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(pen name of Dhanpat Rai Shrivastava). Born July 31, 1880, in Lamati, near Benares; died Oct. 8, 1936, in Benares. Indian writer and publicist writing in Urdu and Hindi.
Premchand worked as a teacher and school inspector. His literary work was influenced by the Indian national liberation movement. His first short-story collection, Love For the Homeland (1909), was burned by the British authorities. The political awakening of the masses and their struggle for social rights and national liberation are themes of Premchand’s novels The Abode of Love (1922), Arena (1925; Russian translation, 1967), The Battlefield (1932; Russian translation, 1958), and The Sacrificial Cow (1936; Russian translation, 1956) and of his collections Seven Lotuses (1917) and Military Road (1932). Premchand condemned colonial and feudal despotism, medieval backwardness, and religious fanaticism. His sharp criticism of colonialism incurred persecution from the authorities.
Premchand’s works combine current political and social problems with perceptive characterization. A democratic writer, he regarded the common people as the chief support of society, championed humanist ideals, and praised the successes of socialist construction in the USSR. Premchand was the founder of critical realism in Urdu and Hindi literature. His publicistic writings and his journals Hans (1930–36) and Jagaran (1932–34) helped strengthen realistic and democratic literature in India. He was also a founder of the Progressive Writers’ Association of India (1936), which had an important influence on Indian literatures.
WORKSManasarovara, vols. 1–8. Benares, 1953–56.
Gupta dhana, vols. 1–2. Allahabad, 1962.
Vividha prasanga, vols. 1–3. Allahabad, 1962.
In Russian translation:
Kolodets tkhakura. Moscow, 1955.
Zmeinyi kamen’ Moscow, 1957.
Rasskazy; Nirmala. Moscow, 1958.
Rastrata. Moscow, 1961.
Ratnyi put’: Rasskazy. Moscow, 1969.
REFERENCESBalin, V. Premchand-novellist. Leningrad, 1973.
Premchand: Biobibliografich. ukazatel’. Moscow, 1962.
Rajeshvar Guru. Premacand: Ek adhyayan. Bhopal, 1958.
Qamar Ra’is. Premacand ka tankidi mutali ba haithiyat navil nigar. Aligarh, 1959.
Rai Amrit. Premacanda: Kalam ka sipahi. Allahabad, 1962.
Gopal, Madan. Munshi Premchand: A Literary Biography. New York, 1964.
V. I. BALIN