urdu)
  • Seva Sadan (Hindi)
  • Pratigya (Hindi)
  • Bewa (Urdu)
  • Gaban
  • Karmabhoomi (Hindi)
  • Maidan-e-Amal (Urdu)
  • Kaayakalp (Hindi)
  • Parda-i-Majaz (Urdu)
  • Godaan
  • Mangalsootra (incomplete)

and countless popular short stories.

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