Why Sir Syed loses and Allama Iqbal wins in Pakistan

Published: February 9, 2013

The writer retired as professor of physics from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

Syed Ahmad Khan (1817–1898) and Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938) are described in Pakistani schoolbooks as the first Muslim leaders who stressed Hindu-Muslim separateness. Revered as the spiritual founders of Pakistan, they share many commonalities. Both were knighted for services to the British Empire (respectively in 1888 and 1923), both advocated purdah and had strongly traditional religious backgrounds, and both wished to liberate Islam from mullahs and pirs. But the similarity stops here. Although schoolbooks suddenly go silent on this, the two men actually belonged to clashing ideological universes. Sir Syed — as he became known — has now almost disappeared from public view whereas Sir Muhammad Iqbal, now commonly known as Allama Iqbal, has a ubiquitous presence. Lahore’s airport, a university, a literary society, housing blocks, many roads, and several schools bear his name.

For every 19th century Muslim intellectual, including Sir Syed and the Allama, the outstanding challenge of the time was to understand the ascendancy of western civilisation and the apparently unstoppable decline of Muslim society. Seven centuries had passed since the end of the Golden Age, and Islamic societies everywhere were militarily feeble and intellectually sterile. Sir Syed and Iqbal courageously chose to confront this galling truth, but they arrived at dramatically different prescriptions for the rescue and reconstruction of Indian Muslims. A century later, these two national icons distinguish liberal Pakistanis from conservative ones.

For Sir Syed, the trauma of Indian Muslims after the failed 1857 uprising against the British called for a radically new interpretation of Islam. As a religious scholar and hafiz, he considered himself well-equipped for the task. Backwardness, said Sir Syed, resulted from superstitious beliefs and rejection of maaqulat (reason) in favour of blind obedience to manqulat (tradition). Desperate remedies were needed if the Muslims of India were ever to become anything other than “stableboys, cooks, servants, hewers of wood, and drawers of water”. His goal was to make Islam compatible with post-Renaissance Western humanistic and scientific ideas, and to extract the ‘pure’ belief from fossilised dogma.

It was a difficult enterprise to take on. The period after the end of Emperor Akbar’s reign had been one of unbroken anti-science and anti-rationalist conservatism. Some 200 years before Sir Syed, Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi and other influential religious figures had issued fatwas against mathematics and the secular sciences, and demanded that the education of Muslims be limited to religious books. Initially Sir Syed was also inclined to this point of view but, following his gradual transformation during the 1850s, he rejected this view and challenged his contemporaries.

In Tahzib-ul-Akhlaq, he writes: “Yes, if the Mussulman be a true warrior and thinks his religion correct, then let him come fearlessly to the battleground and do unto Western knowledge and modern research what his forefathers did to Greek philosophy. Only then shall our religious books be of any real use. Mere parroting and praising ourselves will not do.” (“Apnay moon mian mithoo kahney say koee faida nahin”)

In his mind, the way forward was clear: Indian Muslims must learn the English language, practice the scientific method, accept that physical phenomena are explainable by physics only, and support British imperial rule against the rule of Mughals (who had by then sunk into decadence and depravity). This last piece of advice made him a target of bitter ridicule by secular nationalists such as Jamaluddin Afghani.

Sir Syed accepted the Holy Quran as divinely revealed but he frequently reminded his readers of Islam’s forgotten rationalist (Mutazilite) tradition, as in the works of Averroes. He proposed a radical reinterpretation of the Holy Quran to make it compatible with science and modernity. Among other matters this involved understanding miracles, which science cannot accept as factual. Sir Syed therefore explained the Great Flood, as well as various miracles of Jesus, to be purely allegorical and symbolic. He also interpreted Islamic laws as actually forbidding polygamy and amputation of limbs. Quite expectedly, his claims provoked a furious reaction from the ulema of the time and he was decried as a heretic.

Sir Syed’s writings are all in Urdu and, whether or not one agrees with him, his clarity in supporting modernity and science is manifest. Equally, his remedies for social reform are clear and unambiguous. On the other hand the Allama’s only serious prose is to be found in English, and he leaves key questions unanswered or ambiguous. At times, to revive Islamic civilisation, Iqbal appears to call for a return to the sword. But at other times he stresses the enhancement of khudi — a sophisticated philosophical construct roughly describable as self-esteem. This construct, however, has a plethora of interpretations. Does it belong to the physical world? Will more khudi bring more order or more anarchy?

Iqbal’s politics, routed through his soul-stirring poetry, is the real reason why he is Pakistan’s supreme icon today. In his epic poem shikwa, like Samuel Huntington, he frames the world exclusively in terms of us-versus-them and the superiority of one civilization over all others. His pan-Islamic mard-e-momin belongs to the ummah and this perfect human aspires to martyrdom: shahadat hai matloob o maqsood-e-momin. Like a falcon, the mard-e-momin is a fighter and above worldly desire: tu shaheen hai basera kar paharon kee chatanon main. These verses can be found in Pakistan Army magazines, on its recruiting banners, and are sung with great fervour.

Iqbal, unlike Sir Syed, leaves the gap between science and religion unbridged. He takes no explicit position on miracles. On the contrary, he asserts that, “Classical Physics has learned to criticise its own foundations. As a result of this criticism the kind of materialism, which it originally necessitated, is rapidly disappearing.” But no real physicist can take this statement seriously. Even with the discovery of quantum physics — which superseded and improved upon classical physics — the description of observed physical phenomena requires nothing beyond material causes. In the battle for Pakistan’s soul, Sir Syed’s rational approach ultimately lost out and the Allama’s call on emotive reasoning won. Iqbal said what people wanted to hear — and his genius lay in crafting it with beautifully chosen words. Unfortunately, his prescriptions for reconstructing society cannot help us in digging ourselves out of a hole.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (204)

  • sensible
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:27AM

    It is not fair to campare Iqbal with Sir Syed. Iqbal is in different league. Iqbal was poet, philospher and sofi. Sir Syed was edcationalist, both belongs to different fields and have their own persona. I know you were trying to find irony in your article but unfortunately its not a much feasible.The main reason why we regard Iqbal more is beacuse of his poetry which is no less than a miracle.

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  • Feb 9, 2013 - 12:35AM

    In past civilizations, many empires collapsed of one reason. Many nations forget their identities because of one reason.

    It happened when people of entirely different field started to create opinion on entirely different subjects. Mr Hoodbhoy, I am afraid you are exactly trying to do this thing.

    I really respect your services for Pakistan but you must never try to jump out of what you have qualified for. I would have been glad to read about any good research in the field of physics or EMT as a student to hear a verdict about Iqbal from you.

