Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah traces the genesis of the Urdu novel.
The contact with English literature has had a profound and far-reaching effect on Urdu. With the impact of western culture came new ideas and ideals, a new outlook on life, and a new conception of values. It revolutionised thought and changed not only the superficial outlook on life but basic moral values as well. In short, contact with English life and literature brought about the same changes in India as the Renaissance had done in Europe. In fact this period is called, and rightly so, the Renaissance of Urdu. There is nothing like a shock to bring about the flowering of genius, and a new leavening from time to time is a very beneficial thing for any society.
Urdu poetry had reached its peak of achievement on the lines it had chosen in the field of the ghazal and qasida. Even in the marsia and the masnavi all that could be done had been done. The language had been polished and purified, until it shone like burnished gold. Every thought and idea that could be culled from mysticism and from philosophy had been culled and distilled and presented, not once but many times; nothing original remained to be done in that sphere any more.
The time was ripe for a change, for the exploration of new realms of thought and for the adoption of new ways of expression. And the western influence did both.