Pakistan is perhaps the only modern nation other than Israel that owes its existence to a nationalism inspired by religion.
And the man who is widely believed to have conceptualised Pakistan, Mohammad Iqbal remains a lesser known figure in India.
Iqbal began as a strong Indian nationalist, and his powerful writings were very influential on the nationalist movement in British India.
An accomplished poet of Persina and Urdu, Iqbal penned one of the most popular patriotic anthem or Taran-e-hindi- Sarare Jahaan Se Accha- a song that commands huge attention even 67 years after independence and the partition of the country.
In 1905 Iqbal travelled to England to study law and philosophy where he became a member of the London branch of the All-India Muslim League.
Two and half decades later, during a presidential address to Muslim League annual conference in Allahabad in 1930, he proposed a separate state for Indian Muslims, an idea that inspired the creation of Pakistan.
Before an audience of less than 75 people, Iqbal had said, "I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sind and Baluchistan amalgamated into a single state.
Considered among one of leading literary figures in Urdu and Persian language, Iqbal wrote around 12,000 verses of poetry, majority of them(7000) in persian.
But it is lesser known how he went through such a transition from being a nationalist to demanding a separate statehood
The same person who wrote ----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.)later penned---- “Chin o Arab hamaraa hindostaaN hamaara, Muslim hain hum; watan hai saara jahaaN hamaara” (Central Asia and Arabia are ours, Hindustan is ours.We are Muslims; the whole world is our homeland.)
In a letter to Jinnah dated May 28th , Iqbal elaborately talked about the Hindu Muslim disharmony in India and proposed a state where Shariat law can be implemented.
He wrote,”The enforcement and development of the Shariat of Islam is impossible in this country without a free Muslim state or states. This has been my honest conviction for many years and I still believe this to be the only way to solve the problem of bread for Muslims as well as to secure a peaceful India.”
If such a thing is impossible in India the only other alternative is a civil war which as a matter of fact has been going on for some time in the shape of Hindu Muslim riots.
Iqbal's relationship with Jinnah has far reaching consequences in shaping the history of Indian sub continent.
In another letter to Jinnah dated June 21st 1937, Iqbal cited a series of Hindu-Muslim riots in India while terming Congress as a Hindu political body, he wrote, “The Congress President has denied the political existence of Muslims in no unmistakable terms. The other Hindu political body, i.e., the Mahasabha, whom I regard as the real representative of the masses of the Hindus, has declared more than once that a united Hindu¬ Muslim nation is impossible in India. In these circumstances it is obvious that the only way to a peaceful India is a redistribution of the country on the lines of racial, religious and linguistic affinities.”
Iqbal was also of the view that Government of India Act 1935 could potentially harm Muslims, he wrote,” It seems to me that the new constitution is devised only to placate the Hindus. In the Hindu majority provinces, the Hindus have of course absolute majorities, and can ignore Muslims altogether. In Muslim majority provinces, the Muslims are made entirely dependent on Hindus. I have no doubt in my mind that this constitution is calculated to do infinite harm to the Indian Muslims.”
It was only after his death did the League hold its historic session of 1940 in Lahore, where the Pakistan Resolution was passed.