Munshi Premchand Biography, Age, Death, Wife, Children, Family, & More

Dhanpat Rai Srivastava, famously known as Munshi Premchand by his pen name, was a renowned Indian writer celebrated for his contemporary Hindustani literature. Among followers of Hindi literature, he is revered as the ‘Upanyas Samrat,’ or the king of novelists. Premchand played a pivotal role in shaping Hindi and Urdu social fiction. Prior to Premchand’s writings, the short story wasn’t widely recognized as a literary form in northern India, except in Bengal. Consequently, his works had a significant impact, inspiring many authors and making the genre more captivating.

Munshi Premchand Biography

Munshi Premchand, one of the greatest Hindustani writers in the early 20th century, addressed significant societal issues like caste discrimination and women’s struggles, a pioneering feat among Indian authors of his time. Born as Dhanpat Rai Srivastav, he also used the pen name Nawab Rai. He possessed an independent and patriotic spirit, reflecting these sentiments in his initial Urdu literary pieces that vividly depicted India’s growing nationalist movement across different regions. His most remarkable contributions lie in his collection of about 250 short stories, compiled in Hindi under the title “Manasarovar.” Often regarded as the paramount Urdu-Hindi writer in Indian literature, Premchand’s legacy remains unparalleled.

Munshi Premchand Picture
Munshi Premchand Picture

Personal Information

Real Name Dhanpat Rai Shrivastava
Pen Name(s) Munshi Premchand
Nawab Rai
Nickname AKA He was nicknamed “Nawab” by his uncle, Mahabir who was a rich landowner.
DOB (Date of Birth) 31 July 1880 (Saturday)
Date of Death 8 October 1936 (Thursday)
Place of Death Varanasi, Benares State, British India
Death Cause He died of several days of sickness
Age (at the time of death) 56 Years
Birth Place Lamahi, Benares State, British India
Zodiac Sign Leo
Nationality Indian
Hometown Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Religion Hinduism

Education/Qualifications

School Queens College, Benares (now, Varanasi)

Central Hindu College, Benares (now, Varanasi)

College/ University Allahabad University
Education Qualifications Education learned Urdu and Persian from a Maulvi at a Madrasa in Lalpur, near Lamhi in Varanasi.
He passed the matriculation exam with second division from Queen’s College.
He did BA in English Literature, Persian, and History from Allahabad University in 1919.

Physical Stats

Height

Feet & Inches 5’ 5
Meter 1.65 m
Centimeters 165 cm
Eye Color Black
Hair Color Black
Body Measurements 32- 14-23

Family Information

Father Name Ajaib Rai (Post Office Clerk)
Mother Name Anandi Devi
Siblings Sister- Suggi Rai (elder)
Marital Status (at the time of death) Married
Marriage Date Year 1895 (first marriage)
Year 1906 (second marriage)
Marriage Type First Marriage: Arranged
Second Marriage: Love
Wife First Wife: He got married to a girl from a rich landlord family while he was studying in the 9th standard at the age of 15.
Second Wife: Shivarani Devi (a child widow)
Children Son(s)- 2

Amrit Rai (Author)

Sripath Rai
Daughter- 1
Kamala Devi

Affairs

Girlfriend Shivarani Devi

Profession

Profession Novelist

Short Story Writer
Dramatist

Net Worth $1-5 Million

Favorites

Color Black and Blue
Food Masala Chai
Drink Mango Lassi Recipe
Genre Fiction
Novelist George W. M. Reynolds (a British fiction writer and journalist)
Writer(s) Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, John Galsworthy, Saadi Shirazi, Guy de Maupassant, Maurice Maeterlinck, Hendrik van Loon
Novel “The Mysteries of the Court of London” by George W. M. Reynolds
Philosopher Swami Vivekananda
Indian Freedom Fighters Mahatma Gandhi, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Munshi Premchand Young Age Picture
Munshi Premchand Young Age Picture
Munshi Premchand With his Wife Picture
Munshi Premchand With his Wife Picture
Munshi Premchand With his Son Picture
Munshi Premchand With his Son Picture

Family

Premchand came from a family where his grandfather worked as a village land record-keeper and his father served as a clerk at the post office. He often felt alone because his elder sister Suggi was already married, and his father remained occupied with his job. His mother, Anandi Devi from Karauni village, likely served as the inspiration for the character Anandi in his work “Bade Ghar Ki Beti.” Dhanpat Rai was the fourth child in his family. His parents had two girls before him who sadly passed away as infants, and the third child was a girl named Suggi.

