CBSE Class 10 Novels, Society and History LAQ Social Sciences
Ans. (i) Cheap : Novels were very cheap as compared to manuscript. These circulated among few people. In contrast, because of being printed, novels were widely read and became popular very quickly.
(ii) Novels catered to the need of common people : Printing created an appetite for new kinds of writing. As more and more people could now read, they wanted to see their own lives, experiences, emotions and relationships reflected in what they read. Novels, ideally catered to this need. It soon acquired distinctively Indian forms and styles. For readers, it opened up new worlds
of experience, and gave a vivid sense of the diversity of human lives.
(iii) New Readers : The novel first took firm root in England and France. Novels began to be written from the seventeenth century, but they really flowered from the eighteenth century. New groups of lower-middle-class people such as shopkeepers and clerks, along with the traditional aristocratic and gentlemanly classes in England and France now formed the new readership for novels.
(iv) Hiring novels : Technological improvements in printing brought down the price of books and innovations in marketing led to expanded sales. In France, publishers found that they could make super profits by hiring out novels by the hour. The novel was one of the first mass-produced items to be sold.
(v) New absorbing and believable world : The worlds created by novels were absorbing and believable, and seemingly real. While reading novels, the reader was transported to another person’s world, and began looking at life as it was experienced by the characters of the novel. Besides, novels allowed individuals the pleasure of reading in private, as well as the joy of publicly reading or discussing stories with friends or relatives. In rural areas people would collect to hear one of them reading a novel aloud, often becoming deeply involved in the lives of the characters.
Q.2. How did Charles Dickens focus on the life of the industrial workers and the terrible conditions of urban life in his novels ? Explain with examples. [CBSE 2008 (O)]
Explain the themes and issues of the . novels of Charles Dickens with examples. [CBSE Sept. 2010]
Elaborate upon the contribution of Charles Dickens in the field of novel writing. [CBSE-2012]
Novels of Charles Dickens deal with which changes of the 19th century Britain ? Mention any three such changes. [CBSE-2013]
Which type of problems were highlighted by the novelist, Charles Dickens through his novel? Explain from any of his two novels. [CBSE-2013]
Explain any three aspects highlighted by Charles Dickens in his novel “Hard Times”. [CBSE-2012]
Ans. Charles Dickens was the foremost English novelist of the Victorian era. He wrote about the terrible effects of industrialisation on people’s lives and characters. His novels Hard Times and Oliver Twist became world famous,
(i) Hard Times : His novel Hard Times (1854) describes Coketown, a fictitious industrial town, as a grim place full of machinery, smoking chimneys, rivers polluted purple and buildings that all looked the same. Here workers are known as ‘hands’, as if they had no identity other than as operators of machines. Dickens criticised not just the greed for profits but also the ideas that reduced human beings into simple instruments of production.
(ii) Oliver Twist : In other novels too, Dickens focused on the terrible conditions of urban . life under industrial capitalism. His Oliver Twist (1838) is the tale of a poor orphan who lived in a world of petty criminals and beggars. Brought up in a cruel workhouse, Oliver was finally adopted by a wealthy man and lived happily ever after.
Q.3. Novels had explained and focussed on the terrible conditions of urban life under industrial capitalism. Justify.
Ans. (i) Industrialisation and Charles Dickens :
In the nineteenth century, Europe entered the industrial age. Factories came up, business profits increased and the economy grew. But at the same time, workers faced problems. Cities expanded in an unregulated way and were filled with overworked and underpaid workers. The unemployed poor roamed the streets for jobs, and the homeless were forced to seek shelter in workhouses. The growth of industry was accompanied by an economic philosophy which celebrated the pursuit of profit and undervalued the lives of workers. Deeply critical of these developments, novelists such as Charles Dickens wrote about the terrible effects of industrialisation on people’s lives and characters. His novel Hard Times (1854) describes Coketown, a fictitious industrial town, as a grim place full of machinery, smoking chimneys, rivers polluted purple and buildings that all looked the same. Here workers are known as ‘hands’, as if they had no identity other than as operators of machines. Dickens criticised not just the greed for profits but also the ideas that reduced human beings into simple instruments of production. In other novels too, Dickens focused on the terrible conditions of urban life under industrial capitalism. His Oliver Twist (1838) is the tale of a poor orphan who lived in a world of petty criminals and beggars. Brought up in a cruel workhouse Oliver was finally adopted by a wealthy man and lived happily ever after. But not all novels about the lives of the poor gave readers the comfort of a happy ending.
