Iqbal: Relevant yesterday but not today

Published: November 9, 2014
Email

Iqbal was not a capitalist. He wasn't a socialist. He criticised both systems, but unfortunately, did not provide any answer as to what the ideal system is.

An airport, university, countless schools and roads – the list of places and institutions bearing the name of Allama Iqbal goes on and on. If Pakistan was a religion, Iqbal would be a prophet.

Iqbal came to prominence in a time when the Muslim World was in apparent decline. Spain was long gone. The Mughal Empire was dead. For Muslims in his native British India, Iqbal’s poetry was a rallying call to rise; extremely relevant for his times on a socio-political level. 76 years after his death, however, his relevance needs to revisited.

Iqbal was not a capitalist. He wasn’t a socialist. He criticised both systems, but unfortunately, did not provide any answer as to what the ideal system is. His literary work also reeks of a non-progressive attitude towards the standing of women in our society, where he advocates motherhood as a woman’s most important role. Also, some of his best literary work leaves one with more questions than answers. His ‘Mard-e-Momin’ advocates a return to the sword, but then he also talks about Khudi, a spiritual non-violent state of self-actualisation.

“Sar Shak-E-Chashm-E-Muslim Mein Hai Neesan Ka Asar Paida
Khalil-Allah Ke Darya Mein Hon Ge Phir Guhar Paida

(The effect of the spring‐rain is born in the tears of the Muslims.
Pearls will be born again in the sea of the Friend of God.)

Like many other pieces of Iqbal’s poetry, this Stanza too lends support to the incorrect singular world view where Muslims are the exalted ones. His concept of a virtually omnipotent Muslim has stark similarities to Friedrich Nietzsche ‘Superman’. He envisioned a Muslim world devoid of divisions, one where all components come together to form a powerful, indestructible force. In his poem ‘Shikwa’, Iqbal shapes the world in a classic clash of civilisations. The Islamic Mard-e-Momin strives to achieve martyrdom, thus reaching the pinnacle of human hierarchy. It is thus no wonder that verses by Iqbal have become synonymous with the Pakistan military’s academic and philosophical discourse.

The issues with Iqbal’s relevance today are the singular concepts of faith, progress and spirituality that he penned down in his lifetime. He was a product of his time, his soul-stirring poetry hitting home with the Muslims of pre-partition India. He wrote what the Muslims wanted to hear, and he did it brilliantly.

“Shan Ankhon Mein Na Jachti Thi Jahan Daron Ki
Kalima Parhte The Hum Chaon Mein Talwaron Ki”

(The pageantries of mighty kings to us were shows that mattered not,
Beneath the shade of blades unsheathed in Kalima we glory sought,)

This lends support to the angst-ridden reactionary version of Islam that has become synonymous with Pakistan. It was relevant before pre-partition since Muslims in the subcontinent needed an emotional boost and Iqbal did so very well, but this stanza, among a host of others, just doesn’t fit in the modern world. This is partly the problem with reading into and agreeing with what Iqbal wrote on a philosophical and socio-political level over three quarters of a century ago.

Singular concepts of faith, progress and spirituality do not hold water in the modern way. They have long been rubbished and replaced by pluralism and diversity. We live in a world where a singular world view, regardless of whether it is entrenched in hyper nationalism or overzealous religious identities, is a recipe for disaster. We have seen Pakistan go through this decade after decade. The singular approach which built up aggressive religious fuelled nationalism to counter the perceived threat by India, the singular approach which promoted national unity over provincial diversity both pre and post 1971 and the singular approach which sowed the seeds of anti-minority sentiments.

The Mard-e-Momin was relevant back when Muslims in the subcontinent were fighting for independence. His Falcon was relevant when Muslims in the subcontinent needed to rise and reach a stage of self-actualisation. Back then, Muslims were the minority in an area that welcomed Iqbal’s message with open arms.

In 2014, that is not the case. Times have changed. Socio-political dynamics have changed, and most importantly, the world around us has changed. The Mard-e-Momin of the post-modern world spews nothing but hate.

It is because of these factors that the celebration of Iqbal as a visionary is incorrect. His ideas have not stood the test of time and they lend some unfortunate support to the many evils facing Pakistan on a socio-political and economic level. A critical review of Iqbal is necessary in order to highlight not only the limitations of his ideological prowess, but also acknowledge that doing so does not downplay his talent as a wordsmith.

 

salman Zafar

Salman Zafar

The writer works in the Education Sector and tweets as @salmanzafar1985 (twitter.com/salmanzafar1985)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Shaikh

    Poor Analysis & Vague Ideas..Recommend

  • Ahmed

    @Author If you can’t see it today then the fault is in YOU.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    His philosophy is based upon an Ayat of Surah Hashr. If anyone doesn’t know this then please stop talking about Him.Recommend

  • Arooj Ahmed

    What did I just read?
    Sorry to say but the interpretation of Iqbal’s work is quite absurd!Recommend

  • kashif

    I am sure you have never seen a dollar bill. Guess what does it state ? “In God We Trust”. Go figure. Stop telling us whats relevant today, and what isnt. Do you think that maniacs, fanatics and fascists of today’s Pakistan read and follow Iqbal ? Are you serious ? Whats next? Qur’an is irrelevant today as well ?
    ET. DO NOT censor me. Let the Einstein refute me.Recommend

  • Prashant

    You may disagree with Iqbal and Jinnah but you cannot deny the legacy of these two gentlemen, one would go down in the history as an Indian statesman who went on to divide his motherland and another as a great Indian poet who was also one of the architects of the idea of Pakistan.

