By Hina Hussain
Today marks the birth anniversary of one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century Allama Muhammad Iqbal. In the history, few writers and poets have managed to ignite a flame strong enough to energize a whole nation which Iqbal did through his provoking poetry. His writings were not confined alone to spiritual space but offered an insight into his understanding of both spiritual and social dynamics of man. He never remained isolated from the socio political events of his times and could foresee the creation of separate state years before any such idea became a political reality.
Following the tradition every year, Sarah’s school conducts a speech competition. Where students from different classes review their ideas about the contributions of Allama Iqbal and avail a great opportunity to recall the history that has only limited to our books.
Sarah was inspired by Iqbal as she read about him in her Pakistan studies course. But she thinks that’s not enough knowledge to be given to students.
As the principle called out her name” SARAH…” she stood up in front of mike confidently. And after a long breathe, in her modulated voice, she started her speech.
“Well, all I know about Iqbal is that he is our national poet and he was born on November 9, 1877, in Sialkot. His poetry motivated the Muslims of the subcontinent to demand and struggle for independence and a separate homeland. He is considered a great poet and has works in Urdu and Persian. He was also part of the All-India Muslim League and its active member. He was a colleague of Quaid-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, and helped him in his leadership of the political movement of the subcontinent’s Muslims. He died in 1938 and his tomb is in Lahore, near Badshahi Mosque.”
As she stated her views, she takes a new turn…
“As a result of his Persian work, he is also well-known in Iran and Afghanistan. His Urdu poetry is widely acclaimed and considered one of the most prominent in Urdu literature. In his poetry, he stresses on Muslims of the subcontinent of his time to have faith and belief in them. He motivated them through his poetry to develop a patriotic spirit, and strive for independence and a separate country.”
“Iqbal’s Urdu books include Bang-e-Dara (Call Of The Marching Bell), Bal-e-Jibril (Wings of Gabriel), Zarb-e-Kaleem (Powerful Strike); and Persian ones include Asrar-e-Khudi (Secrets of the Self), Ramuz-e-baykhudi (Hints of Selflessness), Payaam-e-Mashriq (Message of the East), Zabur-e-Ajam (Persian Psalms), Pas Chih Bayad Kard ay Aqwam-i-Sharq (What Are We To Do, O Nations of the East?), and Armaghan-e-Hijaz (Gift of Hijaz).”
Sarah took a pause and then continued, Iqbal said:
‘I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated Northwest Indian Muslim state appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of Northwest India.’
He was of the opinion that it is in the best interest of the Muslims that a separate homeland be created for them. For this reason, he is called the ideological founder of the state.
Further she added…
“He strongly negates the view of western philosophers prevalent at his time, that there is no life after death. According to him, a person passes from one stage of life to another after his/her physical death in this world. Western philosophers also proclaimed that the world around us is not real but rather an illusion or a mirage. But, according to Iqbal, this world is real to the extent that it is a stage for people to struggle for and improve on their spiritual side; while balancing the worldly matters simultaneously. He also gives the idea of Khudi — staunch belief in one’s God-given abilities to achieve anything one likes or wants.
Iqbal’s philosophy is as much relevant to today’s Pakistani society as it was to inhabitants of undivided India. He was against religious orthodoxy for which he was labeled as a deviant by the clergy but he remained undeterred. He often through his writings pointed out the disease which plagued Muslim society back then. His shikwa and jawabe shikwa is a dialogue between God and a Muslim and highlights how Muslims of his time resorted to living in their fascinations of the past. He was a revolutionary of his age and and it’s a pity that we have all just that we have taken nothing from the vision of Iqbal.
She was awarded for the best speech maker and her principle was impressed by her enthusiasm towards country. They are future stars of Pakistan. As she highlighted the true and robust sight of Iqbal. I hope our books would also take steps to provide the history in a little more detailed and enhance the knowledge of next generation.