    Yes I’d call it a verdict, you see there is something we call credentials. I am often flabbergasted at approach of our nation which is entirely ambiguous from bases i.e Somebody out of nowhere start to question a person who has too many things in his credit.

    World knows Iqbal as a great philosopher, Asia knows him as a great Philosopher, he is read in India, in Iran, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan. Many decades has passed since his death, people still know him and will know him till eternity, what amazes me is what do you think about yourself sir? Do you think people are going to know you till eternity? Do you think you have enough in your credit to have your name official attached to Pakistan? If not, then why do you question his credentials?

    I here totally respect Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, I know without him, the concept of two nations wouldn’t have been possible, but appreciating him won’t mean defacing Iqbal. Above everything, you must have thought twice before having a praise because a lot of left leaned people in Pakistan don’t believe in Two Nation Theory at all.

    Good Day Mr Hoodbhoy. I hope and pray to see you nominated for Noble Prize one day.
    Stay blessed.

    Usman.

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  • John B
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:44AM

    “Pakistan, the proposal to divide India, however much it may appeal emotionally to some, is of course no solution for this backwardness, and it is much more likely to strengthen the hold of feudal elements for some time longer and delay the economic progress of the Moslems. 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 a conversation, Iqbal told him that he (Iqbal))had advocated Pakistan because of his position as president of the Moslem League session, but he felt sure that it would be injurious to India as a whole and to Moslems specially. Probably he had changed his mind, or he had not given much thought to the question previously, as it had assumed no importance then. His whole outlook on life does not fit in with the subsequent developments of the idea of Pakistan or division of India. ” Nehru on Iqbal , excerpt from “Discovery of India”.

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  • Go Zardari Go!!
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:48AM

    The so called liberals of Pakistan, tell me doc does God exist then, since science can’t prove him as well. Go ahead and fiddle around now about how you’ have nothing against religions. Reinterpretation is just a fancy word to say that the religion needs to be re-made so it fits the time. What you’re doing is slowly but surely eroding the religion’s fabric which is quite rampant in West. Science is a part of education and education is part of Islam. Maybe there is a reason Sir Syed never got the notoriety for a reason and maybe he never dreamed about an independent Pakistan

    Just as you wouldn’t like anyone to come in and do your job which is to be a Physicist, don’t do the job of our scholars that spent their lives studying and collecting information about our religion and preserving it for us. It is offensive and uncalled for.

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  • Saz
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:52AM

    That us what comes of taking a poet too seriously.

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  • Masood Khan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:53AM

    ‘— Unfortunately, his prescriptions for reconstructing society cannot help us in digging ourselves out of a hole.”
    But Iqbal’ prescription is helpful in digging our graves as his mard-e-momins are no else but a bunch of Al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists.

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  • nadeem
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:54AM

    Illuminating for a jahil like me. But perhaps Sir Syed, if he re-interpreted the Quran, went unnecessarily far. He had a convincing formula for reform without having to bring Quran into the picture. The Book does not discourage scientific inquiry, nor rationality based on physical evidence. To my understanding, Einstein believed in God. This means that the greatest scientist of the 20th century believed in an entity whose existence science could not prove. No contadiction there. Similarly, Sir Syed could have left it at advising Muslims to embrace rationality, Science, and the English language regardless of what their individual interpretation of Quran was.

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  • Zak
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:55AM

    Who do you think has more influence on Pakistani psyche? Osama Bin Laden and Mullah Umar

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  • Saz
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:56AM

    No actually iqbal is famous because he has been officially promoted as the so called national poet because at that time his message suited the rulers better then both mr Jinnah or sir seeds message.
    There is no denying the power of iqbal a poetry but Ghalib or faiz are no less poets but I never got a school day off for them.

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  • Sajid
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:57AM

    About time we start re-humanizing Iqbal, who has been made into a infallible perfect philosopher whose every word is incontestable and profoundly. I have found Iqbal’s poetry very disagreeable on many occasions, on others, he has said things I would agree with beautiful mastery. But we should never forget, Iqbal was a human, and like humans, he was vulnerable to misjudgments. Excellent write up.

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  • LOK
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:01AM

    Exceptional article… Pakistani youth must read it.

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  • Feb 9, 2013 - 1:03AM

    I agree to the idea conducted in the article but for me comparison and conclusion is totally vague. Sir Syed was a reformer and educationist (as my friend quoted above) but Iqbal was a philosopher and ideologist. Sir Syed’s era was a time foe evolution so he focused on modernization and reforms while Iqbal’s time was a pure revolutionary moment. If Iqbal didn’t target the emotions of commons, there might not be any strong struggle for the nation and the country. Dr. Hoodbhoy might consider the time and situation difference before comparing both figures. Indeed both are respectable but Iqbal has his own prominent place.

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  • Farian
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:04AM

    As always a brilliant piece by Hoodbhoy..
    All I can say it is becoming clear day by day that Jehadi Takfiri Talibani Ideology of Iqbal has won over Schloraly, Goldan-Age-of-Islam inspired, reasonable ideology presented by Sir Syed and as a result abrupt, and ubiqutous Jihadi factories, and bigoted , hypocritical population and establishment dominates land of the pure.

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  • ASR
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:09AM

    @sensible: If you think Iqbal’s poetry is a miracle then you obviously haven’t seen much or read much.

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  • Farwa Naqvi
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:16AM

    It is incorrect Iqbal and Sir Syed differed by a 100 years. Times were different but nontheless Iqbal wanted a revival of jihad and he always preferred the sword to the penRecommend

  • Logic. Europe m
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:16AM

    Syed sahab has actually succeded
    His vision and remedy is being folowed all over muslim world
    Iqbal has just failed in creating even one mard e moomon of his aspired type iincluding his family and is merly become an entertainer

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  • Asif Khan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:18AM

    To me both were proclaiming same message but the difference in both of them was of approach and now we are looking from our intellect one lose and the other win which is not the case or to me useless.

    Sir Syed Ahmed was saying in plan or I would say straight forward method to proclaim revival of true Islamic values which is very hard in fact impossible to understand by general people.

    Allama Iqbal, in my opinion more smart than Sir Syed Ahmed khan he learned from public response to Sir Syed Ahmed Khan efforts. He took different approach from Sir syed sb which is poetry. He knew if i talk same in a same way the people will react same way so he adopted poetry to communicate same message of Islamic values revival, which was appreciated and like because physiology works here. There are tons of public if you ask about Allama Iqbal they know Allama Iqbal not because what he said actually but they know because of his poetry which afterward composed and sung by many singers. Trust me there are thousands and thousands of people even they don’t know what he has communicated in those poetry but they like Allama Iqbal because of beautiful words and rhythm of those poetry.

