Iqbal Day

Justice Markandey Katju-

Justice Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.

Today, 9th November, is the birthday of the Urdu poet Mohammad Iqbal, and it is being celebrated in Pakistan as Iqbal Day ( since Iqbal subscribed to and propagated the 2 nation theory on which Pakistan was created).


While I regard Iqbal as a good poet, I intensely dislike him for his strong support of dividing India and creating Pakistan.

Some people say that Iqbal wrote ‘ Saare jehan se achcha Hindustan hamara ‘ . Such people also quote the the sixth stanza of Saare Jahan Se Achcha (1904),  as proof of Iqbal’s secular outlook:

Maẕhab nahīṉ sikhātā āpas meṉ bair rakhnā

Hindī haiṉ ham, wat̤an hai Hindūstāṉ hamārā


Religion does not teach us to bear ill-will among ourselves

We are of Hind, our homeland is Hindustan.

Such people say that this proves that Iqbal never wanted the Partition of India.

These people forget that this poem was written in 1904, when Iqbal was only 27 years old, and his later communal views had not developed.

However, his views evidently changed subsequently ( evidently after his stay in England from 1905-1906 ).

Thus, in Tarana-e-Milli  written in 1910 he writes

Chīn o-ʿArab hamārā, Hindūstāṉ hamārā

Muslim haiṉ ham, wat̤an hai sārā jahāṉ hamārā


Central Asia and Arabia are ours, Hindustan is ours

We are Muslims, the whole world is our homeland.

Iqbal’s worldview had now changed; it had become pan-Islamic. Instead of singing of Hindustan, “our homeland,” the new song proclaimed that ‘ We are Muslims, and the whole world belongs to us ‘. (See also his long poems ‘Shikwa’ and ‘Jawab-e-Shikwa ).

Gradually, Iqbal became highly communal, and a strong supporter of creating Pakistan, a separate homeland for Muslims in India

This, in his presidential address to the Muslim League annual conference in Allahabad in 1930, he strongly supported a separate nation-state in the Muslim-majority areas of the sub-continent, an idea that inspired the creation of Pakistan.

Partition in 1947 was a historical British swindle, which caused huge suffering to the people of the Indian sub-continent ( half a million killed, and many millions displaced ).

This is why I strongly dislike Iqbal, who had become a British agent, whatever others may say about him.



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