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The World of Premchand: Selected Short Stories

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Premchand is the greatest figure in twentieth century Hindi literature and some of his finest work is to be found in his short stories. Filled with compassion and indignation, the stories inside this volume offer an incomparable panorama of North Indian life in the early twentieth century, along with a devastating satire on the cruelty and pride of the privileged class. Born Dhanpat Rai in 1880 in Lamhi, a small village near Varanasi, Premchand’s first collection was published in 1908; in 1918 he changed his pen name to Premchand upon the publication of his first major novel, Sevasadan. Premchand is still popular throughout the Hindi and Urdu speaking world and has been translated into many languages. David Rubin is considered one of his top translators. As Rubin writes in his introduction, “The inhumanity of caste hierarchies, the struggle for India’s independence, and the wretched plight of women are some of the problems that arouse his indignation most frequently.” This volume was selected for the Asian fiction series of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).