First anthology of Allama Iqbal Baang-e-Dara was published in Hyderabad, though illegally

Sarojini Naidu presided over a function that was held to honour Iqbal in 1931. Iqbal too was present at that function.

Mir Ayood Ali Khan

Hyderabad: Allama Iqbal who was born in Sialkot on November 9, 1877, and died in Lahore on April 21, 1938, visited Hyderabad at least four times. It was Hyderabad that had organised the first Iqbal Day in 1931.  That function was presided over by one of the foremost freedom fighters Sarojini Naidu.

Hyderabad also gained notoriety when some printing press decided to plagiarise his first anthology Baang-e-Dara and publish it here.  Iqbal was so angry with that incident that he took the press to the court.

Baang-e-Dara

Perhaps there is no other eminent person in India that is claimed by both India and Pakistan, maybe not in equal terms.  Pakistan accorded Iqbal the honour of the person who gave the idea of a separate state for the Muslims in the Indian sub-continent.

MS Education Academy

On the other hand, a number of eminent members of the intelligentsia in India say that he never gave any such idea.  “He spoke about an autonomous state within the state comprising mainly the Pakhtunkhwa region.  He never spoke about the idea of Pakistan. Numerous ideas were being floated in the air at that time. His idea was one among them,” Prof. Naseemuddin Farees, an authority on Iqbal and Deccani poetry who is associated with Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University, pointed out.

Mohammad Ziauddin Nayyar, President of All India Majlis Tameer-e-Millat, who regularly gives lectures on different dimensions of the poet’s life and works said that Iqbal first visited Hyderabad in 1910 that is about four years after his tour of England and Germany for higher studies.

He was the guest of the then Prime Minister of Hyderabad State Sir Akbar Haderi. During his stay, on a tour to Quli Qutb Shah Tombs Iqbal wrote a long poem on the matchless necropolis.

He later visited Hyderabad as the guest of the other Prime Minister of Hyderabad State Sir Maharaja Kishan Pershad.

Besides, anthologies like Baang-e-Dara where one finds the poet overflowing with nationalistic thoughts, he wrote several collections in Urdu and Persian.  One of his couplets that he wrote during the oppressive British Raj was: Pathar ki moorthauN ko samjha hai thu Khuda hai/ Khaak e watan ka mujhko har zarra devta hai (You think the idols made of stone are god/But for me, every speck of the nation is a deity).

“His Persian poetry is of a different level.  One has to have deep knowledge of the history of the nations and grasp of religions to appreciate it properly,” said Prof Farees.

A few of his well-known discourses in English the Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam were delivered at Osmania University and Jubilee Hall in Hyderabad. The others were read out in Chennai (Madras).

Nayyar says that Iqbal Academy which was established in Hyderabad in 1959 has 64 books written by Iqbal or on Iqbal by different scholars. Prof Alam Khundmiri of Osmania University was the first Chairman of that Academy.

Incidentally, Nayyar is the current president of the Academy which is operated from its own building in Masab Tank.
Some of Iqbal’s anthologies in Urdu include Baang-e-Dara, Baal-e-Jibrael and Zarb-e-Kaleem.  His Khudi and Rumooz-e-Bekhudi and Javed Nama in Persian are some of the most valued works.

Hyderabad has produced many leading scholars on Iqbal.  They include Khalifa Abdul Hakeem who was from Kashmir but worked with Osmania University, Raziuddin Siddiqui who later migrated to Pakistan, Ghulam Dastagir Rasheed, Prof Omar Khan, Prof Salahuddin, Prof. Alam Khundmiri, and Zaheeruddin Jameyi etc.

Perhaps the last great Indian authority on Iqbal was Jagan Nath Azad whose expertise on the poet was acknowledged even in Pakistan where Iqbal attracts a huge number of scholars. Azad passed away 2004 in Delhi.

Iqbal divided his poetry into his pre and post-European sojourn (1905-08), for higher studies, in England and Germany.

Aesthetic sublimity apart, and many profound philosophical and mystical insights notwithstanding, his legacy remains deeply problematic. It continues to haunt public discourse of the Urdu literati and the Muslims of India and Pakistan, more than ever as many religio-ideological strands that have informed the current surge of extremism, are directly traceable to him. This is not to say that he invented those thoughts, but that he found expression for them in an idiom whose elegance lent respectability to them, and placed them beyond serious critique. In any case, such is the nature of Urdu poetry that even a pedestrian verse can trounce the most well-thought out idea in prose.

Mir Ayoob Ali Khan is a seasoned journalist who has worked with the Times of India, Deccan Chronicle and Saudi Gazette.

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