Every child in India has read at least one short story by Premchand, either in school or in university. At our mehfil at Prithvi we decided to honour the legacy of Premchand through his rich literature.
His oeuvre consists of over 250 short stories, dozens of novels, essays and translations of various foreign literary works into Hindi/Urdu. To explore Premchand’s life and works we invited many people associated with his work. The list of people included Nadira Babar (Apa) and her team Ekjute, Mujeeb Saab who has dedicated his life to Premchand’s stories and has done several plays based on his work, Iqbal Niyazi Saab and Javed Siddiqui Saab.
The evening started with an introduction of Premchand given by Javed Saab. He spoke about the humility of a man whose work spans far and wide. He mentioned that Premchand’s work has a strong flavor of a section of society, which has become oblivious in metropolitan cities. The poor, downtrodden and leftist are rarely discussed in literature today as is done in Premchand’s stories. Through Premchand we become aware of an India, which otherwise, is completely alien to the metropolitans.
After the introduction, Mujeeb Saab spoke about his play ‘ Masoom Bacha’ which was performed by two actors from his team Vijay Badlani and Aditya Bakshi. This was followed by an interesting anecdote shared by Nadira Apa who is the daughter of renowned writer Sajjad Zahir. Sajjad Zahir played a very integral part in the Progressive Writers’ movement in India.
This was followed by a story reading by Iqbal Niyazi Saab. He read a story titled ‘ Thakur ka Kuwan’ which was appreciated by the audience.
Finally, we ended with a performance by Nadira Apa’s team. Actors Santosh Tiwari and Jaishankar Tripathi enacted “ Bade Bhaisaab” which created spells of laughter’s amongst the audience.
It was fascinating to see a packed house at mehfil, with young college students and the regulars. Premchand’s work has stood the test of time, and to revisit it at this juncture was an enriching experience to all present.
- Watch Gulzar’s DD Production on Premchand’s stories called “ Tahreer- Munshi Premchand ki” – available on you tube. The production quality may be staid but it gives you an idea of the content of his stories.
- Premchand’s Short stories are available on Flipkart and other online portals in English and Hindi. Some interesting stories are Idgah, Kafan and Shatranj ke Khiladi
- Kalam Ka Sipahi- a biography written by Premchand’s son, Amrit Rai