    It is human physic matter not win or lose.

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  • BlackJack
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:19AM

    Sir Syed advocated a rational approach to Islam and preferred to view key incidents described in the Quran as allegories. He would have been charged under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Criminal Code if we were alive today.

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  • American Desi
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:19AM

    Few important commonalities between the two are, both were British stooges for which they were rewarded and both had a fascist outlook regarding non Muslims.

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  • Ahmed Durrani
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:21AM

    A very interesting and enlightening article,, Professor. But once, I read a Persian poem of Iqbal in which he praises Western science and education. I do not remember the exact words but the gist of his poem was that the strength of West’s current supremacy lies in its superiority in terms of scientific research and education.

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  • sabi
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:22AM

    Iqbal’ poetry has best suited establishment and its ilks to abuse religion and nationalistic sentiments of illitrate folk.Iqbal has been exagerated beyond limits as great philospher and thinker of muslim world but reality is nobody knows him except Pakistan.His poetry is full of contradictions and that is just normal for a poet.

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  • Mujtaba
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:24AM

    You are kidding me and everyone else.. right?
    Sir Syed Ahmed Khan(SSAK) is undoubtedly our hero…But you are distorting his love for his Religion and its followers by implying that he went against the traditional teachings of Islam. I would call them not tradtional but prevalent at the time. SSAK in fact tried to show Muslims the need to master science to bring the whole majesty of God to light!… He foresaw that without British support , Indian Muslims would be at the mercy of Hindus who outnumbered them.He has not been forgotten since there are many things bamed after him too!!! (If that’s how being a winner is judged)

    On the other hand, Allama Muhammad Iqbal (AMQ), did not show from his work the superiority of a nation over others, in fact the superiority of the truth over lie and of a ideology over myths like Zeus,Medussa and etc. Had he pursued superiority of Muslims over others, he would not have pointed out the huge blunders committed by Muslims in the past…

    Concept of Khudi is only understandable to those who believe in meditation so I do not need to even consider to explain it to people who vehemently believe in everything being a logical outcome of something.. Meditation and Khudi are way deeper than logic.

    P.S: Granted that your knowledge and experience are wayyyyy past than mine, but it does not mean that you start challenging anyone’s religious beliefs without giving significant “maqoolat”….

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  • Razi
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:24AM

    Beautifully written. Iqbal’s philosophy is somebody revered by many. And talking against his shaheen and khudi resulted in loosing some of my dear friends. But at least there is someone who agrees with me.I am proud that I have a similar view like Hoodbhoy, a great Pakistani intellectual. Bravo!

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  • Ahmed Malik
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:28AM

    So you mean Iqbal is not relevant because he is not scientifically correct. There was not just one Iqbal, Iqbal has been a Marxist, a secularist, a mullah hater, a mullah sometimes, a sufi, a democrat and an alcoholic in the same lifespan.As you yourself mentioned the english piece of writing by Iqbal was almost the opposite of what he wrote in urdu.Recommend

  • rational
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:29AM

    Many Muslims realized after the war of 1857 the futility of taking arms against the much superior British. These Included Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib, Sir Agha Khan, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and they played an important role in bringing Muslims out of stagnation and leading them onto the paths of rationality and knowledge.

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  • bangash
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:36AM

    you know sir with due respect sir syed views were more ultraorthodox,he was extremist in views regarding other sects of islam apart from his sect.like he once said”aik tho mn wahabi ho uper neam charha”…in comparison to that iqbal didnot differenciated between sects,he gave the teaching of only islam n one umma and the fruits of his teaching of khudii lies in iran,where they have conprunted western powers and they are on 11th number in worls for their research…imam khomeni once said my peer is iqbal….
    secondly we have also got places n institutes named after sir syed too like sir syed college rawalpindi,sir syed avenue,sir syed engg college n so many others…

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  • Faqir Ipi
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:43AM

    At the moment, our educational system (designed by Macaulay and implemented by East India Company Clerk Sir Syed) are producing generations who have little/no affinity with the their true history, belief, Islam, land and its traditions. These uprooted future generations from the land, its cultures, and its spiritual and historical roots are bound to produce a fundamental severance with history in decades to come. This new generation, only able to function in the contemporary world as second-class workforce for multinationals and global system, but not at all capable of understanding the ethos which established this system. The same system is producing young people, who are simply dysfunctional in the contemporary world. They are simply not competent to deal with the complex realities of our land, region, belief and religion. As a result, we will remain hostage to extra regional forces in decades to come.

    Until and unless we bury deep historic knighted colonial garbage whether Sir Syed or Sir Iqbal.

    Very few in our society dare to speak truth. Fewer dare to listen to the truth. Much fewer who accept truth and much smaller in number who act on truth. We are reactive mob, who lack systematic or analytical approach, because we are given skewed wisdom/vision during our education spanning over 20 years. We as nation do not hate fire but the ONE who shout FIRE. We are not afraid of failure rather afraid only to accept ourselves as failure even if we are fail. We as a nation are failed in all field. Starting from education, medicine, engineering, banking, politics, science. You name any field and we are total failure. While Westernized elite (MACAULAY’S CHILDREN/BROWN GORAS) are ruling us for past many decades they have so called fabricated excuses and fallacies of their total failure. Namely Education, Mullah, Taliban, Sectarianism, India, etc

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  • rationalist
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:43AM

    Well the great Iqbal has been made controversial by interest groups in Pakistan. The right wing conservatives have portrayed Iqbal as a Mullah, who was in strong favour of Jihad, pan-Arabism & things like that. And the liberals in simple words can’t jsut differentiate between Iqbal & Mulla Omer. No one has tried to peep deeply into Iqbal’s philosophy. He was neither anti-West nor wanted the Muslims dominating the whole world. He was just in the favour of enlightment of Muslim thought, but at the sme time he felt western thought can’t be termed as that utopian. He just gave value to the merits of Islamic thought. How can one say a clean shaved Iqbal who sometimes used to drink, can be like the Mullahs?

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  • Tariq Malik
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:49AM

    The author probably missed to mention Iqbal’s Madras sermons complied as “Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam.” I wonder how Hoodbhoy would react to that in case he has read them. In my view, though Iqbal sometimes went overboard in his attempt to stimulate the Muslim blood “Utho meri Dunya Kay … ” he was never out of sync with his times and the requirements he deemed as a must for the Muslim world. Being educated in the West and also inspired a great deal by the likes of Goete from Germany, Iqbal was never oblivious to, nor against, scientific thinking and hence logical application of the mind. Thus his “Taaleem Kay Tezaab mein daal iski Khudi ko… emphatic advice to the youth.

