Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Indigo Story
Gandhi believed in instant and concerted action in the resolution of conflicts. He had an astonishing clarity of vision and firmness of resolve when he came to grips with a real issue. Raj Kumar Shukla appeared to him to symbolize the long standing oppression of a people in one part of his own country. Indeed, through Shukla’s persistence and doggedness, Champaran seemed to be making a clarion call to Gandhi. He could not but promise to come.

I must confess that I did not then know even the name, much less the geographical position, of Champaran, and I had hardly any notion of indigo plantations. I had seen packets of indigo, but little dreamed that it was grown and manufactured in Champaran at great hardship to thousands of agriculturists.
Rajkumar Shukla was one of the agriculturists who had been under this harrow, and he was filled with a passion to wash away the stain of indigo for the thousands who were suffering as he had suffered.
7 GA/365-6
Gandhi’s first impression about Shukla was of an ‘ignorant, unsophisticated but resolute agriculturist’. In that first meeting ‘Brajkishore Babu [also] failed then to make an impression on me’, although soon after the campaign started, he found the former ‘my esteemed co-worker in Champaran’ and ‘the soul of public work in Bihar’. But the smouldering fire in Shukla’s agonized soul against the ruthless foreign exploitation of the poor peasantry in Champaran, and the exemplary commitment and pertinacity in his character were not fully realized by his mentors in the beginning. And there were others like the dedicated social worker, Pir Muhammad Moonis, also of Champaran, who had long been carrying on the beacon of revolt against the savage exploitation of the peasantry in Champaran.
After their return from Lucknow, it was Shukla, aided by Moonis, who wrote a letter to Gandhi imploring him to visit Champaran sooner than later, and the letter began with an Urdu couplet:

‘Kissa sunte ho roz auron ke,
Aj meri bhi dastan suno.’

[Others’ tales you hear every day, but listen to our woes today.]
Some of the lines in that letter were soaked in emotion.

Our woeful tale is far more agonizing than your South Africa story of terrible persecution perpetrated on you and your satyagrahi brothers and sisters….We do not want to grieve your tender soul with the torment borne by the hearts of our 19 lakh suffering peasants. We only beseech you to come and see things with your own eyes…how in this corner of our land, we, the British subjects - who ought to pride themselves of living under the cool shade of their rulers – are living worse than animals.8 RP/ CMG/80

There is abundant literature available on the Champaran indigo movement and Gandhi’s role in it. Gandhi himself has devoted about 20 pages in his Autobiography on this seminal episode in the history of the Indian freedom struggle. And Rajendra Prasad also has devoted an equal no of pages to the movement in his own Autobiography, besides writing three other books dealing with the subject, one of which, Champaran me Mahatma Gandhi, being a fully documented historical account of the great movement. What has not been easily available in the public domain is the diary of Rajkumar Shukla which is a meticulously maintained day-by day journal of events of the activities taking place in and around Motihari and Bettiah, with Gandhi, Rajendra Prasad, Brajkishore Prasad and their lawyer co-workers for full one year, from day one till December 31, 1917.

Rajkumar Shukla was a farmer of modest means himself. He belonged to Satwaria village (near Chanpatia) in the Bettiah sub-division. He had a house at Bettiah, too; and, perhaps, also at Motihari, as his diary entries attest. He had long been involved in the revolt against the tyrranous indigo planters and had also suffered a three-week imprisonment on that account. Even during 1914-15, he had tried to draw attention to this burning issue at the Bihar Provincial Conferences at Patna and Chhapra. Unfazed by failure at these forums, he made Moonis write a dispatch ‘Tyrrany in Champaran’ which was published (January 4, 1915) in the famous political weekly ‘Pratap’ edited by Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi.

After a flurry of letters, journeys and telegrams, Rajkumar was finally able to ‘capture’ Gandhi at the Calcutta meeting of AICC in early April, 1917. Rajendra Prasad was also present in the AICC meeting but was not aware of the recent meetings or correspondence between Gandhi and Shukla.

