Iqbal Day: A reflection on What was And what is.

ہے خاک فلسطین پہ یہودی کا اگر حق

حسپانیا پہ حق نہیں کیوں اہل ارب کا

(shaam-o- falasteen, AIlama Iqbal)

Allahabad 1930: Allama Muhamad Iqbal introduced the two nation ideology, which charged the muslim nation to fight for their own separate state. A dream that cost millions of lives to become a reality. Today when we find our own beloved country in shambles, one wonders, how did we end up here? A state that was attained after so much struggle and sacrifice should not have been taken for granted like it did. 

Today it is almost impossible for the three million citizens to have a single meal for the day let alone three full meals. Our hearts ache, but can we ever recover from such a nose dive? 

Iqbal’s role in the creation of Pakistan:

Iqbal was a true visionary, and could foresee the challenges muslims could face under british rule. That is why he not only envisioned but made it his mission to gain a separate state for muslims. With his famous Allahabad speech in 1930 iqbal played the role of the pied piper to unite the muslims of subcontinent for attaining this separate muslim state. It was then he introduced the two nation ideology, and laid the foundation for Pakistan. 

Iqbal Day – Significance and Celebration:

9th november is considered iqbal day all around the country as it is the day the great poet of east was born. In honor of his birth , the day is celebrated as one of the national holidays in the country. On 9th November, the nation pays tribute to Iqbal and his efforts for the initiation of the Pakistan movement. Special events are organized in educational institutes to remember the loss we faced and to refresh the essence of Iqbal’s literature. The ideology of khudi and muslim unity is introduced to the younger generations. However, it seems to be taken for granted many times. Celebrating days is not enough until we actually implement the messages given by his poetry.  

Iqbal’s philosophy of Khudi (selfhood)

خودی میں ڈوب جا غافل ! یہ سر زندگانی ہے 

نکل کر حلقہ  شام و سحر سے ، جاوداں ہو جا

Iqbal’s Khudi is quite the opposite of our current practices. Iqbal’s khudi, asks us to go beyond the apparent barriers of the world. It asks us to search for our true essence in our own selves. For Iqbal, the worldly rewards are not worth losing one’s khudi. He says:

میرا تاریک امیری نہیں ، فقیری ہے

خودی نا بیچ ، غریبی میں نام پیدا کر

Today, we see Iqbal’s nation selling their self worth only to gain worldly rewards. This is not the Pakistan Iqbal envisioned. 

  Iqbal’s impact on national identity

Iqbal played a key role in helping muslims define their identity as a separate nation. In 1930’s Allahabad address Iqbal put forward the two nation theory which stated that muslims and hindus are two separate nations and may not be able to survive peacefully under one flag.  It is this two nation theory that leads us to the gain of a muslim state. Iqbal changed his style of poetry and tone to promote nationalism for muslims of the subcontinent. He shifted his style from ghazals to religious nationalistic poetry. In fact Iqbal opposed the idea of nationalism as he saw it as a clash with Islam. By his two nation theory Iqbal promoted religious nationalism, which put Islam at the forefront of regular nationalism. In his poem “wataniyat”, he raised his concerns of nationalism clashing with religion.
It’s actually sad, how we forgot Iqbal’s idea of nationalism and lost ourselves in wataniyat as well. Today we put our country first and religion second. If we were truly following Iqbal’s idea of nationalism we as a muslim nation would have not thought twice before helping our palestinian brothers and sisters. 

Iqbal’s relevance in contemporary Pakistan:

In contemporary Pakistan, Iqbal’s ideology is all the more relevant and required. Pakistan now is divided in classism , racism, tribalism, and the caste system above all. It is no longer the single muslim nation envisioned by Iqbal.  The only country which was built in the name of the Islam has now been divided by everything. The islam Iqbal talks about is not the one practiced culturally by muslims. He talks of the Islam that the Quran preaches. The islam , at the center of which lies justice, equality , and kindness towards not only muslims but humans. On this Iqbal day let’s revive Iqbal’s message in true spirit and try to live by it for the sake of our own salvation as a nation. 

Conclusion: Honoring Iqbal’s legacy

While Iqbal was a strong advocate of muslim freedom, his heart ached equally for the freedom of Palestine and its people. In his couplet on palestine, he says:

ہے خاک فلسطین پہ یہودی کا اگر حق

حسپانیا پہ حق نہیں کیوں اہل ارب کا

While commemorating Iqbal day this year, let us be grateful for the freedom and the facilities that we have in our own country. Let us pray for our brothers and sisters in Palestine, and support them in any way we can. This Iqbal day let’s truly honor Iqbal’s legacy and find yourself in this noise of cultural and sectoral division and find a reason to be united as a nation rather than divided.

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