(ii) Emile Zola’s : Germinal (1885) on the life of a young miner in France explores in harsh detail the grim conditions of miners’ lives. It ends on a note of despair: the strike the hero leads fails, his co-workers turn against him, and hopes are shattered.
(iii) Writings of Thomas Hardy : Thomas Hardy the 19th century British novelist wrote extensively about traditional rural communities of England that were fast vanishing.
Q.4. Who was Jane Austen ? How do her novels give us a glimpse of the world of women in the general rural society in the early 19th century Britain ?
How did Jane Austen portray the women of 19th century in her novel ? [CBSE Sept. 2010, 2012]
Ans. Jane Austen was an English novelist who gives us a glimpse of the world of women in the general rural society in the early 19th century. Her novels make us think about a society which encouraged women to look for ‘good’ marriages, and find wealthy or propertied husbands. The first sentence of Jane Austen’s (1775-1817) Pride and Prejudice states : ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.’ This observation allows us to see the behaviour of the protagonists, who are preoccupied with marriage and money, as typifying Austen’s society.
Q.5. How did novels promote colonialism ? Explain with an example of a novel. [CBSE Sept. 2010]
What kind of novels were written for young boys in the 19th century ? Explain. [CBSE Sept. 2010]
How did novels make themselves relevant to young boys ? [CBSE Sept. 2011]
Explain any five features of novels written for the young in the last stage of 19 th century. [CBSE 2012]
Ans. (i) New type of man : Novels for young boys idealised a new type of man : Someone who was powerful, assertive, independent and daring. Most of these novels were full of adventure set in places remote from Europe.
(ii) Colonisers as hero and honourable :
The colonisers appear heroic and honourable-Books like R.L. Stevenson’s’ Treasure Island (1883) or Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book (1894) became great hits.
(iii) English Courage : G.A. Henty’s historical adventure novels for boys were also widely popular during the height of the British empire. They aroused the excitement and adventure of conquering strange lands. They were always about young boys who witness grand historical events, get involved in some military action, and show what they called the ‘English’ courage.
(Iv) Love stories and the young : Love stories written for adolescent girls also first became popular in this period, especially in the United States, notably Ramona (1884) by Helen Hunt Jackson and a series entitles What Katy Did (1872) by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, who wrote under the pen-name Susan Coolidge.
Q.6. Explain the history of growth of novels in India. [CBSE 2014]
Explain briefly the history of Hindi novel from starting to excellence. [CBSE 2011 ]
Ans. (i) Beginning of the novels:- The modern novel form developed in India in the nineteenth century, as Indians became familiar with the Western novel. The development of the vernaculars, print and a reading public helped in this process.
(ii) Earliest Novels : Some of the earliest Indian novels were written in Bengali and Marathi. The earliest novel in Marathi was Baba Padmanji’s Yamuna Paryatan (1857), which used a simple style of storytelling to speak about the plight of widows. This was followed by Lakshman Moreshwar Halbe’s Muktamala (1861). This was not a realistic novel; it presented an imaginary ‘romance’ narrative with a moral purpose.
(iii) Colonial period and novels : Novels began appearing in south Indian languages during the period of colonial rule. Quite a few early novels came out of attempts to translate English novels into Indian languages. For example, 0. Chandu Menon, a subjudge from Malabar, tried to translate an English novel called Henrietta Temple written by Benjamin Disraeli into Malayalam. But he quickly realised that his readers in Kerala were not familiar with the way in which the characters in English novels lived. So, he gave up this idea and wrote a delightful novel called Indulekha, which published in 1889 and, was the first modem novel in Malayalam.
