Imagined Rural Landscapes of India’s Heartland

Authors: Ramesh Dhussa*, Drake University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Human-Environment Geography, Environmental Perception
Keywords: Literary geography, India's heartland, Premchand, Rural Landscape
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 1:20 PM / 3:00 PM
Room: Oakley, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Uttar Pradesh (U.P.) is justifiably recognized as the Heartland of India. Ramayan’s (Ramayana’s) Ayodhya and Mahabharat’s (Mahabaharata’s) Hastinapur, both capitals of two historio-mythological epochs are located in this region. The rural landscape images of this region evoked in this present paper is based on selected short stories and novels of India’s renowned fiction writer munshi Premchand. His original name is Shri Dhanpat Rai and, his literary pen name is Premchand or Munshi Premchand.

Narrative space and environment as depicted in Premchand’s literature portrays authentic and minutest details of human-environment interface, relationship and interaction. A researcher in the field of humanistic literary geography will discover a rich storehouse of images of subtle aspects of human-environment interaction in the fictions of doyen of Hindi-Urdu realist, idealist creative fiction writer of India.

Evocation of rural cultural landscapes of the heartland of India as depicted in the writings of Munshi Premchand is very vivid and not found in the same intensity and full of human feelings and emotions in any other modern literature. Premchand's writings evidences how human being's-farmers and village dwellers- feelings and emotions are charged with attachment and value the rural and agricultural world. Although Premchand's portrayal of rural world takes us back to the times of close to the Pre-independence India, one can still glean the glimpses of the first half of the 20th century rural heartland of India while traversing through the present day Indian heartland environment and, day to day, way of life of the peasants and village dwellers.

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