I was unaware of all this when I attended the AICC meeting at Calcutta. In fact, I was sitting next to Gandhiji, but never made any effort to speak to him. I am by nature shy and bashful….When the session concluded, Gandhiji met Raj Kumar Shukla who waited outside and both of them left for Patna the same night. I was delayed at the meeting and so could not meet Raj Kumar. I was therefore in complete ignorance of his plans and knew nothing of Gandhiji’s tour of Bihar until much later. Gandhiji also did not know then that I belonged to Bihar and that Raj Kumar Shukla was taking him to my house in Patna.The session had met during the Easter holidays and the vacation not being over, I went to Jagannath Puri.7 A/79-80

A section from Part 2, Chap.1 of my illustrated biography in English of Dr Rajendra Prasad which is likely to be published by the year end. The photo at top is of the house in which Mr Amon, Manager of an absentee indigo planter, and among the most notorious tyrants lived. It is known as Belwa Kothi, about 60 kms north of Bettiah.

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Shared dreams
- Ms Meira Kumar
Hon’ble Speaker, Loksabha

The rainbow on your eyelids,
Its colours swim in my eyes.
Between you
And me -
O, how are the dreams shared!

I think - and
Have been thinking for long,
And know not
Where to find that city
Of my dreams?
My soul restless,
All packed up, ready to go,
And settle there.

Moment to moment,
Tormented, thrown out,
O you, who live on the margin!
How long will you hold out,
How much poison swallow?

In the fields and barns,
Factories, open quarries,
In plains or among rocks,
In magnificent palaces,
Or in petty tenements,
In distant villages,
Or nearby townships,
On desert sands,
Or out among sea waves,
From one corner of the earth
To the other – wherever my sight goes,
It’s the magic of your mighty hands
That casts its spell.

O, daily plodders on live coal,
O, tight-rope walkers,
Change your destinies with your hands.

Let there be a roar,
Let the tornados rise.
Worship the work,
Not the birth-mark,
Cast off all else,
O my co-city dwellers!
Let’s dash against the barriers.
You and I alone have that trust.
Ours is the strongest bond,
That commonality of our dreams.

[ A Hindi poem translated into English By Dr Mangal Murty]

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Reminiscences of Premchand

My Reminiscences of Premchand
Shivapujan Sahay
Translated by Mangal Murty

[Shivapujan Sahay is regarded as among the finest writers of literary reminiscences in Hindi. The following reminiscence of Premchand is considered as a literay masterpiece. He wrote over two hundred literary reminiscences, some on his predecessor literary figures, but mostly on his contemporaries. These were collected and edited into two books – Mera Jivan, which was in an autobiographical format, and Smritishesh, another collection of his memoirs. Recently, all his writings have been published as Shivapujan Sahay Sahitya Samagra (in 10-volumes) edited by Dr Mangal Murty, in which all these reminiscences are collected in Vol-2. About 25 letters of Premchand to Shivapujan Sahay are to be read in Vol.-8 of Samagra, and also in Premchand Patron Me, also edited by Dr Mangal Murty. One of these very valuable letters about Rangabhumi which Shivapujan Sahay edited (as mentioned in this reminiscence) is also being given at the end of this article to put the reference in order.]

The Civil Disobedience movement began with the dawn of the second duo-decade of the twentieth century. Blown off my feet in the storm of the movement, I had landed up in Calcutta. It was there that I first met Premchandji in the Hindi Pustak Agency which was then situated at the junction of Harrison Road and Chittaranjan Avenue. My literary mentor, Pandit Ishwari Prasad Sharma introduced me as the editor of Marwari Sudhar. Premchandji presented me a copy of his first collection of short stories Sapta Saroj with his blessings.

This first meeting was a chance encounter. The second time, I became close to him in Lucknow when I was working in the editorial department of Madhuri. Soon afterwards, he came there as the editor of Madhuri. It was just then that his major novel Rangbhumi had arrived there for publication. It was the first time that he had written in his own hand, in Devanagari script, the manuscript copy of the book. Shri Dularelal Bhargava, owner of Ganga Pustakmala, gave it to me to redact the press copy in accordance with the house style of the publishing firm. The huge tome written in his own hand in Nagri script was of historical importance. I wish that press-copy were preserved and available today!

The editorial department of Madhuri had just been shifted from Aminabad Park to Latouche Road. Pandit Krishnabihari Mishra was also working in the editorial department. He was a gentle person of profound literary propensities. He had a rollicking sense of humour, and the loud ceiling-shattering laughter of Premchandji was paralleled by the sweet humorous smiles of Mishraji : both incomparable in themselves!

That first novel of Premchandji, written in Nagri script was in itself worth seeing – with hardly any cuts anywhere. One could veritably learn the language from him for years. The flow of the pen was such that one could hardly find cuts or emendations anywhere in the text. Any editorial concentration on the text would every so often be distracted by the enticing interest of the narrative. Once caught in the sweep of the story all principles of redaction of the press-copy were easily forgotten. Reading the text with concentration made me learn many beautiful turns of phrases and language use.

