Narrated by Zafar Anjum, the author of “Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician” (Penguin Random house, 2014), this video describes the literary friendships (or some would call it literary romances) that the two great poets of the West and East, Goethe of Germany and Dr. Mohammad Iqbal (Allama Iqbal) of India, espoused in the 19th and 20th century respectively–that of Goethe and Marriane von Willemer, and of Iqbal and his German tutor, Emma Wegenast.
There was a connection between Goethe and Iqbal too. Allama Iqbal, not only a great poet but also considered to be the spiritual father of Pakistan, greatly admired Goethe.
What was the nature of these literary friendships? How did they come to be? How did they end? What impact these relationships had had on the poetic outputs of Goethe and Iqbal, especially in the context of the Goethe’s East West Divan? This video touches upon all these points.
Source: TLS and “Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician” (Penguin Random house, 2014)
Two Japanese students of ‘Iqbaliyat’ gave a fine performance of singing the poetry of Allama Iqbal during a special ceremony held at the auditorium of the University of Gujrat’s Sialkot campus on Thursday.
Ms Erika Kagava sang “Lab pey aati hey dua ban key tamanna meri” and Tenshin Tamura recited “Terey ishaq ki inteha chahta houn, meri saadgi dekh kiya chahta houn” in their melodious voices which impressed the audience comprising senior teachers, students, journalists and educationists. The auditorium echoed with the slogan of ‘Pak-Japan Friendship Zindabad’ by the participants.
Paying rich tributes to poet Rabindranath Tagore by announcing a special train to popularise his legacy among the young generation, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee herself turned poetic, quoting Allama Iqbal and reciting a Hindi film song that made the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru cry.
To mark the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore, Ms. Banerjee announced a special train – Sanskriti Express – which will run across the country. “Tagore is the only poet in the world whose poems have been adopted as national anthems by two countries – Amar Sonar Bangla in Bangladesh and Jana Gana Mana in India. Tagore lived and produced many of his literary jewels in undivided Bengal,” she told the House during her Railway budget speech on Wednesday.
The Modi government has approved in record time visa to Allama Iqbal’s grandson and two Pakistani scholars of his work to attend a celebration in Kolkata of the poet who penned India’s national song, reports said on Thursday.
Accordingly, Waleed Iqbal will represent his father Javed Iqbal at the function on May 29. Iqbal experts Rafiuddin Hashmi and Khalid Nadeem have also been given approval for the visit, which will see them attending functions also to celebrate Rabindranath Tagore, Iqbal’s contemporary and author of India’s national anthem.
“The Narendra Modi government has green-signalled Mamata Banerjee’s plans to bring to India family members of poet Muhammad Iqbal, who penned one of India’s favourite patriotic songs and championed Pakistan’s creation,” Kolkata’s The Telegraph reported on Thursday.
Khudi ko kar bulund itna ke har taqdeer se pahle
Khuda bande se khud poochhe teri raza kya hai
(Exalt thyself so high that before issuing the decree of fate
God may ask what your desire is.)
Years ago, I heard these lines from my father who also explained me the concept ofKhudi or selfhood, and it was my first introduction to Allama Iqbal. For many years this couplet adorned the wall next to my study table. Whenever I felt low I would recite it loudly. It made me feel better. Later, I loved his poems which were coloured in patriotism and gave the message of communal harmony and peace. But, at the same time, I also wondered how come a poet who had written Sare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamarabecame ‘the spiritual father of Pakistan’. The book under review, to some extent, answers my questions about this great poet’s transformation from an Indian nationalist poet to a votary of pan-Islamism. Read more
The book is not only for those whose mind permits the elasticity of its openness to myriad personalities that Iqbal was but also for unenthusiastic wanderers. Zafar makes this well-researched book available to a scholar as well as a novice reader in equal measure. Even a swift, fast reading will help any reader to absorb the crux as all comprehension flows from vivid description of background material which Zafar lays bare before his readers prodigiously. Elegance and condensation marks Zafar’s work. Nothing is over-explained.
Review of Zafar Anjum’s Iqbal-The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician (Random House India.