(iv) First Hindi novel : Many novels were actually translated and adapted from English and Bengali, but the first proper modern novel i.e. Pariksha Guru was written by Srinivas Das of Delhi.
Q.7. Explain briefly the history of Hindi novel. [CBSE. Sep 2010, 12] Ans. (i) Pioneer of modem Hindi literature : In the north, Bharatendu Harishchandra, the pioneer of modern Hindi literature, encouraged many members of his circle of poets and writers to recreate and translate novels from other languages. Many novels were actually translated and adapted from English and Bengali under his influence, but the first proper modem novel was written by Srinivas Das of Delhi.
(ii) Writings of Srinivas Das : Srinivas Das’s novel, Published in 1882, reflected the inner and outer world of the newly emerging middle class.
(iii) Writings of Devaki Nandan Khatri : The writings of Devaki Nandan Khatri created a novel-reading public in Hindi. His best-seller, Chandrakanta – a romance with dazzling elements of fantasy – is believed to have contributed immensely in popularising the Hindi language and the Nagari script among the educated classes of those times.
Although it was apparently written purely for the ‘pleasure of reading’, this novel also gives some interesting insights into the fears and desires of its reading public.
(iv) Munshi Premchand : It was with the writing of Premchand that the Hindi novel achieved excellence. He began writing in Urdu and then shifted to Hindi, remaining an immensely influential writer in both languages. He drew on the traditional art of kissa-goi (storytelling). Many critics think that his novel Sewasadan (The Abode of Service), published in 1916, lifted the Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy, moralising and simple entertainment to a serious reflection on the lives of ordinary people and social issues. Sewasadan deals mainly with the poor condition of women in society. Issues like child marriage and dowry.
Q.8. How had the different novelists of the colonial period taken up the task of modernisation of the Indians ? Explain.
Ans. (i) Chandu Menon portrayed Indulekha, as a woman of breathtaking beauty, high intellectual abilities and artistic talent with an education in English and Sanskrit.
(ii) Madhavan, the hero of the novel, was also presented in ideal colours. He was a member of the newly English-educated class of Nayars from the University of Madras, presently known as Chennai.
(iii) The hero was also a ‘first-rate Sanskrit scholar’. He was dressed in Western clothes. But, at the same time, he kept a long tuft of hair, according to the Nayar customs.
(iv) The heroes and heroines in most of the novels were people who lived in the modern world. Thus, they were different from the ideal or mythological characters of the earlier poetic literature of India.
(v) Characters like Indulekha arid Madhavan showed readers how Indian and foreign lifestyles could be brought together in an ideal combination.
Q.9. Write about some of the important characteristics of the Hindi novels. [CBSE Sept. 2010]
How did the Hindi novels reflect the true picture of the Indian society of the 19th century ?
Explain the teachings given by Srinivas Das in his novel ‘Pariksha Guru’. [CBSE 2010 (F), 2014]
In what ways did novels help to give the people a vision of being ideal characters without losing one’s identity ? Explain. [CBSE 2012]
Ans. (i) Pariksha Guru reflects the inner and the outer world of the newly emerging middle classes. The characters in the novel are caught in the difficulty of adapting to the colonised society, and at the same time preserving their own cultural identity. The world of colonial modernity seems to be both frightening and irresistible to the characters.
In the novel, we see the characters attempting to bridge two different worlds through their actions: they take to new agricultural technology, modernise trading practices, change the use of Indian language, making them capable of transmitting both Western sciences and Indian wisdom. But the novel emphasises that all this must be achieved without sacrificing the traditional values of the middle class household.
(ii) Munshi Premchand’s novel Sewasadan (The Abode of Service), published in 1916, lifted the Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy, moralism and simple entertainment to a serious reflection on the lives of ordinary people and social issues. Sewasadan deals mainly with the poor condition of women . in the society. Premchand wrote on the realistic issues of the day, i.e., communalism, corruption, zamindari, debt, poverty, colonialism, etc. It also tells us about the ways in which the Indian upper classes used the space created by partial self-governance allowed under the colonial rule. Godan another novel written by Munshi Prem chand is an epic of the Indian peasantry. The novel tells the moving story of Hori and his wife Dhania, a peasant couple. Landlords, moneylenders, priests and colonial bureaucrats-all those who hold power in society-form a network of oppression, rob their land and make them into landless labourers. Ye Hori and Dhania retain their dignity to the end.