Many Urdu writers from Lucknow and outside would often come in the office to see him and seek his advice. He had earned great fame and prestige in the Urdu literary circle. He would often send his stories to the Urdu weekly Pratap of Lahore. I had seen many of these stories in their Persian script. The handwriting was very neat with fine letters. He was not habituated to write in the shiqast (flowing) style. Language was to him like his hand-maiden..

At that time, Pandit Shantipriya Dwivedy also worked in that office, and we lived together. Shantipriyaji was very fond of fun and laughter. The witticisms of Pandit Krishnabihariji and the jokes of Premchandji had their own distinctive flavours. Mishraji would often recite amazing Hindi dohas (couplets), matched only by the brilliant anecdotes of Premchandji. Their loud bursts of laughter would startle those in the office inviting their bewildered gaze. Both the great literary giants loved Shantipriyaji as much as he, in turn, served as an object of their amusement. On holidays, Premchand would always offer shirni (sweet dish) to his visitors. In the office, too, the pan (betel leaves) served always came from him. At home, it would be the hubble-bubble for him. The chillum (clay fire-holder) would hardly ever go cold. He would himself buy his perfumed tobacco. His favourite sakhun-takiya (merry swear-word) would always trigger Mishraji’s fountain of loud laughter, just like with Prasadji in Kashi. In the words of Rai Krishnadasji – “The two unique laughter-bursters of the Hindi world were – Prasad and Premchand!”

When Prasad and Premchand were together in Kashi – a veritable laughter challenge would ensue. Both would laugh their hearts out. Prasadji’s nearly century-and-quarter-old shop selling zarda, surti-sunghani (varieties of perfumed tobacco) is situated in the coconut bazaar behind the Banaras Kotwali ( Central Police Station). Prasadji’s literary group would sit on a projected stone slab in front of the shop. There was no literary figure of that time in Hindi who had not sat on that stone slab for a while. ( Once Premchand had written in his literary monthly Hans that Prasad only ‘disinterred buried corpses’ in his historical plays, and so on. But soon thereafter when they met, they talked and laughed heartily just as before, with no trace of malice in their hearts.) Every so often there would be loud peals and bursts of laughter which would elicit merry giggles from the houries standing on the balconies nearby.

When Premchandji opened his Saraswati Press in Kashi for the first time, I, too, lived in Kashi. His press was located in a small house on the north-western corner of the Maidagin Park near the Nagari Pracharini Sabha. His office was in a small open verandah. After Lucknow, we had frequent meetings there. I would regularly go there to render some service. Every evening he would calculate the day’s earnings in the press, and disburse some wages to the workers. When there wouldn’t be enough, he would put the whole amount before them and laughingly ask them to share it amongst themselves, leaving something for his pan and tobacco and his ekka-fare to Lamhi. This would make his workers laugh, too, and then those wanting a rupee would be happy with an athanni(half-rupee), and others with a chawanni (quarter-rupee) for an athanni. Premchandji would be the happiest on days when his workers went home fully satisfied, because he had deep sympathy for them in his heart. The feelings he expressed for the working class in his writings, were clearly reflected in his talk and his behavior. He would easily forget his own needs before those of others.
After paying wages to his workers, he would walk down with what remained from Maidagin to the Chowk. Often I would accompany him up to there. At Lakhichowtara – as was his daily routine - he would buy a bundle of betel leaves from his own tamoli (betel leaves seller) who gave him his choicest leaves. He would then roll the betel leaves neatly into his handkerchief and hang it at the back end of his furled umbrella, with the packet of mushki (perfumed) tobacco dangling at the front end. If at times he wouldn’t have money left, he would walk some distance on foot looking for an ekka (hackney carriage), or go only up to Pisnahariya on the ekka, and walk down the rest of the distance to his village. Often he would narrate such ordeals with enjoyment while sitting in the press. Sometimes, he would say, he got the ekka of his village after walking down to Orderly bazaar or the Varuna bridge. Once he bought a canvas shoe but turned it into a sandal by folding back its heel because, he said, it made walking easy. The economic hassles of the press often kept him worried, but his normal laughter bursts remained as lively as ever.

