Ahmed Ali: A Chronicler of Decaying Cultures
Born on 1 July 1910 in Delhi , Ahmed Ali earned early reputation as a promising Urdu writer, especially with the publication of short stories like 'Mahavaton ki ek Rat' (1931) and 'Hamari Gali'. In 1932, at the age of twenty-two, he contributed two short stories to an anthology of Urdu short stories, Angaray, published from Lucknow, which is now universally acknowledged as a milestone in the development of progressive writersâ€™movement in India. However, he is now principally seen as the author of Twilight in Delhi, one of the foundational texts of the canon of Indian English fiction. In it Ahmed Ali wrote about Muslim lives and customs of Old Delhi, thereby mapping out an entirely new terrain in Indian English writing, as he did in Ocean of Night about Lucknow culture. The paper explores Aliâ€™s technique and style, and the theme of decadence that formed the mainstay of his writing. He wrote to document a fast vanishing world, and in the process a wistfulness continually pervades his writngâ€”a characteristic this paper studies.