Q.10. What was the importance of novels ?
In what ways was the novel in colonial India useful for both the colonisers as well as the nationalists ? [CBSE 2009 (O), Sept. 2010, 2011, 2012]
“Novels were useful for both the colonial administrators and Indians in colonial India.” Support the statement with example. [CBSE 2010 (O)]
What Were the various uses of novels from the Indian point of view ? [CBSE Sept. 2010]
Ans. (i) Source of Information : Colonial administrators found the ‘vernacular’ novels a valuable source of information on native life and customs. Such information was useful for them in governing Indian society, with its large and a variety of communities and castes.
As outsiders, the British knew little about life inside Indian households. The novels in Indian languages often had descriptions of domestic life.
(ii) Novels and colonialism : The novel originated in Europe at a time when it was colonizing the rest of the world. The early novel contributed to colonialism by marking the readers feel they were part of a superior community of fellow colonialists.
(iii) The novel and nation making : The history written by colonial historians tended to depict Indians as weak, divided, and dependent on the British. These histories could not satisfy the tastes of the new Indian administrators and intellectuals. Nor did the traditional Puranic stories of the past- peopled by gods and demons, filled with the fantastic and the supernatural- seem convincing to those educated and working under the English system. Such minds wanted a new view of the past that would show that Indians could be independent minded and had been so in history. The novel provided a solution. In it, the nation could be imagined in a past that also featured historical characters, places, events and dates.
(iv) Novels and struggle for freedom : The imagined nation of the novel was so powerful that it could inspire actual political movements. Banking’s Anandamath (1882) is-a novel about a secret Hindu militia that fights Muslims to establish a Hindu Kingdom. It was a novel that inspired many kinds of freedom fighters.
(v) Novels and common sharing novelists included : Various classes in the novel in such a way that they could be seen to belong to a shared world. Premchand’s novels, for instance, are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels of society. In his novels you meet aristocrats and landlords, middle level peasants and landless labourers, middle class professionals and people from the margins of society. The women characters are strong individuals, especially those who come from the lower classes and are not modernised.
Q.11. Who was Vaikkom Muhammad Basheer? Mention some features of his writing. [CBSE Sept. 2012]
Ans: Vaikkom Muhammad Basheer (1908-96) was one of the early Muslim writers to gain a wide popularity as a novelist in Malayalam.Basheer had little formal education. Most of his works were based on his own rich personal experience rather than on books from the past. When he was in class five at school, Basheer left home to take part in the Salt Satyagraha. Later, he spent years wandering in different parts of India, and travelling even to Arabia, working in a ship, living with sufis and Hindu sanyasis, and training as a wrestler. Basheer’s short novels and stories were written in the ordinary language of conversation. With wonderful humour, Basheer’s novels spoke about details from the everyday life of Muslim households. He also brought into the Malayalam writing themes which were considered very unusual at that time – poverty, insanity and life in prisons.
Q.12. Discuss how the issue of caste was included in the novels in India. [CBSE Sept. 2011]
Describe, the theme of the novel . ‘Saraswativijayam’ written by Potheri Kunjambu.
Who is the author of novel “Saraswati vijayam” ? Describe the theme of it.
How does ‘Saraswativijayam’ lay stress upon the importance of education for the upliftment of the lower castes ? [CBSE 2012]
How did authors from so called low castes gain recognition in the world of literature? Explain with examples of any two such authors. [CBSE 2012]
Ans. (i) Novels like Indirabai and Indulekha were written by members of the upper castes, and were primarily about the uppercaste characters. But all novels were not of this kind.
(ii) Potheri Kunjambu, a ‘lower-caste’ writer from north Kerala, wrote a novel called Saraswativijayam in 1892, mounting a strong blow on caste oppression. This novel shows a young man from an ‘untouchable’ caste, leaving his village to escape the cruelty of his Brahmin landlord.
