Remembering ‘Upanyas Samrat’ Premchand Through His Story ‘Kafan’

Premchand, known to have popularised the short story in northern India, has written more than 300 short stories.

1 min read
Hindi Female

Narrator and Sound Designer: Fabeha Syed
Editor: Shelly Walia
Music: Big Bang Fuzz


Born as Dhanpat Rai Srivastava on the 31 July 1880 in Varanasi, Munshi Premchand is often referred to as the Charles Dickens of India. Premchand, who is known to have popularised the literary tradition of short story in northern India, has written more than 300 short stories.

Scholars argue that his works should not be seen as mere pieces of fiction, but as social commentary that is reflective of the issues and struggles of pre-Partition India. Most of his stories have shown poverty, through the instruments of social injustice and caste inequalities.

In this special podcast, we pick out Premchand’s last short story Kafan (1936) – a satire about a poor father and son who don’t have money to bury the woman of their house, who has died in childbirth. The story holds a mirror to the society and makes us wonder that why after almost eight decades, India’s farmers are nothing different than the poor protagonists – Ghesu and Madhav.

Tune in.

(This podcast has been republished from The Quint’s archives to mark Premchand’s death anniversary on 8 October. It was originally published on 31 July 2020.)

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Topics:  Premchand   indian literature   Hindi-Urdu 

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