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Allama Iqbal - The Greatest Poet of the East

Saturday April 21, 2012 10:21:13 AM, Team

“Let the Muslims proclaim a million times that Iqbal is their. But I declare that Iqbal belongs to everyone of us. In fact, confining Iqbal to a particular religion or community is injustice to this one of the greatest poets in the world”, said a professor at a function held at Mysore University. The function was organized in honor of Allama Iqbal when he visited Mysore in January 1929 on the special invitation of the Maharaja of Mysore.


It was the time the first war of freedom movement in 1857 was suppressed and the nation was readying itself for waging a fresh war against the tyrant forces when Iqbal was born at Sialkot in Punjab in 1877. Iqbal, who started his path towards becoming the Great Poet of the East and Philosopher in his student life itself, ultimately became the symbol and preacher of Indian and Eastern values. While studying at Scotch Mission College in Sialkot he attained mastery in writing prose and poetry. Iqbal, who graduated in 1897, became proficient in English, Arabic and other International languages very soon. He learnt German in just three months when he went to Munich for seeking doctorate in Philosophy.


By the time he started teaching at Government College and Oriental College at Lahore, he had already become popular in the Indian subcontinent as a poet. In September 1905 he left for Europe for further studies and returned to India in 1908. Besides teaching and practicing law, Iqbal continued to write poetry and by1928, his reputation as a great philosopher was solidly established. His poetries have got the reputation of being translated in several International Languages.


Iqbal's thoughts are focused on spiritual direction and development of human society. His poetry imparted message of pure and spiritual focus on eastern values as a source for socio-political liberation and greatness of the country. In his publication Payam-e-Mashriq (The Message from the East), Iqbal reminds to the West the importance of morality, religion and civilization by underlining the need for cultivating feeling, ardour and dynamism”, said Anika Sabahat, a student of Iqbaliyat.


When Iqbal wrote Shikwah (The Complaints), in which he complained to the God about the prevailing miserable conditions of the Muslims in the world, it irritated the Maulvis and they declared him an infidel. But when Iqbal wrote Jawab-e-Shikwah (The Answer to the Complaints), critics were finding very hard to escape. It is the same Shikwah and Jawab-e-Shikwah that is translated in English by Khushwant Singh.


Iqbal's encounter with Mussolini

In September 1931, when Allama Iqbal was in England to attend the second round table conference, Italian Government sent its emissaries and requested him to visit Italy. While in Italy sometimes in November 1931, Allama Iqbal received a message through Dr. Scorpa, the Italian Councilor in Mumbai that Mussolini wanted to meet him. Dr. Iqbal accepted his invitation and met the Italian Dictator on November 27 in his 'famous hall'.


During the course of the meeting Mussolini asked Iqbal, “What you except we Italians to do?”


Dr. Iqbal replied, “Europe has left with no moral values. Stop blindly following Europe and learn lessons from the East.”


Mussolini then requested Dr. Iqbal to give few more suggestions. Iqbal said, “Limit the size of the population of a city and don’t allow overcrowding of the cities. After a city reaches this limit, create new settlements and cities for the people.”


A bemused Mussolini requested Iqbal to elaborate further. Iqbal said, “As population of a city increases, its moral values and economic power start waning. Worst, immoral activities start challenging the cultural strength.”


Mussolini looked at Allama Iqbal in disbelief for a moment but in the next moment stood from his chair and shouted in excitement, “What an excellent idea!”


Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara

In 1905, when Iqbal was a lecturer at the Government College Lahore, Lala Hardayal invited him to preside over a function. Instead of making a speech, Iqbal in his typical style recited Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara in front of the students. The couplets recited in a small hall of the Government College Lahore, soon spread to every corner and streets of the country making it the greatest patriotic song of the country.


Once, Iqbal was sitting in a boat house in Kashmir when some children passed by him singing Sare Jahan Se Accha. Iqbal smiled as these small kids were unaware of his presence near them.


Iqbal compiled the song in praise of India. Each and every word in this song depicts an Indian’s respect and love for the motherland and the values the Indian society inherited for long. It was set to music sometimes in 1950 by Pandit Ravi Shankar, and is regularly sung on the occasions of national importance.


When Indira Gandhi asked Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian astronaut going to space, how India looked from space, he immediately replied, “Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara.”


In 1938 on April 21, the Great Indian Poet and the Philosopher, Allama Iqbal died leaving behind him tremendous amount of literary works embedded with priceless thoughts and messages that are still working as the guiding path for millions around the world.


When Mahatma Gandhi was informed about Allama Iqbal's death, he wrote in his condolence message for the nation, “What can I write about Dr. Iqbal except that I was sobbing due to emotions when I first recited Sare Jahan Se Accha. In Yerawada Jail, I must have sung Sare Jahana Se Accha more than hundred times. Each and every word of this great song is sweet to me. Even while writing this message, I feel reverberating the couplets of this song into my ears.”






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