He converted himself to Christianity, obtained modem education and returned as the judge in the local court. Saraswativijayam stressed the importance of education for the upliftment of’the lower castes.
(iii) From the 1920s, in Bengal too a new kind of novel emerged that depicted the lives of peasants and ‘low’ castes. Advaita Malla Burmaris (1914-51) Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (1956) is an epic about the Mallas, a community of fisherfolk who live off fishing in the river, Titash.
(iv) While novelists before Advaita Malla had featured ‘low castes’ as their main character, Titash is special because the author is himself a ‘low caste’.
(v) The central character of Munshi Premchand’s novel Rangboomi, Surdas is. a visually impaired beggar from a so-called ‘untouchable caste.’
Q.13. Describe the reasons of the popularity of novels among the women. [CBSE 2013, 2014]
Ans. (i) World of women : The most exciting element of the novel was the involvement of women. The eighteenth century saw the middle classes become more prosperous. Women got more leisure to read as well as write novels. And novels began exploring the world of women – their emotions and identities, their experiences and problems. Many novels were about domestic life – a theme about which women ‘Were allowed to speak with authority. They drew upon their experience, wrote about family life and earned public recognition. The novels of Jane Austen give us a glimpse of the world of women.
(ii) Women character as independent and assertive : But women novelists did not simply popularise the domestic role of women. Often their novels dealt with women who broke established norms of society before adjusting to them. Such stories allowed women readers to sympathise with rebellious actions. In Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, published in 1847, young Jane is shown as independent and assertive. While girls of her time were expected to be quiet and well behaved, Jane at the age of ten protests against the hypocrisy of her elders with startling bluntness.
(iii) New conception of womanhood : Another reason for the popularity of novels among women was that it allowed for a new conception of womanhood. Stories of love – which was a staple theme of many novels – showed women who could choose or refuse their partners and relationships. It showed women who could to some extent control their lives. Some women authors also wrote about women who changed the world of both men and women.
(iv) Women novelist : There were many women novelist who wrote about family life, autobiographies their personal experiences as women and earned public recognisation. Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Rokeya Hossein, Rashsundari Devi all wrote exclusively on women.
Q.14. What did the novels in the nineteenth- century India mean to :
What was the attitude of people in India in the 19th century towards women reading ? How did women responded to this ? [CBSE Sept. 2010, 2011]
Ans. (i) Many people got worried about the effects of the novel on readers who were taken away from their real surroundings into an imaginary world where anything could happen. Women and children were advised not to read novels as they were seen as easily corruptible.
(ii) Some parents kept novels in the lofts of their houses, out of their children’s reach. Young people often read them in secret. This passion was not limited only to the youth. Older women-some of whom could not read— listened with fascinated attention to popular Tamil novels read out to them by their grandchildren.
(iii) But women did not remain mere readers of stories written by men. Soon they also began to write novels.
(iv) A reason for the popularity of novels among women was that it allowed for a new conception of womanhood. Stories of
love-which was a staple theme of many novels-showed women who could choose or refuse their partners and relationships. Some women authors also wrote about women who changed the world of both men and women. .
(v) Rokeya Hossein (1880-1932) in Sultana’s Dream (1905) showed a topsyturvy world in which women take the place of men. Her novel, Padmarag also showed the need for women to reform their condition by their own actions.
(vi) Hannah Mullens, a Christian missionary and the author of Karunao Phulmonir Bibaran (1852), reputedly the first novel in Bengali, tells her readers that she wrote in secret.
(vii) In the twentieth century, Sailabala Ghosh Jaya, a popular novelist, could only write because her husband protected her. As we have seen in the case of the south, women and girls were often discouraged from reading novels.
Q.15. Why were children prevented from reading novels ? Explain. (CBSE-2012)
Ans. (i) Children would get carried away from their real surroundings into an imaginary world.
(ii) It was feared that children would stay away from normal, disciplined life and would become rebels. .
(iii) The novel would have immoral influences on children and they would become corrupt.
