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Twilight in Delhi is Ahmed Ali's first novel, originally published in English in Britain, 1940. The novel
addresses India's changing social, political, and cultural climate following colonialism. It represents the
general social and cultural life of the Indians Muslims who live in that historical and mythological city
known as Dehli that was first built by Raja Yudhistra in 1453 B.C after the great battle if Mahabharata.
Destruction lies in the very blood of Delhi. Kauravas and Pandavas, Khiljis, Sayyads and the great
Mughals ruled over Delhi turn by turn. Now it was rules by Farangis.
…(the translation) in the opinion of the some critics restored its natural language to the novel so that
those who read the Urdu translation didn’t believe that it could have ever have been written in English.
And those who read in the original English refuse to read the Urdu version, saying it was
…the novel transcends language as any substantial work of art ultimately must do. (D. Anderson)
…my purpose in writing the novel was to depict the phase of our national life, and the decay of a whole
cultural, a particular mode of thought and leaving, values now dead and gone, already right before our
eyes. Seldom is one allowed to see a pageant of History whirl past and participate in it too.‖
Ahmed Ali was one of the four contributors to Angare (Burning Coals), a highly controversial anthology
of short stories published in 1932, noteworthy, because at the time, the British Crown was trying to
Anglicize the people of India. In the words of one British official, the goal was to produce "a class of
persons, Indian in blood and color, but English in taste and character, in morals and intellect."
…thus, the prophecy of the book has come true; seven delhis had fallen, and eight had gone the way of
its predecessors, yet to be build and demolished again. Life, like the phoenix, must collect the spices for
its nest, and set fire to it, and arise resurrected out of the flames.
…In ―Twilight in Delhi‖ memory is seen both as source of personal identity and as a burden preventing
to attain happiness. Each character is involved in a struggle to remember but more importantly in a
struggle to forget certain aspects of their past.
…Ali had a great deal of trouble getting Twilight in Delhi published. The printers found many parts of
the book subversive and refused to print these sections. For instance, what Ali called the War of
Independence of 1857, the British Crown had labeled a mutiny. Oddly enough, Virginia Woolf came to
Ali's aid and helped push the book through publication without any changes being made.
…Ahmad Ali bangs his fatalistic drum and suggests that fate is to blame when things wrong whereas
Achebe relegates the supernatural to the background and shows tragedy to be consequent on the
interaction of social forces and human character
…there was (now) no John Lehmann to suggest change of the title from Delhi to Lodhran, nor an E.M
Forster to uphold the reality and right of the book to be what it is; no Virginia Woolf to intercede, nor
even a Harold Nicholson to exorcise the ghost.
It may be well that we shall not understand India until it is explained to us by Indian novelist of the first
ability, as it was that we understood nothing of Russia before we read Tolstoy, Turgenev, and
others…Ahmad Ali may be the vanguard of such a literary moment. (M.Collins)
Twilight in Delhi 1940
…But the city of Delhi, built hundreds of years ago, fought for, died for, coveted and desired, built,
destroyed and rebuilt, for five and six and seven times, mourned and sung, raped and conquered, yet
whole and alive, lies indifferent in the arms of sleep.
…Delhi was once a paradise,
Such peace had abided here;
But they have ravished its name and pride,
Remain now only ruins and care." (Bahadur Shah)
…I’m the light of no man’s eye,
The rest of no one’s heart am I.
That which can be of use to none,
Just a handful of dust I am.
…I've lost religion in quite a novel way,
Throwing faith for drunken eyes away:
…Life inflicts wounds on men but they become whole and hale again. Fate treats human beings with
cruelty and is unconcerned. Death takes lives, part lovers, bereaved mothers and children, husbands
and wives, and with callous indifference, goes about….
…You are again wearing those dirty English boots! I don’t like them. I will have no aping of the Farangis
is my house. Throw them away.!!
