The following information is from this website: http://www.indiaheritage.com/creative/litra/p_chand.htm
Poet, novelist and writer of short stories in Hindi as well as Urdu, Premchand was born on 31 July 1880 in the village Lamahi near Benares. Premchand is a pseudonym;he was actually called Navab or Dhanpat. His father was a poorly-paid postal employee and he lost his mother when only eight. He was married at the early age of fifteen but that marriage did not work out and he later married a second time. This time the marriage was stable. Shivrani Devi, a balavidhava or child widow, bore him several children, and supported him in all his struggles.
After matriculation in 1898, Premchand took up school-teaching in 1899, and with breaks in time and shifts from place to place, teaching remained his profession. Among his works are the novels Prema (Hindi, 1907, translated from Urdu Ham Khurma o Ham Sawab), Vardaan(Hindi, Jalwa-e-Isar in Urdu), Sevadadan (Hindi, Bazar-e-Hisn in Urdu), Remashrama (Hindi,Gosha-e-Afiyat in Urdu), Pratijnan, Nirmala, Gaban, Rangabhumi, Kayakalpa, Karmabhumi, Godaan and the unfinished Magalsutra. He wrote several memorable short stories like `Kafan', many of them brought together in collections, for example Soz-e-vatan. Premchand wrote on social issues like child widowhood, prostitution, exploitation of the peasant by the landlord and on the freedom movement taking place all around him.His solutions were idealistic, but his great contribution lies in posing the question at that point in time, and through the medium of novels and short stories which had till then been restricted to romance. Premchand used literature for the importance purpose of arousing public awareness about national and social issues.
As Amrit Rai, a biographer has put it, Premchand " created the genre of the serious novel and the serious short story in two languages, Hindi and Urdu." His magnum opus is considered to be Godaan (now published in English as The Gift of a Cow in UNESCO's Asian Literature Series). Premchand chaired the first all-India conference of the Indian Progressive Writers' Association in April 1936 at Lucknow. The continual struggle that he had had to make for a living had however worn him down, and Premchand succumbed to his gastric ulcer, dropsy and cirrhosis of the liver on 8 October 1936.
The following information is from this website: http://www.tagore.com/premchand/premchand-bio.html
Supplied by Savithri Machiraju (from the bio notes in one of his books):
"Premchand was born on July 31, 1880 in a village called "Lamahi", about four miles from the city of Benares, to an ordinary working family. HIs father, Munshi Azaayab Lal, was a village postmaster. Premchand lost his mother in his seventh year. His father married again. His elder sister was, to an extent, able to fill the gap left by his mother.
"Munshiji was subject to transfers frequently. Premchand also had to travel to many towns along with him. They could not settle down anywhere. Prenchand became acquainted with a bookseller called Buddhi Lal. He used to sit in his shop and read books. Premchand was quite facile in Hindi, Urdu, Parsi, and English.
"He was forced to take on the family responsibilities in his 16th year. He gave up his studies and got a government job as a village school teacher. While working, he studied privately and passed his Intermediate and B. A. examinations.
"Premchand's real name was Nawab Rai or Dhanpath Rai. His book _Soje Vathan_ was banned by the then British government, which burned all of the copies. Therefore, from 1910 he continued to write under the pen name of "Premchand".
"Premchand was a great social reformer; he married a [child?] widow named Shivarani Devi. In 1921 he answered Gandhiji's call and resigned from his job. He worked to generate patriotism and nationalistic sentiments in the general populace. When the editor of the journal _Maryaada_ was jailed in the freedom movement, Premchand worked for a time as the editor of that journal. Afterward, he worked as the principal in a school in the Kashi Vidyapeeth [NB: I don't know if this term is supposed to indicate that it was Vedic School; given the fact of his involvement in the freedom movement, which at that time encouraged its followers to eschew any link with British institutions, this seems likely. -- SM]
"In the course of his work, he traveled through many small villages and towns, where he studied the people's lives and wrote stories, novels, and essays. All the characters in his writings are true-to-life ordinary people. If anyone asked him why he doesn't write anything about himself, this was his answer: "What greatness do I have that I have to tell anyone about? I live just like millions of people in this country; I am ordinary. My life is also ordinary. I am a poor school teacher suffering family travails. During my whole lifetime, I have been grinding away with the hope that I could become free of my sufferings. But I have not been able to free myself from suffering. What is so special about this life that needs to be told to anybody?"
"Premchand's writings have been translated not only into all Indian languages, but also Russian, Chinese, and many other foreign languages. He spent his life as an ordinary school teacher, freedom fighter, social reformer, editor, and author of many great works. He left this world on October 8, 1936; his memory will always be with us."