Nazir Ahmad Dehlvi, also known as “Diptee” (Deputy) Nazir Ahmad (1830–1912), was an Urdu writer, social and religious reformer, and scholar. He was a pioneer of Urdu literature whose novels are today a basic part of the educational curriculum in the Indian sub-continent.
Ahmad came from a family of religious scholars, maulavis and muftis of Bijnor (Uttar Pradesh) and Delhi.
His father was a teacher in a small town near Bijnore. He taught Ahmad Persian and Arabic, and in 1842 took him to study with Abd ul-Khaliq at the Aurangabadi Mosque in Delhi. In 1846, Ahmad had the opportunity to enroll at Delhi College. He chose its Urdu section, he later said, because his father had told him “he would rather see me die than learn English”.[this quote needs a citation] He studied there until 1853. During this period he arranged his own marriage to Abd ul-Khaliq’s granddaughter.
He began his career as a teacher of Arabic. In 1854 he joined the British colonial administration. In 1856 he became a deputy inspector of schools in the Department of Public Instruction in Kanpur. And at the end of 1857 he was appointed to a similar deputy inspectorship in Allahabad. Later, for his translation of the Indian Penal Code in Urdu, he was nominated for the Revenue Services. He was posted as deputy collector in what was then called the North-West Provinces (i.e. modern Uttar Pradesh), which is how he acquired the nickname “Diptee Nazir Ahmad” by which he is popularly known.
In 1877 Ahmad accepted an administrative position in the princely state of Hyderabad. He remained there until 1884, when court politics forced him to resign and return to Delhi, where he lived for the rest of his life. He died of a stroke in 1912.
Nazir Ahmad studied at the Delhi College from 1846 until 1853.
Mirat-ul-Uroos (Arabic for “The Bride’s Mirror”), written between 1868 and 1869, is regarded as the first novel of Urdu.[by whom?]
After its release in 1869, within twenty years it was reprinted in editions totalling over 100,000 copies, and was also translated into Bengali, Braj, Kashmiri, Punjabi, and Gujarati. It has never been out of print in Urdu from that day of its first publication. In 1903 an English translation was published in London by G. E. Ward.
Bina-tul-Nash (“The Daughters of the Bier”, a name for the constellation Ursa Major), was his second novel. It is also about the education of women and their character building.
Taubat-un-Nasuh (“Sincere Repentance”) was written in 1873 and 1874.
Fasaana-e-Mubtalaa (1885) was another novel for developing the moral values of young people.
Ibn’ul Waqt was written in 1888. According to one opinion, the novel was based on Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, but Ahmad rejected this view.
Ruya-e Sadiqah (1892).