    The self declared champions of liberalism in India want the Indians to just remember the lines “sare jahan se atcha…..” and not the lines uttered by Iqbal at the cremation of a man who had been hanged to death for killing a Hindu for his alleged blasphemous act.Recommend

  • lancersboy

    Who is more relevant? Jesus or Budha or Bill Gates..the writer has taken a narrow view of Iqbal and his greater message.Dont blame Iqbal,if Pakistanies couldnt follow his dreams.Recommend

  • Faique

    How come the poetry of Iqbal just to live up with the expectations of Muslims in his time and let them conceive whatever they perceive?U know the central context of his poetry was just to let us realise our instinct relation with our creator and if u don’t realise it then u aren’t qualified enough to condemn his masterpiece. Apart form the point which u made in the concluding para that his ideas leads to evil in Pakistan then I think u aren’t have an understanding of his ideas.If the pakistan live by with his vision then it would have been a progressive nation, Iqbal ‘s anticipation of Pakistan was quite pragmatical but the pakistan of today is swimming around the shirts of an evil just because of their own failure to acclimatise with Iqbal ‘s ideology.Recommend

  • Hari Prasad Patnaik

    You have hit the nail on the head. ” His ideas have not stood the test of time and they lend some unfortunate support to the many evils facing Pakistan on a socio-political and economic level”. Truer words have not been spoken. The sad part is most of the ideas of the leaders of the subcontinent have not stood the test of time, including Jinnah. Only Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals have endured and will endure till eternity. Infact in the world ravaged by violence, it is all the more important to follow Gandhi’s teachings.Recommend

  • trolley

    Boy , are you a brave man … the Zaid Hamids will be on you like a ton of bricks. You take care mate …. I fear for your life ….Recommend

  • saad

    i think even if you wrote something,some would agree,some won’t and thats the case with iqbal too,i dont even think most of the people even in pakistan have read him that much,he had his own point of view for where he wants muslim to stand in this world,and i dont think he was wrong in that,most of the people do live in a bubble and are nationalist and religious and you cant change that,but its good you wrote fron your own knowledge of what he wanted to sayRecommend

  • Shahzada Muhammad Ali

    I read this article to find some constructs, references, instances where Iqbal’s poetry had done more impairment than good. But couldn’t find anything except subjectivity. Socio-political dynamics, huh? How many Pakistani’s nowadays are working for a better Pakistan? Which country is facing the highest rate of sectarian violence? Iqbal was a visionary Sir. He knew that nothing can merge this brown race except religion. A common purpose, a common goal. He was a subject of criticism all his life by extremist Mullahs. Yes he was a human and had shortcomings. But he lit the fire of Muslim Nationalism, not Sunni or Shia Nationalism. Pakistan will confront a major class stratification in the future if we keep locomoting on the same caterpillar track. Once we are united, you can have all your socio-political and economic blast that you want. The teachings and the character of our heroes are our last hope of being united. Please don’t take that away.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Be ready for the wrath of zealots and Khud-daars,which actually will confirm your assertion.Iqbal’s poetry has become a convenient tool by Mullahs for their religious extremism.They ignore his liberal verses and hone on to what suits them.His “saare jahaan se achcha” would have been the perfect anthem for a united India,much more understandable and relevant than Bangla “jan gan man” and Persian “shaad baad” which most Indians and Pakistanis don’t even understand the meaning of.But it wasn’t to be!The truths of history can’t be denied.Ironic that peaceful struggle of Gandhi ended up with a violent and bloody independence that ate him too .Recommend

  • Taha

    I quite like thisRecommend

  • Sarah

    “The Mard-e-Momin of the post-modern world spews nothing but hate” – Do you believe today’s human is Mard-e-Momin anyways? You have interpreted the meaning of Mard-e-Momin as badly as one does with the words such as Jihad, Islam, Maulvi, Imam, Muslim, etc. Iqbal dreamed of an ‘ideal’ situation; an idea that could not long assimilate into the lives of Muslim community or anybody for that sake, here or there. Reason: lack of unity, solidarity and failure to interpret religion rightly while extremism remained supreme thoroughly, and in all forms. The only wrong Iqbal did was trying to create a solid, ideal and futuristic model for the generations to come, although, we are the ones who have messed up and now claim to blame the very man!Recommend

  • Ibn e Irfan

    he says Iqbal didnt give a solution..the solution he advocated was clear : Islam as a system. The system he wanted for the new nation. And also if your views are that limited, you wont get it. Muslims are still a minority in the whole world..Islam is yet to implimented in the whole world..that was his vision & every muslim’s mission..specially when muslims are being crushed all over the world, he becomrs more relevent. But you will only get it if you believe in Islam as a system, not if you are one those who say Islam needs to change. Iqbal gets more relevent today when islam is being highly misinterpreted by enemies to terrorists doing it in the name of Islam. Youth does need Iqbal..FYI I am a muslim minority from India.
    regarding woman, from tribune itself a woman writes ( tribune.com.pk/story/16689/iqbals-view-of-an-ideal-muslim-woman/)Recommend

  • Srinath

    The declassified documents of Nobel Committee of the 1930s, perhaps the most creative period of Iqbal, why his works did not receive much attention. Against the backdrop of growing militarization and rise of fascism and nazism, the committee was intent on literature that would uphold humanistic values that had universal appeal in its philosophy. Far from that, as the author observed, his poetry ( without doubt the greatest in modern Urdu literature) was aimed to pep up the morale of the muslims and at times taunt “others’. We need to reflect on the fact Iqbal is more quoted by the likes of Gen Hamid Gul and Zaid Hamed while Faiz and Habib Jalib strike chord among many of us.Recommend

  • khan

    How come u be so rude to the one who gives u much to cherish and presented the wholesome meaning of life so eloquently precisely? U better go through his poetry once more because your concluding para suggest that u knew little about his anticipation about the betterment of Pakistan. If pakistan had follow the footsteps of his ideology then your nation would be the one amongst the progressive nation of the world…u know how pragmatical he was with respect to his poetry….look u r free for your views but at least show some reverence to this mard-e-momin.
    .Recommend

