नाथूराम प्रेमी (जन्म- 26 नवम्बर, 1881)

November 26, 2017

नाथूराम प्रेमी (जन्म- 26 नवम्बर, 1881, मध्य प्रदेश; मृत्यु- 30 जनवरी, 1960, महाराष्ट्र) प्रसिद्ध लेखक, कवि, भाषाविद और सम्पादक थे। वे अपनी रचनाएँ 'प्रेमी' उपनाम से लिखते थे। नाथूराम जी ने संस्कृत, बंगला, मराठी और गुजराती भाषाओं का अच्छा ज्ञान प्राप्त किया। उन्होंने मौलिक ग्रंथों के प्रकाशन के साथ-साथ भारतीय भाषाओं, विशेषत: बंगला के मूर्धन्य साहित्यकारों की रचनाओं के अनुवाद प्रकाशित करके हिन्दी के भंडार को भरने का सराहनीय कार्य सम्पन्न किया था।


नाथूराम प्रेमी का जन्म 26 नवम्बर, सन 1881 ई. में मध्य प्रदेश के सागर ज़िले में 'देवरी' नामक स्थान पर हुआ था। इनके पिता का नाम टुंडेलाल मोदी था, जो लेन-देन का कार्य करते थे। अपने स्कूली दिनों में नाथूराम जी कक्षा के मॉनीटर थे। एक समय पिता के लेन-देन के काम में इतना घाटा हुआ कि साहूकर ने चूल्हे में चढ़ा दाल का बर्तन तक कुर्की में उठा लिया। इस गरीबी में पले नाथूराम प्रेमी ने प्रशिक्षण लेकर गाँव की अध्यापकी से अपना व्यावसायिक जीवन आरंभ किया। उस समय उन्हें सात रुपए मासिक वेतन मिलता था।


नाथूराम जी का विवाह 'रमा देवी' से सम्पन्न हुआ था, जो निकट के गाँव सरखेड़ा, ज़िला सागर की रहने वाली थीं।


आगे के दिनों में नाथूराम प्रेमी को अमीर अली मीर के संपर्क में आने का अवसर मिला। इससे उनके अंदर कविता करने का शौक़ पैदा हुआ। वे 'प्रेमी' के उपनाम से कविताएँ लिखने लगे, जो 'रसिक मित्र', 'काव्य सुधाकर' आदि पत्रों में प्रकाशित हुईं। लेकिन उनका कवि रूप अल्पकालिक रहा। वे 'मुंबई प्रांतिक दिगंबर जैन सभा' में लिपिक रूप में काम करने के लिए मुंबई चले गए। यहाँ प्रेमी जी को विकास का प्रचुर अवसर मिला। उन्होंने संस्कृत, बंगला, मराठी और गुजराती भाषाओं का ज्ञान प्राप्त किया। 'जैन मित्र' नामक पत्र के संपादक भी वही थे। फिर स्वाभिमान पर चोट आते देखकर वे संस्था से अलग हो गए।[2]


उस समय मुंबई में 'जैन ग्रंथ रत्नाकर कार्यालय' नामक एक जैन संस्था साहित्य का प्रकाशन करती थी। यहाँ से 'जैन हितैषी' नामक मासिक पत्रिका भी प्रकाशित होती थी। नाथूराम प्रेमी इस संस्था में काम करने लगे। इस बीच उन्हें विविध प्रकार की पुस्तकें पढ़ने का अवसर मिला। उन्हीं में एक पुस्तक थी "स्वाधीनता"। यह जॉन स्टुअर्ट मिल के प्रसिद्ध ग्रंथ 'लिबर्टी' का महावीर प्रसाद द्विवेदी द्वारा किया हुआ अनुवाद था। नाथूराम जी जैन समाज की रूढ़ियाँ कम करने के लिए इस ग्रंथ की प्रतियाँ उसमें वितरित करना चाहते थे। यह ज्ञात होने पर कि पुस्तक उपलब्ध नहीं है, महावीर प्रसाद द्विवेदी से अनुमति लेकर उन्होंने स्वयं इसे प्रकाशित करने का निश्चय किया। इस प्रकार 'स्वाधीनता' के प्रकाशन के साथ 24 सितंबर, 1921 ई. को 'हिन्दी ग्रंथ रत्नाकर माला' का आरंभ हुआ। इस प्रकाशन संस्थान ने मौलिक ग्रंथों के प्रकाशन के साथ-साथ भारतीय भाषाओं, विशेषत: बंगला के मूर्धन्य साहित्यकारों की रचनाओं के अनुवाद प्रकाशित करके हिन्दी के भंडार को भरने का स्तुत्य कार्य किया।