(iv) Women and children were seen as easily corruptible, so they were advised to stay away from novels.
Q.16. Who is the author of novel “Titash Ekti Nadir Naam”? Why is it considered a special novel ? Explain any four reasons. [CBSE 2013, 2014]
Who is the author of novel “Titash Ekti Nadir Naam”? Describe the theme of this novel. [CBSE 2012]
Ans. Advaita Malla Burman.
(i) This book is an epic about the Mallas, a community of fisherfolk in the river Titash.
(ii) The novel is about three generations of the Mallas.
(iii) It describes the community life of Mallas their religious traditions, festivals and relationship.
(iv) It discusses circumstances due to which slowly they broke up.
(v) Their end comes together, as the river dries up.
This is special because the author is himself from a low caste fisherfolk community.
Q.17. Describe the ways in which the novels in India attempted to create a sense of pan- Indian belonging. [CBSE Sept. 2011, 2014]
“Leading Indian novelists of the 19th century wrote for a National cause”. Do you agree with the statement ? Justify your answer. [CBSE Sept. 2010, 2011]
How did novels fulfill the task of nation building in India ? Explain. [CBSE 2012] Or
How did the novels in India encourage nationalism ? Explain any three points. [CBSE 2010]
Ans. (i) To create a sense of equality : Colonial rulers regarded the contemporary culture of India as inferior, On the other hand, Indian novelist wrote to develop a modern literature of the country that could produce a sense of national belonging and cultural equality with their colonial masters.
(ii) To protect values of India’s tradition and culture : Many novelist like that of Srinivas Das had expressed their fear and anger about the intermining of Indian and Western culture. The world of colonial modernity seems to be both frightening and irresistible to the characters. The novel tries to teach the reader the ‘right way’ to live and expects all ‘sensible men’ to be worldly- wise and practical, to remain rooted in the values of their own tradition and culture, and to live with dignity and honour.
(iii) Women novelists : But women did not remain mere readers of stories written by men; soon they also began to write novels. In some languages, the early creations of women were poems, essays or autobiographical pieces. In the early decades of the twentieth century, women in south India also began writing novels and short stories. A reason for the popularity of novels among women was that it allowed for a new conception of womanhood. Stories of love – which was a staple theme of many novels – showed women who could choose or refuse their partners and relationships. It showed women who could to some extent control their lives. Some women authors also wrote about women who changed the world of both men and women.
(iv) Novels for low castes and peasants :
From the 1920s, in Bengal too a new kind of novel emerged that depicted the lives of peasants and ‘low’ castes. Advaita Malla Burman’s (1914-51) Titash Ekti Nadir Naam (1956) is an epic about the Mallas, a community of fisherfolk who live off fishing in the river Titash. The novel is about three generations of the Mallas, about their recurring tragedies and the story of Ananta, a child born of parents who were tragically separated after their wedding night. Ananta leaves the community to get educated in the city. The novel describes the community life of the Mallas in great detail, their Holi and Kali Puja festivals, boat races, bhatiali songs, their relationships of friendship and animosity with the peasants and the oppression of the upper castes.
(v) The novel and nation making : Many novelists wrote about Marathas and Rajputs. These novels produced sense of a pan Indian belonging. The imagined nation of the novel was so powerful that it could inspire actual political movements. Bankim’s Anandamath (1882) is a novel about a secret Hindu militia that fights Muslims to establish a Hindu kingdom. It was a novel that inspired many kinds of freedom fighters.
Q.18. Explain the contribution of Premchand in Hindi novels. [CBSE Sept. 2010, 2011, 2013]
Which is the most popular novel written by Premchand ? When was it published ? Write its theme. [CBSE 2008 (O)]
“It was with the writings of Premchand that Hindi novel achieved excellence.” Justify the statement. [CBSE 2013]
Ans. (i) Munshi Premchand was one of the greatest literary figures of the modern Hindi and Urdu literature. It was with the writing of Premchand that the Hindi novel matured into greatness.
(ii) He began writing in Urdu, and then shifted to Hindi. Premchand drew on the traditional art of kissa-goi (story telling).
