Twilight in Delhi – Ahmed Ali – Summary and Analysis

Read our detailed notes on the novel Twilight in Delhi by Ahmed Ali. Our notes cover Twilight in Delhi summary and analysis.

Twilight in Delhi: Introduction

  • Twilight in Delhi is an authentic novel by Pakistani author Ahmed Ali. The setting of the novel is mid of the 1910s British-possessed India.
  • The plot of the novel revolves around old Delhi and the Muslim occupants of the city.
  • The protagonist of the novel is Mir Nihal, a Muslim man who encounters emotional changes throughout his life and the lives of his family amid this period.
  • The plot moves on as the child Asghar of Mir Nihal battles with issues in his marriage, India experiences its very own noteworthy change as King George is named the leader of a recently vanquished India, and the transcendence of Delhi starts to blur.
  • The novel deals with the topics of imperialism, estrangement, sexual orientation jobs, sentimentality, and the progression of time and realms.
  • Twilight in Delhi Ahmad Ali’s maiden novel and is questionable for its candid portrayal of the negative impacts of British expansionism.

 Twilight in Delhi: Summary

  • Twilight in Delhi starts on a sweltering summer evening as Mir Nahal returns home to discover his wife alert and awake.
  • She needs to discuss the marital bonds of their two kids.
  • Mir Nihal demands their child, Asghar, must be married first.
  • In the meanwhile, they are hindered by a snake sneaking into Mir’s pigeons’ quarters.
  • After Mir pursues it off, Asghar arrives home.
  • He is scorned by his father for his English design.
  • Asghar leaves.
  • Asghar is overwhelmed by Bilqeece, a young lady from a lower class. Asghar knows his father will never favor of their marriage.
  • He contacts his more established sister, Begam Waheed, to enable him to put forth the defense to his folks.
  • He tells his sister that he would preferably bite the dust than live without his adored Bilqeece.
  • Begam Waheed converses with their mother, Begam Nihal, to request her assistance.
  • In spite of the fact that she is doubtful, Begam Nihal consents to help since she’s stressed over her child.
  • When she converses with Mir Nihal, he ends up furious on the grounds that he’s concerned that this will demolish the family’s reputation.
  • Their worker, Dilchain, catches and discloses this to Begam Jamal, Begam Nihal’s sister-in-law.
  • In spite of the fact that she brags to her sister-in-law over the family’s incident, she likewise offers to help orchestrate the marriage without Mir’s favoring.
  • Asghar goes to visit his fancy woman, Mushtari Bai, alongside his companion.
  • The companion uncovers Asghar’s affection for Bilqeece, which makes Mushtari end up desirous as she’s infatuated with Asghar herself.
  • Asghar goes home and discovers that his mom has consented to enable him to wed Bilqeece.
  • Begam Waheed proposes that Asghar come back with her to her home in Bhopal to endure the time before he can wed Bilqeece.
  • After some time, Mir Nihal returns home to discover his family experiencing heat infection.
  • The warmth is extreme to the point that few of his adored pigeons have passed on.
  • He purchases new ones at the market, and one of his hirelings touched base in a rush to uncover to him that his special lady, Babban Jan, is kicking the bucket.
  • He hustles to her home, neglecting to bolt the pigeon coop.
  • He comes back to find that Babban Jan has passed away only minutes earlier.
  • Lamenting, he gives her mother some cash before taking off.
  • At home, he finds that his pigeons were slaughtered by a stray cat. Discouraged, he chooses the time has come to resign and let Asghar settle on his own choices about who he needs to wed.
  • After retirement, he invests energy concentrating on his old side interest of Alchemy.
  • This is when King George is delegated King of Britain and in that capacity controls over India.
  • Mir Nihal and his family go to the motorcade, however, Mir Nihal has a flashback to the fierce takeover of India by the British.
  • Pardoning himself, he strolls home and goes over a poor person who he understands is one of India’s previous rulers.
  • He gives the man cash before strolling home, pondering the adjustments throughout his life.
  • Asghar and Bilqeece get married in an intricate, days-long service, and somewhat damaged by an individual from Asghar’s family offending the lady of the bride`s family.
  • Toward the end of the marriage ceremony, Bilqeece’s family mournfully says farewell to her as she leaves to be with Asghar.
  • The marriage has a few issues from the beginning, with the two getting themselves unbalanced around one another and Bilqeece not feeling comfortable around her better half’s family.
  • She attempts to fit in, trying to satisfy Asghar`s father Mir Nihal, yet there’s little outcome.
  • Asghar thinks about whether there is a genuine start between them, however, when they discuss getting their own particular home and Asghar getting a position, things move forward.
  • They move out and get their own particular place, filling it with English things.
  • This causes contention with their families. Soon after the marriage they have a little girl named Jehan Ara.
  • Bilqeece’s father passes away and she goes into a wretchedness, and this causes more clash between them.
  • Soon after the death of her father, she catches tuberculosis and passes away.
  • Asghar is left to be a single parent to their little girl.
  • Bilqeece’s more youthful sister Zohra causes him, and he before long ends up charmed by her.
  • At first it’s not common, but rather she in the end restores his emotions. They keep their relationship hidden at first, however soon Asghar converses with her family about wedding her.
  • They concur, yet Begam Jamal gets in touch with them with points of interest of how Asghar treated Bilqeece amid their marriage.
  • Zohra’s mother declines to acknowledge the marriage.
  • In the meantime, Asghar’s more seasoned sibling Habibuddin returns home as he experiences a disease.
  • Mir Nihal is overcome with melancholy as he sees India slide into bedlam in the meantime his oldest child dies.
  • After the burial ceremony, Asghar gets a letter from Zohra, disclosing to him she’s being offered to another person.
  • He’s left with a broken heart.
  • Mir Nihal comes back to his room and thinks about all the incident that has happened to his family, and passes on in his rest.

