Unveiling the Unseen: Taqi Abedi’s book sheds new light on Iqbal’s unpublished verses

Hyderabad: As the dawn of a new year hovers over the horizon, there is a palpable sense of hope and rejuvenation. For bibliophiles, the anticipation of discovering new literary treasures is an integral part of this annual renewal. In the realm of Urdu poetry, the year 2024 brings a particularly exciting revelation for enthusiasts of Allama Iqbal, Urdu’s most celebrated poet.

They can now look forward to reading the unpublished poems of Iqbal. Thanks to renowned critic and scholar, Dr. Taqi Abedi, some of the finest verses of the poet-philosopher which remained hidden from public view, can now be read. A new book, Baqiyat-e-Iqbal, authored by the Canada-based Hyderabad doctor, sheds fresh light on the Shair-e-Mashriq (poet of East). Can addicted fans of Iqbal ask for anything more in the New Year?

The book recently published in Pakistan will have an Indian edition very soon.  Dr. Abedi unveiled the book in the presence of a select gathering of Iqbal aficionados at Media Plus auditorium here the other day. This literary gem sheds light on a trove of verses that had remained concealed from the public eye for close to 90 years since Iqbal’s passing away.

MS Education Academy

Ziauddin Nayyar, President, Iqbal Academy, Prof Khawaja Nasiruddin, Abdul Rahman Saleem architect, Dr. Javeed Kamal and Dr Fazil Hussain Parvez were present on the occasion.

Ghalib and Iqbal are undoubtedly two of Urdu’s evergreen poets. Critics, scholars and researchers never tire of bringing new dimensions of their works to the fore. However, Hakeem-ul-Ummat (the sage of the nation), as Iqbal is termed, wields greater influence over the subcontinent and the Urdu world through his revolutionary works.

It is intriguing to note that Iqbal himself chose to set aside some of his poems, excluding them from his published works for reasons unknown. Dr. Abedi, however, has taken it upon himself to resurrect these poetic treasures, presenting them to the world in Baqiyat-e-Iqbal. In a world where literary legacies are often subject to the passage of time, Abedi’s labour of seven years is a commendable act that revives the essence of Iqbal’s artistic brilliance.

Sharing insights into his new book, Dr. Abedi spoke about the rationale behind bringing Iqbal’s discarded verses into the limelight. A diehard fan of the celebrated poet, he passionately advocates for the preservation of each and every verse penned by Iqbal as he feels it is crucial role in comprehending the poet’s thoughts, philosophy, and ideas. According to Dr. Abedi, this endeavor serves as a means to gauge Iqbal’s stature and position in the rich tapestry of Urdu literature.

The forthcoming Indian edition of Baqiyat-e-Iqbal in January is poised to extend the reach of these rediscovered verses, transcending borders and uniting Urdu lovers in their appreciation for Iqbal’s poetic legacy. The 850-page book covers a spectrum of themes, with some verses dedicated to the nuanced exploration of women, children, and the enduring pursuit encapsulated in Ek Arzoo (a desire). Many a left out stanza of his popular poems, including the Shikwa, finds a mention here.

While Iqbal wrote a total of 16,718 verses, a whopping 6400 books are written on him by scholars. And the number keeps rising. Unfortunately, 42 percent of his Urdu verses are not included in his diwan (anthology of poems). Many theories abound as to why these verses were not published during the lifetime of the poet. Some say these were the early poems of Iqbal and they naturally lacked the philosophical profundity of his later works. Therefore, they were not included in the published works. Some believe that Iqbal had dropped these early verses as his thinking and philosophy had changed by the time his famous book, Bang-e-Dara, was published. Whatever be the reason, these early poems have the distinct stamp of Iqbal – the style, diction and unique choice of words.

Dr. Abedi calls him ‘mazloom Iqbal’ and says the poet suffered many hardships in his life and became blind towards the end. Moreover, he didn’t care to preserve his poems and as a result many of them were lost. It was later that his fans collected them from newspapers, journals and his diaries and published them. In fact Iqbal had no time to organize his works and he got furious when one Abdul Razzak of Hyderabad published his poems in 1916 without his permission. Iqbal thought of proceeding legally against him and wrote letters to the then Prime Minister, Maharaja Kishan Pershad, asking him to destroy the books.

At least eight books on the discarded poetry of Iqbal have appeared so far. They are: Rakht-e-Safar, Baqiyat-e-Iqbal, Tabarrukaat-e-Iqbal, Sarood-e-Rafta, Navadir-e-Iqbal, Rozgar-e-Faqeer, Ibtidai Kalam-e-Iqbal and Baqiayat-e-Shear-e-Iqbal. In his book, Dr. Abedi has included many verses not found in the earlier books. He has also included Persian couplets which are not part of Iqbal’s published Persian works. What’s more they are translated into Urdu.

Who is not aware of Iqbal’s famous verse on woman –  wajood-e-zan say hai kainaat mein rang (colours in life are because of existence of woman)? But few know that Iqbal has written a full length poem on Aurat. You can find it in Dr. Abedi’s book. Sample some of the verses:

Chand ki lekar golaee, saanp ka pech-o-qam
Ghas ki patti ki halki thar-tharahat pesh-o-kham
Aag ka joban huva, aur noor ki surat bani
Shakl aurat ki bani, kya mohini surat bani

Iqbal wrote many pomes for children but not all of them are included in his works. Dr. Abedi’s book has some new poems like Jahan Tak Ho Sake Neki Karo, Ek Arzoo and four stanzas not part of the famous poem –Bache Ki Dua. See how beautiful they read:

Meri khusboo se muattar ho zamana sara
Ban ke bulbul ho mere husn pe duniya shaida
Ilm duiniya ke chaman mein ho agar gul ki tarha
Main chahkta rahoon iss phool pe bulbul ki tarha
Dukh uthaye mere hathaon se na jandar koyee
Aye Khuda umr isi tarha basar ho meri
Dukh bhi ajaye to ho dil na pareshan mera
Shukr har haal mein ho meri zuban par tera

In a world where the value of cultural heritage is increasingly recognized, the publication of Baqiyat-e-Iqbal stands as a testament to the enduring influence of Allama Iqbal’s poetry. Dr. Abedi’s meticulous efforts not only resurrect forgotten verses but also contribute significantly to the ongoing dialogue surrounding Iqbal’s enduring impact on literature and philosophy. As we embark on a new year, Baqiyat-e-Iqbal beckons readers to delve into the uncharted depths of Iqbal’s poetic prowess, fostering a renewed appreciation for the timeless beauty encapsulated within each carefully crafted verse.

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