Social Scientist. v 24, no. 275-77 (April-June 1996) p. 109.

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Representation of Popular Culture in Premchand's Works

Premchand believed that a writer has a social function to perform. He had adopted realism as a form in literature. To him realism in art was Adarshonmukhi Yatharthvad (idealistic-realism)1 which had an important social function: to contribute to the transformation of society by creating an awareness about the existing conditions and by projecting a vision of the future.2 Premchand's creative efforts were strongly imbued with this social commitment,which perhaps found the best expression in the manner in which he treated the problem of popular classes (subordinate sections of society) in his fiction. This paper attempts to explore the various strands of popular culture and how these are sites of resistance as well as social control.

We begin by taking taking up the theme: Popular Hinduism, specifically pilgrimage, which forms an integral component of some of Premchand's literary productions. C.J.Fuller defines popular Hinduism as:

the beliefs and practices that constitute the living," Practical" religion of the ordinary Hindus...popular Hinduism can be distinguished from "textual Hinduism" in the sacred texts...The sacred texts of Hinduism-and the concepts,ideas and speculations contained in them-are often vitally important to popular religion, and the latter can not be studied successfully unless textual scholarship is taken in to account... Nevertheless, themes central in the scriptures are not always central in ordinary people's beliefs and practices.3

Pilgrimage constitutes an important feature of popular Hinduism. Pilgrimage can be to a distant religious place or to a shrine or any other

Department of History, Arunachal University, Itanagar.

Social Scientist, Vol. 24, Nos. 4-6, April-June 1996

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