Nathuram Premi was a writer, publisher, poet, editor, linguist and an intellectual giant in the field of Jainism as well as Hindi literature. A budding poet, he wrote under the nom de plume of "Premi". Although belonging to the Digambara sect of Jainism, he adopted a non-sectarian attitude and published and translated many Digambara as well as Śvetāmbara works. Working as a clerk in a firm in Mumbai he rose to establish his own publishing house and bookstore Hindi Granth Ratnākar Kāryālay which published works of many of the biggest names in Indian literature, including Munshi Premchand, Hajariprasad Dvivedi, Jainendrakumar, Yashpal, Swami Satyabhakta, Sharatchandra Chatterjee and Rabindranath Tagore. The bookshop and publishing house now called Hindi Granth Karyalay is now being managed by his grandson and great-grandson 100 years after its establishment.



Born on 26 November 1881 in Deori, in the district of Sagar in Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Nāthūrām Premī was the eldest child of Tundelal Modi, a travelling merchant of modest means, belonging to the Paravāra community of Digambara Jains hailing from Bundelkhand. He studied in grammar school and was the monitor of his class. He cleared his pre-high school exams in 1898 and became a schoolteacher nearby at Rehli. In the late 1890s, he married Rama Devi, who was from the nearby village of Sarkheda, in the district of Sagar.



In 1901, the Digambara Jain Tīrthakṣetra Committee, Mumbai, released an advertisement for an office clerk. Nāthūrām Premī sent in an application for the post and his beautiful handwriting won the job for him. He arrived in Mumbai in 1901, and started working for the Digambara Jain Tīrthakṣetra Committee as a clerk. Soon he was running the entire office – right from handling accounts and correspondence to general administration and handling the safe. However, a complaint against him resulted in the audit of his books and cash balances. When his name was cleared,[citation needed] Nāthūrām Premī decided not to work for anyone who questioned his honesty and quit the job. The owner of Hirabaug, Seth Manikchandra asked the young Nāthūrām Premī to take up rooms at the Hirabaug Dharmashala at the heart of the Mumbai market and start his business from there. He accepted the offer and together with Pannalal Bakhliwal started the Jain Granth Ratnākar Kāryālay in 1906.



Nāthūrām Premī excelled in the field of literature as a poet, editor, writer and publisher earning respect and affection of his contemporaries like Munshi Premchand, Mahaviraprasad Dwivedi, Rahul Sankrityayan, Pandit Sukhlalji, Muni Jinavijayaji, Ganeshprasadji Varni, Pandit Becharadasji Doshi, Pandit Agarchand Nahata and Dr Dalsukh Malvania.[1] Premiji and Munshi Premchand were close friends, and he published the first edition of Munshi Premchand's classic novel, Godān. He also published Premchand's short story collections entitled Nava Nidhi and Sapta Saroj.



Under the editorship of Premiji, Jain Mitra became a progressive magazine challenging the Jain community to change with the times and give up its orthodoxy. Jain Mitra became a masthead for all those who wanted the Jain community to move forward. He was at the centre of this movement for social freedom, universal progress and modern education. He also began advocating widow remarriage. This was unheard of in the conservative Jain community of that time and there was much opposition. But other Jain reformers, such as Kṣullaka Ganeshprasadji Varni of Bundelkhand, publicly backed Premiji. In 1914, Premiji and Varniji both addressed a rally at Sonagiri, a Digambara Jain place of pilgrimage in Bundelkhand, where they publicly declared their support for widow remarriage.


"During his formative years, he had been exposed to narrow traditional culture traits. Nevertheless, his social convictions had become extremely progressive, similar to his religious convictions. Thus, in his household, there was never the confining custom of women covering their faces. Hem Chandra's wife Champa, who was quite young and pretty, had as much freedom to conduct herself in the presence of all as did Ramabahin, or Hem Chandra, or Premiji himself. Premiji was a reformer in the true sense. He had his own brother married the second time to a widow, without any concern about the wrath of the orthodox traditionalist. Observing the conduct of Champa with Premiji, a stranger could not tell that she was his daughter-in-law. He/she would think that Champa was his only daughter – close to his heart. It was an atmosphere of complete freedom around Premiji. Orthodox and reformer, both will agree wholeheartedly that Premiji personified Ajātaśatru – a personality in Buddhist literature who embodied freedom, open-mindedness and generosity, who was appreciated by all."


In 1946, a grand luncheon was organised in Kolkatta to commemorate the release of a festschrift in his honour, titled "Premī Abhinandana Grantha". However Premiji refused to attend as in that year Bengal had suffered a great famine and he could not accept the invitation for a grand luncheon when there were thousands of people in Bengal dying of starvation.