Home Opinion Op-Ed Poet of East: through the lens of Iqbal Museum?

Poet of East: through the lens of Iqbal Museum?

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Muhammad Zahid Rifat |

The ever-grateful nation is celebrating 141st birth anniversary of great thinker and poet Dr. Muhammad Iqbal on November 9, 2018 (today) to pay homage to him for his great services in the creation of Pakistan. He had awakened the Muslims of the sub-continent and, more importantly and significantly, he had also presented the concept of a separate homeland for the Muslims where they could lead their lives according to their religious tenets and be socially and economically free from Hindus economic subjugation.

This concept was translated into reality by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah through his inspiring leadership and statesmanship in a very short period. As per his concept, Pakistan had come into existence on August 14, 1947 but Allama Iqbal had not lived to breathe in a free homeland and had expired about nine years earlier on April 21, 1938 and since then is lying in eternal rest in peace on the right side of the stairs of historical Badshahi Masjid in Lahore.

A visit to the Iqbal Museum on the eve of birth anniversary of the great philosopher and poet turned out to be quite an educative and informative experience.

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal had breathed his last in Javed Manzil which he had himself got constructed in the name of his younger son Javed Iqbal. Javed Manzil has since been turned into Iqbal Museum housing personal belongings and handwritten manuscripts and lot of other daily use articles. A visit to the Iqbal Museum on the eve of birth anniversary of the great philosopher and poet turned out to be quite an educative and informative experience.

Dr. Iqbal had lived in couple of other places in Lahore for varying period prior to getting Javed Manzil constructed and shifting there in May 1935. According to the information gathered from different sources, Dr. Iqbal on his return from Germany had lived in upper storey of a shop of Attar Chand Kapur booksellers in Anarkali, Mcleod Road and also somewhere inside Bhatti Gate between 1906 to 1916.

Read more: Iqbal tereay daes ka kya haal sunaon

Construction of Javed Manzil on road leading from Railway Station to Garhi Shahu which has since been named as Allama Iqbal Road makes quite an interesting and illuminating reading  in general and particularly for the Iqbaliyat research scholars. While living at rented premises on Mcleod Road, Allama Iqbal had bought a piece of land in 1934 measuring seven kanals in open auction in Mauza Garhi Shahu in the name of Javed Iqbal at which the house was constructed and completed  at a cost of Rs 42025 and had shifted there in May 1935.

He had rented three front rooms for his living from his son on monthly rent of Rs 50 and rental document “karaya namah” so written can be seen along with several other documents in the museum now. Dr. Iqbal was apparently in the habit of putting every transaction in writing and documented these for the posterity to see and learn something.

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal had breathed his last in Javed Manzil which he had himself got constructed in the name of his younger son Javed Iqbal.

While living in Javed Manzil for couple of years, Dr. Iqbal had many illustrious visitors including Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his sister Fatima Jinnah in 1936 and Hindus leader Pandit Jawahir Lal Nehru who was also a great admirer of the great poet and thinker. Within days of shifting to newly-constructed Javed Manzil, Dr Iqbal had suffered a great personal loss when his wife Sardar Begum, mother of Javed Iqbal, expired on May 24, 1935.

Read more: Iqbal: A philosopher of East & West; but misunderstood by most..!

Allama Iqbal was born on November 9, 1877. His date of birth was confirmed officially after extensive research by National Committee for Birth Centenary Celebrations–a committee that was set by former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who visited the tomb of poet on January 1, 1977 to mark the inauguration of a yearlong centenary celebration. This very committee had also suggested that the federal government should buy Javed Manzil and turn it into a museum where all personal belongings of Dr. Muhammad Iqbal be preserved and displayed for the posterity.

Allama Iqbal Museum was formally inaugurated on December 2, 1977 by COAS/President General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. This was done accordingly and Javed Manzil possession was taken over by the federal government in December 1977 and turned into Iqbal Museum which was renovated by some Japanese engineers who had especially visited Lahore for this purpose at the invitation of the federal government and Iqbal Museum was formally inaugurated by President/Chief of Army Staff General Muhammad Ziaul Haq in December 1984.

Dr. Iqbal was apparently in the habit of putting every transaction in writing and documented these for the posterity to see and learn something.

On the persuasion of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, Javed Manzil owner Justice (retired) Dr. Javed Iqbal had agreed to sell the house as well as all belongings of Allama Muhammad Iqbal to the federal government for turning it into a museum on payment of hefty amount of Rs 3.5 million. Afterwards, Dr. Javed Iqbal had shifted to a bungalow of his choice on the Main Boulevard in Gulberg where he had breathed his last couple of years back.

Read more: The enduring name and philosophy of Iqbal

During the fag end of the tenure of President/Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf, on his express directions, more than 50 articles on display in the Iqbal Museum were supposedly borrowed and taken to Islamabad and put on display in the newly-established National Monuments Museum there. Some of these borrowed items had since been returned but many still remain unreturned so far somehow.

To know much more than this little piece about Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, research scholars should be visiting Iqbal Museum more frequently. There is lot more to see, to know and to learn. What is on display there in the museum is all personal belongings, dresses, handwritten manuscripts in Urdu, Persian, and letters of Dr. Iqbal.

The writer is Lahore-based freelance journalist and columnist and retired Deputy Controller (News) Radio Pakistan Islamabad and can be reached at  zahidriffat@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not neceesarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space. 


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