    So, In conclusion, both Sir Syed and Iqbal did their bit to shake off Muslims; to wake them from deep slumber; one through his plain prose and the other through his stimulating poetry.

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  • kaalchakra
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:53AM

    Allam Iqbal was one of the greatest poets and philosophers of all time, a visionary beyond visionaries. Enuff said.

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  • Zeeshan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 2:07AM

    Well, you may have made some good points Dr. Hoodboy. But, by personal experience, I’ve learnt one thing: there are no absolutes in this world. You may choose to believe whatever you like and if you are lucky enough, your belief will be shared by many people and your solutions will work. But then, a after some time, you’ll see that a new system of beliefs has arrived and and it works too. That is why, in history, sometimes religion is the apex of the rise of nations; sometimes it’s science and technology; sometimes its culture; and sometimes it’s warfare. Who knows, it might be something as unique as the power to procreate in the future that will determine the strength of nations. What I mean to say is that the best human being is an open minded one and the best definition of open mindedness is the ability to tolerate any idea especially against your own beliefs. Sadly sir, I’ve found the Liberals and Seculars to be the most closed minded.

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  • Asad Shairani
    Feb 9, 2013 - 2:10AM

    This is absolutely brilliant. It is a pity that we chose to believe the emotional Iqbal than the more practical, rational Sir Syed – and the result of the choice is staring us in our faces.

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  • Mj
    Feb 9, 2013 - 2:11AM

    Juding by the comments eulogizing Iqbal instead of absorbing the substance of the article, I’d say that the Indoctrination through curriculum and evangelism is working extremely well.

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  • Feb 9, 2013 - 2:23AM

    First Altaf Hussain defames and controversialises Quaid-e-Azam and now this! These pseudo-liberals and secularists will stoop to any level just to publish a rant!

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  • Indian
    Feb 9, 2013 - 2:25AM

    I am not a Pakistani, but I hope Pakistani friends here will consider this question. First, read Shikwa. Read what it says about idol-breaking, idol-worship, etc. (an obvious reference to paganism, which could also apply to Hinduism) Here Iqbal is glorifying the Muslim conquerors of the past who destroyed, presumably brutally, the beliefs and practices of polytheists, such as Hindus.

    The question: with all the national glorification and identification of Pakistani ideology with Iqbal’s writings, how would a Pakistani Hindu feel about Iqbal’s Shikwa?

    A corollary question: if Sir Syed, as Pervez Hoodbhoy says here, along with Iqbal are both “…described in Pakistani schoolbooks as the first Muslim leaders who stressed Hindu-Muslim separateness. Revered as the spiritual founders of Pakistan…” then how do you suppose a Pakistani Hindu boy reading those textbooks is supposed to feel? The national icons of his country are people who “stressed Hindu-Muslim separateness”?

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  • Ahmad Ali Abbas
    Feb 9, 2013 - 2:27AM

    Beautifully articulated piece. By “Beauty” I meant rationality,strong desire to accept ground realities, and a valor to call a spade a spade. Dilemma of nouveau riche petite bourgeoisie is they are penchant for generally accepted narratives without paying heed to strong and neutral historical references. They are only getting historical knowledge through social media posters and placards of 8 to 10 lines along with jibes. We should accept all comments with neutral mind, and if at any time want to rebut them we should do this by strong intellectual reference and logic. Deriding merely does not make sense at all. Author clearly narrated two ideological poles and why one dominated and not the other. It has nothing to do with the credibility of iqbal as a philosopher, thinker or intellectual or with the credibility of the writer. So we should avoid personal hits and concentrate on facts.Death to “Folie de grandeur” death to “le roi est mort, vive le roi”
    Peace !

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  • Saad
    Feb 9, 2013 - 2:33AM

    @Rana Usman:
    Mate, I myself am a keen reader of history, though i m not a formal student of it. I can tell you that you don’t need to be a PhD to analyze it. Once you’re in, things begin to unfold. Then it’s your analysis power that helps you decipher the information contextually.

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  • Ram
    Feb 9, 2013 - 2:52AM

    Allama Iqbal is not known in India except as the composer of “Sare Jahan Se Accha Hindustan Hamara” (our Hindustan is the best among nations).

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:04AM

    If Hoodbhoy had taken Islam and the divine scriptures more seriously, then he could have been the enlightened one and retained his university post as well. He has not supported any student seriously nor did h become the Doctor father of a student for a Phd title. Iqbal came to Germany and studied Kant phlosophy in Heidelberg university and this enlightened him to the evel that people of Pakistan regard him as the contemporary of Pakistan.

    Rex Minor

    All elite univrsities in the west including Harvard, were teaching theology before they were upgraded to include studies for sciences including natural science and medicine: Avasena was the one as well as others from the orient which enlightened us, the Europeans before we made the breakthrough after industrial revolution and renaissance before the period of enlightenment with humanism dawned in our continent. Poor Hoodbhoy!!

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  • imran bhatt
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:05AM

    Sir Sayed failed because he tried to logically present something that is inherently illogical. Sir Iqbal triumphed because he reinforced biased, uneducated and raw human emotions absolving people from any responsibility of their failure.

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  • Ahmad Aziz
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:07AM

    @John B. Nehru was as confused about Jinnah’s demand for Pakistan as he was about Iqbal’s position on Muslim nationalism in India. In his presidential address, Iqbal made his position quite clear as follows: strong text“The Muslim demad for the creation of a Muslim India with India is….perfectly justified…. possessing full opportunity of development within the body-politic of India…..”

    Is there a similarity here with the “Cabinet Mission Scheme” providing for an autonmous Muslim state in North-West and North East of India which was accepted by Jinnah? Both schermes, however, were rejected by Nehru.

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  • omar
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:15AM

    I am a fan of Dr Hoodbhoy and agree with his basic argument here, but I do want to point out that Jamaluddin Afghani was the farthest thing from a secular nationalist.
    Sir Syed was pretty bigoted by modern standards (his notions of ashraf versus ajlaf were pretty un-PC) but certainly far less confused than Allama Iqbal (and in terms of practical impact, far less dangerous…there is a reason why Allama Iqbal’s jihadi poetry is written on TTPs martyrdom certificates).

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  • wiki
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:17AM

    I think PH has completely failed to understand Iqbal’s messages. This article doesn’t make any sense! But the problem is most of the people from the specially from the current generation do not have any exposure to spiritulism and Tasawwuf! So people take the words only on their face value.

