Consisting of twelve fully illustrated short stories, The Oxford India Illustrated Premchand looks at the village and the small town in India - focal points offering Premchand a fascinating stage for the interplay of diverse personalities. Human suffering, crushing poverty, and brutal exploitation by landowners, moneylenders, and others occupying positions of power (A Catastrophe, The Power of a Curse); caste snobbery, and gender discrimination (The Thakur's Well); the proverbial cunning of the peasant (The Road to Salvation) - these are some of the darker themes explored in the volume. But side by side we have stories celebrating the victory of renunciation over selfish temptation (Festival of Eid) and the close companionship of man and animal (The Story of Two Bullocks, January Night); gently satirizing human foibles (A Lesson in the Holy Life, My Big Brother); and often revealing the unpredictable nature of human behavior (Penalty, A Car-Splashing, The Naïve Friend). A virtual Chiaroscuro. Premchand continues to interest us today because the significance of his works extends far beyond his won era and its immediate context. The originality and clarity of his vision, and his ability to dramatize universal human problems reveal his deep compassion, humor, and psychological understanding of human nature. The book is designed to appeal equally to young readers who will find the stories interesting and the illustrations delightful, as also enthusiasts of Indian literature and culture, and general readers.