Iqbal’s Dream by Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani

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I recently read an interview of the late Dina Wadia in which she paid tribute to her beloved father by saying that there would have been no Pakistan without Jinnah. While fully endorsing her statement, I would dare to comment that if there was no Allama Iqbal, there would be no Jinnah and, therefore, no Pakistan.

The history of the Pakistan Movement has revealed that Allama Iqbal not only convinced Quaid-e-Azam to return to the Subcontinent and become a part of practical politics but also elaborated on the concept of an independent state in his Allahabad speech.

A great philosopher and poet, Allama Iqbal is, on the one hand, regarded as a national poet and thinker in Pakistan and, on the other, also known across the world. He is known as Iqbal Lahori in Iran and India has given his ‘Tarana-e-Hindi’ the status of a national anthem. The British government had also honoured him with the title of ‘Sir’.

It is quite natural that the first-ever role models of any child are his/her parents – especially his/her mother – who play a pivotal role in personality development. Iqbal was fortunate that he opened his eyes in a noble family where his father, though illiterate, had a strong bond with religion and was bound by a duty to serve humanity. His mother also believed in positive values and helped people who were in need. According to historians, Allama Iqbal’s ancestors belonged to a Brahmin Pandit family of Kashmir that later moved to Sialkot.

Allama Iqbal’s remarkable poetry focuses on self-esteem, dignity and serving humanity. He viewed self-esteem as a vital quality that helps nations achieve the heights of progress and prosperity. “Khudi ko kar buland itna ke… Khuda bande se khud poochay bata teri raza kia hai” is one of his famous verses that highlight the importance of self-confidence. According to Iqbal, khudi means faith in one’s self and, more importantly, faith in the skills and talents that God has granted to each of us. However, it is regrettable that we have forgotten Iqbal’s real message and become dependent to other countries. On the other hand, his teachings on how to combat challenges by relying on one’s own resources have been adopted by other nations.

His manuscripts – including ‘Bang-e-Dara’ and ‘Bal-e-Jibril’ – preach the noble values for the welfare of humanity. Iqbal also emphasised the importance of unity, brotherhood and nation-building. He proved that it is essential to become an active part of a dynamic society in order to move towards peace and prosperity. Elaborating the importance of a combined struggle rather than individual efforts, Iqbal firmly believed that it is an important human quality to support each other in times of need.

Iqbal, through his poetry, also promoted interfaith harmony. ‘Mazhab nahi sikhata aapas mai bair rakhna’ highlights that all religions urge their followers to respect each other and there is no reason to spread hatred on the basis of religious differences. A number of non-Muslims were also acknowledged in his manuscripts. Allama Iqbal was one of those people who dedicate their entire life to doing something positive for the love of God and his creations.

Allama Iqbal also wrote poems to encourage character-building among children. All of his poems contain some positive lesson. ‘Aik paharh aur gulehri’ teaches readers that every creature has its own importance in the universe and it is not fair to malign anyone due to his/her social status. ‘Lab pe aati hai dua ban ke tamana meri’ remains quite popular in almost every Pakistani school. In ‘Iblees ki Majlis-e-Shora’, Iqbal describes how imperialist powers exploit vulnerable nations.

In ‘Shikwa’ and ‘Jawab-e-Shikwa’ respectively, Iqbal explores how God only helps those who believe in struggle and the laws of nature are the same for every human nation. He advocated that anyone who follows the path of God faces hurdles but eventually achieves success. However, disobeying God ultimately resulted in destruction and anarchy. Iqbal also predicted the peaceful rise of China nation even before the independence of China and Pakistan. CPEC is proving his prophecy.

We must feel honoured that Allama Iqbal is acknowledged across the globe. However, we must not limit ourselves to just celebrating his birthday. We need to adopt a realistic approach to admit that today’s Pakistan is far removed from Iqbal’s concept of an independent nation. In the current circumstances, it is important to design our national policies according to the ideology of Allama Iqbal so that his dream of a peaceful Pakistan can be fulfilled.

The writer is a member of the National Assembly and patron-in-chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council.

Twitter: @RVankwani

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