Iqbal Died at the Hands of the Politicians

26 Nov

By:    Aasef Chauhdry


First time in the history of Pakistan Allama Iqbal’s birthday was made controversial; deliberately or by err but certainly the attempts were made to lower his gigantic stature which was prevailing ever since the Subcontinent’s independence movement. Declaring his birthday as a national holiday was just a small token of humble deference which this indebted nation could offer to the Thinker of a separate Muslim State; nevertheless, since many years the deliberate campaigns were launched in print, electronic and social media to belittle his image of a hero, legend and Messiah for the Muslims of Indo-Pak. Confusion at the national level was created by cancelling the national holiday. Later a mockery was made of the decision when in federal areas it was declared as a working day while in some of the provinces it was declared as the holiday. To be honest Allama Iqbal never deserved this sort of treatment. His role as the Thinker of Pakistan stays beyond any doubt, come what may. As a matter of fact his role was more important and worth acknowledging since he was the one who convinced Quaid e Azam to lead the Muslims of India during their struggle for the freedom movement. He is regarded as the only philosopher, poet and politician in British India who inspired the Pakistan Movement. He is considered undisputedly one of the most important figures in Urdu literature, with literary work in both the Urdu and Persian languages.



Now the time has come that every Tom, Dick and Harry can get up and picks the courage and guts to criticise Iqbal. There are idiots like Hassan Nisar who remained drunk for 25 hours out of 24 hours and then publically talk nonsense like blaming the great poet of the East and accusing him for the downfall of the young generation specifically and the nation generally. The Pseudo like Hassan Nisar and Pervez Hoodbhoy have done a great damage to our national heritage through their careless, irresponsible and immature behaviour. They are playing their role to belittle the image our national heroes, purposely.


Iqbal was born in Sialkot with ancestral roots to the Brahmins from Kashmir who converted to Islam. Iqbal is admired as a prominent classical poet by Pakistani, Indian and other international scholars of literature besides been acclaimed as a modern Muslim philosopher. Although his first poetry book, Asrar-e-Khudi, appeared in the Persian language in 1915, however his Urdu works like Bang-i-Dara, Bal-i-Jibril and Zarb-i Kalim attained more fame and popularity in the Subcontinent. In Iran and Afghanistan he is famous as Iqbal-e Lahori (Iqbal of Lahore), and he is most appreciated for his Persian work. Iqbal is known as Shair-e-Mushriq meaning Poet of the East. He is also called Muffakir-e-Pakistan (The Inceptor of Pakistan), and Hakeem-ul-Ummat (The Sage of the Ummah). Pakistan has officially recognised him as its “national poet”.

Iqbal had remained active in the Muslim League as he did not support Indian involvement in World War I and remained in close touch with Muslim political leaders such as Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He was a critic of the mainstream Indian National Congress, which he regarded as dominated by Hindus and was saddened with the League’s factional division during 1920, when it gashed into the pro-British group led by Sir Muhammad Shafi and the centrist group led by Jinnah. He supported the constitutional proposals presented by Jinnah while parallel worked with Aga Khan and other Muslim leaders to mend the factional divisions and accomplish unity in the Muslim League.


Disillusioned with the political elite of the Muslim League Iqbal came to believe that only Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a political leader capable of preserving this unity and fulfilling the League’s objectives on Muslim political empowerment besides drawing Indian Muslims to the League and maintaining party unity before the British and the Congress. Building a strong, personal communication with Jinnah, Iqbal was a dominant force in convincing Jinnah to end his self-imposed exile in London, return to India and take charge of the League, hence he wrote him, “I know you are a busy man but I do hope you won’t mind my writing to you often, as you are the only Muslim in India today to whom the community has right to look up for safe guidance through the storm which is coming to North-West India and, perhaps, to the whole of India.”

Iqbal always paid special attention towards awakening the Muslim youth. He was invited to Cambridge to participate in a conference in 1931, where he expressed his inspired vision to students and other audience in a historic speech, “I would like to offer a few pieces of advice to the young men who are at present studying at Cambridge …… I advise you to guard against atheism and materialism. The biggest blunder made by Europe was the separation of Church and State. This deprived their culture of moral soul and diverted it to the atheistic materialism. I had twenty-five years ago seen through the drawbacks of this civilization and therefore had made some prophecies. They had been delivered by my tongue although I did not quite understand them. This happened in 1907….. After six or seven years, my prophecies came true, word by word. The European war of 1914 was an outcome of the aforesaid mistakes made by the European nations in the separation of the Church and the State”.


Allama Iqbal was the poet of the Pakistan who will remain in the heart of every Pakistani particularly and every Muslim generally. While taking look at few of his masterpiece works, one can conveniently visualise that what service he did for the freedom of the Muslims of the Subcontinent and the unity of the Islamic Ummah;  Asrar-e-Khudi, Zabur-i-Ajam, Zarb-i-Mashriq, Ilm ul Iqtisad in 1903, Rumuz-i-Bekhudi in 1917, Payam-i-Mashriq in 1923, Javid Nama in 1832, Armughan-e-Hijaz in 1938, Bang-i-Dara in 1924, Bal-i-Jibril in 1935, Zarb-i Kalim in 1936, The Development of Metaphysics in Persia in 1909 and The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam in 1930.


Agreed that merely a holiday on his birthday wont serve the cause or will raise his image further but it is just a small token to acknowledge his role in the founding of a Muslim independent state. If we honestly analyse then there are many other closed holidays given throughout the year which are otherwise not relevant or important and the government needs to cancel those. As earlier said that a specific lobby with the vested interests is quite active since couple of years to defame this great poet of the East and no wonders if these elements once succeed in their mission will take on Muhammad Ali Jinnah as their next target because their mission is to ridicule our national heroes and undermine their images. If people at the helm of the affairs sincerely think that these holidays have got nothing to do with the cause they served then let’s do away with the one on Quaid’s birthday too.

Allama Iqbal very rightly said and I quote, “Nations are born in the hearts of poets, they prosper and die in the hands of politicians”.



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