Munshi Premchand needs no introduction. In this collection, twelve stories from his oeuvre, carefully adapted and specially illustrated keeping young readers in mind, offer a vivid glimpse of life in the villages and small towns of north India.
Each story is unique in its own way. 'The Road to Salvation' traces the theme of revenge and human folly, while 'January Night' is as much about the plight of Halku, a poor farmer at the mercy of the local landowner, as it is about the bond he shares with his dog Jabra. 'A Catastrophe' narrates the suffering of an old, destitute widow, and shows that bad deeds never go unpunished, 'Penalty' is a surprisingly short story about finding kindness and sympathy in a cruel world. 'A Lesson in the Holy Life' varies the tone of the volume with its humorous dig at fake saintliness. 'Festival of Eid' celebrates young Hamid's act of love and sacrifice over the childish self-centredness of his friends.
The self-appointed arbiter of correct social behaviour in 'A Car-Splashing' makes good his escape in the end before himself coming to be judged. 'The Story of Two Bullocks' is a moving account of the close companionship between man and animal. 'The Thakur's Well' exposes the cruelty of a caste-ridden society.
'My Big Brother' is a tender yet comic story about the changing relationship between two brothers. 'The Naive Friends' looks at the misadventures of Keshav and Shyama as they go about trying to safeguard the eggs of a bird which has made a nest in their house. And finally, 'The Power of a Curse' is a dramatic tale of human deception, wrongdoing and its effects, and fear of divine retribution.
The simplicity of these stories of everyday life and the accompanying visuals will delight young readers and Premchand fans alike.
About the Author:
Premchand (1880-1936) was a pioneering figure in modern Hindi literature. He was one of the initiators of realism in Indian fiction and introduced the genre of the short story in Hindi. With special themes and character studies, he set the standard for writers who followed.
THE ILLUSTRATED PREMCHAND IS PART OF THE OXFORD India Collection which brings together writings of enduring value. The originality of his vision and his ability to dramatize universal human problems make Premchand continually relevant. This is why his work finds its way into school and college syllabi. This book aims to present the timeless appeal of Premchand's writings to young readers in an attractive contemporary format.
The twelve short stories collected here have been especially chosen and adapted for their appeal to young readers. While Premchand did write a few stories for children we have not restricted our choice to these alone but have looked at a wider corpus choosing themes and situations which will appeal to our young audience. The adaptation is minor, primarily used to remove some detail, and does not tamper with the main storyline or the flow of the translation. A Glossary has been added at the end of the volume for the uninitiated.
The illustrations, especially commissioned for the volume, are done by Shantiniketan-based artist Manjari Chakravarti. They capture the essence of individual stories and evoke an atmosphere of nostalgia for village and small town India.
The everyday simplicity-something utterly lost to our age-and the 'extra-ordinariness' of Premchand's seemingly ordinary characters have a timeless and ageless appeal. Both first-time readers and Premchand fans will, we hope, be equally enchanted.
Children’s Books (238)
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