Price 499. Pages-274) by K K Srivastava
Elemental awe, history and poetry are indelibly linked and the best connection among the three was sought by none other than Derek Walcott who wrote, “For every poet it is always the morning in the world, and History a forgotten insomniac night; History and elemental awe are always our early beginning, because the fate of poetry is to fall in love with the world, in spite of History.” Zafar Anjum’s sprawling book, a reminder of the raison d’ etre of what Walcott said, begins with a question posed to him by one of his friends, ‘Why the biography of Iqbal?’ Zafar gives four answers splendidly. It is to,’ ‘Narrate Iqbal’s life once again for those who have forgotten him.’ and further because- ‘I am attached to Iqbal by an umbilical cord that is both spiritual and intellectual. ‘; ‘during languid summer afternoons and buried winter evenings, while we did our school work, Iqbal seeped into us’; and finally ‘The great poet, in an oblique way became a real presence in my life.’ And thus emanates the justification.
The book is neatly divided into four parts: each part covering distinct period of Iqbal’s life and evolution as a statesman. Readers inclination to read the book is not of much relevance here nor they have to toil to make good of lines as there are no stumbling stones; Zafar knows the art of excavating by traversing forgotten pages of history. Zafar locates the self of Iqbal which signifies Iqbal’s belief in ‘living a straight forward, honest life’ as ‘Life is a state of war’.in the backwash of history and culture and portrays Iqbal’s feelings with the solitude of an observer. Artistic unity of the book irrespective of sources material was culled from is distinctive and engaging. The book is not only for those whose mind permits the elasticity of its openness to myriad personality that Iqbal was but also for unenthusiastic wanderers. Zafar makes this well-researched book available to a scholar as well as a novice reader in equal measure. Even a swift, fast reading will help any reader to absorb the crux as all comprehension flows from vivid description of background material which Zafar lays bare before his readers prodigiously. Elegance and condensation marks Zafar’s work. Nothing is over-explained.
A misnomer persists amongst the academics that after Allama Mohammed Iqbal was nominated the “the national poet of Pakistan”, he was relegated to pages of the sub-continent’s unwritten history and ignored in India: The Deccan Herald
While that may be true of his place of birth, it’s certainly untrue as he continues to be read, recited, referred to, and his poetry frequently quoted and musical compositions of many of his verses listened to reverentially.
And his role as the harbinger of Islamic revivalism debated. At the same time, any revival of his life, philosophy and politics is bound to raise questions, especially with regards to his relevance in the sub-continental life. Any attempt to relive the life of a controversial public figure is to raise doubts. Read more
When Cultural Medallion winner K.T.M. Iqbal’s father was a young man living in Tamil Nadu’s Kadayanallur, he was one of many Indians who admired the great poet and philosopher Muhammad Iqbal, renowned for penning the famous Indian patriotic song, Sare Jahan Se Accha. So, when this young man was blessed with a son, he named him Iqbal in the poet’s honour. Read more
Zafar Anjum’s book is a welcome addition to the corpus of Iqbal studies, writes Naresh ‘Nadeem’: Tehelka
The volume says it is “an attempt to narrate Iqbal’s life once again for those who have forgotten him” and the author, Zafar Anjum, has succeeded quite well in the endeavour. The book is indeed a welcome addition to the corpus of Iqbal studies. The author acknowledges that it is not “a comprehensive account”, but he has done his best, and the volume, reasonably priced, may well spur curious readers “onto further reading” Read more
Ziya Us Salam pays tribute to the great Urdu poet and Muslim philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal in The Hindu
Indeed, Iqbal was a genius without a parallel, a die-hard nationalist who, over time, transformed into an internationalist, a man once won over by the West who went on to be at the head of Eastern revivalism. Yet for a young man or woman growing up in 2014, Iqbal remains a mystery with most having nothing more than a passing acquaintance with his works. For entirely non-literary reasons, he has been denied a place in the pantheon of modern Indian giants.
Through a systematic approach, using a technique similar to that of a labourer building a skyscraper, brick by brick, Zafar, shows the real poet, the real philosopher, the politician. As said in the introduction, “Europe infused Iqbal’s life with a singular mission – to revive the dynamism of Islam to save humanity from the ills of materialism. A transformed Iqbal stopped considering himself a poet; to his mind, he became a messenger who used poetry to awaken humanity, especially Muslims, to its ills.” Read more