JMI remembers Munshi Premchand on his 140th Birth Anniversary
Jamia Millia Islamia(JMI) today remembered Munshi Premchand with whom it had a very close connection on the occasion of his 140th Birth Anniversary.
It is the university’s birth centenary year and one of the crowning achievements of JMI that must be remembered today is the ground-breaking work JMI has done in pioneering and facilitating Premchand studies.
It should be recalled that Munshi Premchand knew Dr Zakir Husain well and his famous story, “Kafan” was written during an overnight stay in JMI, at the request of Dr.Zakir Husain, the then Vice-Chancellor of the university, and published in the institution’s journal ‘Jamia’ in December, 1935.
Premchand’s status is unique in world history as he is regarded as the pioneer in two languageliterary traditions, Urdu and Hindi. To keep alive his foundational contribution to Hindi-Urdu cultural and literary history JMI established Premchand Archive and Literary Centre in 2006 to serve as a resource centre for future generations.
Prof. Sabiha Zaidi, Director of the centre tells that “its mandate is to preserve and facilitate Premchand’s legacy by collecting and preserving his writings – published and unpublished, manuscripts, photographs, works on him and his work, translations, etc. It is the only centre of its kind in the entire country and is making utmost efforts to fulfil its mandate”.
The most recent contribution to this legacy of Premchand studies and research is the publication of Premchand’s entire short story corpus, 301 in all, in English translation by the pioneering efforts of JMI’s English Department through several years. As many as 61 translators participated in this mammoth task, led by Professor M Asaduddin, the editor, who himself has translated close to a hundred stories.
Prof. Asaduddin has also discovered 3 stories from rare sources that were not available earlier and which eluded the eyes of the most painstaking researchers on Munshi Premchand. These newly discovered stories will give a new fillip to Premchand research.
Published in four giant-sized volumes, the translations have opened new vistas in Premchand studies and are a signal contribution to the world of Premchand scholarship. Premchand aficionados in India and abroad have hailed it as JMI’s unique tribute to Premchand.
The editor dedicates the volumes to Jamia and its monumental contribution to nurturing
“composite culture, secular nationalism and pluralism for 100 years”. The dedication page reads, “For JAMIA MILLIA ISLAMIA, a university that has nurtured composite culture, secular nationalism and pluralism for 100 years.” Salient features:
*Carries 301 stories written by Premchand translated into English.
*Some stories like “Dara Shikoh ka Durbar” “Janjal”, & “Sauda-e Khaam” and two parts of the
three-part story “Daru-e Talkh” which were not available earlier either in Hindi or Urdu:
excavated here from rare sources by the editor, and made available for the first time.
*Taken together, the volumes constitute 3264 pages of dense printed material, running into more than1500,000 words.
*The volumes offer a comprehensive view of Premchand, the classic, and contemporary India in all its shades.