Allama Muhammad Iqbal was a famous Muslim poet from the colonial era, a philosopher and thinker of Kashmiri origin. He is one of most outstanding poets, writers, intellectuals and thinkers of modem times. A major Urdu and Persian writer, is a major force behind the creation of Pakistan. He is revered in Pakistan as Muffakir-e-Pakistan (The Thinker of Pakistan) or Shair-i-Mashriq (The Poet of the East).
Early Life and Education:
Allama Iqbal was born on November 9, 1877 in Sialkot. He held a brilliant academic record. He did his Masters in Philosophy from Government College, Lahore and joined there as a lecturer. He left for Europe in 1905 and studied Philosophy and Law at the Trinity College, Cambridge, Lincolin's Inn, London and the Munich University. He was awarded a 'Ph.D' by the Munich University. He returned home in 1908 and rejoined service in the Government College, Lahore. He resigned after sometime and started practicing Law.
He was elected Member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 1926 for three years. In 1930 Iqbal was elected President of the Muslim League session held at Allahabad. In 1931 he attended the Round Table Conference which met in London to frame a constitution for India and took active Part in its various committees. He was the first to give a concrete shape to the Muslim aspirations in India for 'a separate homeland'.
Along with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, he is considered as one of the preeminent founding fathers of Pakistan, arguably having convinced Jinnah to return from England and lead the movement demanding a separate homeland for South Asia's Muslims when Britain granted independence to the region.
Demand for a separate Nation:
Several leaders and thinkers, having insight into the Hindu-Muslim proposed separation of Muslim India. However, the most lucid exposition of the inner feeling of the Muslim community was given by Allama Muhammad Iqbal.
In his Presidential Address at the Annual Session of the All India Muslim League at Allahbad (1930) he boldly asserted the Muslim demand for the creation of a Muslim state within India, and said
"I would like to see the Punjab, the North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single State".
It was Iqbal's fervent appeal which persuaded the Quaid-e-Azam in 1934 to return from England and lead the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent in their struggle for constitutional rights and it was in his letters to the Quaid-e-Azam that he elaborated his scheme in its political as well as cultural context. He succeeded in convincing the Quaid-e-Azam that Pakistan was the only solution to the Political problems of the Muslims of India, and it was on the foundations laid by Iqbal that the Muslim Leageue's historic Pakistan Resolution of 1940. Very few even among the Muslim welcomed the idea at the time. It was to take a decade for the Muslims to embrace the demand for a separate Muslim state.
He believed, on the one hand, in the emancipation and freedom of the Muslims of the Indo-Pakistan Sub-continent and on the other, he argued for the unity of Muslim nations all-over the world. Iqbal's political philosophy is not atomistic but organic in that it implied the formation of an associaiton of the Muslim countries to betten their own lot and be the upholder of peace and justice throughout the World.
His verses in Urdu and Persian and his monumental treatises have been translated into almost all the important languages of the world and found wide recognition in Iran, Turkey, Egypt, England, France, Germany, Italy, USSR and many other countries.
Allama Iqbal died on April 21, 1938 in Lahore at the age of 60. His tomb is inside Badshahi Mosque in Lahore. An academy named after him has been established by the Government of Pakistan to promote and disseminate the messages and teachings of Allama Iqbal.