  • Syed Sajjad Ali Shah

    Iqbal remained a person with great qualities,person with huge mentality level and strong spirtuality.To understand his enigmatic diverse poetries one needs to be of high mentality level.Recommend

  • Tanveer

    Wow.
    Great analysis.
    Quite bold and accurate.
    Some say, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan should have been the person to follow instead of Iqbal.
    He was a great proponent of Taleem-e-niswan (women education). Recommend

  • marik

    Iqbal was a fascist.Recommend

  • Turi

    I don’t agree.
    You consider the mard e momine as emotional man vs a skilled man who both jump into lake n the momine die because he does not know how to swim . But the real soul of momine is not that, he is considered as most effective person in every day of life. Change is in the essence of this mortal world and the only thing which is immune to change is the FACTS, like every living thing will die, nothing is permanent etc. Iqbal is actually talking about a group of 313 people who changed the human history and there is also no one step solution to our problem because “Amal say bane the hay janeet b jahanum be , ya khakee apnee fithratee may hay na nuri na narii’, Life is not about the singing the sayings of poise but is the product of action. Pakistan is in crises because every great nation has to pass through this stage, we are responsible for all what is happen with us, its not because the Iqbal theory is failed but we are mob without any practical direction.Recommend

  • Xman

    Iqbal was no doubt a genius, according to the definition of the word, but he boxed himself into a corner of religious bigotry. Goes on to show even geniuses make mistakes. But if we carefully (and neutrally) study years post partition, he was brought back to main stream from forgotten annals of history and made relevant by a carefully planned propaganda, after establishment started taking interest in politics. Rest is history. This is the reward when national education system is left for the mullah to design and military to support, a mistake PTI is reinforcing in KPKRecommend

  • Manjit

    Brilliant critique. As a young man I admired Iqbal. But progressively I started to disagree with may of his couplets. Having written ‘Sare jahan se achha…’ he totally supported the partition of his ‘Hindustan’.reeks of betrayal of his earlier love of the country.Recommend

  • hammurabi

    He was a great poet.But his philosophy was too idealistic and traditional..However his ideas on reconstruction of Islamic thought were revolutionary.The blogger is right.Recommend

  • marik

    Yep, 1400 year old books preaching belief in superstition and threating damnation are irrelevant.Recommend

  • Yasir Altaf Zargar

    Dear author
    Dr Iqbal does not made mard e momin ,a man who is
    full of powers or like u consider mard e momin as emotional man vs a
    skilled man who both jump into lake n the momin die because he does not
    know how to swim.
    Mard e momin iqbal had used in many times in his
    religious poetry . he consider mard e momin as man who is honourable,who
    is strong to fight against evils and so on.
    and i abhor ur article with a small piece of line.
    Iqbal had served Muslim ummah with that much which muslims will never get from any era.
    No system yet is standable to detest the poetry of Iqbal.better u increase ur knowledge
    Apni Dunya Ap Paida Kar Agar Zindon Mein Hai
    Sirr-E-Adam Hai, Zameer-E-Kun Fikan Hai Zindagi If you are among the living, fashion your own world;
    Life is the secret of Adam, the essence of the words Be and it was!
    dnt blame others untill u have acquired that position which they had owned years agoRecommend

  • Yasir Altaf Zargar

    when Iqbal wrote sara jahan sa acha he was keen follower of democracy then later u should know the new writes of iqbal which he wrote not for democracy but for religion.Recommend

  • Yasir Altaf Zargar

    for him
    Kham Hai Jab Tak To Hai Mitti Ka Ek Anbar Tu

    Pukhta Ho Jaye To Hai Shamsheer-E-Bezanhar Tu

    While you are still immature, you are a heap of dust;

    When you ripen, you will become an irresistible sword.Recommend

  • Striver

    Iqbal is as relevant today as he was yesterday. Perhaps you cannot see the plight of Muslims from the narrow Canadian window of your suburban flat/house. It is worst then before and will continue its downward spiral far beyond our lifetime.
    Little knowledge is dangerous they say. But this article proves another point. When you talk about a subject of which you have little knowledge you make a fool of yourself. You, my friend, out of your depth.
    Two years ago approx.I read something similar in an Indian newspaper. I ignored it because that is what you expect from the Indians. But the liberal buffoons in Pakistan or of Pakistani origin have their heads in the cloud. They live in a world of their own.
    Stick to retro music and cricket. This subject is beyond you. By living in Canada you think you have acquired some higher intellect to become a critique of Iqbal or the ISI (checked your blog)Recommend

  • نائلہ

    Yep, Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Noah, Muhammad…….,(peace be upon all of them) were all wrong and mr Marik over here is correct. Go figure. Recommend

  • Nauman

    “who went on to divide his motherland”
    I agree but do remember that his motherland was the British Empire of India, not the Republic of India established in 1947.Recommend

  • Farhat

    Like Iqbal and Jinnah, many of Gandhi’s ideas have not stood the test of time either, for example his criticism of Western technological superiority and instance on using traditional methods of production.