Later when the press shifted into more spacious premises behind a large gate near the Mritynjaya Mahadeva, the economic condition improved a little. Shri Pravasilal Varma, a printing expert, was then its manager. It was then that the monthly Hans and weekly Jagaran were being published from there under Premchandji’s editorship. My articles were often published in both, and he would laugh his heart out on the satirical notes I wrote for the column ‘Kshana Bhara’ (or ‘Jest a Moment’).
I used to live near Kal Bhairava and often went to the press, and I always found him kind-hearted towards his dependents. And his workers, too, treated him with great respect. Even for an act of indiscretion, he would just laugh it away. I had the good fortune of living for long in his company, and seeing his generosity and warm-heartedness, without ever losing his cool. Even in his ordinary colloquy he would come out with rare witticisms. Once he said – “ Anger if swallowed becomes nectar”. Such witticisms are to be found often not only in his essays, but even in his letters.

When a story-collection Nari Hridaya by his wife Smt Shivarani Deviji was published from the Saraswati Press, he asked me to write its preface. His ingenuous geniality was very heartening. Once when he was preparing a collection of others’ stories, he included one of mine, too. He would often suggest topics for articles. Sometimes he would edit articles, write editorial notes and letters while sitting in the press; but mostly he would bring such matter having done it at home. While writing in the press his pen would run very speedily but there would be no cuts or changes. It seemed to run quite in step with his thought process. He would write the editorials for the weekly in one go, and express his views on all national and social issues strongly and fearlessly. No such domain remained untouched by his pen; what of politics and literature, even religious issues were not spared.

Premchandji’s pen gave a popular style to Hindi, and probed every nook and corner of people’s lives. He could always feel the heart beats of the nation, and lent his voice to the concerns of his age. His articles attested the affinities between Hindi and Urdu, though, during his life time, he received much greater respect in Urdu literature than in Hindi. The eminent Muslim leader Maulana Muhammad Ali brought out an Urdu weekly Hamdard from Delhi in which Premchandji’s stories would often be published, and he would get a guinea for his stories every time. The guinea would come by parcel in a velvet-lined case. I had seen those guineas many a time, though I don’t remember what their value was in those days. On receiving the remuneration from Hindi journals, he would just quietly smile.

Out of his exasperation with the Hindi publishers, he once went even to the cinema world, but after his return from Bombay he would regale us with its funny stories. His experiences there were often entertaining, but also quite disgusting. He made Prasadji burst with laughter with those mystifying stories of the film world. He would never miss an occasion for mirth. Once he had gone in a Hanuman puja (worship) to Professor Ramdas Gaud’s house, where he said to Gaudji – “ Your house is a veritable museum, where Hanumanji happily lives in the company of ghosts and spirits.”

In his last days he enjoyed Prasadji’s company almost every day. He used to live near Benia Bagh in Kashi in those days, and both the literary giants would take a stroll together in the Benia park, discussing literary issues as they walked. He would frankly express his views on Prasadji’s language on his face, and the latter would hear everything smiling gently. There never was any conflict of ideas between the two great writers. Wherever they sat, their talks never satiated us.

When I joined the editorial department of Madhuri after leaving Matawala, Shri Dularelalji Bhargava gave me some book manuscripts also for editing, besides the regular journal work. Initially I was given Asia me Prabhat and Bhawabhuti, and when luckily Bhargavaji was satisfied by my editing, I was given the manuscript of Premchandji’s famous novel Rangabhumi which had reached Bhargavaji earlier. I felt rather shaky: Saptsaroj, Sevasadan and Premashram I had read while in Calcutta; within my heart, I was quite in awe about his wide literary fame; and though I was familiar with his creative works and reputation, but was bereft of his regular company. I had also heard that he would first write his stories or novels in Urdu, and then get it transliterated into Hindi script by some knowledgeable person. But when I got the manuscript of Rangabhumi I felt overjoyed: the entire copy was written in his own hand – a great tome in two thick volumes; fine small and close writng, without any cuts anywhere, as if the entire thing had been written in a single breath!

I had become quite familiar with the editorial house-style of Bhargavaji’s Ganga-Pustak-Mala, because, under the editorship of Bhargavaji, the same style had to be followed in Madhuri . But when I started reading the copy of Rangabhumi, I forgot those rules, and immersed myself in the delightfully exquisite language of the text. Then, after reading over fifty pages in the text, I would suddenly regain my sense of editorial obligations and return for the redaction of the text as per our house-style. There would be a few misspellings or instances of incorrect usage, but the syntax and the style were as limpid and fluent as river Ganga’s flow. As per rules, a few letters here and there would have to be changed, some spellings set right, some expressions modified suitably, and the press copy would be ready. Bhargavaji would pass it and the printing would start.

