Question: Explain how the writings of Munshi Premchand promoted the sense of nationalism among the Indians:
How did the novels of Munshi Premchand promote the feeling of nationalism? Explain.
- Munshi Premchand’s novels are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels of the society. In his novels, one can meet aristocrats and landlords, middle- level peasants and landless laborers, middle-class professionals, and people from all the sections of the society.
- The women characters are strong individuals, especially those who come from the lower classes, and are not modernized.
- Premchand’s novels look towards the future without forgetting the importance of the past.
- Drawn from various stratas of the society, Premchand’s characters create a community based on democratic values. The central character of his novel Rangbhoomi (The Arena), Surdas, is a visually impaired beggar from a so-called ‘untouchable’ caste. One can see Surdas struggling against the forcible takeover of his land for establishing a tobacco factory.
- Godan (The Gift of Cow), published in 1936, remains Premchand’s best-known work. It is an epic of the Indian peasantry. The novel tells the moving story of Hori, and his wife, Dhania, a peasant couple, who fought against landlords, moneylenders, priests and the colonial bureaucrats.
Question: What are the main features of novel ‘Sewasadan’ written by Munshi Premchand? Mention any three.
- The Sewasadan (The Abode of Service), published in 1916, lifted the Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy, moralising and simple entertainment to a serious reflection on the lives of ordinary people and social issues.
- Sewasadan deals mainly with the poor condition of women in society.
- Issues like child marriage and dowry are woven into the story of the novel.
- It also tells us about the ways in which the Indian upper classes used whatever little opportunities they got from colonial authorities to govern themselves.
Question: Explain the following:
(1) Social changes in Britain which led to an increase in women readers.
(2) What actions of Robinson Crusoe make us see him as a typical colonizer?
“Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe made the readers feel that they were part of a superior community”. Support the statement.
What actions of Robinson Crusoe made him as a typical colonizer? Explain.
(3) After 1740, the readership of novels began to include poorer people.
(4) Novelists in colonial India wrote for a political cause.
How does the novel Pariksha Guru reflect the inner and outer world of the newly emerging middle classes?
- (i) The most exciting element of the novels of the 18th century was the involvement of women. The eighteenth century saw the middle classes become more prosperous. Women got more leisure to read as well as write novels. And novels began exploring the world of women- their emotions and identities, their experiences and problems.
(ii) Many novels were about domestic life— a theme about which women were allowed to speak with authority. They . drew upon from their experiences, wrote about family life, and earned public recognition.
(iii) The novels of Jane Austen give Us a glimpse of the world of women in genteel rural society in early-nineteenth century Britain. They make us think about a society which encouraged women to look for ‘good’ marriages, and find wealthy or propertied husbands. The first sentence of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice states: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’
- The hero of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719) is an adventurer and slave trader. Shipwrecked on an island, Crusoe treats colored people not as human beings equal to him, but as inferior creatures. He rescues a ‘native’, and makes him his slave. He does not ask for his name but arrogantly gives him the name, Friday. But at times, Crusoe’s behavior is not seen as unacceptable or odd, for most writers saw colonialism as natural. Colonized people were seen as primitive and barbaric, less than human; and colonial rule was considered necessary to civilize them, and make them fully human.
- Readership of novels began to include proper people after 1740 because:
(i) The circulation of novels increased with the introduction of circulating libraries.
(ii) Technological improvements in printing brought down the price of books and innovations in marketing led to expanded sales.
(iii) In France, publishers found that they could make super profits by hiring out novels by the hour. The novel was one of the first mass produced items to be sold.
(iv) The worlds created by the novels were absorbing and believable and they were seemingly real. Novels allowed
individuals the pleasure of reading in private, as well as the joy of public reading or discussing stories with friends or relatives.
(v) In rural areas, people would collect to hear one of them reading a novel aloud, often becoming deeply involved in the lives of the characters.
- (i) Pariksha Guru reflects the inner and outer world of the newly emerging middle classes. The characters in the novel are caught in the difficulty of adapting to colonized society, and at the same time, preserving their culture and traditions.
(ii) Premchand’s Sewasadan deals mainly with the poor condition of women in society. Issues like child marriage and dowry are woven into the story of the novel. It also tells us about the ways in which the Indian upper classes used whatever little opportunities they got from colonial authorities to govern themselves.
(iii) Potheri Kunjambu, a ‘lower-caste’ writer from north Kerala, wrote a novel called Saraswativijayam in 1892, mounting a strong attack on caste oppression.
(iv) From the 1920s, in Bengal too, a new kind of novel emerged that depicted the lives of peasants and ‘low’ castes. Advaita Malla Burman’s (1914-51) Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (1956) is an epic about the Mallas, a community of fisherfolk who live off Fishing in the river, Titash.
(v) In Bengal, many historical novels were about Marathas and Rajputs. These novels produced a sense of a pan- Indian belonging.
(vi) Bankim’s Anandamath (1882) is a novel about a secret Hindu militia that fights Muslims to establish a Hindu kingdom. It was a novel that inspired many kinds of freedom fighters.
(vii) Premchand’s novels, for instance, are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels of the society. In his novels we meet aristocrats and landlords, middle-level peasants and landless laborers, middle class professionals, and people from all the margins of the society.