Munshi Premchand, The Shakespeare of Hindi Literature, was born in 1880 in a village named Lamhi near Varanasi. His real name was Dhanpat Rai Srivastav, but he began writing under the pen name “Nawab Rai”, but subsequently switched to “Premchand”. A novel writer, story writer and dramatist, he has been referred to as the “Upanyas Samrat” by 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.
Premchand is considered the first Hindi author whose writings prominently featured realism. His novels describe the problems of the poor and the urban middle-class. His works depict a rationalistic outlook, which views religious values as something that allows the powerful hypocrites to exploit the weak. He used literature for the purpose of arousing public awareness about national and social issues and often wrote about topics related to corruption, child widowhood, prostitution, feudal system, poverty, colonialism and on the India’s freedom movement.
Here we present the top 10 Novels of Munshi Premchand :
Prema (Hamkhurma-o-Ham Sawab):
The protagonist of the novel Amrit Rai overcomes social opposition to marry the young widow Poorna, giving up his rich and beautiful fiance Prema. (Penned under the name “Babu Nawab Rai Banarsi”)
‘Premashram’ is one of the best known novels of Munshi Premchand. Premashanker, the protagonist, is a foreign-returned zamindar(landlord), who comes to know that he is declared an outcaste in the society. When his own family rejects him, he decides to live in another village to lead a life on his own.
Deals with widow remarriage
known as one of the best novels of Premchand, ‘Karmbhumi’ depicts the story of Amarkant, an intelligent and idealistic young man who becomes a nomad. When his father refuses to accept Sakina, Amarkant’s beloved, he leaves home and wanders around villages. He adopts a village of untouchables and teaches their children. He proves to be of great help to the villagers who manage to get rebate against the land tax.
The main concept of this novel is set in Varanasi, where an unhappy housewife becomes a courtesan and later takes a vow to change the lives of the courtesans. She sets up an orphanage for the young daughters of courtesans. Suman, the protagonist of the novel, belongs to an upper caste family and is married to a much older man. Somewhere in her married life, she realises that she is a woman just stuck in a loveless marriage and the treatment she receives is like a prostitute. So she left her married life and actually becomes a prostitute.
Vardan is about Pratap Cahndra and Brij Rani, two childhood neighbours who like each other. Brij gets married to another man and becomes a famous poet after being widowed. Her friend Madhvi starts liking Pratap after hearing about him from Brij. Pratap becomes a sadhu, and Madhvi becomes his devotee
One of the most distinguished novels of Munshi Premchand, It tells the story of Ramanath, an attractive but morally weak young man, who in order to fulfill his beautiful wife’s excessive craving for jewelry involves himself in complex economic troubles and damaged his personal relationships, which leads to his apparent embarrassment and he becomes an escapist. One of the classics of Indian literature, Gaban throws lights on the humble living conditions and conflicts of the prevailing North Indian society.
This novel tells the story of Nirmala, a girl of 15 years who has been married to a man two decades her senior. The novel highlights the issues pertaining to the dowry system in India. A serialized version of the novel was first published in a magazine called ‘Chand’.
Like all great novels of Munshi Premchand, Godaan, also depicts the socio-economic conditions of poor villagers during the British era. ‘The Gift of the Cow’, as the English title of its translation goes, is indeed a great work in Hindi literature.The characters, Hori and Dhania have become immortal icons of social and class struggle.
This novel is all about the oppression of the working classes, rural India and the farmers. story come across the blind Surdas and his struggle with life and death and the setbacks he receives from the society.