(iii) Before Munshi Premchand, the Hindi literature was confined to the tales, the stories of magical powers and other such escapist fantasies. His novel, Sewasadan (The Abode of Service), published in 1916, lifted the Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy. Sewasadan deals mainly with the poor condition of women in the society.
(iv) Premchand wrote on the realistic issues of the day, i.e., communalism, corruption, zamindari, debt, poverty, colonialism, etc.,
Q.19. “Premchand’s novels are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels of the society.” Support the statement by giving suitable examples. [CBSE 2009 (D), Sept. 2012]
Why is Godan considered an epic on Indian peasantry ? Explain. [CBSE Sept. 2010]
Briefly explain the theme of the novel ‘Godan’ written by Munshi Premchand. [CBSE Sept. 2010]
Drawn from various strata of society, Prem Chand’s characters create a community based on democratic value(s), substantiate the above statement with examples from any of his novels. [CBSE Sept. 2011]
Ans. (i) Sewasadan : In his novel Sewasadan, Munshi Premchand deals mainly with the poor condition of the Indian women in the society. He also exposes the double standards of the upper class of the era.
(ii) Rangbhoomi : His novel, Rangbhoomi centring around the exploitation of peasants of India during the British rule brings out the suffering of ordinary farmers and depicts the inhumanity of the colonial rule. The novel is not only valuable for its literary worth but also for the representation of the social and economic conditions of the underprivileged sections of the society. He has chosen Surdas, a visually impaired beggar from a so-called ‘untouchable’ caste as his hero which is very significant. While dealing with the pain and agony of common people under foreign rule, it focuses attention on the powerful current of nationalism which eventually shook the foundation of the British empire and brought us our independence.
(iii) Godan : Godan (The gift of cow), published in 1936, is considered the greatest Hindi novel of modern Indian literature. The novel’s theme revolves around the socio-economic condition of the Indian peasantry. Landlords, moneylenders, priests and colonial bureaucrats – all those who hold power in society form a network of oppression to exploit the poor peasants. The protagonist, Hori, a poor peasant, desperately longs for a cow, a symbol of wealth and prestige in rural India. Hori gets a cow but pays with his life for it. After his death, the village priests demand a cow from his widow to bring his soul to peace.
Q.20. Explain how the writings of Munshi Premchand promoted the sense of nationalism among the Indians.
How did the novels of Munshi Premchand promote the feeling of nationalism ? Explain. [CBSE Sept. 2010, 2011]
Ans. (i) Munshi Premchand’s novels are filled with all kinds of powerful characters drawn from all levels of the society. In his novels, one can meet aristocrats and landlords, middle- level peasants and landless labourers, middle-class professionals, and people from all the sections of the society.
(ii) The women characters are strong individuals, especially those who come from the lower classes, and are not modernised.
(iii) Premchand’s novels look towards the future without forgetting the importance of the past.
(iv) Drawn from various stratas of the society, Premchand’s characters create a community based on democratic values. The central character of his novel Rangbhoomi (The Arena), Surdas, is a visually impaired beggar from a so-called ‘untouchable’ caste. One can see Surdas struggling against the forcible takeover of his land for establishing a tobacco factory.
(v) Godan (The Gift of Cow), published in 1936, remains Premchand’s best-known work. It is an epic of the Indian peasantry. The novel tells the moving story of Hori, and his wife, Dhania, a peasant couple, who fought against landlords, moneylenders, priests and the colonial bureaucrats.
Q.21. What are the main features of novel ‘Sewasadan’ written by Munshi Premchand? Mention any three. [CBSE 2012]
Ans. (i) The Sewasadan (The Abode of Service), published in 1916, lifted the Hindi novel from the realm of fantasy, moralising and simple entertainment to a serious reflection on the lives of ordinary people and social issues.
(ii) Sewasadan deals mainly with the poor condition of women in society.
(iii) Issues like child marriage and dowry are woven into the story of the novel.
(iv) It also tells us about the ways in which the Indian upper classes used whatever little opportunities they got from colonial authorities to govern themselves.