Age

Dhanpat Rai Shrivastava, later known as Premchand, was born on Saturday, July 31, 1880 (at the time of his passing, he was 56 years old) in Lamahi village in Benares State, British India.

Education

He received his education from Queens College in Benares and then attended Central Hindu College in Allahabad (now Varanasi). He learned Urdu and Persian from a Maulvi at a Madrasa in Lalpur, close to his hometown of Lamhi in Varanasi, and passed the matriculation exam with second division from Queen’s College. Later, in 1919, he completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, Persian, and History from Allahabad University.

Height and Weight

He was 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 80 kilograms.

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Relationships, Wife & Children

In his life, Premchand experienced two marriages, both driven by traditional expectations and family pressure. His first marriage, arranged by his maternal grandfather when he was just 15 years old and studying at Queens College in Benares in 1895, tied him to a bride from a wealthy landlord family who was older than him. This marriage wasn’t a happy one, marked by frequent arguments over financial matters, and he felt a lack of love and acceptance from his in-laws. Following a heated disagreement, his wife left to stay with her father, and despite attempts to reconcile, their relationship remained strained.

His second marriage in 1906 to Shivarani Devi, a child widow, faced societal disapproval due to the conservative norms of the time. Shortly after this marriage, Premchand’s father passed away, leaving him with added responsibilities. Shivarani Devi, after Premchand’s death, wrote a book titled “Premchand Ghar Mein,” revealing aspects of his life, including his relationships with other women. Despite his occupation, he eventually had to sell his assets to support his household independently.

From his second marriage, Premchand had three children: two sons named Amrit Rai (who became an author) and Sripath Rai, and a daughter named Kamala Devi.

Career

Following his matriculation, Premchand worked as a tutor for a lawyer’s son in Benares, earning a monthly salary of Rs. 5. His initial years were a struggle in the tuition profession until he secured a position as an assistant teacher at the Government District School in Bahraich in 1900. Subsequently, he gladly accepted a teaching job at a missionary school in Chunar, Mirzapur District, Uttar Pradesh, with a monthly salary of Rs. 18. It was during this period that he ventured into fiction writing.

Initially using the pen name “Nawab Rai,” he penned his first short novel, ‘Asrar e Ma’abid,’ delving into the corruption among temple priests and their exploitation of impoverished women. Later, in 1900, he transitioned to the role of an assistant teacher at the Government District School in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, with a monthly salary of Rs. 20. Within three years, he moved to Pratapgarh’s Government Inter College, where he earned the title “Munshi.”

His novel was serialized in the Benares-based Urdu weekly ‘Awaz-e-Khalk’ from October 1903 to February 1905. Relocating to Kanpur in 1905, he met Daya Narain Nigam, the editor of the magazine ‘Zamana,’ and became a regular contributor.  He contributed articles and stories to ‘Zamana’ while continuing to support India’s freedom struggle. In 1931, he briefly resumed teaching at Kanpur’s Marwari College but left due to disagreements with the college administration.

Death

After leaving his job on March 18, 1921, he returned to Varanasi to focus on his writing career. Spending his final days in his hometown, Varanasi, he faced financial struggles and health issues. In 1934, he even tried his hand in the Hindi film industry in Bombay, securing a scriptwriting job at Ajanta Cinetone production house. Unfortunately, he passed away on Thursday, October 8, 1936, following a prolonged illness. His final story, “Cricket Match,” was published posthumously in Zamana in 1937. Following his death, a memorial was erected in his native village, Lamahi.

Net Worth

Based on information from sources like Wikipedia, Forbes, IMDb, and other online resources, Munshi Premchand, the renowned novelist, was estimated to have a net worth between $1 to $5 million before his passing.

Short stories list

Title Publisher Description Date
“Jihad” (Hindi) premchand’s story collection “Mansarovar” part-7 story#14 173-180 A story on how extremist education destroys the harmony of society. A vivid description by Premchand of social issues in the 1920s
“Lekhak” (Hindi)

“Adeeb ki Izat” (Urdu)