    You really are missing the point of the article.Recommend

  • Critical

    If you check the Dollar bills which were printed before 1950s,there would be no “In God we trust”…

    The founding fathers made sure that religion and state are totally separate in their country and if you check the quotes of the founding fathers,you would find that none of them had a good opinion in adding religion to state…

    This was added during the Cold war where few of them thought religion can be used to fight the atheistic communism and in fact there are many campaigns nowadays asking the govt to remove this verse from Dollar bills

    P.S. A little research should have been done..Recommend

  • fozfer

    Wow that’s some seriously awful article I have read in a long time! Mr. Salman you really need to get a hang of Iqbal’s poetry!!!Recommend

  • siesmann

    Muslim nationalism?Muslims can’t live in one country without murdering each others can’t talk of nationalism.Utopias look nice on paper,but are irrational dreams.Recommend

  • AQ

    Does India today follow Gandhi’s teachings?Recommend

  • siesmann

    The concept of God is different in USA.They don’t wear religion on their sleeves,and don’t go killing in the name of God.They trust God to be benevolent,and leave God’s things to God.Quran will be relevant,if its followers apply it in the context of time and place.These days your maniacs,fanatics,and fascists use it according to their interpretation.Iqbal has been ,likewise,is being abused by mullahs,and fanatics according to their whims.Recommend

  • siesmann

    Minority?close to 2 billion Muslims and you consider it to be a minority?The said vision of Muslim has destroyed Islam of its foundations.Muslims crush Muslims 100 times more than others.Don’t know if Islam need to change,but Muslims definitely do.And thank you,but no thanks;India doesn’t need the said Islam System,neither any other country where Islam is not a majority.’Misinterpretation of Islam’ is a cliche,that nobody believes anymore.Recommend

  • siesmann

    So how many centuries more are required for Muslims to interpret Islam rightly?This cliche is becoming absurd by the day.Recommend

  • Imad Uddin

    Iqbal…
    Trust me. Let the time decide if the Iqbal’s views fail to shape the future all over again (as in partition), or if the modern ways get old. Fair enough?Recommend

  • Hasan

    Seriously, what qualities? He was a great poet, that’s all what he was.Recommend

  • Hasan

    What nonsense. Iqbal himself was ‘intrigued’ by the western democracies. He wanted the same system to be implemented here, democracy for the people by the people.
    It so happens that he said the people should all be Muslims (he was dreaming of a state with no minorities I guess). He himself called Deen-e-Mullah a ‘fasaad’Recommend

  • Hasan

    Completely agree with your analysis. Iqbal is the reason a whole generation of Pakistan is lost in the wilderness of ignoranceRecommend

  • Working Woman

    ET is a good place to rant about anything..yes anythimgRecommend

  • Working Woman

    Wow wow… taleem e niswan…
    Is there any comparison? I like my mom because she is a women and i don’t like my dad because he is a man…Thats what you are sayingRecommend

  • Absolutely. The write only illustrated his woeful mediocrity by cherry-picking Iqbal’s couplets to try to paint a picture of the man. And the wishy-washy historical context in which he placed Iqbal was as disjointed and random, to say nothing of how and why Iqbal may be relevant today. Iqbal may in sum be good, or he may be bad, but he deserves better than this condescension. I am fuming after reading this at this writer’s sheer boldness in ignorance. Iqbal’s poetry read like the verses of a higher being, and here we have an “aspiring writer” slinging mud at the man. Jesus Christ!Recommend

  • Right. And Iqbal needs your approval. You won’t be able to read his poetry if your life depended on it, much less understand it.Recommend

  • Calling people names doesn’t get you anywhere.Recommend

  • Educate yourself may be?Recommend

  • If someone like you can rise above it, I am sure the rest of us will also manage to be fine.Recommend

  • He was a Muslim modernist very much in conversation with entirely current phenomena of his time. You are calling him traditional because you understand neither tradition nor Iqbal. And philosophy is by definition idealistic. What else are norms supposed to be but normative? I doubt you can understand what I am saying though.Recommend

  • hammurabi

    You are jumping to confusions.Marx and Lenin were also Philosophers.They revolted against tradition.Iqbal’s view of Ummah
    was hypothetical.Where is Ummah now?Why a Muslim should be an eagle?Everyone irrespective of his faith can be an eagle.Iqbal said the things already propounded by Nietzsche,and German philosophers.Iqbal was in a delusion of Muslim Supremacy. But his poetry is unmatched.Recommend

  • SamSal

    Huge mentality?
    And what exactly is that?Recommend

  • siesmann

    Then why doesn’t Pakistan live with his vision.?Neither it lives by jinnah’s ,nor Islam’s(that is what we read in the comments to coulmns here);so what is Pakistan?Recommend

  • Baqir Hasnain Sayyed

    Dislike. Indeed an absurd article. The writer has no clue of what is the impact and ingress of Iqbal’s ideology. The basic idea of Modern times having different parameters/dynamics now as compared to what they were 60-100 yrs ago is as flawed as the interpretations of Iqbal’s poetry. As a matter of fact the problems highlighted by Iqbal are more relevant today than ever. Iqbal’s remedies tend to appear to writer unpalatable as his thoughts are greatly influenced by western ideology and he seem to be averse to any tag with Islamic identity. He also has not tried to understand the geo-political environment of last two centuries, so he believes that world has moved on and the prevailing Order is right.
    A real disgusting and un-scholarly article. Tribune should have better sense to allow any tom, dick or harry to comment about the soul of this nation.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “…..his motherland was the British Empire of India”

    I wonder why did not the Muslims think of a separate land for themselves when the Mughals were ruling India for close to a millenium.

    The Muslims of India who took pride in the thousand year rule of invading Muslims all of a sudden realised that they would not be able to dominate the Hindus in a democracy and hence resorted to partition and tried justifying it on the name of socio economic development of the Muslims of the subcontinent.

    When it suits, say the Great Muslim conquerors of the subcontinent ruled Hindustan and when it does not, it becomes the British India.Recommend

  • Ali

    Ohh Sir Syed Ahmed Khan is the person to follow……. all he did in his life time was to praise the Englishmen and Gora Sahib ruling India….. he was against 1857 Indian revolution and even penned a book “The Causes of Indian Revolution” …. he flared (if not started) the hindi-urdu controversy right after the indian Revolution … he came up with the idea two nation theory (atleast the foundation of it) he wrote articles for changing muslim’s views.

