In this novel of epic proportion set in pre-Independence India, Premchand treads the tricky ground of tensions between the rulers and the ruled. Capturing the travails and traumas of peasant society, Rangbhumi celebrates the unassailable spirit of the common man.
The original Hindi novel, published in 1925, was critically acclaimed for its strong characterization and realistic portrayal of the times.
The novel revolves around the blind Surdas, who begs for a living, but is also the owner of a much-coveted piece of land. The land is used as a kind of commons by the fractious villagers of Pandepurâ€”but it is also actively sought by a local industrialist, Sevak, who wants to set up a cigarette factory. Thus Surdasâ€™s land becomes a symbolic stage on which are fought issues of diff erent routes to development.
In an Introduction to the volume Alok Rai provides the context of the work and shows how Rangbhumi was a product of both personal and political difficulties. This volume will appeal to students and scholars of Indian writing in translation, comparative literature, and translation studies, as also admirers of Munsi Premchandâ€™s works.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR:
Christopher King taught history and communication studies at the University of Windsor, Canada.
Alok Rai is Professor of English at the University of Delhi.
Premchand can be humorous and iconic, sombre and heart-rending in his depiction of the multifarious realities of his time without yielding up the thread of social comment that runs â€¦ through almost all the stories.
-- -Indian Review of Book
Before Premchand, Hindi fiction avoided addressing uncomfortable social questions .. He lifted fiction to the level of realism.
--- The Telegraph
PRAISE FOR Other Premchand Translations:
In Karmabhumi, what Premchand achieves is the portrayal of verisimilitude of the relationships of his times â€¦ One gets the feeling that things have changed outwardly, but the question ''Have they, really?'' will resonate in the mind.
--- Deccan Herald
[Karmabhumi] has lived up to [the] expectation that literature should express the truths and experiences of life.
--- The Times of India
â€¦ a quiet but revolutionary statement on the times. â€¦ a must for those who missed out Premchand because they were born one generation too late to access Hindi literature in Hindi.
--- The Times of India
[Premchand's writing] still speaks to us â€¦. It reaches out and appeals to all that is good and decent in us that is moved by injustice and inequality.
--- The Book Review