…Life has become a burden, the time is ripe for death.‖
…For if it were not for Hope, men would commit suicide by the scores, and the world would remain a
barren desert in which no oasis exists. On this torturous road of life, man goes on hoping that he next
turn of the road will bring him in sight of the goal. Thus from turn to turn...he keeps on hoping."
…Great are the ravages of Time, and no one can do anything against its indomitable might. Kings die
and dynasties fall. Centuries and aeons pass…Life goes on with a heartless continuity…
JOSEPH CONRAD (1857 –1924)
Writing in the heyday of the British Empire, Conrad drew on his native Poland's national experiences
and on his personal experiences in the French and British merchant navies, to create short stories and
novels that reflect aspects of a European-dominated world, while plumbing the depths of the human
…a short novel by Polish novelist Joseph Conrad, written as a frame narrative about Charles
Marlow’s life as an ivory transporter down the Congo River in Central Africa.
…Charles Marlow is a recurring character in his work and an alter ego of Conrad; both are sailors for
the British Empire during the late-19th and early-20th century during the height of British imperialism.
HEART OF DARKNESS 1899
…We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness‖
…thought of these two, guarding the door of Darkness...
….and moreover, the changes take place inside, you know.
…its queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live in a world of their own, and there had
never been anything like it, and never can be. It is too beautiful altogether, and if they were to set it up it
would go to pieces before the first sunset.
…I shook hands with this miracle.... in the great demoralization of the land he kept up his appearance.
...It would be interesting for science to watch the mental changes of individuals on the spot. I felt I was
becoming scientifically interesting. (D)
…he inspired neither love nor fear, nor even respect. He inspired uneasiness. That was it! Uneasiness.‖
…The word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it.
…You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but
simply because it appalls me.
…I let him run on, this papier-mache Mephistopheles..
…He was just a word for me. I did not see the man in the name any more than you do. Do you see him?
Do you see the story? Do you see anything? It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream -- making a
vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream-sensation, that commingling of
absurdity, surprise, and bewilderment…
"We live, as we dream – alone…
... Why not? Anything -- anything can be done in this country.‖
…We were wanderers on a prehistoric earth/inferno
…The mind of man is capable of anything -- because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the
…The rest of the world was nowhere, as far as our eyes and ears were concerned. Just nowhere. Gone,
disappeared; swept off without leaving a whisper or a shadow behind.‖
…No fear can stand up to hunger, no patience can wear it out, disgust simply does not exist where
…My Intended, my ivory, my station, my river, my… everything belonged to him…Everything belonged
to him -- but that was a trifle. The thing was to know what he belonged to, how many powers of
darkness claimed him for their own.‖
…no fool ever made a bargain for his soul with the devil: the fool is too much of a fool or the devil too
much of a devil-I don't know which…But most of us are neither one nor the other.
…His mother was half-English, his father was half-French. All Europe contributed to the making of
…Whatever he was, he was not common. He had the power to charm or frighten rudimentary souls into
an aggravated witch-dance in his honor; he could also fill the small souls of the pilgrims with bitter
…Don't you talk with Mr. Kurtz?' I said. 'You don't talk with that man -- you listen to him,' (harlequin)
…Whether he knew of this deficiency himself I can't say. I think the knowledge came to him at last --
only at the very last-- and the whisper had proved irresistibly fascinating. It echoed loudly within him
because he was hollow at the core…
…I did not betray Mr. Kurtz -- it was ordered I should never betray him -- it was written I should be
loyal to the nightmare of my choice. I was anxious to deal with this shadow by myself alone, -- and to
this day I don't know why I was so jealous of sharing with anyone the peculiar blackness of that
―He struggled with himself, too. I saw it, -- I heard it. I saw the inconceivable mystery of a soul that
knew no restraint, no faith, and no fear, yet struggling blindly with itself.‖
..The horror! The horror!"