    If The Great Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was so great indeed… have u ever wondered why in the World would British Sarkar bestowed the title of “SIR” for himRecommend

  • hypocrisy?

    “The self declared champions of liberalism in India want the Indians to
    just remember the lines “sare jahan se atcha…..” and not the lines
    uttered by Iqbal at the cremation of a man who had been hanged to death
    for killing a Hindu for his alleged blasphemous act.”

    While the self declared champions of nationalism want the Indians to remember just Bhagat Singh “the freedom fighter” (as well as his defenders Gandhi and Nehru) and not the fact that he had murdered an innocent police officer and set fire to a public building.Recommend

  • Nauman

    The Mughal Empire ruled Mughal India, the British Empire ruled British India. I am no admirer (or hater) of the Mughals but this is how it is.

    Just because the European Union calls itself so it can not lay claim over the history of Europe just because its name (many European countries are not part of the European Union). It was created in the 20th century just like the the Republic of India.

    It would be absurd to say that the European Union existed in say 100AD despite the fact that the geographic region of Europe did in fact exist.

    My point is that just because you call yourself the “Republic of India” it does not give you a right to culturally appropriate all things associated with India. After all ,Pakistan describes itself as Muslim India.

    P.S Your charge against Pakistan of being created to retain Muslim superiority is baseless. We wanted our rights to be guaranteed under a united homeland (see Jinnah’s 14 points), something you refused. It was only after this refusal that we demanded Pakistan.Recommend

  • Tuba Naz

    Every thinker, author, artist, poet, philosopher is the product of his era and its ideologies, and so was Iqbal. No doubt, he was one of the great poets ever lived but not a very good philosopher. As far as my study of Iqbal goes, I found his philosophy bounded by the whips of socio-political scenarios of his time. He could not let go of his values and could not enjoy the true bliss of philosophy, and thus he wrote indeed what was needed at that time. And why it seems that his work looks irrelevant in the postmodern era is because we are so much influenced by the western ideologies. We try to imply them in our post-colonial world where our institutions are built on traditional ideologies and thus they are in constant conflict.Recommend

  • Justsaying

    ‘Wajood-e-zan’ say hai tasveer-e-Kainat mein rang; usi Kay Saaz say hai Zindagi ka Saaz daroun;

    The picture that this world presents from woman gets its tints and scents:
    She is the lyre that can impart pathos and warmth to human heart.

    Sharaf Mein Barh Ke Sureya Se Musht-e-Khak Iss Ki
    Ke Har Sharaf Hai Issi Durj Ka Dur-e-Makoon

    Her handful clay is superior far to Pleiades that so higher are 
    For every man with knowledge vast, Like gem out of her cask is cast.

    You should have read this before talking about women empowerment may be ?
    Recommend

  • Prashant

    “While the self declared champions of nationalism want the Indians to remember just Bhagat Singh “the freedom fighter” (as well as his defenders Gandhi and Nehru) and not the fact that he had murdered an innocent police officer and set fire to a public building.”

    Get some lessons in history bro.

    Bhagat was never defended by Gandhi and neither was Subhash unlike Iqbal who defended the acts of Ilm-ud-Din.

    Bhagat Singh did throw a bomb but that did not harm anybody and google for the information on those who killed and why he did so, you are a living example of those who never fought for the freedom of India but were there to take a share of it when the freedom was eventually gotten.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “We wanted our rights to be guaranteed under a united homeland (see Jinnah’s 14 points), something you refused. It was only after this refusal that we demanded Pakistan.”

    Put across unacceptable demands with those whom you are negotiating and then claim victimhood for none of the demands being accepted, either the Muslims in Pakistan or those who chose to remain in India were the greatest fools if at all what you are saying is correct, I guess time will tell who is the net loser.

    “P.S Your charge against Pakistan of being created to retain Muslim superiority is baseless.”

    Have you ever seen a Muslim minority asking the majority for a non Muslim theocracy and a Muslim majority not asking for an Islamic republic. Prove it with evidence and not words.

    I actually agree with you that there never was an India in the form it exists today but how about the Muslims say we ruled India for a thousand years if there never was an India until the British arrived.Recommend

  • Harris

    Sir Syed was not against the Indian revolution itself but the carnage it was causing leaving many Indians dead. He penned his book so that the British would change their attitude against the locals and give them more autonomy.

    He was bestowed the title of Sir because he saved the lives of many Indian and Anglo-Indian civilians which included innocent women and children. If you think this is a traitorous activity then I disagree with you and am proud to call him “SIR”.Recommend

  • hypocrisy?

    “Bhagat was never defended by Gandhi”
    http://www.tribuneindia.com/2011/20111216/main7.htm

    “why he did so”
    Can a cause really justify murder. I know why he did so. One of colleagues died in prison due to a heart attack after he was arrested in a protest. Bhagat Singh vowed revenge by killing James Scott, the person in-charge of subduing the protest. However he and his colleagues ended up killing a police constable who was totally unrelated to the incident.

    I am no fan of Ilm-ud-Din and agree that Iqbal should not have praised him so. However I am simply pointing out the hypocrisy that I see in your views.

