Dr. Shobna Nijhawan                                                             Office hours:

Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics                Tu/Th 1-2 and

Ross S570                                                                               by appointment


Phone: (416) 736-2100 ext. 88725



AS/HND 3610 3.0 Writings of Premchand (1880-1936)


The course delves into the life and times of Premchand (1880-1936), one of the most eminent writers of modern Hindi-Urdu fiction. We read short stories, essays and excerpts from novels that provide insight into Premchand’s oeuvre as it emerged in a period of heightened social reforms, nationalist consciousness and anti-colonial activism.


The readings pay particular attention to Premchand’s depiction of the condition of peasants, colonial economic exploitation, and women’s issues (dowry, widowhood). By means of close reading, we also trace Premchand’s literary development from an idealist utopianist and convinced follower of Mahatma Gandhi to a disillusioned fighter, who turned towards more radical forms of protest. Alongside the original sources students are introduced to secondary historical and post-colonial texts.


Note: Knowledge of Hindi and/or Urdu is not required. All readings are available in English translations. Students with advanced knowledge of Hindi and/or Urdu are encouraged to read the original texts


The final grade will be calculated as follows

Class attendance and participation

(including the oral presentation worth 5%): 20 %

2 tests: (each 15%) 30%

Paper: 25 %

Final examination: 25 %