One of the most prominent figures in Pakistan’s history was Sir Muhammad Iqbal, also known as Allama Iqbal.
Iqbal, a lawyer by profession, was much more than just that. He was a philosopher, poet and also a politician in pre-partition times and it is Iqbal who is regarded as having inspired the Pakistan Movement.
“I know you are a busy man but I do hope you won’t mind my writing to you often, as you are the only Muslim in India today to whom the community has a right to look up for safe guidance through the storm which is coming to North-West India and, perhaps, to the whole of India.”
This is an excerpt from a letter that Iqbal wrote to Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This shows how desperately he believed in a separate homeland for the Muslims of India.
Iqbal is also considered as the push that convinced Muhammad Ali Jinnah to return from his self-imposed exile in the UK and take charge of the Pakistan Muslim League.
It was Iqbal who knew that Jinnah was the only leader who was capable of getting the Muslims of India to the Pakistan Muslim League and delivering to them their dream of a separate home land.
Do we need an Iqbal today?
Of course we do! The state of us Pakistanis today is not unlike under the British Raj. Today the rich, elite and powerful rule over the general public without any accountability. Just like in the old times.
So how can another Iqbal help?
One of the amazing things that distinguished Iqbal from today’s leaders – even the ones that claim to lead revolutions – is that he had a dream that was detached from his personal self.
As mentioned above, he inspired the Pakistan movement but was adamant in convincing Muhammad Ali Jinnah to come back to India and take charge of the movement.
He wasn’t hungry for the lime light or the power or the accolades. He wanted to fulfill a dream for the whole nation and then handed over the reins of his dream to Mr. Jinnah.
Iqbal was ready, in fact eager to step out of the way, so that his dream could be fulfilled.
Do we have anyone today who can be that selfless? We wait and see…