    Gandhi defends Bhagat Singh who killed for revenge and his beliefs: Your verdict: Heroes

    Jinnah and Iqbal defend Ilm-ud-Din who killed for revenge and his beliefs:
    Your verdict: Villains

    “those who never fought for freedom”
    And those of us who gave their lives fighting for freedom like Sher Bahadur Khan Tipu Sultan Shaheed are still called villains by many in India.Recommend

  • sridhar

    I am not an expert in Urdu poetry and so I am not qualified to comment on the literary output of Iqbal.
    What fascinates me is that this man wrote the most moving lines “saare jahan se accha hindustan hamara” which whole of India (at least in North India) knows very well to this day but after writing these lines, he turned against the idea of a pluralistic India and embraced the idea of muslim ummah.
    what happened in the interim? What made him change his mind?
    The 2 most important personalities for Pakistanis are also most controversial for me. The second one is none other than Jinnah. He was a staunch secular person and an ambassador of hindu-muslim unity but then something changed and he became a champion of muslim nationhood. Why?Recommend

  • Zee

    WoW! Another Einstein telling us that Iqbal is no more relevant. Spitting on moon doesn’t affect the moon.
    Recommend

  • siesmann

    Sir syed wanted and did try to bring Muslims out of ignorance and to study sciences and modern education.If mullahs had their way at the time,they would have kept people in madrassas,and produces maulvis only,just like madrassass of today.He is as important a figure as Iqbal might be.Recommend

  • abhi

    prefixing some name before India doesn’t make a difference. Whether british or mughal ruled, India was the same, same people same land. The idea of Pakistant is to import some arabic and central aisan culture in the name of Islam.Recommend

  • abhi

    you are listing the names as you know them personally :) There is no historical proof for first three and the fifth name in your list.Recommend

  • abhi

    It is really a miracle that this blog published in a Pakistani new paper.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Every version of the religion is considered ‘rightly interpreted’ by its respective school of thought. Let’s not muddy the waters here.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Why didn’t they seek a separate land during the Mughal period? Because they weren’t oppressed then.

    Insinuating that millions of Muslims who either actively or tacitly supported a painful separation all sought to ‘dominate the Hindus’, is offensive if not facile. Dominance may have been the object of some, but many genuinely felt that as a minority, they were not being justly treated.Recommend

  • omarali50

    its sort of a start, but some things REALLY should have been left out of it. 1. Nietzsche ka superman. It doesnt mean what the blog writer thinks it means. 2. “Muslims of India needed this”. No they did not. They needed this like a thirsty man needs a drink of acid. This kind of delusional fantasizing was exactly what they did NOT need. This fantasy view of history and culture leads straight to the two-nation theory and other abominations. We did not need it in 1925 and we do not need it now. ….just saying.Recommend

  • omarali50

    There is an Indian civilization that extends from Khyber to Kanyakumari. it can be ruled by one political entity or twenty, but it still remains Indian. By denying this essential Indian-ness, the so-called two-nation theory struck a dagger throught this civilization. Of course, most of the damage was done in Punjab.Recommend

  • Muhammad Faizan

    Well this is all what an ignorant and a too ordinary mind can think to write…
    I feel sorry for u mate…Recommend

  • Sarah

    Faraz, I am talking about the basics of religion, those that are preached about by all religions in the world, like humanity, tolerance, brotherhood, respect, honor, honesty. Everything else like prayers definitely will differ with the people following different religions in a country. However, since we are talking about the “Islamic” Pakistan and the majority population of the country, Muslims are majroly responsible for the mayhem downright!Recommend

  • Prashant

    “Dominance may have been the object of some, but many genuinely felt that as a minority, they were not being justly treated.”

    Who did not treat the Muslims justly? was it the Mughals or the British or you are implying Hindus, If the Hindus were not in rule for a thousand years, how can you blame them for any mistreatment of Muslims?

    Destruction of some of the holiest temples of Hindus for centuries might not have been carried out by all Muslims but they are certainly being glorified by many across the border and the institutionalised discrimination of Hindus in Pakistan, lack of genuine democracy in any of the Muslims countries including Pakistan, asking for secularism while residing in Non Muslim countries but making theocracies as soon as they are in majority, giving explanations to non Muslims about what Jehad truly is but not confronting the Muslim groups who have unleashed their own version of Jehad against Non Muslims only confirms the perception among some if not all Indians that Muslims feel uneasy living in a Non Muslim majority country.

    The Hindus were ruled for a thousand years and the moment it was felt that it was no longer possible to rule them to the satisfaction of Muslims, the Hindus were termed unjust and hence the need for a land of pure.Recommend

  • Prashant

    So, trying to save a man from being hanged is defending his actions?

    Stop defaming Gandhi without whom many more people would have died during partition. When you cannot justify your so called towering leaders, you want pull down someone of Gandhi’s stature to your own.

    “One of colleagues died in prison due to a heart attack after he was arrested in a protest.”

    Lala Lajpat Rai succumbed to the injuries received by the police and not out of the heart attack as you would like to believe.

    Go to the Malabar region of Kerala and see for yourself the havoc wrecked by Tipu Sulitan on Hindus, he was fighting for his own sake and not for the people of India, there absolutely is no comparison of Gandhi, Nehru with marauders like Tipu Sultan.

    It is good to see though a Pakistani talking peace but in the process condemning Gandhi is what takes the steam out of your argument.Recommend

  • AQ13

    No it isnt.Tribune is too much ahead even of Indian news papers in bashing Pakistan,its ideology,Islam and now even the founding fathersRecommend

  • Sundas Rashid

    The most well known and major contribution of Iqbal to philosophy is the idea of Khudi (conscious self)…now one may go on writing thousand of pages on how relevant is the idea of Khudi to the present. For ones who think Iqbal borrowed the idea from Nietzsche, Iqbal’s idea of Khudi and Neitche’s theory of overman oppose each other clearly.Recommend

  • sundas

    Is India living by Gandhi’s vision? I am afraid not.Recommend

  • The Mughals ruled (mainly north) India for about three hundred years. Really 150 years if you count only the first six great Mughals. The empire declined after that. I think you meant Muslims, not Mughals.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Your efforts to vilify millions of separation-seeking Muslims as either baddies, who were hungry for dominance; or drama-queens, who were overly sensitive about losing their thousand-year reign, is puerile. And, if I may speculate, likely a reflection of your views towards Indian minorities currently.

