Amrit Rai


Premchand: Ka1am ka Sipahi

(Hans Prakashan, Allahabad; 1962)

(Sahitya Academy Awardee-Hindi-1956)

"Sri Amrit Rai (b. 1921) is a distinguished short story writer and novelist. A worthy son of Premchand who made the modern novel in Hindi and Urdu, Sri Amrit Rai's stories and novels are marked by deep sympathy with the underdog in society.

The Award book, Premchand:Kalam ka Sipahi, is not only the first complete biography of the illustrious author, but is also one of the first successful attempts in Hindi in the art of biography. For its wealth of documentation, its disarming sincerity, vigour of expression and inspired style, the work has been hailed as an outstanding contribution to contemporary Hindi literature." (Citation)

This is by far the most comprehensive biography of Munshi Premchand (1876-1936), the eminent Hindi and Urdu writer, written by his son Amrit Rai.

The author, a versatile Hindi writer has taken pains to collect a vast volume of source material, including details about Premchand's early life, his innumerable letters-perhaps the most trying and difficult thing to collect in India-his numerous articles and stories lying buried in the godowns of editorial offices, etc., and with their help has presented an exhaustive and in-depth study of Premchand as a writer and social thinker, in the context of his times. As we go through the pages of the book, we see the evolution of the writer through the vicissitudes and struggles of his personal life, as also through the social and political currents and cross-currents which were shaping the destiny of his country and with which he was intensely involved. Thus, we are enabled to understand his multi-faceted personality in the context of his times and to assess his contribution, both as a writer and as a social thinker.

The source material, letters, reminiscences, anecdotes, etc., are not given separately but are fused into the texture of the book, thus illuminating both the narrative and the reactions of the writer to the .difficult events and developments of his time.

Since the book is written by the writer's own son, it gains in terms of authenticity and intimacy

At the close of the book, a detailed account is given of each novel, the date and time of its publication, the conditions under which it was published, and also a list of his short stories with their dates of publication and the names of the journals in which they were first published. This material provides important data for research scholars for a close and chronological study of Premchand's writings. The book contains nineteen illustrations relating to the author, his family and the surroundings in which he lived and worked.

Bhisham Sahni







(Source: Sahitya Academy Awards Books and Writers 1955-1978

Published by Sahitya Academy. ISBN 81 7201 014 1)