It was just then that Premchandji had arrived. His great-heartedness was imprinted on my mind in that first meeting itself. A new house was rented in Latouche road especially for his convenience. It was in that same house that Maithilisharanji Gupta had stayed for nearly a month and a half in connection with the medical treatment of one of his aged relatives. Later, the Madhuri editorial department in Aminabad was also shifted there, quite close by. The houses of Bhargavaji and Pandit Badarinath Bhatt lay on the same route. Those days, Pandit Krishnabihari Mishra also worked in the Madhuri editorial department. When Premchandji, Mishraji and Bhattji met together, fountains of laughter would shoot up to the skies. While Maishraji’s laughter would dance only on his table, Premchandji’s laughter-burst would rise up to the ceiling before it would dive out of the window on to the road below, uncaptured by Mishraji’s laughter. All three would always laugh heartily. That laughter would be ringing in many a heart for ever. That smilingly eloquent face and that loud ringing laughter of Premchandji which would be a treat for the eyes and the ears, are now never ever to be forgotten.

Countless evenings were spent on the green grass of Aminabad park – in the corner of the park, where there was that shop of the kachalu-rasile-walla (a mouth-watering potpourri of boiled potatoes, etc.), where the expensive limousines of the aristocratic families would be found parked. There we had innumerable treats of dahi bade and mutter (curd-cakes with peas), recalling, with loud bursts of laughter, the true story of the real person who had played the role of Surdas (blind man) in Rangabhumi. Oh, how glorious were those few days spent in Lucknow!

Whenever Pandit Roopnarayanji and Professor Dayashankar Dubey of Lucknow university would come, there would be a stiff laughter contest amongst them. And once the great poet Guptaji brought Munshi Ajmeriji, who, by demonstrating various types of laughter, brought Premchandji’s stock of laughter almost to an end. Then Pandit Krishnabihariji couldn’t stop himself from asking – “ Which of the two wresters of laughter ultimately lost?” Exhibiting his typical laughter, Premchandji quipped – “I didn’t fall on my back, but on my very face”, which led to a roar of continuing laughter.

After the riots in Lucknow (September, 1924), I had gone back to Calcutta in Matawala . We wrote to each other occasionally – particularly when I started editing the monthly Upanyas Tarang published by Hindi Pustak Agency and Vanik Press. There was a regular stream of correspondence between us when he was editing Madhuri, and I had to write many letters in connection with Shri Pravasilal Varma’s taking over the management of his Saraswati Press at Benares. I ,too, lived in Kashi in those days as literary editor of the publications of Pustak Bhandar (Laheria Sarai), and many of those books were printed in his Saraswati Press. Shri Gururam Sharma ‘Visharada’, his co-villager, was his press manager at that time.

Before going to Lucknow, Premchandji always came to the press from his village on an ekka. I would also go to the press almost every day to supervise my publications of ‘Bhandar’. On the eastern side of Company Bagh (Maidagin park) is Nagari Pracharini Sabha and on the western flank of the road was Saraswati Press. An old, dark and dingy place – the press was in real bad shape. He was always worried for the press. I gave his press as much work of Pustak Bhandar as was in my hand, and which the press could easily handle, and also fetched work from friends. But the press had an elephantine belly – it just couldn’t have enough. It was in this precarious condition that he went to Lucknow. Then arose the issue of Pravasilalji under my mediation, and after some correspondence, things were amicably settled.
Varmaji shifted the press from Madhyameshwar to Mahamrityunjaya-Mahadeva road. The new house belonged to the famous art connoisseur Shri Rai Krishnadasji, and it proved quite lucky and profitable for the press. Finally, Premchandji was relieved of his worries on that score. Varmaji’s capabilities also kept him satisfied. And for being instrumental in all this, Premchandji’s affection towards me also grew. Whenever he would come from Lucknow even for a day, he would send for me to the press. Once when Varmaji was to be appointed he came straight to my house which was near the Kalbhairava crossing, and Varmaji was my close neighbor. Premchandji expressed no hesitation or qualms, and received Varmaji with open arms. While leaving, with a chowghada (foursome of folded betel leaves), he said – “I will have sound sleep today; the press had become a great burden, which is now off my shoulders”.