Twilight in Delhi: Themes

Personal Identity:

In “Twilight in Delhi” memory is seen both as wellspring of individual character and as a weight averting to achieve joy. Each character is associated with a battle to recollect however more vitally in a battle to overlook certain parts of their past. Mir Nihal the hero of the novel needs to look for asylum before. He needs to live in past not is available. Alternate characters, similar to Begum Nihal, Begum Jamal and the senior children of Mir Nihal, every one of them found in battling condition. The glory and magnificent Muslim’s past, in which they were rulers not wipe out from Mir Nihal and his family’s brain, as Asgher appeared to be defiant yet toward the finish of the novel he was gotten in the trap of pitiless and callous destiny. The city “Delhi” had confronted the ascent and fall of numerous Kings and princes.But now the present situation has rudely changed individuals who were rulers now they are under the control of pilgrim powers. So Mir Nihal can’t overlook the loftiness of past. With the entry of the British provincial powers in the sub-mainland everything had changed. Individuals who were ongoing in living under the rulers were not ready to confront a change. The hero of the Novel Mir Nihal never ready to remunerate with the new customs. Britishers offered change to their style of living and the administration structure however he needs to live as indicated by the past.


Sex is the most essential theme of the novel. Mir, Asgher and every one of the ladies characters in the novel are sexually stifled figures. Mir Nihal, a tall great looking and vigorous man, urgently needs a lady who knows well the craft of sex and the specialty of catching man. So Babban Jan, a young lady gave him every one of these delights and when she kicked the bucket his entire world unhinged. He felt a sort of motion in his life, which can’t be full-filled. He had additionally sexual relations with Dilchain. Begum Nihal’s fight with her better half demonstrates that Mir Nihal’s sexual hunger was not satisfied from Begum Nihal.

It was an uncontrolled pattern in the Delhi that male society went to whores and when they wound up ongoing of them then they were not pleasing with their spouses since they were not skillful in the craft of catching man through sexy ways. So the majority of the men had not time for their spouses.

