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Premchand The Complete Short Stories (Set of 4 Volumes)

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Item Code: NAH893
Publisher: Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9780143441137
Pages: 3224
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch
Weight 3.10 kg
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Book Description
About the Book

Premchand (1880-1936), considered one of the greatest fiction writers in Hindi, was born Dhanpat Rai in Lamahi, a small village near Benares. He wrote in Urdu under the name Nawab Rai and changed it to Premchand when his collection of short stories, Soz-e Watan, was seized for sedition in 1909. In a prolific career spanning three decades, Premchand wrote fourteen novels, two plays, almost 300 short stories and several articles, reviews and editorials. He edited four journals, and also set up his own printing press. Though best known for his stories exposing the horrors of poverty and social injustice, he wrote on a variety of themes with equal felicity-romance, satire, social dramas, nationalist tales, and yarns steeped in folklore.

Back of the Book

Munshi Premchand, widely lauded as the greatest Hindi fiction writer of the twentieth century, wrote close to 300 short stories in the course of a prolific career spanning three decades. His range and diversity were limitless as he tackled themes of romance, satire, gender politics and social inequality with unmatched skill and compassion. By turns poignaht, acerbic, comical and tragic, many of his stories powerfully invoke the countryside its pastoral simplicity as well as its harsh realities while others capture the hopes and anxieties that accompany life in a teeming city where the underdog and the exploiter are caught in an age-old conflict.

For the first time ever, Penguin Classics brings together Premchand’s entire short-fiction Oeuvre for the delight of the English-speaking world. Along with M. Asaduddin's illuminating Introduction, this path-breaking anthology features several stories not hitherto accessible either in Hindi or Urdu. Also included are comprehensive- notes that provide the publication history of each story-highlighting the- differences, sometimes significant and radical, between the Hindi and the Urdu versions of the same story-as well as a definitive chronology, making this a truly singular collection.

About the Author

M. Asaduddin is an author, critic and translator in several languages. His books include Premchand in World Languages: Translation, Reception and Cinematic Representations; Filming Fiction: Tagore, Premchand and Ray; A Life in Words; The Penguin Book of Classic Urdu Stories; Lifting the Veil: Selected Writings of Ismat Chughtai; For Freedom's Sake: Manto; and (with Mushirul Hasan) Image and Representation: Stories of Muslim Lives in India. He has been a Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence at Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, and a Charles Wallace Trust Fellow at the British Centre for Literary Translation at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. He is a regular speaker at literary festivals, and his translations have been recognized with the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the Katha and A.K. Ramanujan awards for translation, as well as the Crossword Book Award.


During the birth centenary celebrations of Premchand (1880-1936), he was described as one of the panch devata, that is, one of the five gods, or (to put it more plausibly in English and also perhaps a bit more secularly!) one of the five iconic figures of modern Indian literature. This was high praise indeed, for each one of the twenty-four languages of India which are recognized and honoured by the Sahitya Akademi can boast of several outstanding writers in the modern period. The foremost of these probably still is Rabindranath Tagore, best known for his lyrical and transcendentally spiritual poetical works and, of course, for being the first, and so far the only, Indian to win the Nobel Prize for literature. But of those following behind him, Premchand stands as tall as any other writer.

Premchand wrote in both Urdu and Hindi, which made him an inheritor of two distinct literary traditions and also gave him a far wider readership than writers in other languages could aspire to. He wrote in the popular genres of the novel and the short story, and he practised a simple and candid style which had a direct emotive effect. He set his fiction in both cities and villages, often bringing the two Indias into poignaht juxtaposition, most pointedly in his last novel, Godaan (1936), and in other novels and numerous short stories too throughout his career. After experimenting early in his career with a few short stories set in the historical past (which he used allegorically for a present patriotic purpose), he wrote as a rule on contemporary themes of immediate social and political relevance. He marched with the times, responding to successive waves of public events and movements with a creative openness that wasn't bound by blind allegiance to any ideology. The scope of his understanding and the range of his sympathies were wide enough to encompass each aspect of the impact of colonial rule and of the nationalist movement for freedom in its many dimensions. His heart beat with the heart of the nation. As the Marxist Hindi critic Namwar Singh says :

Premchand was the unique epic-chronicler [maha-gathakar] of our struggle for freedom and it will be no exaggeration to say that he occupies in this regard an unrivalled place in the whole of Indian literature. If one wanted to find in anyone Indian writer the very pulse of Indian life, its struggles and its setbacks, its sorrows and its anguish, in all their depth and all their wide scope, over a period of three decades right from the Partition of Bengal in 1905-06 up to 1936, when he passed away, then, notwithstanding the fact that we have Rabindranath Tagore, we have Sarat Chandra, we have Subrahmanya Bharati, we have V.S. Khandelkar, we have Kanhaiyalal Maniklal Munshi, and we have as well Dr Mohammad Iqbal, I would like to name Premchand, for he is the one writer we have in whose works the immortal saga of our struggle for independence has been narrated in all its fullness.'

