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Premchand quits his Job

Did you know that, inspired by the Non-cooperation Movement, the Hindi writer Premchand decided to give up his job? But it wasn't such an easy decision. Here's how it happened, narrated by his wife.

It was 1920. Non-cooperation was in the air. Gandhiji came to Gorakhpur. He (Premchand, that is) was ill. Even then, our two sons, Babuji and I went to the meeting. Both of us were deeply affected by Mahatmaji's speech. Of course there was illness. There were compulsions. But from that very time he lost interest in continuing in his government job When he had recovered from his long illness he said to me one day, "If you agree I will leave this government job."

I asked for two to three days time to think it over. We had thought that he would become a professor, that our days would pass in comfort. More so, because his health had not been very good. And now this idea of simply letting go whatever had been attained.

At that time he got an overall amount of around Rs. 125. And because he taught in a school, he also got time at home. I kept thinking: what will we do once he gives up his service. Looking at our needs, his prolonged illness, the fact that we had no house of our own, all this made me feel like telling him not to resign.

Four to five days later he asked me what I had decided. I thought, now that he is better, I will not worry about his giving up the job. In just those days, too, everyone was seething with anger at the gruesome massacre at Jallianwala Bagh. Perhaps I was too.

By the next day I had braced myself to face all those difficulties which were bound to come in the wake of his resignation. I said to him, "Give up the job." I had thought it would be painful leaving a job he had had for twenty-five years. But no, compared to the oppression being wreaked on the country, it was almost no pain at all.