When he was still in Lucknow, the planning for the publication of Hans had started. Shri Jayashankar Prasadji, the great literary giant of his time, gave it its name, and with Premchandji’s consent, Varmaji started its publication. Premchandji would send his stories and editorial notes from Lucknow. But only two of the column titles from Prasadji’s original plan – ‘Mukta Manjoosha’ and ‘Neer-Ksheer-Vivek’ were retained; in Prasadji’s scheme stories did not have that priority, but under Premchandji’s editorship stories had to have that preference; as a result, Hans remained a short-story magazine for a long time.
For nearly a year and a half I stayed away from Kashi, though making regular visits there. During the period I was editing the monthly magazine Ganga ; and when I wrote to Premchandji for a short-story, he wrote back frankly –“Just because you write for free for my Hans, I would not do so for the Raja’s magazine*. Get me a good price.” I had to keep mum, because when I was in the editorial department of Madhuri, Premchandji was paid four rupees per page. Ganga would not like to pay so much for his stories, although it had paid Professor Ramdas Gaud five rupees a page for his review of Bharat Bharati.

I returned to Kashi after resigning from the editorial work in Ganga. Meanwhile, Premchandji had also left Madhuri and returned to Kashi. This time he asked me to write for the column ‘Mukta-Manjoosha’, and promised some remuneration, too, as I was now jobless. That remuneration proved of great help in those days of joblessness. He would then remark jokingly – “You are jobless, and I am formless!”
For hours we would have our sittings in the Saraswati Press, with never ending rounds of pan-gilauris (pyramid-shaped betel leaves). He would laughingly remember the peculiar Lucknow pans – swearing at them with his famous sakhun-takiya. He would often say that the particular swear expression was the gift of the Urdu literary soirees. “Fortunately, it doesn’t sneak in inyto my writing, like in my conversation. If, perchance, it were to occur in my letters, that would be a big bother for both”, he would frankly admit.

For long, he had been planning to bring out a weekly for advertising his own books. When the fortnightly Jagaran, published by Pustak Mandir, Kashi, under my editorship, ceased publication after six months, he took it over and started publishing it as a weekly under his editorship. That led to a special affinity between us. He would be in the press for long periods, and I, too, would sit there reading proofs or newpapers. I had no job there, but would love to do some literary work or the other as was my wont. And most important was his company itself. Even from his casual conversation, there was always something new to be learnt – some new expression, some new turn of phrase, a new word, or some witticism. He would never falter or pause in his conversation. He was a master of Urdu prose, and had lived since childhood in the citadel of Hindi. He was so well-read, and with such vast experience of life, that the moment he would take his pen, a translucent stream of polished language would start flowing.

Even his letters would read like stories. Often in a few lines of a post card he would say things of great depth and profundity; laced, equally often, with delightful touches of humour. His style was exquisite. While reading, one would have a feeling that the writer’s pen is flowing forward natuarally, without even pausing for a breath,always carrying his reader along. Main articles and editorial notes for the weekly Jagaran and the monthly Hans, often a short story, too; besides one or two short stories every month for other magazines, along with his novel under writing - indeed, he had so much to write, and yet he would write nothing which would fall below his own high standard. Whatever his pen touched became luminous, as it were. His mind would be as sharp, as his fingers would be diligent. And yet he always lived in penury. Both Hans and Jagaran ran in loss. His books wouldn’t have a good sale; and the Hindi publishers would pay him a pittance. In fact, the Urdu publishers paid him much better in comparison to his Hindi publishers, because, as he himself admitted, his Urdu books sold very well in Punjab. * * * * *

[*Ganga was published from Sultanganj near Bhagalpur, and was owned by the Raja of Banaili Estate, Kumar Krishnanandan Singh.]

Premchand’s letter to Shivapujan Sahay: From Lucknow to Calcutta/ 22.2.25
Dear Shivapujan Sahayji : Vande (salutation),
You seem to have forgotten me absolutely. Here goes the book [Rangabhoomi] in your service, expressing the deepest gratitude, - the book on which you had spent months, battering your mind, - and entreats you to give it a couple of your hours of solitude, and then, whatever be your opinion about it, express it in your charming language.

My Reminiscences of PremchandI am still here, captured, as it were, for the publication of ‘Bal Vinodmala’. Oh, how wonderful it would have been with you here! .Yet, it would be an obligation if you could send for this ‘Mala’ some little, amusing ‘cat-and-mouse’ or ‘crow and eagle’ story. I shall be eagerly awaiting your review of Rangabhoomi. Yours: Dhanapat Rai

[Extracted from my ongoing project of translated writings of Acharya Shivapujan Sahay in one Volume.Contact