Asgher additionally had an escort Mushtari Bai. She was a youthful, lovely, interesting and enchanting young lady. Asgher frequently went to her Kotha and ended up ongoing of her. Be that as it may, when he saw Bilqeece he charmed by her outrageous magnificence. He urgently needs to wed her and after colossal sum hesitance from Mir Nihal he prevails to wed with her. In any case, he feels that she needs sexual comprehension. So Bilqeece can’t ready to feel the bay between them. So she can’t comprehend why her significant other went out for a considerable length of time. In any case, begum shahbaz feeling the genuine issue meddles yet Asgher can’t deal with the entire issue.

The entire Mir Nihal, s family speak to the Muslim class of India and all through India they have a similar way of life. Men regularly satisfy their sexual hungers to go to the whores and ladies stayed oblivious in light of the fact that they had no information about what is happening there.

Decay of Muslim Civilization:

One of the real subjects is the passing ceaselessly of Muslims human advancement in India. Twilight in Delhi fundamentally demonstrated the root of the Muslim human progress. Muslims governed on India from numerous hundreds of years yet with the landing of Britishers, the entire progress needed to confront a colossal set back. Mir Nihal, who lived in the dreams of unbelievable past, not ready to oblige with the current condition. His appearance and mentality speak to the Muslims people group of that time. Which can’t live as indicated by the changed conditions since they felt this is the most embarrassing condition for the Muslims. Like Niven says: “Despite the rhapsodic treatment of Asgher’s love Bilqeece (Ali’s own wife is called Bilqeece), the autumnal mood at the covel’s close the grief-stricken regrets for the Mughal past and the frequent coherence in his prose style, Ali writes less from a romantic than a classic stand point. He recognizes the immutability of the basic elements in human life individual remains the same in every age.”

Twilight in Delhi: Characters

Character of Mir Nihal:

He is almost sixty-two whose outward appearance is a photo of Muslims loftiness which they had in past yet internally he couldn’t fathom the genuine situation. He is the agent of the regal Muslim class. It appears that Ahmed Ali made this character before composing this novel, there is no further extension for any major change in it. Mir Nihal is appeared as a “honorable”.

The idea of this character is absolutely uninvolved. He has just enthusiasm forever: his pigeons and his escort Babban Jan. The inactivity lies in his unwelcoming mind in understanding the adjustment in environment. He felt that he stayed everlasting as the Muslims thought in past that their nobility remained perpetually, yet when the frontier powers came in the sub – mainland they had changed the whole air. The matter of Asgher’s marriage is the most pivotal minute in his life when he demonstrated his refusal then the entire family betrayed his choice, and it was the start of progress. I had never affirmed of Ashfaq’s marriage to Mirza Shahbaz’s little girl,’ Mir Nihal said furiously. ‘Furthermore, I don’t endorse of Asghar’s companionship with Bundoo. For what reason don’t you stop him?’

However, Mir Nihal not ready to stop the change and a period came when the ladies of the family themselves chooses to make stride; “The best activity is to settle the thing discreetly. Sibling – in-law will come round at last. On the off chance that you sit tight for his assent nothing will ever fall off… … ” “Begum Nihal appeared to concur with her sister-in-law… ” The entire discourse from begum Jamal has demonstrated the strength to accomplish something against Mir Nihal .The ladies in India has a subordinate position in specific issues like marriage and so on. So they defy the expert.

The snake scene demonstrates his capacity to manage the peril from outside. He demonstrates his indignation on this little intrusion however when his own particular child Asgher indicates insubordinate disposition then he was not ready to demonstrate solid obstruction on the grounds that everything neutralized him.

Babban jan is the most imperative identity in Mir Nihal’s life . She is the image of mettle, love and expectation in his life. He cherished her from the center of his heart however her demise demolished him. “Mir Nihal got up with an overwhelming heart and, giving the old lady some cash, cast a last waiting look at the dead body and left. She who was Babban Jan had gone,. She who brought him here had strolled the method for death, and nothing could breath life into her back again . . ..” He was almost rationally crippled; he cleared out everything in light of the fact that there was nobody who gave him mental and sexual comfort.

