“A Land that is not my own”: Pull of home in the poetry of Ahmed Ali

Farah Afrin


For no fault of my own but feuds

Of little men warring over crumbs

I was thrown into exile

That has lasted these long years, two score and ten.

Where should I honour my parents,

And their parents before them

In a land that is not my own?                                     - Ahmed Ali


Ties with one’s native land are so strong that it cannot be broken. The place where one’s identity and culture is formed, a place where one’s roots are fixed, keeps recurring in the mind of the person, no matter how much distance lies in between. Distance is a physical obstruction and it can be removed to some extent with the onward rush of nostalgic memories. Feelings of separation, loss of identity, one’s failure to connect with the people belonging to different cultures are some of the problems faced by the person who has migrated or forced towards new destination. A destination which is new and alien, but it has to be adopted. Remembrance is the only medium to overcome this “pull of home”. Ahmed Ali (1910 New Delhi- 1994 Karachi) was an Indian and later Pakistani poet, critic, diplomat, scholar and translator. He was born and educated in India. He also taught at various universities in India. During the partition, he moved to Pakistan. He was forced to be separated from his native land and this found expression in his collection, Purple Gold Mountain: Poems from China (1960). The collection is divided into three sections Prelude, The Flowery Middle Kingdom and Exile. The last two sections deal with the theme of exile. My paper is an attempt to read his poetry dealing with this theme and to understand his deep love for his native country India as he himself says:

Close by the desert

Under the brown hills

Where the Ya Na River flows

Lies my home.


Native land, Identity, Nostalgia, Remembrance, Exi le, Culture, Distance

Full Text:



Works Cited

Coppola, Carlo “‘In Exile My Sun Has Set’: The Poetry of Ahmed Ali.” Ed. Mehr Afshan

Farooqi. The two-sided canvas: perspectives on Ahmed Ali. New Delhi: OUP, 2013.116-135.



Ali, Ahmed. “In Exile I Remember My People and Feel Sad.” Pakistan Quarterly 17.2

(1970): 74. Print.

Hosain, Shahid, Ed. First voices: Six Poets from Pakistan. Karachi: OUP, 1965. Print.

Ali, Ahmed. “In Exile I Remember My People and Feel Sad.” Pakistan Quarterly 17.2

(1970): 74. Print.

Wigmore, Lionel, ed. Span:An Adventure in Asian and Australian Writing. London:

Angus and Robinson, 1959. Print.

Ali, Ahmed. “‘On My Native Place’” Pakistan Quarterly 10.3 (1961): 24. Print.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.