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Premchand was born Dhanpat Rai Srivastava in 1880 in Lamahi near Varanasi. His father worked in a post office. His parents died while he was still a child and he faced extreme poverty. He was educated in a madrasa, where he studied Urdu and Persian. He eventually became a teacher and then a school inspector. He was married when only fifteen but the marriage did not work out and he married again later. He started writing stories when in his twenties but his first collection of stories was called seditious and all copies were ordered burned. From that time, he changed his name to Premchand, to escape censorship. He had initially written in Urdu but then switched to Hindi. In the 1920s he resigned from his teaching position to join Gandhi’s Non-Cooperation Movement. This naturally influenced his writings. To earn money, he ran a printing press and also worked briefly in the cinema. Later in life, he turned to Marxism and remained one till his death in 1936. While he wrote many novels, stories and essays, he is best remembered for his last novel, गोदान (The Gift of a Cow; Godan: A Novel of Peasant India), as well as for his short stories.

Books about Premchand

Amrit Rai: Premchand, a Life

Other links

Munshi Premchand
Munshi Premchand
Munshi Premchand
Munshi Premchand : The Great Novelist
Premchand Biography


(Works translated into English only)
1918 सेवासदन (Sevasadan)
1924 शतरंज के खिलाड़尸 (The Chess-Players and Other Stories)
1924 अहंकार (Gaban)
1925 रंगभूमि (Rangbhumi : The Arena of Life; The Playground)
1928 निर्मला (Nirmala; The Second Wife)
1932 कर्मभूमि (Karmabhumi)
1935 कफ़न (The Shroud and Twenty Other Stories)
1936 गोदान (The Gift of a Cow; Godan: A Novel of Peasant India)
1955 A Handful of Wheat and Other Stories
1969 The World of Premchand
1980 Twenty-Four Stories
1981 Premchand: An Anthology
1983 A Premchand Dozen
1988 Deliverance and Other Short Stories
1992 The Temple and the Mosque
1997 The Best of Premchand: A Collection of Fifty Best Short Stories
1998 Widows, Wives and Other Heroines: Twelve Short Stories
2003 The Thakur’s Well and Other Stories
2017 Premchand : The Complete Short Stories