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  • Noor
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:26AM

    Dr. Hoodbhoy has eclipsed an important personality from the educational-reforms-discourse; “a man from the outside will come and do the task”, Sir Syed had famously said, but that man is not part of the discourse and history, and Dr. Hoodybhoy’s article, for obvious reasons.

    Nevertheless, a good read.

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  • wiki
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:27AM

    Those who think that there was no education, no science in the moughal era, should read this: http://www.pakpassion.net/ppforum/showthread.php?t=164086

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  • Mirza
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:42AM

    A thought provoking Op Ed by the top scientist of Pakistan. I have loved Iqbal most of my childhood. Later I read a letter/application by Iqbal to the British masters to increase his monthly stipend as he could not make ends meet. A man recognized and on the payroll of British masters giving us lessons of khudi and soar like shaheen is not a true scholar. On the other hand Sir Syed established the first Muslim University acting as an incubator for most future Muslim politicians, bureaucrats, leaders and reformers. That university is still doing the job for Muslims of India. Sir Syed actually woke Muslims and educated them in the true sense rather than giving them stories and past history.

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  • Muhammad
    Feb 9, 2013 - 5:03AM

    The people who have been taught Lisa for the last 1400 years will need another 1400 years to learn humanity.

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  • Feb 9, 2013 - 5:16AM

    @ Author. I take serious exception to your ignorance about the Fatawa and work of Imam Rabbani Hazarat Ahmad Sirhindi Shiek Ahmed farooqi (RA). As a follower of Naqsh bandi Mujaddadi order , I had the chance to study the works of imam rabbani line by line. I admitt, there are many places in his works where subjects are very complex and difficult to understand. However, I have not seen any Fatwa against studing Mathemetics. Please read and acquire basic knowledge about your subject before you start writing and malign the noble personalities. If you have read any such thing, please do educate me. EXpress tribune should carefully review the contents of the authors who write in subjects which are not their primary speciality.

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  • Feb 9, 2013 - 5:20AM

    It is most unfortunate that Iqbal is being used and misquoted today by religious fanatics and terrorists. The professional Muslims whom we call Muslim clergy thrive on Inter-Faith dialogue and a thousand years ago started misinterpreting the metaphor of the Quran to serve their Inter-Faith needs. Pakistanis today are doing the same to Iqbal. We distorted the Quran and we distorted Iqbal. Sir Syed, Iqbal, Jinnah and “the heretic” Ghulam Ahmed Parvaiz were all warriors of Light. Quran was their fountain head yet they all have miserably failed at bringing enlightenment to Islam’s world. Only the establishment of Sabeel Allah, a system of equal distribution of wealth based on the Law of God will bring enlightenment. USA achieved it through its founding fathers. Islamic world of slaves harkens for Sabeel Allah, the proclamation of human liberty and emancipation. Nothing else will bring us The Light. Unfortunately, the slave masters of Pakistan will not support any Lincoln.

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  • Feb 9, 2013 - 5:22AM

    @imran bhatt:
    You appear to be as much ignorant as any body else can be. Where has Iqbal tried to make you absolve of your responsiblities?. Pitty, that highschool drop outs have now become experts in Iqbal.

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  • Qalander
    Feb 9, 2013 - 5:27AM

    @Mirza:
    Where have read letter of Iqbal. Can you please quote the refrence. Iqbals biographers have written at legth about the sources of his income and I never came across this letter. please provide the reference from some authentic source. The worse critics of Iqbal have never placed against him the allegation you are placing. I hope to read your answer.

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  • kaalchakra
    Feb 9, 2013 - 5:39AM

    Mirza, that is no way to tarnish the reputation of the greatest philosopher and poet of the last many centuries. Allama Iqbal was able to make the British pay while at the same time lifting Muslims to new glories unheard of before.

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  • sabi
    Feb 9, 2013 - 5:44AM

    One may disagree with sir Sayed’s religious point of views but he did good job for the muslims of India for socio-politicle uplift.To project Iqbal as reformer or as man behind two natio theory is exageration and Pakistani volk under the influence of establishment propaganda loves to exagerate and listen to it fondly.Rationality is too rare a specie to be found in general public’s thoughts in Pakistan.Iqbal has praised queen Victoria in his poetry.What do the enthusiasts of Iqbal say about that.

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  • Arijit Sharma
    Feb 9, 2013 - 5:48AM

    @wiki: ” … Those who think that there was no education, no science in the moughal era, should read this: http://www.pakpassion.net/ppforum/showthread.php?t=164086 … “

    I normally steer clear of anything to do with Orya Maqbool Jan.

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  • Nauman
    Feb 9, 2013 - 5:49AM

    I pity the writer for not understanding Iqbal at all. Such a shame.

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  • Ram
    Feb 9, 2013 - 6:28AM

    All Pakistanis are welcome to read the truth –
    http://www.awaminationalparty.org/books/factsarefacts.pdf

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  • Majid
    Feb 9, 2013 - 6:46AM

    Iqbal cannot be understood easily. He was deeper than this. Germans did not name a road in Munich on Iqbal’s name because they were short of names.

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  • Rehan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 6:53AM

    Iqbak is promoted as nationl poet because he is a punjabi/kashmiri (a kashmiri born in Sialkot) and our establishment (mainly our punjabi dominated army) can not bar the thought that a punjabi figure could not play a critical role in creation of Pakistan. So boom, they find iqbal( who is a good poet but he suddenly becomes a national poet even though he clearly never adovcated idea of a separate nation). So this Punajbi chauvinism has brainwashed generations of our people.

    P,S i am not anti punjab, I am jut anti undemocratic practices of our establishment. (since most of them are from punjab)

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  • Venkat
    Feb 9, 2013 - 7:26AM

    @Ahmed Durrani:
    The Persian poem you are referring to might actually be by Mirza Ghalib.
    It is translated into English and I just read it in Wikipedia by Googling
    Ghalib.
    Venkat

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  • asif
    Feb 9, 2013 - 7:30AM

    Though I don’t fully agree with Faqir of Ipi, his words are powerful and they come straight from the heart- and this is coming from a deracinated brown sahib who is ashamed of his double-alienation. As far as Iqbal is concerned, people who have a more courage and sense of self than us have given his due, This is Khamenei speaking about Iqbal – http://khudi.pk/2010/08/07/khamenei-on-allama-iqbal/

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  • Sadia
    Feb 9, 2013 - 7:50AM

    Mr Hoodbhoy as you can see from the responses rationalism is all but dead in Pakistan. You are needlessly bashing your head against a brick wall. A nation which can’t discuss dams and creation of new provinces without descending into emotional hysteria is incapable of discussing the pros and cons of Iqbal and Sir Syed’s philosophies.
    Today we accept Iqbal’s views as the truth because without them our nation has no leg to stand on. Many of us have never gone beyond reading Shikwah and Jwab-e Shikwa in school,if we were awake in the Urdu class.Most have no clue about the views of Sir Syed. In the three generations since his time Iqbal has taken on mythical proportions.We don’t see him as a fallible human. I think you are undertaking a Sysiphusian task.

