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A freelance journalist, Marvi Sirmed, stated recently in the TV Show "Shahidnama", that Allama Muhmmad Iqbal did not wish for a separate Muslim country and simply wanted a Muslim province/state under the British rule. This shall be disproved in the discussion, with more convincing reasons and justifications.
Marvi Sirmed referred to the letter shown to support her statement that Iqbal denied calling for a separate Muslim state.
This letter was infact a part of a series of 9 letters sent by Iqbal to Mr. Thompson of Oxford University onwards from March 1933 after Ch. Rehmat Ali's open declaration of a need for separate country, and the coining of the word Pakistan.
Now, this is no proof that Iqbal initially had not thought of a separate country, as seen from the choice of words, "within or without British control" used in his address.
This "denial" dates 3 years after the speech he made at Allabad, and there are evidences to support that Iqbal had wished to choose EITHER WAY, a separate state/province or a separate COUNTRY. But the latter seemed too much to ask at that time, as Muslim League hadn't established itself as a strong enough party.
Besides, the idea was DIFFICULT in the first half of 1930's.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah considered it (in his own words) as:
"some sort of Walt Disney dreamland, if not Wellsian nightmare", and thought that "he felt the professional's contempt for the amateur's mistake of showing his hand without holding the trumps."
"Iqbal was one of the early advocates of Pakistan and yet he appears to have realized its inherent danger and absurdity. Edward Thompson has written that in the course of conversation, Iqbal told him that he had advocated Pakistan because of his position as President of Muslim League session, but he felt sure that it would be injurious to India as a whole and to Muslims especially."
This shows that Iqbal did not want to ask too much AT FIRST, as the EXCESSIVE crticism from non-Muslims over the idea of a separate country would have lost them the bases for a simple separate state too.
It is also worth mentioning that Iqbal was the one who persuaded Jinnah to return to India and take charge of the Muslims. They had MORE UNDERSTANDING about each other, and their dialogues and letters are MORE RELIABLE when we judge their actual motives.
Either Iqbal had not publically promoted his full ideas, or his idea had evolved, but he did want a separate COUNTRY as is obvious from the following lines of Iqbal's letter, of June 21, 1937 , to the Quaid-e-Azam, only ten months before the Iqbal's death:
"A separate federation of Muslim Provinces, reformed on the lines I have suggested above, is the only course by which we can secure a peaceful India and save Muslims from the domination of Non- Muslims. Why should not the Muslims of North- West India and Bengal be considered as nations entitled to self-determination just as other nations in India and outside India are."
Iqbal had declared his wish for a separate country and also urged the Muslims to join hands with Jinnah. Three months before his death, he said:
"There is only one way out. Muslim should strengthen Jinnah's hands. They should join the Muslim League. Indian question, as is now being solved, can be countered by our united front against both the Hindus and the English. Without it our demands are not going to be accepted. People say our demands smack of communalism. This is sheer propaganda. These demands relate to the defence of our national existence."
(Do compare how communalism is stated here and in the letter ;) )
SEE THE COMPLETE LETTERS HERE: http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00islamlinks/txt_iqbal_tojinnah_1937.html
Finally, AFTER Pakistan was officially demanded in the Lahore Resolution passed on March 23, 1940, the Quaid- i Azam said to Matlub ul Husn Syed:
"Iqbal is no more amongst us, but had he been alive he would have been happy to know that we did exactly what he wanted us to do."
THE ABSOLUTE VERDICT:The above discussion proves that Iqbal wanted a separate COUNTRY, instead of a province for the Muslims. Jinnah himself surely knew Iqbal more than Marvi Sirmed or any journalist, and she has no say here.
I hope to see a day when our media folks turn responsible and convey things that would help rather than confuse the nation.
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