His real name was Dhanpat Rai but he is famous with his pen name of Premchand or Munshi Premchand. He was born in Pandepur , a village near Banaras (now Varanasi). His father Mushi Ajaib Lal was a clerk in the Postal Department. Premchand was just eight years old when his mother died. His grand-mother took the responsiblity of raising him, but she died soon after that.
Meanwhile his father married again and Premchand was left without the love of his father too. His early education was in a madarasa under a Maulavi, where he learnt Urdu. When he was studying in the ninth class he was married, much against his wishes. He was then fifteen. In 1919, while he was a teacher at Gorakhpur, he passed his B.A., with English, Persian and History. He had a second marriage with Shivarani Devi, a child-widow, who wrote a book on him, 'Premchand Gharmein' after his death. Premchand was the first Hindi author to introduce realism in his writings. He pioneered the new art form - fiction with a social purpose. He wrote of the life around him and made his readers aware of the problems of the urban middle-class and the country's villages and their problems. He supplemented Gandhiji's work in the political and social fields by adopting his revolutionary ideas as themes for his literary writings. Premchand was a prolific writer. He has left behind a dozen novels and nearly 250 short stories. Seva Sadan was his first novel. His best known novels are Sevasadan, Rangamanch, Ghaban, Nirmala and Godan. Three of his novels have been made into films. Besides being a great novelist, Premchand was also a social reformer and thinker. Premchand died in 1936 and has since been studied both in India and abroad as one of the greatest writers of the century.