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  • Zalim singh
    Feb 9, 2013 - 7:59AM

    excellent article.

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  • Malik
    Feb 9, 2013 - 8:16AM

    Allama Iqbal was a man of vision, who acquired education, knowledge and political insight. He advocated independence from Raj, while Sir Syed always served as loyalist to them. They both wanted Muslims to acquire education. Iqbal led by example and laid down the foundations for our independence. Hoodboy should have known better.Recommend

  • John B
    Feb 9, 2013 - 8:29AM

    @Ahmad Aziz: the musings of Nehru was written nearly about 80 years ago in the jail even when he himself was not sure how and when the independence would come. But he turned out correct in his analysis, did he not?

    Iqbal was a great poet but that is where he ends. In the context of the article, it is evidently clear that the university established by Syed transcended the Islamic education and it is a great center of learning for Muslims and non Muslims alike in all fields of learning. Whereas scholars still ponder on Iqbal’s intensions. He sang to the audience and gave them what they want rather than create a symphony out of cacophony. Syed did, Iqbal did not. Syed won in India and Iqbal won in PAK.

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  • sadhana
    Feb 9, 2013 - 8:38AM

    Is it possible to rid Pakistanis of the high which Iqbal gives them? It is like depriving a herd of elephants of intoxicants they are habituated to, no?

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  • Pmahmud
    Feb 9, 2013 - 8:42AM

    PH being an expert in physics has narrow horizon. Physics is a precise science relative to disciplines related to human behavior. The question is what makes a society perform at its full capacity and how to accomplish that change. So good doctor how would you change the society?

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  • Abdul Alim
    Feb 9, 2013 - 8:45AM

    Professor Hoodbhoy would do well to take a look at the third Muslim revival movement in Islam which stood out from Aligarh Movement and Deoband Movement. This was the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam, still going strong gloabally. founded by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. He must pay attention to it with a larger focus because someone he really admires i.e. Professor Abdus Salam comes from that third revivalist tradition. A perfect explanation of coherence between science and Religion. A devout Muslim Nobel Scientist in real life. But ofcourse if he were to do that he would be arrested in Pakistan. Recommend

  • 1984
    Feb 9, 2013 - 9:17AM

    “Classical Physics has learned to criticise its own foundations.”

    This is the beauty of science,my friend….You always have the right to question anything and everything we have proposed.and if you can prove them wrong,you will be heralded..

    Whereas in religion,if you question,you will be accused of blasphemy and if you prove them wrong,you will burned on a stake…..This is because religion demands faith and submission without any questions and thats the reason we fought so many wars on religion..but never heard a Newtonian physicist fight with an Einsteinian physicist ….

    P.S. I personally find Iqbal and Sir Syed overrated…They’re praised by Pakistan so high because the newly born nation needs few heroes and there are not many luminaries who preached Hindu-Muslim apartheid

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  • zaman khan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 9:19AM

    Sir

    my humble request is stop dividing and defining humanity on the bsisi of religion, loi(grooves)oking at history from religous angle would keep you in the fundamentalist outlook (groove) and ultimately one becomes part of it. look what came out of sir sayed, iqbal and moulana hal, iall wanted reniasance on the basis of religion hoodbhoy please don’t become one like that

    please concentrate on humanity rise above narrow religious interpretation of society and history

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  • Romm
    Feb 9, 2013 - 9:48AM

    Once again a brilliant piece of work. I wish we had more scholars like Mr Hoodbhoy. I do sometimes contest his ideas but I respect him for his honest opinion.

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  • Feroz
    Feb 9, 2013 - 10:02AM

    @Go Zardari Go!!:
    Religion and its fabric cannot be eroded by either Hoodbhoy, you or me. It is a very weak religion that needs protection from anyone. Only HE protects us, very egoistic to claim HE needs protection from humans.

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  • Feroz
    Feb 9, 2013 - 10:46AM

    Since Independence in 1947 Pakistan has regressed slowly but steadily towards the medieval mindset that existed in the seventh century, when the world has progressed forward in its thinking at a rapid pace. Some of this is because of adopting the wrong heroes and doing the best to bury the good ones. The two greatest Muslim reformers and liberals in pre independence India were Abdul,Gaffar Khan and Maulana Azad, as seen by one billion Indians of all religions and ethnicities. These guys and what they stood for is respected by over a billion South Asian of all hues and colors, then as well as now. Compared to other charlatans going around posing as true Muslims and so called peoples representatives Azad and Bacha Khan would have won an election from any constituency in undivided India, even without campaigning — their actions always matched their words. Such was their stature and their character, the British had to often jail them to try and break them down. Today’s heroes are not those who fought for peoples rights and went to jail, but usurpers who jumped in to cash profits from the situation. No wonder Pakistan is following its own trajectory in terms of progress, not understandable by anyone else.

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  • Tanveer
    Feb 9, 2013 - 10:57AM

    Hoodboy is wearing the glasses of science only while analysing both personalities. From these glasses, his arguments cannot be outrightly rejected. However, to comprehend Dr. Sb’s personality and thoughts, one needs many more glasses than just the science. Dr. Sb was a Sufi, a Philosopher, Poet, Politician, Lawyer and so much more at the same time.Recommend

  • Roni
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:06AM

    First of all those who make Iqbal the champion of Pakistan, he never was in Muslim League. He was always in Kashmiri Party or Himayet-e-Islam. there is no evidence of him being a part of Muslim League. The British Raj bestowed him with Knighthood and the title of Sir with pension. No freedom fighter from Jinnah, Liaquat, Gandhi, Nehru or Bose even came close to being knighted. It is also a fact that Iqbal was on a 500 Rs/month pension of Nawab of Bhopal and getting privileges from Agha Khan as well.
    I am not saying that Iqbal was not a good person but he was not a saint and died of throat disease due to excessive drinking. The irony is Iqbal is famous for his pride of being Indian and we have deleted that part of his poetry from Pakistan. Sare jehan se achha Hindustan humara.

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  • Pakistan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:08AM

    Iqbal and Sir Syed are complements to each other. To truly understand the meaning of Iqbal’s poetry, one has to understand the concepts of Sir Syed writing.

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  • Kaloo
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:36AM

    Come on, don’t take away the only hero Punjabis have to take part in the freedom movement from Muslim League’s side.

