Social Scientist. v 7, no. 84 (July 1979) p. 32.


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Realism as a Creative Process: Features . of Munshi Premchand's Ideology

ART is one of the many forms of man's creative activity. By stimulating the spiritual development of both man and society, art creates something new in reality itself. A profound knowledge of reality and a genuinely scientific view of the world are required if the artist is to affirm the new and better elements in life. He also needs talent and imagination. The artist's own creative aspirations give his art two distinct aspects: the objective and the subjective-Nevertheless, these two aspects are interconnected. Subject and object stand in a dialectical relation to each other and this relation is the very basis of the creative process. Realistic art grows out of the artist's interaction with objective reality at all levels of the creative process.

In his article in the Social Scientist of October 1976 KP Singh argues that Hindi literary criticism has failed to delineate a clear picture of Premchand's works. However, he says, "It is true that these 'established5 views successfully detract from a proper appreciation of Premchand's writings. His is one of the most powerful and authentic accounts of the national movement and people's life:

their aspirations, struggles, victories and defeats, injustice, exploitation, courage, cowardice, and in particular the community life of rural India, peasant commonsense, non-conformism and sacrifice, all these have been etched with a keen sense of realism."

Fully realizing that continuity can be simple or complex, evident or concealed, internal or external, progressive or reactionary, Premchand's awareness of the laws of social and economic development and the ability to combine cultural continuity with rejection of ideological compromise, make it possible for him to avoid both an unjustified isolationism and an unprincipled] cultural omnivorousness. It is this awareness which enabled Premchand (as Singh rightly notes) to "recognize the hollowness of the capitalist promises of Swaraj and see through the ruthlessness and inhumanity of capitalism and warn the people against it."



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