Historical Forces at Play: Creative Voices of Mirza Ghalib and Ahmed Ali and Pre-Partition Socio-political Conditions of Muslims

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Munawar Iqbal Ahmad


The present paper aims at reviewing pre-Independence subcontinental history and its remains in the works of two literary figures, namely Mirza Ghalib and Ahmed Ali, who belonged to the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively. The prolonged process of British colonization, the sequel of defeats of the Muslim emperors and lords, the gradual loss of cultural, literary, and moral values—were the developments that the artists and writers of the time had to witness. Like all others, they were haunted by the nostalgia of their glorious past. But unlike others, they avoided passivity and went on documenting the history in their works. A detailed review of the works of Ghalib and Ahmed Ali shows how poets and authors made Muslims to realize the loss of their identity and selfhood, and the brutal treatment that they received from the colonizers. Though written in elegiac tone, their writings invoke a glorious past and induce some sense of pride among Muslims, while pointing out their follies as well. 

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