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  • Rashid Hasan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:42AM

    @imran Bhatt Bravo brother. You said it so well. Cannot agree more.

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  • Alan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:43AM

    The passion with which Pakistanis defend Iqbal with no ability to critique him as any other man just goes on to strengthen the author’s thesis.

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  • sabi
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:44AM

    @BruteForce:
    How can any ideology which talks about the origin of man like Islam and Christianity does, reconcile with Science?
    Dear,your post suggests that you have a weak knowldge of Islam.Where does quran hints against science. Quran infact invites its followers to hundreds of times to consider on science behind universe.How many verses should I tell you where quran has talked about scientefic truths.Check surah almomenoon and see how Quran reveals six stages of human embriyo developments.Quran talks about geography,economics,physics,relics,astronomy you name any fundametal branch of knowldge that quran has not discussed.And after too much emphasis on different branches of knowldge should it advise its followers to not to reserach on science!.
    What Darvin discoverd a few hundred years ago Quran has told it fourteen hundred years ago.
    We do believe that evolution is a truth but we don’t blindly follow each and every word of Darvin for instance,link of man with champanzie.
    Newton was a strong believer of unity of God and a great scientist.Abdus salam said he got his inspiration about his marvelous research from Quran.
    If you just listen to ignorant mullah then I give you an excuse.

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  • usman
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:56AM

    Sir syed is not forgotten and there are many institutions, roads parks from karachi to islamabad are after his his name so the firsrt point is baseless.
    Both sir syed and iqbal have own vision which sometime share commonalities and differences and its upto person to take best of it. However, our liberals are actually also never preached Iqbal’s pro farmer or labourer stand against feudals and capitalistic.May be his stand not suits them as Mullah who only receite those verses which suits them not those which against them.
    Iqbal wants humans including muslims to cut chains of oppression which might be physical,mental or materialistic and use symbol of fearless and free spirit bird eagle

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  • Implicitangle
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:03PM

    You know Iqbal is not bieng understood in Pakistan when, Dr. Pervaiz Hoodboy sets out to enlighten us on a person he is inherently biased towards. Understand, the problem lies with our collective failure to understand Iqbal’s message, just like our failure to understand Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. My advice: Go and read Iqbal’s works on reconstruction of religious thought, and find out what it really meant.

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  • Tayyab
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:10PM

    @Rana Usman:
    Have you been formally trained in criticizing people? Would you apply principal you suggested to yourself and not criticize anyone till you get a formal training in criticism? :P

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  • Xabur
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:15PM

    @Rana Usman:
    I also read dr Iqbal as special philosopher in my graduate studies in philosophy. I also read Iqbal through dr Ali Shariati, Ayottollah Khamenei , and dr Abdolkarim Soroush’s (sociological, theological, and epistemological insights respectively) works.
    Rana Usman you are shivering because of lack of reasoned arguments. Do you that a great number of influential philosophers were scientist as well/scientist first? It is also the case with classical as well as modern muslim philosophers. For example Ibn Sina and Abdolkarim Soroush. One cannot understand modern philosophy without understanding modern science and vice versa. But this doesn’t mean one need doctorate in philosophy/science to understand a work of science/philosophy. Does the author of the article require a PhD in Iqbaliat to qualify to comment on dr Iqbal? What essentially he requires to be an official pakistani? What arguments (besides mentioning the popularity of the poet philosopher) you have to invalidate the analysis/arguments the author put in? Do you really need to be personal if some have different/opposite opinion? I personally do not, totally, agree with the authors’ assessment of dr Iqbal’s (only) prose. He fails to grasp epistemological and hermeneutical significance of dr Iqbal’s work for the remedy of the disease of the ‘resulted backwardness’ (my assumed ‘inability of him’ may be proved unjustified). Does it qualify me to issue final judgement on the article that it is senseless or have no significant addition to the debate in question? Here you should/ought rather comment on the article (instead of his personality).

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  • sadhana
    Feb 9, 2013 - 12:16PM

    Pliss to write next column on Ghaznavi vs Sher Shah Suri, ie mass murder, destruction of all civic structures and looting by foreign Afghan who went back to his country to enjoy the spoils vs constructive state building by Indian-born Afghan. Whose approach does Pak prefer to follow in Afghanistan?

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  • Asad Rehmanuddin
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:37PM

    @ Mr. Rana Iqbal
    After what you have written, i dont feel like writing anything.
    Excellent.Recommend

  • Hassan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 2:18PM

    i agree with you Dr Sahib that message of Sir Syed should be promoted but you dont have to compare it with iqbals message, Let the people choose and both can co exist.

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  • Diggvijay Singh
    Feb 9, 2013 - 2:36PM

    Another great article by author Hoodbhoy splitting the ideology of Pakistani Muslims into two symbolic characters ie. Mohammed Iqbal and Syed Ahmed. Both of these men are highly regarded among Indian Muslims too. And they deserve no less because they influenced a million minds. Some of the criticism of Iqbal in the posted comments is unfair like his receiving a stipend or honorary money from the British imperial power at the same time writing about khudi. He was a man of different age and cannot be judged by how we look at British rule now. His philosophy and poetry came at certain mood like it happens with creative people. It would be too high a standard for a poet to live up to every single word he ever wrote. Gandhi was one of the rare people who tried to exactly live like what he wrote and thought about. And he himself admits he too made many mistakes.

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  • sick of this nonsense
    Feb 9, 2013 - 2:37PM

    @sensible:
    You are very right but I think he compared them as muslim leaders.

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  • Feb 9, 2013 - 2:44PM

    Iqbal is equally valued in Iran as poet and philosopher, no such talibanization exists there in Iran. As well, why had not talibanization prevailed before mid 80ties. So linking Iqbal’s manifesto to talibs is bit unfair and the linkers are propagating non-sense of the first order. The nature of spirit required at that time, Iqbal rightly pumped into the youth i,e that was spirit of creation of a nation. However, today a spirit of sustenance is direly required. The anticipated comparison by Dr Woodbhoy is great but he should have left readers with own conclusion after reading the piece.Recommend

  • Captain
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:00PM

    Iqbal’s grandfather was a Kashmiri Brahmin belonging to Sapru clan means Arian Rishi, later wen tey came down to punjab which is now th Pakistani panjab tey converted, even Iqbal had mentioned about his Hindu ancestors many times. As he had a great gene of Rishis he became such great philosopher nd poet. May God rest his soul in peace.

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  • UMSyed
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:06PM

    The only reason of Iqbal being promoted so much in Pakistan is that he hailed from Punjab.