    History aside, common sense alone dictates that such a massive split would not have been possible unless the communal tension was truly beyond an ordinary Muslim or an common Hindu’s ability to bear. And in any widespread communal violence, the numerically inferior are always the ones to suffer more.

    You can’t speak of ‘Muslims’ as a monolithic group; like every ordinary Muslim across India was laughing maniacally at the dinner table, discussing plans for Muslim domination over daal and chapatis.Recommend

  • Zee

    Exactly, there is one criteria to get your blog published at ET i.e. The blog must contain the anti Pakistan, Islam, ideology of Pakistan, Army and founding fathers to name a few contents.

    And then fellow Indians and our so called liberals will be applauding such an effort.Recommend

  • hypocrisy?

    “Stop defaming Gandhi”
    I am only responding to your comments. Stop defaming our leaders on our blogs and well stop defaming yours.

    We don’t hate Gandhi but you must realize that he too was no “hero” at least for us Muslims. There are a number of criticisms leveled at him for example this remark of his:
    “the thirteen hundred years of imperialistic expansion has made the Muslims fighters as a body. They are therefore aggressive. Bullying is the natural excrescence of an aggressive spirit. The Hindu has an ages old civilization. He is essentially non violent.”

    Jinnah also only tried to save Ilm-ud-Din from the gallows yet I have seen many Indians attack him as if he was responsible for the actions of his client.

    “havoc wrecked by Tipu Sulitan”

    Actually I didn’t mean to compare Tipu Sahib with 20th century leaders. An apt comparison would be with say Shiva Jee, who we (and the British) regard as a mountain bandit and pillager yet is revered in India as a hero of Indian independence despite him fighting only for the Maratha’s sake.

    Once again:

    Tipu Sultan fights for his Empire(Mysore), wreaks havoc, dies fighting the British: Your Verdict: “marauder”, “not (fighting) for the people of India”

    Shivaji fights for his Empire(Maratha not India), wreaks havoc, dies of natural causes: Your Verdict: Great freedom fighter of India.

    I greatly appreciate the fact that India does not persecute its minorities but your view of history is totally different from ours. Why is Shivaji a hero and Tipu a villain? I see no difference other than their religion. You may accept Muslims as equals but not as rulers and heroes, only foreign invaders who caused nothing but destruction and now must be tolerated for the sake of “diversity”.Recommend

  • Nauman

    “Who did not treat the Muslims justly? was it the Mughals or the British or you are implying Hindus, If the Hindus were not in rule for a thousand years, how can you blame them for any mistreatment of Muslims?”

    The British gave India a fair amount of autonomy. During this period the Congress was in charge. Jinnah tried his best to secure the rights of Muslims but was heckled and ridiculed eventually forcing him to give up politics. It was during this period that he started to listen to those who were calling for Pakistan and started to agree with them. Previously he had tried his best to work with the Congress. THIS is what we blame you for.

    “lack of genuine democracy in any of the Muslims countries including Pakistan, asking for secularism while residing in Non Muslim countries but making theocracies as soon as they are in majority”

    “the Hindus were termed unjust and hence the need for a land of pure”

    So? According to you some sort of secret Muslim cabal seeks to Islamize the entire world. Is that your interpretation of these unfortunate facts? Do realize that it is Muslims who have been killed first and foremost most by those unleashing their own version of Jihad as well as by political instability within their own lands. People like you sit in Delhi or London or Washington worrying about these terrorists, lecturing us on how to deal with them and act as if you have born the brunt of their actions.Recommend

  • Nauman

    “unacceptable demands”
    The British claimed that independence itself was an unacceptable demand. Other than the 14 points many other negotiations were conducted, none of them led anywhere (for example the round table conferences where Gandhi claimed that “there should be no separate electorates or special safeguards for Muslims”). You’re just being paranoid if you think Jinnah was purposely making demands he knew would not be accepted so he could push for Pakistan

    “Have you ever seen a Muslim minority asking the majority for a non
    Muslim theocracy and a Muslim majority not asking for an Islamic
    republic. Prove it with evidence and not words.”

    You are completely forgetting the fact that the Muslims were in a MAJORITY in a number of areas which now form Pakistan and Bangladesh.

    “Muslim minority asking the majority for a non Muslim theocracy”
    Why would any minority ask for a theocracy of a different religion???

    “Muslim majority not asking for an Islamic republic.”
    None of the founders of Pakistan asked for an Islamic Republic. That was only decided later. We wanted a land in those areas where we were in majority since you were not willing to listen to us.

    Besides Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia don’t fit your description. Saudi Arabia is led by a monarchy which propagates Wahhabism for its own ends. Every nation is a unique case. Try to look at the root causes of the problems instead of simply blaming Muslims and their religion.Recommend

  • Nauman

    National myth
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_myth

    Some would say that there is an Islamic civilization that extends from Morocco to Indonesia.it can be ruled by one political entity or twenty, but it still remains Islamic. By denying this essential Islamic-ness, the so-called Nationalism theory struck a dagger throught this civilization.Of course, most of the damage was done in Iraq.Recommend

  • siesmann

    well,that is what is India.You discard what is not practical.Gandhi still has his respect and is father of the nation.But his simple policies won’t work in modern times.Recommend

  • Farah Khan Yousfzai

    Iqbal was a thinker, a philosopher and a philosopher is always relevant in any time. You have quoted a very few poems or lines from his poetry. Just open any of his book and you will feel like he is saying it to us, at least i feel that way.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “And, if I may speculate, likely a reflection of your views towards Indian minorities currently.”

