We can (should) unwrap this gift fully, realizing that he has something qualitatively special to share which should not merely be just another chapter in a literature book. The world needs a revivifying, healing touch. Iqbal has granted to us such a touch.
If you're not already familiar with the courses and study opportunities offered by the Iqbal Academy Pakistan, through the Marghdeen Learning Centre, in collaboration with other organizations, and facilitated by Khurram Ali Shafique, I strongly urge you to explore these precious resources now. You will discover there a wealth of opportunities to study, in new ways, the philosophy and vision of Iqbal related to Pakistan, the entire world, literature, politics, history, self-development, religion, and more.
This is not a sales pitch; this is a humanity pitch! May we believe afresh, in ourselves, and in each other!
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I want to share the BASIC thing which, in my opinion, we should keep in mind while thinking about the application of Iqbal's vision.
You know that Iqbal believed that literature plays the most important role in the life of a nation. In fact, he treated literature like a collective dream which comes true. Therefore, the most courageous and daring stand which Iqbal Studies demands from us is that we insist that if anything is wrong in the world, its ultimate root can be traced in the kind of literature that has been venerated, and if we want to bring any positive change, the first step has to be the representation of that change in idealistic literature: "No new world can come into being around us until it is first created in the depth of our souls (i.e. in our imagination)."
Therefore, if we have to judge or evaluate the impact of Iqbal on his society, or the overall progress of the nation created through his vision, our survey CANNOT start with politics and economy. It HAS TO start by seeing what kind of literature this society has produced and liked, and whether or not that literature was respected.
You know that the history of Pakistan can be divided into seven stages since 1887. Now, I am presenting here a list of the most POPULAR authors of these stages: one for each stage. Please REMEMBER, that we are not speaking about good or bad authors, only the most POPULAR ones. (Secondly, at present, I am only picking up authors from West Pakistan for the years 1947 to 1971, when in fact Bangladesh also formed the more populous part of Pakistan in those years, but this is for the sake of simplicity right now and I may expand this model later sometime to do full justice to our unique history).
My findings of many years indicate that purely on the basis of statistics it can be stated without any doubt that the most POPULAR authors of the seven stages of Pakistan, and their key messages, have been the following:
- 1887-1906: Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, "seek consensus"
- 1907-26: Muhammad Ali Jauhar, "think long-term"
- 1927-46: Allama Iqbal, "rise above yourself"
- 1947-66: Ibne Safi, "respect the law"
- 1967-86: Waheed Murad, "unite organically"
- 1987-2006: Mustansar Hussain Tarar, "learn experientially"
- 2007-26: I'm Pakistan - by which I mean that there is not likely to be any particular author, but all Pakistanis together must create a larger picture through "new media" (Internet, mobile phones, photo copies, and so on); message should be, "accept consensus"
If we look at this list, we arrive at three conclusions, and those conclusions are the sum total of what MLC can teach, and the message that should get written on our hearts and minds, and should be disseminated by all of us:
These authors, and their messages, are exactly parallel to the seven stages of ancient history studied in the "DNA Course", the 7 visions of the Sphere of Moon, the 7 chapters of Javid Nama, the 7 verses of Surah Fatiha, the 7 valleys of Attar, and any other model of self-development which we may find reliable.
Sir Syed - the Cave of Vishvamitra, the message of Adam
Jauhar - the Music of Sarosh, the message of Noah
Iqbal - the Poetry of Sarosh, the message of Abraham
Ibne Safi - the Tablet of Buddha, the message of Moses
Waheed Murad - the Tablet of Zarathustra, the message of Zulqarnayn
Tarar - the Tablet of Jesus, the message of Jesus
"I'm Pakistan" (all people attaining a common vision) - the Tablet of Prophet, the message of Prophet (peace be upon him)
What does this mean? By the grace of God or due to the life forces of our own society (but I think that due to both), we have had one major writer in each stage whose intuition guided him to bring out the true meaning of that stage from the depths of our collective ego - the writers listed here were inspired by our collective ego, and their perfect sequence shows that the collective ego of Pakistan has been alive and sound and healthy, and constantly communicating to us through these authors and their colleagues (each of these authors has been the pioneer of a school of thought including many, many other like-minded writers). Now, why did these writers became so popular with all segments of the society?
They became popular because the collective judgement of the Pakistani nation has been sound. There can be no other conclusion. THIS is the main thing which we need to remember - more important than the authors themselves. We need to regain our belief in our collective judgement, in ourselves. We need to understand that our CONSENSUS has been always on those authors who were inspired by the collective ego, and who were presenting the true message of that stage. Then why are we in a state of mess?
We are in a state of mess because, while we appreciated and respected the "consensus" authors in the first three stages, leading us to independence, we FAILED to appreciate and respect the "consensus" authors of the latter stages soon after the birth of Pakistan. Since politics invariably follows the course of literature, our political life was a story of success in the first three stages when we recognized the consensus authors and followed their message, and our political life became the joke of the century when we failed to recognize the consensus writers of the latter stages, and we failed to respect them. Instead, we promoted and venerated other kind of writers who, no doubt were talented according to international standards, but they were selling dreams of pessimism and their dreams came true.
Therefore, our action must begin by getting the messages of these authors understood by the society. We need a cultural revolution, a revolution of love and self-acceptance. This is khudi, in all its meanings: if we lack the courage to accept our own consensus, our own collective choices, how can we claim to have a self, or even self-respect? Needless to say, these authors are not just the heritage of Pakistan but they have got things which can be useful for the whole world. They are the dreams that must true, and almost everyone who hears their dreams wants them to come true. The whole world is looking for exactly the messages which these authors gave, but unfortunately and ironically we are the ones who are getting in the way - then why should we not be in a bad state?
اُس کی تقدیر میں محکومی و مظلومی ہے
قوم جو کر نہ سکی اپنی خودی سے انصاف
قوم جو کر نہ سکی اپنی خودی سے انصاف
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