Today when I opened my facebook and seen people saying happy birthday to Munshi Premchand, I aksed myself how many of us know the Original name of Munsi Premchand. I can bet not many of us even know his original name, why his name was Premchand and what he did at that time. I also came to know all of these from an unknown book shop owner few years back.
Few years back I was at book stall in Allahabad where I was looking for a good English novel, in the end I could not find any as it was filled with Hindi or the best selling English novel, which I have already read most of them. It is always hard to spend time in railway station when train is late about 7 hours. One of the book stall owner suggested me a book, “Sir, Please read GODAN of Nawab Rai”. I always knew GODAN was written by Premchand but never knew heard of Nawab Rai. I asked him, “Who is Nawab Rai, any new Indian author”. He saw me looking puzzled and replied with smile in his face. “Saheb, you never heard of Nawab Rai. This is the name which Premchand pick up while writing and all his urdu collection is by this name only. Later when British ban his book then he picked up name “Premchand”, which is more famous. Strange Saheb, when your own people forget you. Then why would other will read your books”.
He was a small book seller in the railway station but his Literature knowledge was more than mine. I picked up that book and start reading it, “GODAN”. People say Godan is one of the best novels written by Premchand which I disagree. It becomes more famous than others because it was his last novel before he died. If you give GODAN to any youth or urban India, he might not be able to relate with novel because of his backdrop and the symbolic and mind struggle shown in the novel. For them it is hard to understand why does COW is so important in that time. But one thing which you can always relate to is emotions. Human emotion in the novel can’t be matched by anyone else. I completed the book in one go and till end I was not thinking only one thing why this novel is not so much recognized by our self.
Premchand was true symbol of Indian society and brotherhood at that time. The main language he used in his entire famous novel was simple and mix of Urdu and Hindi. After that I read most of his novel available. But one thing I always wonders why he is not being getting so much recognition. He could have been poster boy of Indian Literature but yet he is still remembered by few of his followers who are in tie 2 and tier 3 cities.
Next day when I arrived in Delhi I straight gone to a book stall and asked him if he has any book of Nawab Rai. He replied, “Saheb, there is no author by such name”. I could not locate any book of his in store. I smiled and moved on to my destination and while I was in metro I just thought one sher..
“Hume bhulane wale to bahut hai zamane me,
Par kuch karne walo ne zinda rakhi h meri jaan ko”
P.S.: He was best author India has ever seen, who can touch the masses with his writing not the classes which will give you only awards and rewards….