    The Indian Muslims are as much Indians as any other Indian but does that mean history should not be seen in its context. Not being politically correct does not make me an anti “Indian Muslims”

    “History aside, common sense alone dictates that such a massive split would not have been possible unless the communal tension was truly beyond an ordinary Muslim or an common Hindu’s ability to bear.”

    Does common sense not prompt you to ask yourself why did an overwhelming majority of the Muslims living elsewhere in India(Hindu majority areas) with Hindus did not migrate to Pakistan, surely they must be more persecuted by Hindus than those living in Muslim majority areas.

    “And in any widespread communal violence, the numerically inferior are always the ones to suffer more.”

    Apply this logic and we would not have a single country on this planet which has any diversity, the fact is Muslims were living in majority in some parts of British India and they were in a position to divide India which they did not want to miss out on.

    I have an issue with Muslims taking pride in the Hindu persecution and those who carried it out and the fact that Muslims nowhere in the world believe in secularism makes my belief stronger that the partition of India was inevitable, I disagree with you on the reasons.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “Besides Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia don’t fit your description. ”

    Turkey is not secular by choice, take the Army out and Erodgan will have Turkey become another Saudi Arabia.

    Malyasia- You cannot convert from Islam to another faith but vice versa is allowed, A non Muslim wanting to marry a Muslim must convert to Islam, One of the parents conversion to Islam makes the Children Muslim as well, this does not sound secularism to me and this is being practiced as a state policy.

    Indonesia-Slowly but surely the religious fundamentalists are taking over, just need to look at the recent developments.

    “Try to look at the root causes of the problems instead of simply blaming Muslims and their religion.”

    I have never blamed Islam, so please stop saying that.

    “Why would any minority ask for a theocracy of a different religion???”

    That is the point I was making, if you want a state religion in countries dominated by Muslims, you should not have an issue if a non Muslim majority country turns to their own religion and gives special treatment to the majority.Recommend

  • Treasure Lost

    Correction, Shadbad is written in pure Urdu and not in Persian as you would like to believe in. In other words, Pakistan’s national Anthem is written in classical Urdu.Recommend

  • Lost Treasure

    And this why Sir, bias should never come to fore while commenting on a subject. Muslims not only live in peace but also live with communities in peace in countries like: Malaysia, Indonesia, Qatar, UAE, Oman, Jordan., etc.Recommend

  • Lost Treasure

    Seriously, to me it seems the author only read a few couplets without understanding the nuances of Iqbalian message. Under-researched and Disgraceful article.Recommend

  • Prashant

    “Tipu Sultan fights for his Empire(Mysore), wreaks havoc, dies fighting the British: Your Verdict: “marauder”, “not (fighting) for the people of India””

    Shivaji did not belong to a Kingdom which he inherited, he was born in a country where his co-religionists were being persecuted by Muslim rulers and hence he fought them, what’s wrong in doing that in your own country. Shivaji was a man who stood against centuries old tyranny.

    Tipu Sultan would have been a hero for me for fighting the British had he not converted Hindus by force. Someone fighting my enemy but who also fights against me cannot be a friend of mine.

    “the thirteen hundred years of imperialistic expansion has made the Muslims fighters as a body….”

    How many times did the Hindu Kings went to the arab lands to kill, loot and plunder, you want the people to be politically correct and not face the facts.

    “Jinnah also only tried to save Ilm-ud-Din from the gallows yet I have seen many Indians attack him as if he was responsible for the actions of his client.”

    I wish Ilm-ud-din went to gallows fighting the British and not fellow Hindus.

    These were the comments made by Iqbal at his funeral:

    “This uneducated young man has surpassed us, the educated ones.”

    Also he refused to lead the funeral prayers with the following comment:

    “I am a sinful person not competent to do this job to lead the funeral of such a great warrior”Recommend

  • Lost Treasure

    OMG! Religious bigotry? Do you even understand what you are saying? Where was bigotry in Iqbalian poetry? And why are you so scared of Mullahs? Let me assure you, they are not playing any part in KPK, however, Sindh and Punjab, I can’t say much. As for Iqbal, he is too big for anyone to understand in a couple of verses. Iqbal proposed Khudi and rise from the ashes which by no means is Religious Bigotry. I wonder what part of Iqbalian message you read rather misread?Recommend

  • Nauman

    “Muslims taking pride in the Hindu persecution”
    We don’t take pride in Hindu persecution but unlike you we do not see for example the Ghazvanids as “evil” Hindu hating marauders. Did you know that they were great patrons of the art and the literary epic of Iran “Shahnameh” was written under their patronage? Yes they raided just like their contemporaries(the Vikings for example) but they were interested in gold not converts. They even left Hindus in-charge as vassals when they retreated from their raids.

    Similarly “With Sultan Mahmud’s invasions of northern India, Persian culture was
    established at Lahore, which later produced the famous poet, Masud Sa’d Salman.[53]
    Lahore, under the Ghaznavid rule in the 11th century, attracted Persian
    scholars from Khorasan, India and Central Asia and became a major
    Persian cultural centre.”

    We take pride in their other many other accomplishments and it can not be denied that they are a part of our history. Perhaps it is wrong of us to “Hero-FY” them but it is equally wrong for you to “vilify” them

    The (Muslim) Punjabis credit Data Ganj Baksh for their conversion to Islam. Similarly the Sindhis have the native Soomro family and the Baloch, Kashmiris and Pashtuns have their own narratives as to how they converted. We weren’t all force converted as you probably believe.

    As far as I’m concerned it is pointless to bicker over partition now. Most Pakistani’s still believe that it was justified and so do I. We have seen what happened to the only Muslim majority area in India anyway haven’t we.Recommend