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Literary Notes: New books on Iqbal from India and Pakistan reaffirm his relevance

Literary Notes: New books on Iqbal from India and Pakistan reaffirm his relevance

AS usual, new books and articles on Iqbal keep pouring in. Not only in Pakistan but in India, too, the interest in Iqbal’s poetry is not waning. So in line with Nov 9 — which marks Iqbal’s birth anniversary — let us have a quick look at some of the recent publications on Iqbal, which have appeared in India and Pakistan. Some of them are reprints, which shows that critical and research works on Iqbal are read, too.


Dr Tehseen Firaqi does not spare anyone who misinterprets Iqbal in any way nor does he mince his words when he corrects the errors made by some well-known writers and critics while writing on Iqbal. In this book, for instance, Firaqi has criticised Annemarie Schimmel, Kaleemuddin Ahmed, Majnoon Gorakhpuri, Ali Sardar Jafri, Naseem Amrohvi, Akhter Hussain Raipuri and Maqbool Anwer Dawoodi for their views and interpretation of Iqbal, pinpointing the flaws. But Firaqi has generally approved of Maulana Saeed Ahmed Akberabadi’s book that evaluates Iqbal’s Reconstruction of religious thought in Islam, though at times the Maulana does not agree with Iqbal while speaking from an Islamic point of view. This all shows how well-read Firaqi is.

A scholar known for his authoritative works on Iqbal, Prof Dr Tehseen Firaqi has shown a remarkable acumen for getting to the crux of the matter and explaining the soul of Iqbal’s works and his thought. In addition to his other works on different subjects — such as Ghalib, Persian poetry, criticism and research — Firaqi’s writings on Iqbal have earned him respect of his peers. His book Jihaat-i-Iqbal, first published by Lahore’s Bazm-i-Iqbal in 1993, offers some insights into Iqbal’s philosophy as well as some incisive comments on some of the misconceptions about Iqbal spread by some towering figures of Urdu criticism. Now the book has been reprinted for it was out of print for too long.


A very important work by Iqbal is Stray reflections, his diary, or private notebook, that he began writing on April 27, 1910, recording his random thoughts. The title ‘Stray reflections’ was given by Iqbal himself. Though he discontinued writing it after a few months, it is significant insofar as its diversity of subjects and Iqbal’s inner, candid reflections are concerned. It was finally published in 1961 and was edited by none other than Iqbal’s beloved son, Javed. Translated into Urdu by Dr Iftikhar Ahmed Siddiqi, the book was first published in 1977 under the Urdu title Shazraat-i-fikr-i-Iqbal. Now its third edition has been reprinted by Majlis-i-Taraqqi-i-Adab, Lahore. Iftikhar Siddiqi’s and Javed Iqbal’s informative introductions add much to the value of the book.

Iqbal: savaneh aur afkaar

With his numerous works on Iqbal, Prof Dr Rafiuddin Hashmi is considered one of the most prominent scholars of Iqbal studies in Pakistan. He had served as the head of Urdu department of Punjab University Oriental College and keeps on working on the topics related to Iqbal. His latest work Iqbal: savaneh aur afkaar is in fact the extension of the long article written for and included in the updated edition of Punjab University’s history of Urdu literature in five volumes, which, in turn, is a part of 19-volume Tareekh-i-adabiyaat-i-musalmaanaan-i-Pakistan-o-Hind, a history of the literature of the Muslims of the Indo-Pak subcontinent.

The book, published by UMT Press, Lahore, includes an authentic biography of Iqbal and an introduction to his prose and poetic works in Urdu, English and Persian. At the end, brief notes on Iqbal’s thought and his philosophy have been added to help postgraduate students and the candidates appearing in competitive exams.

Iqbal ka jahan-i-nau

The book is a collection of three lectures delivered by Dr Zahid Muneer A’amir on different occasions. The first lecture is on the universality of Iqbal’s poetry and philosophy, the second presents, in the light of Iqbal’s thoughts, the solutions to our problems and the third lecture deliberates on why it is necessary to take into account Iqbal’s thoughts that he has expressed in his The reconstruction of religious thoughts in Islam. Lahore’s Tanaazur Matboo’aat has published the book.

Bikhre khayalaat

Dr Abdul Haq, Professor Emeritus, Department of Urdu, Delhi University, is an Indian scholar who has numerous critical and research works to his credit. But his works on Iqbal have made him prominent among the Indian scholars of Urdu. Bikhre khayalaat, published last year from Delhi, is an Urdu translation of Iqbal’s diary Stray reflections. First published in 1975, this is in fact the third edition and it has reproduced the original English text as well as its facsimile.

Muhammad Iqbal (monograph)

Published by Maghribi Bengal Urdu Academy, Kolkata, the book is a monograph by Prof Dr Abdul Haq. In the introduction Dr Abdul Haq has mentioned that this monograph is quite different from the one written by him and published by National Book Trust (India) a few years ago. The book discusses different aspects of Iqbal’s life and his poetry. A selection of Iqbal’s Urdu and Persian poetry is appended at the end.

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Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2016

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