The passing of pigeons is one of the serious hits to Mir Nihal. After he came to home and found the space’s entryway open he got terrified yet when he looked in it his entire world sunk in light of the fact that there were couple of pigeons left and others wings and scattered parts of the body were found all over. So his entire world currently lessened to clean. Pigeons, which were his fortune currently executed by the outside powers. His contempt against the British or farangis is peaceful evident all through the novel. More often than not he demonstrates his scornful comments about the British. “You are again wearing those grimy English boots! I don’t care for them. I will have no aping of the Farangis in my home. Discard them! . . . Furthermore, where have you been so late in the night? I have disclosed to you I don’t care for your fellowship with Bundoo. Do you hear? I shouldn’t discover you going there once more.’… … ”

“Twilight in Delhi” is fundamentally a novel about conventions and traditions. The entire novel shows Mir Nihal family’s lives who were the staunch adherents of conventions and traditions. Mir Nihal, the leader of the family and the hero of the novel, is a customary Indian Muslim who consume this existence with a similar thought of greatness and brilliance which the Mughals had in past, he had faith in rank framework, and his invalidation of Asgher’s marriage with Bilqeece is the confirmation of his conviction on imperial blood. His life is an ordinary Indian Muslim’s life who offered significance to the whores not their spouses since what he needs his better half can’t ready to give him.

Mir Nihal’s loss of motion is exceptionally symbolical; it demonstrates the incapacitated state of the Muslims in the realm of British frontier powers. All through the entire novel he demonstrated enormous measure of opposition in receiving change and at last time had confined him in one place and the entire development had changed. Once in the past, he wished to cry over the ups and the downs of life yet at last he doesn’t want to do that. Asgher comes to him wearing English garments yet not by any means protest. His body has just turned out to be deadened; his heart and the psyche are decayed too. The spring of life currently appeared to an end.

To finish up we may state that Mir Nihal is the focal character of the novel. His character depiction is very emblematic. Ahmed Ali spoke to the predicament of the Muslim society through his character.

Character Of Asghar:

Asgher is the second most vital character of the novel. He appeared to be progressive in approach and aim. He is a young fellow of twenty-two and the most youthful child of Mir Nihal. “He (Asgher) is a tall and nice looking young fellow with his hair very much oiled and his red Turkish top positioned at a savvy point on his head. The upper catches of his sherwani are open and demonstrate the neckline of the English shirt that he is wearing under it. He looks a person of good taste, and has a fairly feminine effortlessness about him. What’s more, round his wrist is wrapped a jasmine festoon. As he enters his pumps squeak” The entire appearance of Asgher demonstrates the distinction. He had a place with one of those adolescents whose life is experiencing significant change, they lived in a multicultural society. So Asgher’s appearance demonstrates the eastern and western touch in it .Asgher appeared as the agent of the Indian Muslim youth who are directionless.

Mir Nihal says in a furious tone: ‘You are again wearing those messy English boots! I don’t care for them. I will have no aping of the Farangis is my home. Discard them! … ‘ This announcement from Mir nihal demonstrates that privilege from the earliest starting point Asgher appears to be totally transformed from his family. Asgher is the main child of Mir nihal who demonstrated his supposition to pick lady of the hour himself, on a symbolical level it is a danger to the strength of Mir Nihal. His perspective of wedding Bilqeece demonstrates the defiance from the old universal style of Mir nihal.

Appropriate from the earliest starting point we came to realize that he is an in-satisfied identity. His yearning for sexual delight and closeness can discovered almost in each part of the novel. He felt that there is no joy in his destiny. After the refusal from father’s side about his marriage with Bilqeece; he turn out to be totally frustrated from life dependably stayed discouraged he regularly thought of death. His recalling of the man’s revile:

“Would to god that you, Might also fall in love and suffer, as I am suffering now.

