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A Brief History

The suggestion to set up a Munshi Premchand Archives and Literary Centre was first articulated by Prof. Mushirul Hasan, Former Vice Chancellor, JMI at the Convocation in 2004 in the presence of the former President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and the Union Minister Shri Arjun Singh. To quote from the
Vice - Chancellor's Report 2004:

“The nation will observe the year 2005 as the 125th birth Anniversary of Munshi Premchand. In popular consciousness, Premchand is considered the father of the Hindi / Urdu novel and among the Hindi / Urdu - speaking population enjoys a prime position as a writer whose deep understanding and sensitive articulation of contemporary social life is unparalleled. His writing is the most authentic document of rural life in India in its reach as well as depth.

Apart from being a great writer, Premchand's writings have influenced social, political and cultural consciousness in India at a popular level. In order to capture the essence of the anti - colonial struggle of the Indian people, there cannot be a bigger treasure than the life and work of Premchand, also one of the most secular icons of the times.

It is indeed regrettable that we have not built an archive on Premchand to collect and preserve this great legacy. Manuscripts, photographs, his writings - published and unpublished – works on him and his work, translations, etc. should all be housed at one place. As a representative institution of that legacy as well as the composite culture of Urdu and Hindi, there is no better place to locate this archive than Jamia. Moreover, he wrote his best – known short story 'Kafan' in Jamia. It was published in the journal Jamia and introduced to the world of literature thereafter.”

This suggestion was subsequently widely welcomed in academic and intellectual circles, and it was generally appreciated that a secular institution such as the Jamia Millia Islamia should take the initiative to remember and celebrate a secular icon such as Premchand in so befitting a manner.

The Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Human Resource Development, at the Vice-Chancellor's request, responded very encouragingly by granting a substantial aid, The Jamia's Premchand Archives & Literary Centre was set up in 2006 with amalgamation of Jamia Archives.

Appeals had also been issued through newspapers to the public at large to come forward and donate any scrap of material they might have - on Premchand in particular and major Urdu and Hindi writers in general.