Deputy Nazeer Ahmad Dehlvi (1836 - 1912) was a leading Urdu writer who was also a social and religious reformer, and a prominent scholar. He was a pioneer of Urdu literature whose novels are today a basic part of the educational curriculum in the Indian sub-continent (ie. India and Pakistan).
Nazir Ahmad (1830–1912) came from a distinguished family of religious scholars, maulavis and muftis of Bijnor (Uttar Pradesh) and Delhi.
His father was a teacher in a small town near Bijnore, who taught him Persian and Arabic, and in 1842 took him to study with Maulvi Abd ul-Khaliq at the Aurangabadi Mosque in Delhi. In 1846, he 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' and studied there till 1853. During this period he also discreetly arranged his own marriage, to Maulvi Abd ul-Khaliq's granddaughter.
He began his career as a teacher in 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 superb 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), and hence the name 'Diptee (Deputy) Nazir Ahmad’ by which he is popularly known.
In 1877 Nazir Ahmad was offered a well-paid 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.
He was the pioneer of Urdu novel. He was prolific writer and published books in varied genres.
Mirat-al-Urus (The Bride's Mirror)-1868–1869-is regarded as the first novel of Urdu. 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),is another great Novel by Deputy Nazeer Ahmed. It was his 2nd novel after Mirat-tul-uroos. Like Mira-tul-Uroos, this novel is also on education of women and their character building.
Taubat-un-Nasuh (Repentance of Nasuh)1873-1874- Deputy Nazeer Ahmed earned a good name in writing novels for developing moral values and guidance of young generation. His entire work is full of teachings of moral values.
Fasaana-e-Mubtalaa(1885)- another novel for developing moral values and guidance of young generation.
Ibn'ul Waqt- 1888According to one opinion novel was based on Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, but Deputy Nazeer Ahmad strongly rejected this allegation.
Ruya-e Sadiqah (1892).
Deputy Nazir was a leading proponent of the education of Muslim women and he took the issue with great determination and persistence against the Muslim mindset of his era, which was generally against the education of women. Deputy Nazir was among the few who were aware of the problems and sufferings of Indian Muslims during those critical decades when the Muslim society was in a flux. He fully understood the demands of time in context of Indian Muslims. Through his novels he sought to eradicate social evils inherent in a decadent society, particularly those caused by ignorance, illiteracy and frustration. This was very effectively brought about by his novels and writings.