The curse had come true, Asgher thought: and there seemed no way out of it.” Asgher’s restlessness and disappointment can be found in these lines “asgher felt very self –conscious. There was a peculiar sadness in his heart, and he felt restless.”

“ o god, give me death. I am tired of this life…”

“life has become a burden , the time is ripe for death;

The space of existence has shrunk into a narrow cell”

Asghar likes the English design and ways. Despite the fact that, he likewise speaks to Indian Muslim culture in his own particular manner however he has a place with the more youthful age and. Mushtari Bai is his special lady whom he leaves hanging and begins cherishing Bilqeece so seriously. ‘She is lovely, Bari, exceptionally delightful,’ Asghar said. ‘She is agile as a cypress. Her hair is darker than the evening of detachment, and her face is more splendid than the long stretches of adoration. Her eyes resemble narcissi, huge and delightful. There is nectar in their whites and toxic substance in their blacks. Her eyebrows resemble two curved bows prepared to wound the hearts of men with the bolts of their lashes. Her lips are redder than the blood of darlings, and her teeth look like pearls studded in a row…. I reveal to you she is wonderful.’… … .

Ashger frantically needs to wed her and after colossal sum hesitance from Mir Nihal he prevails to wed her. In any case, he feels that Bilqees needs sexual comprehension. So Bilqeece can’t ready to feel the inlet between them. So she can’t comprehend why her better half went out for a considerable length of time. In any case, begum shahbaz feeling the genuine issue meddles however Asgher can’t deal with the entire issue.

It was an uncontrolled pattern in the Delhi that male society went to whores and when they wound up routine of them then they were not pleasing with their spouses since they were not adept in the specialty of catching man through erotic ways. So the majority of the men had not time for their spouses.

The marriage of Asghar is gotten in a disaster and the relations debilitate step by step and after Bilqeece’s demise the entire situation changes. Asghar thinks himelf in charge of her passing however Bilqeece’s more youthful sister Zohra again swings Asghar to the magnificence of life. Zohra, a young lady, brimming with enchanting and appealing magnificence, interests him to wed her yet at last nothing occurs as indicated by his wants.

Ahmed Ali has demonstrated a total picture of sub-mainland unhitched male who is the delegate of the youthful age of the early piece of the twentieth century. his complexed identity, his yearning for genuine closeness and insubordinate state of mind about found all through the entire course of the novel.

Twilight in Delhi: Analysis

  • The name or title of Ahmed Ali’s novel as “Twilight in Delhi” is exceptionally huge in itself. This is the most legitimate and fitting name of the story he has told in the novel. “Twilight” is a word that means the limited ability to focus time that spreads itself between a withering day and rising night similarly as “day break” is the contrary term that implies the demise of the night and the landing of the day. “Twilight in Delhi” manages the diminishing society and development of Muslim India all things considered. In the event that we take Mir Nihal as an image of that culture and so on which he truly is, we can see the human progress disintegrating with our own eyes.
  • Twilight in Delhi gives a wide and sensible perspective of Muslim life set in Delhi.This novel gives a look at the discontent that was blending among the Muslims amid the second decade of the twentieth century. As the title of the novel proposes, the city of Delhi is presently no longer in its apex of grandness and Mir Nihal’s feelings mix the peruser with the dismal sense that soon, Delhi would dive into the haziness of night. Indeed, when the novel finishes, it is both actually and allegorically dim.
  • The novel commits numerous pages to what expansionism has done to the city of Delhi, giving both an all-encompassing and close view. The creator transforms the city into a living element that has been ““mourned and sung, raped and conquered, yet whole and alive, lies indifferent in the arms of sleep”. Lamenting the death of its culture, he cries out, “yet gone is its glory and departed are those from whom it got the breath of life”.

The novel clearly portrays the conflict of two societies; among custom and innovation. The occasions are set in a period when Western methods of living and believing were entering Indian homes and psyches. Mir Nihal, the epitome of the old traditions, is tormented at this “hybrid culture” which is a “hodgepodge of Indian and Western ways which he failed to understand”.