Poet of the East – Allama Iqbal

It is sad to note that as we celebrate the 145th birth anniversary of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the Poet of the East, we face despondency, social and political upheaval and despair around us. That is obviously because our young generation has either forgotten the message and the national spirit given to us by Iqbal, or they are simply not even aware of our history and the fact that there once existed such a great philosopher who gave us the idea of Pakistan.

Known as the poet-philosopher of the East, Iqbal was born on Nov 9, 1877, in Sialkot. After getting his basic education in Lahore, he earned a degree in philosophy from University of Cambridge, did his bar-at-law in London and received his doctorate from the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany.

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While Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s political struggle resulted in Pakistan, it was actually Iqbal who presented the idea of a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent. While talking about pan-Islamism, he called for Muslim unity and reform, presenting the religion as a social and political ideal, as outlined in The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam.

Above all, his concept of khudi, or selfhood, was an inspiration for the subcontinent’s Muslim youth of the time, which also motivated the young generation to work for the cause of a separate state under the leadership of the Quaid.

Today, considering the current chaos in the country, we find ourselves up the creek without a paddle. Our country is entrapped in social, economic and political upheavals. There is political instability, economic crisis, and civil unrest, but the most dangerous element is that of polarisation in society. It seems like we have reached the brink of collapse. The problems are getting out of hand instead of being taken care of.

The reason behind such unbearable circumstances lies in the fact that our future leaders, the young among us, have become ignorant of their values and their national leaders. This lack of awareness of issues, rights and duties is the prime contributor to the troubles of our country.

In his poetic output, Iqbal repeatedly advised the young to never lose hope.

Unfortunately, our youth has forgotten this message of Iqbal and has instead become despondent. Youngsters rue the existing problems instead of fixing them. A pessimist young generation is no less than a disaster for a nation. A hopeless youth fails to utilise his potential for the wellbeing of the country. They waste their energy in combating despair while indulging in negativity. This is what our youth today is doing.

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It is time our young generation got up from its deep slumber and followed leaders like Iqbal, instead of running blindly behind political demagogues who have been spreading despondency and despair, and creating a divisive society. Today, we need Iqbal’s Shaheens more than ever before.



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