MODERATING A LECTURE ON IQBAL BY SAIYID ALI NAQVI

(Organized by Thinkers’ Forum USA at the Islamic Center of Rockland, New York on November 24th, 2013)

Today as our respected speaker Saiyid Ali Naqvi Saheb, a great genius and a scholar, is going to reflect upon “Adam In The Poetry And Prose Of Iqbal” in English, a poetry naturally spoken by Iqbal in Persian and Urdu, I am tempted to say:

 

ہمارے  طرزِ  تکلم  کی دیکھ  رنگ ریزی
کہ جان و دل میں ہے اردو زباں پہ انگریزی

hamarey terz-e-taklum ki dekh rang raizi

keh jan-o-dil mein hai Urdu zaban pe Angraizi

 

Iqbal, who has said 12,000 verses comprising of 5,000 in Urdu and 7,000 in Persian, has reflected on his bilingual poetical exposition as:

گرچہ اُردو در عذوبت شکر است

طرزِ گفتارِ دری شیریں  تر  است

gar cheh Urdu dar azubat shakr ast

tarz-e-guftar-e-dari shereen ter ast
اگرچہ ٹیسٹ میں اردو شکر ہے
زبان ِ  فارسی  شیرین  تر  ہے

agar cheh taste mein Urdu shakr hai

zaban-e-Farsi shireen ter hai

 

Iqbal was a great literary genius of his time having an authority on the literary and philosophical output of the thinkers of East and West from ancient time to his contemporary period. He had read, critically discussed, and intelligently understood, hundreds of theistic and atheistic thinkers and philosophers, and concluded to apply academic philosophical standards to Islamic thought with Qur’an as the mother of universal knowledge famously saying, “If you desire to live as a Muslim, it is not possible to live with Qur’an“:

 

گر تو می خواہی مسلماں زیستن
نیست  ممکن  جز  بقرآں  زیستن

gar tu may khwahi Muslman zeestan

nayst mumkin juz ba Qur’an zeestan

 

Iqbal focuses his unique philosophy of Khudi on the infinite, finite and spiritual nature of man. Throughout his poetry man’s infinite nature is represented by Khizer, finite by Iskander and the spiritual nature by Rumi. So emphatic is his conviction in the value and permanence of the human Khudi or individuality that he rejects the ambition for the finite individuality of man to be immersed or lost in the Infinite or the Absolute. In one of his lectures he says, “It is with the irreplaceable singleness of his individuality that the finite ego will approach the Infinite ego to see for himself the consequences of his past actions.” In Lala-e-Toor Iqbal beautifully views. 
سکندر با خضر خوش نکتہء گفت

Sikander ba Khizr khus nukta-e-guft    
شریکِ سوز و سازِ بحر و بر شو

shareek-e-soz-o-saz-e-zindgi ho
تو ایں جنگ از کنارِ عرصہ بینی

tu ein jung az kinar-e- arsa beeni
بمیر اندر نبرد و زندہ تر شو

bameer under naburd-o-zinda tar sho
کہا خوش تر سکندر نے خضر کو

kaha khush ter Sikander ne Khizr ko
شریکِ سوز و سازِ زندگی ہو

shareek-e-soz-o-saz-e-zindgi ho
تماشائی نہ بن اس کارگاہ میں

tamashaii na ban es kargah mein
شہیدِ رزم ہو اور زندہ تر ہو

shaheed-e-razm ho aur zinda ter ho

    

Here, Iskander representing the finite nature of man is impressing upon Khizer representing the infinite nature man, that laying one’s life in struggle for a higher purpose, is real infinitude. He has emphasized this as, “What is that hard worker, who extracts water from stone like Iskander without the help of Khizer”.

آں سخت کوش چیست کہ گیرد ز سنگ آب

aan sakht kosh cheest keb geerad ze sung aab

محتاج ِ خضر مثل ِ سکندر نمی شود

mohtaj-e-Khizr misl-e-Sikander namey shwad

پسِ مرگ نام و نشاں مرا نہ دیار میں نہ مزار میں

ہو دلانِ خلقِ جہان میں تو یہ فرش عرش سے کم نہیں

pas-e-marg nam-o-nishan mera na dayar mein na mazar mein

ho dilan-e-khalq-e-jahan mein to yeh farsh arsh se kum nahein

 

As we are gathered here today to listen from Naqvi Saheb’s scholarly exposition on Iqbaliyat, Iqbal himself had predicted about this day as:
پس از من شعرِ من خواند و دریابند و می گویند

pas az man sher-e-man khwanund-o-daryabund-o-mey goyund

زمانے را دگر گوں کرد یک مردِ خود آگاہے

zamane ra degargon kard yak mard-e-khud aagahey

 

مرے اشعار میرے بعد پڑھتے ہیں تو کہتے ہیں

meray ashaar meray ba’ad parhtey hain to kehtey hain

کہ اک مردِ خود آگاہ نے زمانے کو بدل ڈالا

kek ek mard-e-khud aagah ne zamane ko badal daala

 

Here are two verses of Iqbal said by him about himself, My body comes from the earthly paradise of Kashmir; My heart belongs to Hijaz and my song to Shiraz”.

