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A realistic evaluation of Allama Iqbal’s philosophy


May 8, 2018

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Karachi, organised a lecture at the IBA City Campus by Prof Dr Noman ul Haq of the Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts of the institute on Monday afternoon.

Apart from delving into Iqbal’s poetry or philosophy, Dr Noman lamented how Urdu as a national language was undergoing a process of getting lost. This situation, he said, existed despite the emergence of so many Urdu electronic channels, Urdu print media and Pakistani Urdu films, which are the main driving force behind the language. In his opinion, this happened due to a lack of proper cultivation of the language in schools that failed to teach how to articulate speech.

Dr Haq also blamed the situation on a “blocked access to Iqbal’s poetry”. Iqbal’s poetry, he said, was not aimed at “declamation in a performance assembly to display the poet’s virtuosity”. Rather, it was poetry for reading, he said.

Dr Haq dwelt on the life of Iqbal and with the help of slides that showed photographs of his first wife Mukhtar Begum and second wife Sardar Begum as well as Iqbal’s long-time companion Attiya Faizi.

“When a language becomes non-standardised, it dies,” he said, adding that Iqbal had become an “ideologised commodity”. “A poet is not a reporter. He has to treat an event subjectively. It is something that lifts a thing and gives it a unique place,” he said.

Talking of contradictions that one could sometimes read into Iqbal’s thought, Dr Haq said that Iqbal fully endorsed the philosophy of Karl Marx and, as a corollary to Marx’s thought, he enunciated his famous dictum, “Jis

Khet se Dahqan ko Muyassar na ho rozi, Us khet ke her khosha-e-gandam ko jila do”. This, he said, was just an endorsement of Marx’s advocacy of the rights of the peasants. Yet, Dr Noman said, Marx never acknowledged that he was a socialist as, he thought, socialism was against the tenets of religion.

“Tolerating contradictions is one thing. Cherishing them another,” he said. Iqbal, Dr Haq said, always advocated scientific reasoning and logic. Malahat Awan, head of Alumni Ralations of the institute, welcomed the speaker. Dr Haq’s talk was followed by an animated question-answer session.

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