Ahmed Ali tells his readers a story of a defeated nation while moralising its actions which has a powerful emotional sachem in Twilight in Delhi. At an individual level, the novel tells the story of a Muslim family; however, universality is always there when a writer imitates things. Literature is a representation of life and Ahmed Ali tries to explain the whole philosophy of life in this book, which seems impossible. On many occasions, the readers realise that Ahmed Ali sketches his autobiography. He blows emotions in the story, especially with respect to those who were defeated due to the foreign invasion. Thus, emotions in this novel prevail over philosophy.
Twilight in Delhi is the story of those people, who experience terrible changes. Everyone Muslim family shares the story of Mir Nihal. The novel starts when it was the downfall of the Mughal Empire and the British were ready to rule over the state. Mir Nihal is one of those persons who try to save their identity but faces defeat in the end. Thus, it creates an emotional impact on the minds.
Muslims in those days, have some cultural values and social norms. British colonialism ended everything. It is not the case that the Muslims were defeated only by force but they were defeated morally too. Many people accepted the British invasion. Indeed, there were some who resisted but their resistance was of no value. Mir Nihal belongs to the old generation that is not ready to accept invasion but his son falls in the category of those who accept everything openheartedly.
At the start of the novel, Ahmed Ali portrays Mir Nihal as a young man, having certain principles and values. He tries his best to crush the rebelliousness of his son with an iron hand. But in the end, he meets his own downfall. He accepts defeat just like his culture. Thus, the writer concludes the novel while adding Mir Nihal and his culture to the list of defeated ones. In this way, the story is all about a culture that was defeated once by another. So, the moralising of the defeated is a powerful emotional sachem in Twilight in Delhi.
Ahmed Ali does not express any judgment about what is morally right and wrong. He leaves it to his readers to decide whether Mir Nihal is right or his son Asghar Ali; however, there is an emotional impact. There were people in that era, who always tried to demoralise their rivals. For instance, Khawaja Saheb feels pleasure in the loss of the pigeons of Mir Nihal. Symbolically, it means that when the nation was losing its values, some people were happy. Not all writers pay attention to these details as Ahmed Ali does in Twilight in Delhi.
In addition, all the characters of the novel are emotional in nature. In detail, the writer demonstrates the emotional life of the characters. Mir Nihal is emotionally attached to his pigeons, symbolically which means that he is tied to his culture. Asghar Ali’s emotions are non-practical. Female characters are also emotionally attached to the male figures.
Nonetheless, the most important character in this regard is Mir Nihal. Readers realise that Mir Nihal is not a perfect person. He commits sin even then the readers forgive him. It is because the emotional impact overlaps the morality in the whole novel.
It is a general discussion that Ahmed Ali wrote this novel to show the decay of culture. Thus, the novel is not about colonialism but about the lost values. On the other hand, some are of the view that Ahmed Ali shows the impact of colonialism on the people. Indeed, values have been lost but the reason behind it is colonialism; therefore, it has a direct concern with the novel. Mir Nihal and the Muslim community were defeated due to the British takeover. Things that were a matter of interest at the start of the novel could not be found at the end.
At the start of the novel, some moral values that the writer shows are very close to Muslims. Paralysis attack on Mir Nihal causes the end of these values. It is the technique of symbolism that the writer uses to show a conquered culture.
People follow some social norms to live in society. A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people. Thus, there are always sentiments about cultural values. In the case of Mir Nihal, his people were defeated and Ahmed Ali while moralising it, shows its direct impact on their minds as a powerful emotional sachem in Twilight in Delhi.