 

تنم گُلے ز خیابانِ جنتِ کشمیر

دل از حریمِ حجاز و نوا ز شیراز است

tanum gule zay khayabaan-e-janat-e-Khashmir

dil az hareem-e-Hijaz-o-nawa zay Shiraz ast

 

مرا بنگر کہ در  ہندوستاں دیگر نمے بینی

برہمن زادہء راز آشنائے روم وتبریز است

mra ba nigar keh der Hindostan degar namey beeni

Brahman zada’ei raz ashna-e-Rum-o-Tabrez ast

مجھے دیکھو کہ ہندوستان میں مجھ  سا نہیں کوئی

برہمن  زادہ  ہوں راز  آشنائے  روم  و  تبریز  ہوں

mujhey deekho keh Hindostan mein mujh sa nahein koii

Brahman zada hoon raz ashna-e-Rum-o-Tabrez hoon

 

Before I invite Saiyid Ali Naqvi Sahib to reflect upon “Adam In The Poetry And Prose Of Iqbal” it is important to introduce him to those who did not get a chance to know him. Jenab Naqvi Sahib, born in Amroha (Sub-Continent of India) and graduating in Civil Engineering from Aligarh University moved to Pakistan where he commenced his career with the Pakistan government’s Central Engineering Authority. He received field training in USA, and in 1956 was appointed Deputy Pakistan Irrigation Commissioner. He oversaw the implementation of the interim agreements between India and Pakistan on sharing the waters of Indus rivers. He was subsequently transferred to the Water Development Organization and has devoted nineteen-years of his career to large dams in Pakistan. He has held senior executive position under WAPDA in relation to the Mangla Dam, Terbela Dam, and Kalabagh Dam (a project in controversy).

In addition to authoring numerous articles on water resources issues, Naqvi Sahib, a cousin of the great artist Sadequain, is devoted to Urdu and Persian poetry. Among other expressions of his poetic interests, he has written papers and articles on Ghalib and Iqbal. He is compiling a set of his own Urdu poetry for publication for which we are all waiting excitedly.

Oxford University Press has recently published, Saiyid Ali Naqvi Sahib’s 800 pages magnum opus, Indus Waters and Social Change: The Evolution and Transition of Agrarian Society in Pakistan, which I have graciously received through Brother Noor Salik Sahib. This book is not only a wealth of knowledge on water resources and a history of Indus river by an engineer, it is a book of geography, philosophy of history, sociology, politics, literature, and many other ethos of the sub-continent of India. This great work is adorned with the verses of Ghalib, Iqbal and Faiz from beginning to the end. Interestingly Naqvi Sahib in the 14th chapter “Harnessing The Indus Waters (1961-80) where the rule of Generals starts in Pakistan, has cited a quote by Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”  Naqvi Sahib brings this great work to an end with three lines of Faiz Ahmed Faiz:

Abhi girani-e-shab mein kami nahin aai              ابھی گرانئ ِ شب میں کمی نہیں آئی

Najat-e-dida-o-dil ki ghari nahin aai                   نَجاتِ دیدہ و دل کی گھڑی نہیں آئی

Chale chalo ke woh manzil abhi nahi aai            چلے چلو کہ  وہ  منزل  ابھی نہیں آئی

As we will be hearing from our respected speaker on Iqbal’s concept of Adam, I would say:

یہ جہاں لمحہ بلمحہ ہو رہا ہے نو بنو
ہر قدم منزل نئی ہے ہر نظر منظر دِگر

جیسے عالَم ہے تلاشِ آدمی میں مضطَرِب
جو ہو نقشِ آب و گِل میں نفسِ کامل مستِمَر
This world moment to moment is becoming new to newer
at every step there is a new goal, at every sight a new science
As if the universe is restlessly in search of a man [or person]
who in the figure of water and clay is a complete perfect soul
نگہِ جستجو ہے جہاں پڑے دلِ مضطرب میں تڑپ اُٹھے
یہاں ذرہ ذرہ نقاب ہے اسے دیدہ ور کی تلاش ہے
Wherever the searching eye falls a lightening rises in the restless mind and heart
here every particle of dust is cover [of hidden knowledge] which is looking for a man of vision.

 

مری فرسٹ فنگر سے کی دبے دلِ لیپ ٹاپ کلک کرے
جونہی گوگل سرچ کی ویب کھلے تو ملے وہ جسکی تلاش ہے

My first finger presses a key, [and] the heart of lap top clicks;                                         As Google search’s web opens [we] find whatever is being searched.

 

Mirza Ashraf