…This is the reason why I affirm that Kurtz was a remarkable man. He had something to say. He said
…He had summed up -- he had judged. 'The horror!'‖
…They trespassed upon my thoughts. They were intruders whose knowledge of life was to me an
irritating pretense, because I felt so sure they could not possibly know the things I knew.‖
…I am unable to say what was Kurtz's profession, whether he ever had any -- which was the greatest of
his talents. I had taken him for a painter who wrote for the papers, or else for a journalist who could
paint -- but even the cousin (who took snuff during the interview) could not tell me what he had been --
exactly. He was a universal genius..‖
…I knew him as well as it is possible for one man to know another.‖
CHINUA ACHEBE (1930-2013)
…A magnum opus, archetypal modern African novel in English, One of the first to receive global critical
…The novel shows the life of Okonkwo, a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia—one of a
fictional group of nine villages in Nigeria, inhabited by the Igbo people. It describes his family and
personal history, the customs and society of the Igbo and the influence of British colonialism and
Christian missionaries on the Igbo community during the late nineteenth century.
… Achebe wrote his novels in English and defended the use of English, a "language of colonisers" in
African literature. In 1975, his lecture featured a famous criticism of Joseph Conrad as "a
…Things Fall Apart was followed by a sequel, No Longer at Ease (1960)
…Among the Ibo culture the art of conversation is regarded very highly and proverbs are the palm oil
with which words are eaten.
…I am a protest writer‖ and that ―any good story, any good novel should have a message.‖
…While deploring the imperialists’ brutality and condescension [Achebe] seems to suggest that change
is inevitable and wise men…reconcile themselves to accommodating change. It is the diehards who
resists are destroyed in the process.
THINGS FALL APART 1959
…Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things Fall Apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
W.B.Yeats, The Second Coming
…well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond.
…I will not have a son who cannot hold up his head in the gathering of the clan. I would sooner strangle
him with my own hands. And if you stand staring at me like that," he swore, Amadiora will break your
head for you.
…Even Okonkwo himself became very fond of the boy - inwardly of course.
…Okonkwo never showed any emotion openly, unless it be the emotion of anger. To show affection was
a sign of weakness,- the only thing worth demonstrating was strength.
…His life had been ruled by a great passion—to become one of the lords of the clan. That had been his
life-spring. And he had all but achieved it. Then everything had been broken. He had been cast out of
his clan like a fish onto a dry, sandy beach, panting. Clearly his personal god or chi was not made for
great things. A man could not rise beyond the destiny of his chi. The saying of the elders was not true—
that if a man said yea his chi also affirmed. Here was a man whose chi said nay despite his own
…The white man is very clever. He came quietly and peaceably with his religion. We were amused at his
foolishness and allowed him to stay. Now he has won our brothers, and our clan can no longer act like
one. He has put a knife on the things that held us together and we have fallen apart.
… It is already too late," said Obierika sadly. "Our own men and our sons have joined the ranks of the
… Perhaps I have been away too long.
…An abominable religion has settled among you. A man can now leave his father and his brothers. He
can curse the gods of his fathers and his ancestors, like a hunter's dog that suddenly goes mad and turns
on his master. I fear for you, I fear for the clan.
…A man's place was not always there, waiting for him. As soon as he left, someone else rose and filled it.
The clan was like a lizard, if it lost its tail it soon grew another.
…Never kill a man who says nothing.
…It is not our custom to fight for our gods," said one of them…If a man kills the sacred python in the
secrecy of his hut, the matter lies between him and the god. We did not see it. If we put ourselves
between the god and his victim we may receive blows intended for the offender. When a man
blasphemes, what do we do? Do we go and stop his mouth? No. We put our fingers into our ears to stop
us hearing. That is a wise action."
…Let us not reason like cowards. If a man comes into my hut and defecates on the floor, what do I do?
Do i shut my eyes? No! I take a stick and break his head that is what a man does. These people are daily
pouring filth over us, and Okeke says we should pretend not to see.
…Man will always change and he who can accommodate change will survive.
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