Web Celebration -ISSI
November 9, 2020
The Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized an In-house web celebration on the occasion of Iqbal Day. All centres at the Institute shared their views on the national poet of Pakistan, Allama Mohammed Iqbal. The web celebration was moderated by Director Research and Center for Strategic Perspective (CSP), Mr. Najam Rafique. In his introductory remarks Director Research/CSP stated that while we all have read Iqbal as kids, it is unfortunate that we are unaware of his poetry and our relation with his work is only customary. Iqbal was not only a poet but also a philosopher, and a revolutionary. The lessons and messages that he penned down through his poetry is not only limited to Pakistan but are for the Muslims across the globe. He was of the view that as a Muslim and a Pakistani it is imperative that we read and understand our national poet whose poetry is as relevant today as it was back then. Allama Iqbal may not be with us today, but his messages still are.
Director General ISSI, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in his remarks stated that Allama Iqbal was a man with many hats. He was a philosopher, well-versed with Islam and its teachings, a political personality and many more. Iqbal was fond of using certain words with metaphorical and analogous significance like ‘Shaheen’ – meaning eagle and ‘Momin’- meaning a believer, and ‘Khudhi’ – meaning ‘self’. He wrote for the Muslims of the subcontinent to encourage them to rise above the slavery and subjugation like a Shaheen. He was of the view that the writings and poetry of Iqbal is of equal relevance today and it is a blessing for Pakistan to have Iqbal as its national poet who is also known as the “Poet of the East.”
Chairman BoG, ISSI, Ambassador Khalid Mahmood was of the view that Iqbal was a person with a multi-dimensional personality. He was a poet, a thinker, a philosopher and above all a visionary. His poetry was not only limited for the Muslims of the Subcontinent, but it was for the Muslim Ummah around the world. The idea of Pakistan was proposed by Allama Iqbal to which Quaid-e-Azam provided the leadership and hence the struggle for an independent Muslim homeland began. It was Iqbal who urged for a separate homeland and in order to convince Jinnah, wrote 19 letters to him. Jinnah acknowledged Allama Iqbal as a personal friend, a philosopher and a guide and the mains source of his inspiration and spiritual support. The Chairman highlighted that Iqbal believed Islam is not a religion that is frozen in time and promoted the concept of Ijtehad.
Presenting her views, Ghazala Yasmin from the Center for Arms Control and Disarmament said that Iqbal was one of the greatest poets of the 20th century and Pakistan is fortunate to have him as its ideological father. Iqbal was the first person who articulated the idea of two-nation theory. He was not just a visionary and a philosopher but had a love for Islam. His poetry is not for the Muslims of the subcontinent, it was for the Muslims Ummah around the globe. He was a believer in the liberal version of Islam in the new state of Pakistan. She concluded by saying that Allama Iqbal was a man with multiple achievements and is an inspiration to be followed by the younger generation of Pakistan.
Sharing her views on Iqbal Day, Fatima Raza from the Centre for Middle East and Africa stated that Iqbal often talks about self introspection. We as Muslims should be an example for everyone else. It is unfortunate that the generation of today is not well-versed by the sayings of Iqbal. Although his poetry was for the generation of his time, however his poetry is timeless and for all generation to come.
Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director China-Pakistan Study Centre presented his views on Iqbal’s poetry and said that it is a reflection and amalgamation of Persian and Urdu language. He spoke about Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa by Iqbal as two pieces of poetry that are applicable and relevant today. Unlike many poets of his time, Iqbal was a gifted poet and destined to write. He concluded by saying that Iqbal’s writings are a code of conduct for a nation to survive and is in line with Quran and Sunnah. His writings is extremely loved and taught in Germany.
Dost Mohammad from India Study Centre presented his views and said that Iqbal’s poetry is about knowing oneself, and about self-reliance. His poetry came at a time when the Muslims of the Subcontinent were under subjugation of the British. He instigated the Muslims of his time to believe in themselves and paved a path towards a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Subcontinent. He concluded by saying that it is important that we remember our heroes like Iqbal.
Director Research and CSP, Najam Rafique concluded the web celebration by highlighting the need for knowing and implementing the principles of Pakistan’s founding forefathers.