October 17, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

The contradictory Hindustani: Bhupesh Bandari’s review of ‘Iqbal’ by Zafar Anjum

1 min read

Iqbal’s contradictions and complications make him very human and interesting. Still, few in India have bothered to explore his life, work and philosophy, perhaps because he believed in the “two-nation theory”: The Business Standard

iqbal frontMore than 75 years after his death, Allama Mohammad Iqbal remains an enigma. While he wrote India’s national song (Sare jahan se achchha Hindustan hamara …), he was also the originator of the idea of Pakistan, born out of the premise that Muslims and Hindus were two separate nations not destined to live together. He was a poet of the masses and had a keen sense of the subcontinent’s history, which was reflected in his liberal use of Sanskrit words and Hindu symbols, yet he was a firm believer in Islamic puritanism. He loved Europe but felt the continent’s lack of religiosity would one day cause its doom. He is said to have inspired the Iranian revolution, which happened more than 40 years after his death, and won fulsome praise for his poetry from liberals such as Rabindranath Tagore and Sarojini Naidu. He was against colonial rule, yet he accepted a knighthood when it was offered to him (at Iqbal’s insistence, it was granted to his teacher as well).

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