Munshi Premchand was born in Lamhi, a village near Varanasi (Benares), on 31 July 1880 and was appointed Dhanpat Rai (‘master of wealth’). His ancestors came from a large Kayastha family, which owned land of eight to nine bighas. His grandfather, Guru Sahai Rai, was a patwari, and his father, Ajaib Lal, was a clerk in the post office. His mother was Anandi Devi of Karauni village, who, in his Bade Ghar Ki Beti, was possibly also his inspiration for the character Anandi.
He started writing under the pen name “Nawab Rai” but then moved to “Premchand” as an honorary prefix for Munshi. He has been referred to by authors as the ‘Upanyas Samrat’ (‘Emperor of Novelists’), a book writer, storey writer and dramatist. More than a dozen novels, about 300 short storeys, numerous essays and translations into Hindi of a variety of foreign literary works are included in his works.
Dhanpat Rai Srivastava, best known by his pen name Munshi Premchand, was an Indian writer famed for his contemporary Hindustani literature from 31 July 1880 to 8 October 1936. He is one of the most popular authors on the Indian subcontinent, and is considered to be one of the early twentieth century ‘s finest Hindi authors. His novels include Godaan, Karmabhoomi, Gaban, Mansarovar, Idgah. In a book called Soz-e Watan, he published his first collection of five short storeys in 1907.
Dhanpat Rai started his education at a madrasa in Lalpur, located near Lamahi, when he was 7 years old.He studied Urdu and Persian from a madrasa maulvi. When he was 8, after a long illness, his mother died. His grandmother, who was responsible for raising him, died shortly thereafter.As his elder sister had already been married, Premchand felt alone, and his father was still occupied with work.
His father, who was now posted to Gorakhpur, had remarried, but his stepmother had little affection for Premchand.