Premchand – “Playground : Rangbhoomi” – Published by Penguin India
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”Wrapped in an Orange Veil” is a picture shot from Scindia ghat along the Ganges in Varanasi (Benaras).
It was selected to make the cover of “Playground : Rangbhoomi” a novel by Premchand, published by Penguin India and released in 2011.
First published in 1925, Rangbhoomi was considered by Premchand to be his best work.
Set against the backdrop of colonial India–characterized by a brutal state, opportunistic, feudal landlords and ruthless capitalists this novel is a grim account of the blind beggar Soordas’s struggle against the acquisition of his ancestral land.
Weaving together themes such as industrialization, atrocities committed by princely states, the role of women in India’s independence movement, and caste and class hierarchies, Playground’s concerns remain shockingly relevant.
Capturing Premchand’s masterful handling of a variety of linguistic registers, Manju Jain’s evocative translation shows us the deep humanism of one of India’s greatest writers.
About the Author:
Considered one of the greatest fiction writers in Hindi, Premchand (1880-1936) was born Dhanpat Rai in Lamahi, a small village near Banaras.
He wrote in Urdu under the name of Nawab Rai and changed his name to Premchand when his collection of short stories, Soz-e-vatan, was seized for sedition in 1908.
In a prolific career spanning three decades, Premchand wrote about a dozen novels, two plays, almost three hundred short stories and several articles, reviews and editorials.
He edited three magazines, and also set up his own printing press.
Though best known for his stories exposing the horrors of poverty and social injustice, he wrote on a variety of themes with equal facility romance, satire, social dramas, nationalist tales, and yarns steeped in folklore.
Manju Jain retired as Professor from the Department of English, University of Delhi.
She is the author of T.S. Eliot and American Philosophy: The Harvard Years and A Critical Reading of the Selected Poems of T.S. Eliot.
She has also edited the collection Narratives of Indian Cinema.
“One of the subcontinent’s best-loved writers…the modern father of the modern Urdu/Hindi novel” (The Hindu)