The impact of famous poet Dr Iqbal on Pakistani politics and society

Nasir Khan, Dec. 29, 2014

First and foremost Dr Mohammad Iqbal (1877-1938) was an eminent poet in Urdu and Farsi, a poet whose ideas had a wide range and profound impact upon the educated Muslim masses. (As I have written about his political and social effect a few times earlier in my articles, I will not discuss him at length here.) What we see in the early period of his poetry are his universalist and humanist ideas – with no communalist or reactionary leanings as they became apparent later in his poetry.

Occasionally, he also wrote some stirring revolutionary poems (e.g. Lenin khoda ke hazoor main, etc.) for the struggles of workers and peasants and other down-trodden people in the prevalent system. He also castigated traditional mullahs, pirs and other religious parasites for their actions and the ignorance they spread. But unluckily that was not the dominant aspect of his poetry.

However, he was an Islamist, a mullah, at heart and his poetry became more and more communal and Islam-centred. He became a vocal visionary of an Islamic polity and political domination. Now he was a rider on Islamic propaganda wagon. That was tragic for the Muslim masses. His influence, ideas and religious zeal were fully exploited by political reactionaries, opportunists and communalists of all brands within Indian Muslims. Thus an intelligent man’s faculties ended up in the service of reaction and Islamic utopia. Gone was the universal impetus and vision.

We have been watching the march of Islamic ‘pur-asrar ghazis’ in Pakistan and other Islamists and mullahs who have virtually pushed the land of our forefathers into the abysmal condition as at present. In my view, the conditions in Pakistan are not going to change for the better in the foreseeable future either. In some ways, Iqbal has much to account for our ‘Islamisation’ and our misery. But he is lucky not to see what we see and experience.

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