A story of a writer who wanted respect and recognition for his work but later realised that he is a candle that will have to burn, giving light to others.
“Duniya ka Sabse Anmol Ratan” Zamana The title means “The Most Precious Jewel in the World”, which, according to the story, is the drop of the blood necessary for the nation’s independence. 1907
“Bade Bhai Sahab” Zamana A story of two brothers, their conflict, resolution and understanding. 1910 (December)
“Beti ka Dhan” Zamana It is the story about Sukkhu Chaudhri, a farmer who was helped by his daughter, Gangajali, by selling her jewellery to help her father pay his debts. 1915 (November)
“Saut” Sarasvati (Vol. 16, Part 2, No. 6, 353–359) The title means “Co-Wife”. 1915 (December)
“Sajjanata ka Dand” Sarasvati The title means “The Penalty for Integrity”. 1916 (March)
“Panch Parameshvar” Sarasvati A friendship is marred when one friend delivers a verdict against the other. The story narrates how they reunite as friends. 1916 (June)
“Ishwariya Nyaya” Sarasvati The title means “The Divine Law”. 1917 (July)
“Beton Wali Vidhwa” Sarasvati 1920 (July)
“Durga ka Mandir” Sarasvati The title means “The Temple of Durga”. 1917 (December)
“Maa” Sarasvati The title means “Mother”. 1921 (November)
“Ghar Jamai” Sarasvati 1933 (June)
“Dhikkar” Sarasvati 1925 (May)
“Dil ki Rani” Sarasvati 1926 (December)
“Gulli Danda” Sarasvati Gulli Danda was a very popular sport in rural India; it was played with a stick and a smaller ‘puck’ of stick’, somewhat similar to cricket.

The story is about a man who goes back to his village and tries to play Gulli Danda with his old friends. However, the disparity between their economic and social status does not allow a fair game.

1925 (May)
“Updesh” 1917
“Meri Pahli Rachna” Sarasvati 1930 (May)
“Lanchan” Sarasvati 1929 (May)
“Manovratti” Sarasvati The title means “Attitude”. In the story, various people misjudge the intentions of a young woman lying in the park. The end reveals their attitudes and prejudices had completely failed them. 1932 (May)
“Balidan” Sarasvati The title means “Sacrifice”. 1918 (May)
“Putra Prem” Sarasvati The title means “Love of a Son”. 1920 (July)
“Boodhi Kaki” Hans The title means “The Old Aunt”. A story of an old woman who craves love from her family. 1921
“Pariksha” Chand The title means “The Test”. Its background is the Nadir Shah’s invasion and sack of Delhi. 1923 (January)
“Shatranj ke Khiladi” (Hindi)
“Shatranj ki Bazi” (Urdu)
Madhuri Two aristocrats—Mirza Sajjad Ali and Mir Roshan Ali—lived in the kingdom of Awadh during the times of the British Raj. Both of them are careless towards their duties and spend their days playing chess. Their love for the game is so immense that even when the ruler of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah, is captured by the British, they continue playing chess. In the end, a move in the game sparks a verbal conflict between them, and they end up killing each other with their swords. October 1924
“Hinsa Parmo Dharma” Madhuri 1926 (December)
“Ghasvali” Madhuri 1929 (December)
“Idgah” Chand A poor boy in India lives with his grandmother. On the festival day of Eid, the other kids buy themselves candies and toys. The poor boy, thinking of his grandmother, buys a pair of tongs to help her make rotis since she burns her hands trying to cook them bare-handed. 1933 (August)
“Nashaa” Chand Two friends from different strata of society study away from their homes. The story explores class disparity and aspirations in their friendship. It has an autobiographical touch. 1934 (February)
“Kafan” Jamia A low-caste father and his son are poor labourers in a village. An emergency occurs when the son’s wife dies while giving birth to a child, and the family has no money to cremate the body of the dead woman. The lazy duo ask for money from the village Zamindar and other members of the society. However, they use the money they get on liquor and food instead. 1936
“Cricket Match” Zamana Published posthumously. 1937
“Gupt Dhan” Haridas, a man of character, owns a brick factory. He loses his character when he gets a map of a hereditary treasure of a worker, but eventually dies as a punishment of god.
“Mantra” The selfishness of a rich doctor named Chaddha results in the death of a patient. The same patient’s father selflessly cures Dr. Chaddha’s son when the doctor meets the same sort of situation.
“Namak ka Daroga” The title means “The Salt Inspector”. An idealist becomes a police officer and faces problems while performing his duties. 1925 (May)
“Poos ki Raat”[63] Madhuri The title means “A night of the Poos month (Winter)”. A poor farmer stays out with his dog to protect his field on an extremely cold December night. 1930 (May)
“Lottery” Zamana It is a story of an Indian family in which every member bought a ticket for a 1  million rupees worth lottery. After some time, they began to fight over what they would do if anyone won the lottery, but at last, neither from their home nor even town, state, or country won the lottery but someone from America did.
“Vidhwans” The title means “Catastrophe”.
“Kazaki” A story of love, adoration and friendship between a little boy and Kazaki, a poor but cheerful and jolly man who used to work under his father.

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