Tag Archives: Allama Mohammad Iqbal

Quarantine Poetry Series # 6 – Aik Shaam by Allama Iqbal recited by Zafar Anjum

Dr. Mohammad Iqbal (Allama Iqbal) is one of Urdu’s tallest poets and this poem, “Aik Shaam“, appears in his collection, “Bang-e-Dara“. The sub-heading of the poem says, “Darya-e-Neckar (Heidelberg) ke kinare par” (by the banks of the River Neckar, Heidelberg, Germany). Blogger Fawad Zakariya who visited Heidelberg (where Iqbal studied for a while), “This is a poem of ambience and conjures a lovely atmosphere in which the poet standing at the edge of the river at night experiences a calm and peaceful communion with nature. It is not until the powerful last verse when an inner turmoil and sadness is suddenly hinted at, revealing the heart of the poet at odds with his serene surroundings.”

You can read more about Iqbal’s life and times in Zafar Anjum’s biography of Dr. Iqbal, Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician (Penguin Random House).


Aik Shaam (Darya-e-Neckar (Heidelberg) ke kinare par)

Khamosh hai chandni qamar ki

ShaakheiN haiN khmosh har shajar ki

Waadi ke nawa farosh khamosh

Kohsaar ke sabz posh khamosh

Fitrat behosh ho gai hai

Aaghosh maiN shab ke so gayee hai

Kuch aisa sakoot ka fasooN hai

Neckar ka kharam bhi sakooN hai

TaaroN ka khmosh kaarvaaN hai

Yeh kafila be dara rawaN hai

Khamosh haiN koh-o-dasht-o-darya

Qudrat hai muraqbe maiN goya

Aye dil! tu bhi khmosh ho ja

Aaghosh maiN gham ko lay ke so ja

You can find the Urdu/Roman text of the poem along with English translation HERE.

Zafar Anjum invited by India Club Singapore to give a talk on Allama Iqbal

iqbal frontKitaab’s editor Zafar Anjum has been invited by India Club, Singapore to give a talk on the poet and philosopher, Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

Zafar Anjum is Singapore-based India-born author of books in multiple genres.

“At our event on May 1st, he will read and discuss his two major works published in the past half-year — a celebrated biography of the poet Iqbal (the composer of Sare Jahan se Achchha, a leading Indian intellectual of the 20th century, an ardent Indian nationalist who later became an advocate of Muslim separatism and so has been largely forgotten in India) and his business/innovation best-seller, Startup Capitals: Discovering the Global Hotspots of Innovation,” India Club said in a statement. Both the books have been published by Random House India.

India Club is known for inviting thought-provoking writers and leaders of Indian origin. The club’s recent invitees include M. J. Akbar, Salil Tripathi and Vinod Rai, among others.

When: Friday, 1 May 2015 from 14:00 to 17:00 (SGT)

Where: Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore
392 Havelock Rd, 3rd Floor, Singapore 169663

Click here for registration.

Zafar Anjum chronicles the life of poet Iqbal

The Singapore-based journalist’s book narrates the poet-philosopher’s life as a novel so that the common man could better understand him: Gulfnews.com

iqbal frontAnjum’s narrative in lucid prose is engaging without becoming a boring history book. It gets interesting after Iqbal’s return from Europe to Lahore. Iqbal while practicing law also gets vociferous with his two-nation theory.

One of his famous poems, “Shikwa”, on the plight of Muslims world over was penned in 1912. The ulemas disapproved of this poem for being disrespectful. While Iqbal spoke of Muslim brotherhood and solidarity, he did not talk about world domination by Muslims.

At the Allahabad address of 1930, one of the statements he made was: “I entertain the highest respect for the customs, laws and religious institutions of other communities. Nay, it is my duty, according to the Quran, even to defend their places of worship if need be.”

Read more

Iqbal – A largely misunderstood philosopher, poet, politician and visionary

Indeewara Thilakarathne reviews Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician in the Ceylon Today

“But the universe, as a collection of finite things, presents itself as a kind of island situated in a pure vacuity to which time, regarded as a series of mutually exclusive moments, is nothing and does nothing.” – Muhammad Iqbal

iqbal frontMeticulously researched and brilliantly written biography of Allama Mohammad Iqbal by Zafar Anjum sheds light on the hitherto-unexplored areas in the life of a great intellectual, philosopher, poet and politician and his enduring vision for Pakistan and India. Although Sarojini Naidu acclaimed Inqbal in his life time as ‘Poet laureate of Asia’ and considered on par with Tagore, Iqbal is, now, a largely misunderstood and ignored poet in India. His role as a politician and philosopher in the independence of India and the subsequent creation of Pakistan was unique. Iqbal is considered as the national poet of Pakistan and ‘Spiritual Father of Pakistan’.

