The decision by the federal government to declare November 9th as a public holiday to commemorate Iqbal Day, marking the 146th birth anniversary of Dr. Allama Mohammad Iqbal, is of great significance in the history and culture of Pakistan. Dr. Iqbal, affectionately known as the “Poet of the East,” was a towering figure whose enduring contributions continue to shape the nation.
Born in Sialkot on November 9, 1877, Dr. Iqbal was not only a renowned poet but also a profound philosopher. His poetry, characterized by a rich fusion of spirituality, philosophy, and patriotism, served as a source of inspiration for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent, motivating them to aspire to a separate homeland where they could freely practice Islam. His literary and intellectual work passionately advocated for the political and cultural rights of Muslims in British India.
Dr. Iqbal’s historic address in Allahabad in 1930 marked a turning point in the pre-partition politics of the region. It offered a clear vision and distinct identity to the Muslim community in their quest for Pakistan. This address eloquently articulated the concept of a separate Muslim state, eventually leading to the establishment of Pakistan in 1947.
Iqbal Day is a day for reflection and remembrance. Special prayers are conducted in mosques throughout the country, seeking progress and prosperity for Pakistan. Additionally, a Change of Guards ceremony takes place at his mausoleum in Lahore, paying homage to this iconic figure who left an indelible mark on the nation’s history and ideals. This holiday serves as a poignant reminder of the values and vision he advocated, emphasizing the importance of unity, self-determination, and the pursuit of a just and free society.