His marriage was very unhappy and his wife left him: Premchand struggle life

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He married a child widow, Shivarani Devi, in 1906. This step was considered revolutionary at the time, and the Premchand had to face a lot of opposition.
He married a child widow, Shivarani Devi, in 1906. This step was considered revolutionary at the time, and the Premchand had to face a lot of opposition.

Premchand, also spelt Prem Chand, pseudonym of Dhanpat Rai Srivastava, (born July 31, 1880, Lamati, near Varanasi, India died October 8, 1936, Varanasi), Indian author of novels and short stories in Hindi and Urdu who pioneered in adapting Indian themes to Western literary styles.

Premchand worked as a teacher until 1921, when he joined Mohandas K. Gandhi’s Noncooperation Movement. As a writer, he first gained renown for his Urdu-language novels and short stories. Except in Bengal, the short story had not been an accepted literary form in northern India until Premchand’s works appeared. Though best known for his works in Hindi, Premchand did not achieve complete fluency in that language until his middle years.

His first major Hindi novel, Sevasadana (1918; “House of Service”), dealt with the problems of prostitution and moral corruption among the Indian middle class. Premchand’s works depict the social evils of arranged marriages, the abuses of the British bureaucracy, and exploitation of the rural peasantry by moneylenders and officials.

Childhood

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.

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 the time, and the 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.

Legacy of life

The Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, established the Premchand Fellowships in his honour in 2005. It is given to persons of eminence in the field of culture from SAARC countries.
Much of Premchand’s best work is to be found among his 250 or so short stories, collected in Hindi under the title Manasarovar (“The Holy Lake”). Compact in form and style, they draw, as do his novels, on a notably wide range of northern Indian life for their subject matter. Usually, they point up a moral or reveal a single psychological truth.

Premchand’s novels include Premashram (1922; “Love Retreat”), Rangabhumi (1924; “The Arena”), Ghaban (1928; “Embezzlement”), Karmabhumi (1931; “Arena of Actions”), and Godan (1936; The Gift of a Cow).

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.

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