However, Zafar Anjum has noted with dismay that Iqbal’s vision for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan has turned out to be a nightmare ‘Closer home, Iqbal’s dream of a separate state for Muslims in the north-western province was realised. But, unfortunately, that dream has turned into a nightmare. Today, Iqbal’s Pakistan is on the verge of collapse, ridden with violence, terrorism, corruption, and mismanagement. Not only Pakistan, India too continues to fail Iqbal’s expectations. As far as India is concerned, going forward, the onus of proving Iqbal right or wrong lies with the majority community. If Muslims are allowed to prosper in India as equal citizens in a peaceful and non-violent environment, with their cultural identity intact, then Iqbal will be proved wrong.’ Read more

In between slashes: Iqbal

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

iqbal frontWhile 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

‘Muslims in India will learn to live as second class citizens’: Iqbal author

Iqbal died in 1938, two years before the Muslim League adopted the resolution for Pakistan in Lahore in 1940, but he was honoured as the spiritual founder and national poet of the new nation when it came into being in August 1947. Questions arise about why Iqbal — who believed in Hindu-Muslim unity, who wrote Sare Jahan Se Achcha and poems on Lord Ram and the Gayatri Mantra — became a believer in Muslim communalism in his later days. These questions are explored by journalist, writer, publisher and filmmaker Zafar Anjum in his book, Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician. Anjum, who is based in Singapore, spoke to Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com in a two- part interview

iqbal front“What makes me sad is that, even after 60 years of Independence, the virus of communalism and parochialism is alive and kicking in India,” says Zafar Anjum, author of Iqbal in a Rediff News interview.

“Today, Hindu domination is complete in India.

Iqbal and his fellow Muslim leaders fought a long fight to get equal constitutional rights for Muslims and they failed.

The Indian National Congress never accepted this idea (of separate electorates) on the principle that India would be a secular State and Muslims need not worry about it.

The Congress’s secularism turned out to be fake… what the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) calls pseudo-secularism or tokenism or appeasement of minorities.

Iqbal knew that democracy is a game of numbers and that Muslims would be marginalised in a Hindu-majority India. That fear has now come to pass.

There is no need to suspect anyone’s intentions in India. The tokenism of Congress is over. Soon, Muslims in India will learn to live as second class citizens of the State.”

Read More

Iqbal: The Universal Islamist

This biography of Allama Muhammad Iqbal redeems the philosopher-poet from political and nationalist stereotypes: Ranjit Hoskote in Open Magazine

iqbal frontTo his great credit, Singapore-based writer, editor and filmmaker Zafar Anjum pursues these questions in Iqbal: The Life of a Poet, Philosopher and Politician. Anjum, whose previous books include a collection of short stories, The Singapore Decalogue: Episodes in the Life of a Foreign Talent, adopts a biographical approach. In developing an account of the various aspects of Iqbal’s thought, the trajectory of his intellectual influences and commitments, Anjum’s book invites its readers to acquaint themselves with the monumental and multi-directional nature of Iqbal’s life, work and achievement. While this book does not include any material that was not previously available, or offer startling new perspectives on its subject, its strength lies in its refreshing tonality. Anjum presents his subject in accessible terms to a new and popular readership. Could one, before this, have imagined the Allama on vacation? Here is Anjum, describing the great man as a student on an Alpine picnic in the summer of 1907: ‘[His friends] reach the summit of the hill while singing operatic songs. Iqbal joins them in the singing but he is obviously off key, and out of tune.’ And again, conveying his subject’s ability to entertain plural, seemingly opposed tendencies at the same time (Anjum employs, throughout, a historical present as his preferred tense): ‘Even though Iqbal believes in a purist form of Islam, there is still room in his spiritual life for mystics and mysticism. In 1923, the same year that he is knighted, he visits the dargah of Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi Mujaddid Alf-e Sani. There he prays for a son and also makes a tryst that if his prayer is answered, he will revisit the mausoleum with his son.’ It would be difficult, after reading this book, for even casual observers to bury Iqbal under half-truths.

Read More