Twilight in Delhi as an Elegy

Topics: Mughal Empire, Urdu, Delhi Pages: 35 (11755 words) Published: October 19, 2014

Topic: Ahmed Ali’s Twilight in Delhi as an Elegy



2 Ahmed Ali earned for himself international fame and acclaim on the publication of his magnum opus, Twilight in Delhi. In this novel, he has portrayed the decay and demise of indigenous culture of the Muslims of Delhi and the ruin and demolition of old Delhi. Critics have analyzed Twilight in Delhi as a social chronicle. They have also examined it as a novel written on the theme of Imperialism, but very few analysts have focused on this novel as an elegy. It would be quite interesting and illuminating to the readers and to the reviewers to analyze this novel from a new angle: as an elegiac novel. Hence, the prime purpose and drive of this study is to prove, with the help of textual evidence, that Twilight in Delhi is a multi-dimensional elegy in narrative form, far removed from classical elegy written in poetic form. In Twilight in Delhi, Ahmed Ali’s prime emphasis is on the depiction of the demise and decline of Muslim culture in Delhi. Although Hindus and Muslims lived together in Delhi, yet Ahmed Ali laid emphasis on the customs and rites of Muslims in Delhi. In this novel, death, marriage and birth are the basic concepts that are expounded by Ahmed Ali. He has given a detailed description of all these aspects of society. He has put forth the moments of merriment and sorrow side by side in Twilight in Delhi, which is a deviation from the modus operandi of the classical elegy. It’s a peculiar distinction of this Muslim author hailing from India/Pakistan. Society plays a role of backbone in survival of a prosperous state because it is basic support in maintaining a good system of any society. Culture of any society is also of a great importance as it can be considered a root of the identity of any society. The decline of culture from a society is a huge loss of its moral principles and values. The word Twilight means the time when light becomes dim, less or it can be the death of light. The same sense has been presented in the novel as it gives the demise of Muslim culture in Delhi. Twilight in Delhi shows decline of Muslim's way of living, their mod of thinking and their whole lifestyle. Ali shows their values decaying and vanishing in true sense. He has narrated a complete detail about decaying culture and rituals of Muslims living in Delhi. Their basic principles and customs become ambiguous. When the novel starts we observe a society having their religious customs but with the passage of time these customs face serious decline and they go to astray. People only talk about religion but there is no practice. They only pretend to have a religion but do not follow its instructions. In the novel, people are going to mosques and offering their prayers but inwardly they are not satisfied and do not know the real meanings of their prayers. They are not familiar with its basic concepts. It would not be wrong to say that the decline of Muslim culture can be due to their carelessness with the religion because religion holds a great importance in maintenance of a peaceful society. Muslims used to live with the Hindus and they adopted a large number of Hindu culture and their customs. They were greatly influenced by the Hindus. Ahmed Ali wrote this novel successfully by giving his realistic ideas of the society of Muslims in Delhi. The whole 3 story of this novel moves around Mir Nihal's family. Ali has presented...

Cited: Ali, Ahmed. Twilight in Delhi, 1940, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1991.
Gokak, Vinayak Krishna. The Concept of Indian Literature, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 1979.
Mukherjee, Meenakshi. The Perishable Empire: Essays on Indian Writing in English. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000.
Raizada, Harish. “Ahmed Ali”. Indian English Novelists: An Anthology of Critical Essays. Ed.
Madhusudan Prasad. New Delhi, Bangalore, Jullundur: Sterling Publishers’ Private Ltd., 1982. 1-22.
Satchidanandan, K. Indian Literature: Positions and Propositions. Delhi : Pencraft International, 1999.Twilight in Delhi : Decay of a city and a family
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