And yet, it would be to underestimate Premchand to think of him only, or even primarily, as a chronicler of what was perhaps the most vitally transformative phase in the history of modern India. For he was, like a true artist, concerned first and foremost with human beings and the daily, ordinary lives they led. If these lives were impacted by larger historical forces, as indeed they inescapably were, Premchand's focus remained on the human characters rather more than on the forces shaping them, and it was in this indirectness that the greatness of his achievement lies. His eventful narratives of the nation were above all else compassionate tales of humanity.


Premchand is generally regarded as the greatest writer in Urdu and Hindi, both in terms of his popularity and the range and depth of his corpus. His enduring appeal cuts across class, caste and social groups. He was not only a creative writer in Urdu and Hindi, but he also fashioned modem prose in both languages and influenced several generations of writers. The fact that his works were published in more than two dozen Hindi and Urdu journals' simultaneously attests to his extraordinary reach to the wide audience that formed his readership. Many of his readers encountered modem Urdu and Hindi novels and short stories, and indeed any literary forms, for the first time through his writings. Premchand's unique contribution to the formation of a readership-and, in turn, to shaping the taste of that readership-has yet to be assessed fully. Few or none of his contemporaries in Urdu-Hindi have remained as relevant today as he is in the contexts of the Woman Question (Stree Vimarsh), Dalit Discourse (Dalit Vimarsh), Gandhian Nationalism, Hindu-Muslim relations and the current debates about the idea of India that is inclusive of all groups and denominations, irrespective of caste and creed. Francesca Orsini, who has worked on the Hindi public sphere, says pertinently: 'His strong social conscience and radical politics, which brought him closer and closer to socialism, were rooted in an utterly secular and inclusive view of the Indian nation, which makes him a particularly valuable and rare role model these days.' (Orsini 2003, xxvi)

However, despite his pioneering and iconic status, studies on Premchand have remained woefully inadequate because his entire corpus was or is still not available in either Hindi or Urdu, not to speak of English. Researchers had to remain content with only one of the corpuses (either Urdu or Hindi) accessible to them. This is also true of his short stories. Till today, the entire corpus of his short stories is not to be found in any of the versions. Fortunately, it is now being made available in English by combining and assimilating both the archives. Moreover, some new materials not accessible so far either in Hindi or Urdu are being made available for the first time in English. These twin advantages-in addition to the fact that the entire corpus is now being made available in English in a reliable chronological order-should make the reading of Premchand more fruitful, exciting and enjoyable and give a new fillip to Premchand studies. There is a need to revisit Premchand in the light of the new materials that have been discovered, mainly, though not exclusively, through the efforts of Kamal Kishore Goyanka, and some more new materials that are presented in this anthology.



