Asgher is the second most important character of the novel. He seemed revolutionary in approach and intention (as far as Mir nihal, s authority is concern). He is a young man of twenty-two and the youngest son of Mir nihal. Ahmed Ali introduces him in the first chapter of part I of the novel:
“He (Asgher) is a tall and handsome young man with his hair well oiled and his red Turkish cap cocked at a smart angle on his head. The upper buttons of his sherwani are open and show the collar of the English shirt that he is wearing under it. He looks an aesthete, and has a somewhat effeminate grace about him. And round his wrist is wrapped a jasmine garland. As he enters his pumps creak”
The whole appearance of Asgher shows the difference. He belonged to one of those youngsters whose life is in transition, they lived in a multicultural society. So Asgher‘s appearance shows the eastern and western touch in it .
Asgher seemed as the representative of the Indian muslim youth who are directionless.
ASGHER A SYMBOL OF CHANGE
Mir Nihal stops and turns to Asgher and says in an angry tone:
‘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! …’
This statement from Mir nihal shows that right from the beginning Asgher seems entirely changed from his family.
Asgher is the only son of Mir nihal who showed his opinion to choose bride himself ,on a superficial level it seems nothing but on a symbolical level it is a threat to the dominance of Mir nihal. His view of marrying Bilqeece; shows the rebelliousness from the old orthodox style of Mir nihal. The two severe blows in Mir nihal, s life made him weak that is why Asgher and his family can able to take the step against the authority.
Asgher: A Traditional LOVER:
Asghar went hurriedly past and was lost in the crowd which flowed outside the mohallah……
His eyes fell on an oldish man in the crowd. He was dressed only in a shirt and paijama, and on his head rested a round cap stiff with starch, and flowers were embroidered on it in brown thread. His long beard fell over his chest in a fine array. There was something sad and unknown in his eyes and they seemed to be looking for someone, a friend who had been separated, or a loved one far away. Asghar was reminded of his life at Bhopal and of those happy days when he had love to receive and nothing to give at all. He had just to cast a glance and there were many who would have given their lives to do his bidding. At the least sign from him they would have done, anything. There he was the bestower of favours; there he was the loved one and not the lover. To be loved is sweet, he thought, whereas to love is full of sorrow and grief and pain. He had never known that the path of love was fraught with so much hardship and frustration.
As he saw this man in the crowd he suddenly realized that he must have caused so much pain to so many. He had never known what it meant, so he did not do it knowingly. Even if he had known, would it have changed his attitude? He did not know. He was filled with the pride of youth, and the wine of life was coursing in his veins. He did not ask those people to lavish love and care on him. If they burnt themselves like moths he was surely not to blame.
Still, he could not help thinking of one of them especially, Huzoor Ali, who resembled the man in the crowd. Time and again he had seen the same sad look in his eyes. Huzoor Ali was so devoted to him, but he had always ignored him. If Asghar had happened to look at him kindly even once there had appeared such joy on his face.
But though Asghar had behaved more kindly with others he was always, somehow, indifferent to Huzoor Ali. He wanted him to do things for him, perhaps, but he did not wish to please him even with a kind word.
He realized all this today when he was himself in love and there seemed no way of compelling his sweetheart to take notice of him. Yet an insidious wave of optimism swept over him and he repeated to himself the line of Hafiz:
Love is created first in the heart of the beloved. But it was so short-lived. Huzoor Ali had not succeeded in making Asghar love him. And he thought of an evening when Huzoor Ali had insisted on his coming to dinner at his place. He had refused and refused until the old man was broken-hearted and, heaving a sigh, he had cursed him gently by repeating the lines:…
All this description about Asgher ‘s attitude shows that he is like a traditional lover of the sub-continent.
Right from the beginning we came to know that he is an in-satiated personality. His longing for sexual pleasure and intimacy can found nearly in every chapter of the novel. He felt that there is no pleasure in his fate . After the refusal from father, s side about his marriage with Bilqeece ;he become utterly disappointed from life .always remained depressed he often thought of death. His remembering of the man, s curse:
“Would to god that you
Might also fall in love and suffer
As I am suffering now.
The curse had come true, Asgher thought: and there seemed no way out of it .”
Asgher ,s restlessness and disappointment can be found in these lines
“asgher felt very self –conscious. There was a peculiar sadness in his heart, and he felt restless.”
“ o god, give me death. I am tired of this life…”
“life has become a burden , the time is ripe for death;
The space of existence has shrunk into a narrow cell”
Views about Bilqeece:
‘She is beautiful, Bari, very beautiful,’ Asghar said. ‘She is graceful as a cypress. Her hair is blacker than the night of separation, and her face is brighter than the hours of love. Her eyes are like narcissi, big and beautiful. There is nectar in their whites and poison in their blacks. Her eyebrows are like two arched bows ready to wound the hearts of men with the arrows of their lashes. Her lips are redder than the blood of lovers, and her teeth look like pearls studded in a row…. I tell you she is beautiful.’…….
Ahmed ali has showed a complete picture of sub-continent bachelor who is the representative of the young generation of the early part of the twentieth century . his complexed personality , his longing for true intimacy and rebellious attitude nearly found throughout the whole course of the novel .