Ahmed Ali's Twilight in Delhi is a well knit and brilliantly constructed novel. It consists of four parts and every part has the chapters which gave additional meaning to the course of events. The plot is constructed in a particular style—in the act of narration. Every character is in descriptive or in evaluating style which gives additional significance and beauty to the plot. Mostly the plot revolves around the family of Mir Nihal representing on symbolical level the Muslim class's present and past life. The Novelist Ahmed All relates a person's tale in this novel that, in the end, looks alienated and apart from the surroundings and all this happens only through his out dated attitude in the present condition.
Ahmed Ali has utilized his events of the story to construct an organic whole in the shape of plot of the novel "Twilight in Delhi". This thing tells us about his expertise in the field of novel-writing or fiction-writing as such. The novel under reference has basically been designed by the writer to give us a rich glimpse of the Indian Muslim society along with its customs, traditions and ways. This purpose has been achieved by the writer by taking a large number of characters from the span of 1911-1919 from the city of Delhi from among the Muslim population. As it is not inside his goal to tell the readers anything about the Hindu society, so he does not include any Hindu character in the novel, so much so that even the bania (basically the money lender of the sub-continent society) of the novel is Saddiq, a Muslim, although mostly Hindus were the banias of the sub-continent.
The plot of Twilight is Delhi "seems purposeful in every way. There are many characters and events only included in the novel to make the novel realistic and to give a true colouring to the Muslim Indian society as such. Nawab Puttan is one of such characters. His character has nothing important to do with the advancement of the story. Still he is very important for the reasons that he is the representation of Nawahi culture and life. For giving complete a social picture of the Indian Muslim Society, Ahmed Ali has told us in detail about Ramazan and the traditions of Ramazan. He tells us a detail about how Eed is celebrated, and including that famous, classical verse used at this occasion by numberless people:
"It is the day of Eid, my dear,
Ah come, let me embrace thee.
It is the custom and besides
There's time and opportunity "
Mir Nihal, in his sixties has a family, a mistress named Babban Jan from whom he gets mental and sexual levels pleasure. He has a son, Asghar, a boy in twenties, who desperately wants to marry a girl, Bilqeece. His marriage takes place after a huge amount of resistance from Mir Nihal's side. In the background of these events, Ahmed All has portrayed a graphic picture of historical moments of violence and tyranny in this novel and also the pathetic condition of Delhi on a big canvass. The marriage of Asghar is caught in a fiasco and the relations weaken day by day and after Bilqeece's death the whole scenario changes. Asghar thinks himelf responsible for her death but Bilqeece's younger sister Zohra again turns Asghar to the beauty of life. Zohra, a young girl, full of charming and alluring beauty, fascinates him to marry her but finally nothing happens according to his desires. In the end we see Mir Nihal as a paralyzed man who has faced many hard blows from fate like, death of Babban Jan, death of his pigeons and the end of his rule—all pathetic. His wife Begum Nihal, who has spent her life honestly and devotedly, is unable to retain happiness in Mir Nihal's life.
In the background, the plot of the novel advances through the story of the freedom struggle of the people of India and of the Indian Muslims. We read about the fall of Delhi and about the fateful time for Jama Masjid, Delhi, as well as for the Muslims of Delhi. We read about the fires burning petrol depots and the royal canopy at Delhi-Darbar before it was held. We read about rallies, procession, agitation, marches and strikes. We read about the non-cooperative movement. So we see the advancement of the struggle for freedom going in the background of the story of the novel. But the thing is so well knit into the texture of the plot that we are ready to take it as an integral part of the main story.
The story, which started from the first section, shows every character's attitude and ordinary view about life. All the subsequent events end in the forth part where we get not the conclusion but the actual condition that if they spend the same life they shall not be able to retain themselves in the changing conditions.
Whatever be the criticism, the plot, on the whole, is compact; there is very little irrelevant or unnecessary. Even the smallest details promote the action, produce the necessary atmosphere and fulfil the purpose of the novel. The concentration on the main theme is well maintained to achieve the desired purpose. All the strings are gathered at the end to give the final touch. Thus the plot construction in Twilight in Delhi, is nothing but remarkable. There can be arguments that the plot has some drawbacks or loose ends but it was never easy to pack a fastly changing culture in limited pages and Ahmed Ali's realistic technique in describing the actual conditions is not only brilliant but also shows his precision in every way.