  Foreword by Harish Trivem xiii
  Introduction xxiii
1 Love for the World and Patriotism 1
2 The Rarest Pearl in the World 11
3 Sheikh Makhmoor 18
4 Sorrow's Reward 31
5 This Is My Homeland 39
6 Dara Shikoh's Durbar 44
7 The Pyre of Sin 56
8 The Travels of a Dervish 67
9 A Hunt 96
10 Rani Sarandha 107
11 Selfless Benefactor 123
12 A Well-bred Daughter 132
13 The Sword of Vikramaditya 142
14 A Strange Revenge 160
15 From Both Sides 167
16 Raja Hardaul 180
17 The Elder Sister 194
18 The Fear of Dishon our 203
19 The Desired Destination 212
20 A Poor Woman's Cry 218
21 Alha 229
22 Mother's Love 240
23 An Example Is Better than Precepts 253
24 Making Up 261
25 Nemesis 271
26 Royal Arrogance 278
27 Appearances Are Deceptive 286
28 A Woman's Character 293
29 Life and Death 306
30 The Night of the New Moon 313
31 A Glance of Love 322
32 Union 331
33 A New Dawn 337
34 Injustice 345
35 A Bitter Pill 352
36 Only One Voice 361
37 The Dandy Landowner 369
38 The Salt Inspector 378
39 The Orphaned Girl 387
40 When Blood Turns White 395
41 The Hunter Prince 405
42 The Funny Tale of a Jailbreak 412
43 Retribution 418
44 Remorse 427
45 An Appropriate Choice 440
46 The Balm 445
47 The Sword of Honour 468
48 The Consequences of Karma 474
49 A Daughter's Possessions 480
50 Godavari's Suicide 490
51 Two Brothers 500
52 A Punishment for Honesty 507
53 Holy Judges 514
54 An Embodiment of Pride 523
55 The Lustre of the Firefly 531
56 Deception 541
57 The Door: A Fragment 549
58 The Code of Honour 551
59 The Volcano 565
60 Counsel 576
61 DivineJustice 597
62 Separation and Union 615
63 The Greater Pilgrimage 626
64 The Durga Temple 636
65 The Captain 646
66 Victory 653
67 The Sacrifice 663
68 The Return 673
69 The Path of Devotion 686
70 The Chains of Passion 693
71 The Dagger of Loyalty 703
72 The Gift of Truth 714
73 Wisdom 721
74 Entanglements 728
75 The Bankruptcy of the Bank 738
76 Stepmother 757
  Notes 763
  Glossary 779
  Acknowledgements 787
  Note on Translators 789
  Popular Editions 795




  Foreword by Harish Trivedi Xiii
  Introduction xxiii
1 Premonition 1
2 The Murder of Honour 7
3 The Bookbinder 16
4 Atmaram 22
5 The Correction 29
6 The Prime Dharma of Man 39
7 Black Face 44
8 Banter 51
9 The Old Aunt 59
10 A Father's Love 67
11 After Death 73
12 The Blessed Illness 83
13 Life Force 91
14 The Problem 99
15 A Special Holi 104
16 The Hidden Hand 110
17 An Audacious Act 120
18 The Red Ribbon 128
19 When Rivals Became Friends 145
20 A Positive Change 151
21 A Battle ofIdeals 158
22 A Philosopher's Love 166
23 The Bridal Sari 182
24 Witchcraft 190
25 Victory of the Defeated 203
26 Defending One's Liberty 217
27 Cobra Worship 223
28 Turf War 232
29 Hidden Wealth 236
30 A Dhobi's Honour 243
31 Hoodwinked 251
32 Reincarnation 257
33 Test 264
34 A Loyal Subject 268
35 End of Enmity 282
36 The Fool 290
37 Compulsion 297
38 A Home for an Orphan 304
39 Purification 321
40 Autobiography 327
41 The Ornaments 352
42 Revenge 362
43 Trickery 367
44 Satyagraha 381
45 The Roaming Monkey 381
46 The Prophet's Justice 390
47 Sudden Downfall 399
48 Road to Salvation 407
49 Money for Deliverance 418
50 Forgiveness 428
51 The Lashes of Good Fortune 435
52 Banishment 447
53 Despair 453
54 Ghost 464
55 By a Whisker! 476
56 Initiation 481
57 Rescue 495
58 The Game of Chess 502
59 One and a Quarter Ser of Wheat 513
60 Pleasures of College Life 520
61 The Malevolent Baby 536
62 Money for the Decree 544
63 The Condemned 556
64 The Path to Hell 572
65 The Secret of Culture 580
66 Temple and Mosque 587
67 Faith 597
68 Man and Woman 612
69 A Hired Pony 618
70 A Mother's Heart 630
71 Theft 638
72 The Goddess from Heaven 645
73 Punishment 653
74 The Outcaste 665
75 Laila 683
  Notes 699
  Glossary 717
  Acknowledgements 725
  Note on Translators 727
  Popular Editions 733




  Foreword by Harish Trivedi Xiii
  Introduction xxiii
1 A Mentor's Advice 1
2 The Mantra 4
3 The Thread of Love 19
4 The Basis of Life 32
5 Qazzaqi 38
6 Disgrace 50
7 The Tonga Driver's Reflections 62
8 Ramleela 68
9 An Invitation 74
10 Violence Is the Supreme Religion 86
11 The Excommunicated 95
12 The Head Clerk 107
13 Why Do People Marry? 117
14 Sati 120
15 The Symphony of the Soul 128
16 The Tree of Love 132
17 Soujan, the Devotee 142
18 Temple 155
19 The Borrowed Watch 162
20 Babaji's Feast 177
21 The Actress 179
22 Trial by Fire. 189
23 Moteramji Shastri 200
24 The Spell 206
25 The Disappointment of Moteramji Shastri 218
26 Foolish Friend 225
27 Two Friends 230
28 A Tearful Holi 284
29 The Grinding Woman's Well 291
30 A Wedding That Turned into a Funeral 301
31 The Policeman 320
32 Moteramji, the Editor 327
33 Selthood 334
34 The Day's First Sale 339
35 Desire 345
36 The Rebel 351
37 Experience 362
38 The Balance Sheet 369
39 Resignation 386
40 Atonement 396
41 Nitpicker 408
42 The Holi of Love 417
43 In Memoriam 422
44 A Trip to the Hills 438
45 Mother 450
46 Mourning 463
47 The Legal Eagle 466
48 HolyWar 475
49 Family Break-up 484
50 The Live-in Son-in-Law 502
51 The Woman Who Sold Grass 512
52 A Narrow Escape 523
53 Two Graves 532
54 Prison 547
55 The Servant of the Nation 558
56 The Goddess 559
57 Shame 561
58 The Procession 569
59 Subhagi 580
60 Role Reversal 589
61 The Closed Door 599
62 Salvation 601
63 Trident 609
64 The Journey of War 621
65 The Wine Shop 632
66 A Night in the Month of Po os 647
67 Maiku and the Congress Volunteer 653
68 The Dream 657
69 Sacrifice 660
70 The Lunatic Lover 670
71 Dhaporsankh 687
72 The Final Excuse 705
73 The Accusation 712
74 The Performance 735
75 The Debt Collector 744
  Notes 753
  Glossary 765
  Acknowledgements 773
  Note on Translators 775
  Popular Editions 781




  Foreword Xiii
  Introduction xxiii
1 The Game 1
2 The Holi Gift 5
3 Inspiration 11
4 Love' s Awakening 21
5 The Last Gift 31
6 The Penalty 42
7 The Second Marriage 49
8 The Mistress of the House 51
9 The Story of Two Bullocks 66
10 The Writer 78
11 The Co-wife 89
12 The Funeral Feast 98
13 The Story of My Life 116
14 The Miracle 126
15 A Wife's Testimony against Her Husband 139
16 The Vestal 151
17 The New Wife 162
18 The Ailing Sister 176
19 Slander 177
20 Thakur's Well 181
21 The Spectacle 185
22 Life Sentence 191
23 The Votary of Reminiscence 212
24 Kusum 223
25 The Widow with Sons 239
26 The Coward 257
27 The Man Who Defied Fate 266
28 Neur 273
29 Gilli-Danda 282
30 The Prostitute 290
31 The Romantic Editor 307
32 The Boy 313
33 Renunciation 320
34 The Flame of Love 326
35 The Prisoner 337
36 Idgah 347
37 The Queen of Hearts 359
38 The Murderer 375
39 The Wedding 384
40 If You Have No Woes, Buy a Goat! 390
41 The Goddess of Faithfulness 401
42 Peace of Mind 421
43 Intoxication 434
44 A State of Mind 441
45 The Secret 447
46 The Minister of the State 450
47 Pandit Moteram's Diary 466
48 The Price of Milk 483
49 Undeserved Praise 493
50 God's Share of Stale Rice 500
51 God's Own Police 508
52 My Elder Brother 519
53 The Farce 527
54 Tulia 537
55 The Rules of the House 551
56 The Curse of Life 561
57 Paying the Price 572
58 Splashed 576
59 The Assassin's Mother 580
60 Miss Padma 587
61 Radiance 600
62 Reality 609
63 Intoxicants, All 618
64 The Hallowed Feet of the Bridegroom 621
65 The Lottery 626
66 Two Sisters 640
67 My First Composition 654
68 The Shroud 658
69 The Holi Holiday 666
70 The Mystery 680
71 Apples from Kashmir 692
72 An Incomplete Story: A Fragment 695
73 A Cricket Match 696
  Notes 711
  Glossary 731
  Acknowledgements 739
  Note on Translators 741
  Popular Editions 747


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