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  • jugnoo
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:50PM

    @sensible:
    Iqbal was not consistent in his message. First he advocated united India “sare jahan se achha hindustan hamara” then shifted his stance. And then in response to Jaliyaanwala bagh massacre, Rabindarnath Tagore refused knighthood but Iqbal did not return his knighthood, obviously not to annoy his masters and endanger his govt. job.Recommend

  • LoLzzzz
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:52PM

    Hoodbhoy is a scientists, not a historian, right?

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  • jugnoo
    Feb 9, 2013 - 3:58PM

    @Saz:
    The reason Iqbal can never be a great poet is that his message is not universal but resticted to a particular sect (muslims). All great writers/poets have a universal message applicable to all humanity. Thats why Ghalib is the greatest poet. If not for Sir Syed, their would not be handful educated muslims.

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  • Faqir Ipi
    Feb 9, 2013 - 4:01PM

    As far as Sir Syed education reforms are concerned, some thing is terribly wrong.

    Will Durant is the most popular historian and philosopher of the Western world. He writes in his book ‘Story of Civilization’ about Mughal India: “There used to be a school master in each village, whose salary was paid by the government. Before the advent of the English, Bengal alone had 80 thousand schools. There used to be a school per every four hundred people. Five subjects were taught in these schools, namely: grammar, arts and crafts, medicine, philosophy and logic.” He wrote in another of his books, ‘A Case for India’, that in the Mughal era, there were one lakh twenty five thousand institutions in Madras alone, where medical sciences were being taught and medical services were provided. Major M. D. Basu has written many books on the British rule and the India before it. Referring Max Muller he writes: “There were 80 thousand schools in Bengal before the English came there.” A tourist named Alexander Hamilton came to India during the rule of Aurangzeb Aalamgeer. He wrote that there were four hundred colleges specializing in the study of arts and sciences in the city of Thatha alone. Major Basu even went on to write that the knowledge of the common Indian in fields of philosophy, logic and science was superior to even that of the elite/Lords of England, including the King and the Queen themselves. James Grant’s report is worth being remembered. He wrote: “Muslims were the first in the world to endow properties for the sake of educational institutions. When the English occupied the whole of India in 1857, five thousand teachers had been receiving their salaries from the government funds in the small district of Rohel Khand alone.” All the above mentioned areas were located in the outskirts, far from the central cities of Delhi, Lahore or Agra.

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  • Mansour
    Feb 9, 2013 - 4:27PM

    The Quran is in absolute, and I repeat, in Absolute conformity with ‘scientific facts’; for the same Creator who created nature revealed the Glorious Quran! No Aayah of the Glorious Quran will one find which goes against a ‘scientific fact’.
    A ‘theory’ on the other hand is based on some assumptions of man, and they may or may not be in alignment with the facts of the guidance of the Holy Quran. To relate a simple example: That every living thing is created from water is a ‘scientific fact’ and in absolute conformity with the Quran; but to state ‘Darwin’s theory’ where man originated from apes is based on some (albeit absolutely false) assumptions of Dr. Charles Darwin, and thus cannot be treated as a ‘scientific fact’!
    And finally, the ones who do not believe in the Glorious Quran can wait for science to confirm the laws of nature which were revealed by Allah Subhanah almost 1400 years ago in the Quran!; but for the believers every word of Allah Subhanah is a guaranteed fact, for the Lord Who Created everything in existence is the Same Lord Who revealed the Glorious Quran!

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  • Tas
    Feb 9, 2013 - 4:35PM

    The interesting part here is that whenever PH writes on these socio-religeo-scientific issues, his point of view stirs debate and questioning. All this is very healthy for the Pakistani society.
    Hopefully, the ‘Mutazzalite spirit’ will bring revival of the fascinating and progressive mindset of 10th century. It is never too late.

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  • Tas
    Feb 9, 2013 - 4:38PM

    @Logic. Europe m:
    You mean,all over the non-muslim world.

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  • Tas
    Feb 9, 2013 - 4:54PM

    @Indian:
    An additional corollary question is: what are the feelings of Muslim minorities in most countries of Europe where Islam is being denigrated not only by many well-known writers/philosophers but a number of political parties and above all by the right-wingers.

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  • hz_minhas
    Feb 9, 2013 - 5:19PM

    Well written. A gust of fresh air for a profoundly inward-looking mindset of our soceity.

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  • A - No.1
    Feb 9, 2013 - 6:02PM

    Sir Syed not being Punjabi has be wiped out of the curriculum? No need for other rationale.

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  • abcde
    Feb 9, 2013 - 6:06PM

    @Indian:

    The BJP came to power by destroying the Babri Masjid. Now i’m not an Indian but I hope my Indian friends will consider this question:

    The Question: how should Indian Muslims feel about that?

    A corollary question: If Narendra Modi becomes India’s next PM because of his ability to conduct very efficient pogroms (arundhati roy’s words, not mine), then how do you suppose a Muslim in India feels?

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  • Aijaz
    Feb 9, 2013 - 6:37PM

    @sabi: Well said, he belongs to the same group of people who are running the show in Pakistan for the last 65 years, who knows, may be down the road Iqbal wil surpass Jinnah.

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  • Omar Gondal
    Feb 9, 2013 - 6:51PM

    well…both sir syed and iqbal deserve a great deal of appreciation…however instead of preferring one over the other we should ponder upon the contributions of two personalities for Indian Muslims. sir syed, being an educationist, tried to awaken muslims of subcontinent through his prose on the other hand Iqbal,being a poet and philosopher tried to awaken muslims through his own way….one must take into account the time factor….after 1857,it was time to lay down the basis of Islam in a peaceful manner…remember any radical work could have cost muslims much in the eyes of English master,,,so sir syed did what was in the interest of muslims…..now come to the era of the first quarter of 20th century(iqbal’s era)…at that time muslims were politically much awakened….and a struggle was going on for safeguarding the rights of muslims…so time was ripe for revolutionary work…and Iqbal did this miracle…so my point is that instead of indulging in baseless discussion over such topics and praising one over the other, we must act upon the fundamental principles of both personalities in the greater interest of today’s Pakistan

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  • Omar Gondal
    Feb 9, 2013 - 6:53PM

    well…both sir syed and iqbal deserve a great deal of appreciation…however instead of preferring one over the other we should ponder upon the contributions of two personalities for Indian Muslims. sir syed, being an educationist, tried to awaken muslims of subcontinent through his prose on the other hand Iqbal,being a poet and philosopher tried to awaken muslims through his own way….one must take into account the time factor….after 1857,it was time to lay down the basis of Islam in a peaceful manner…remember any radical work could have cost muslims much in the eyes of English master,,,so sir syed did what was in the interest of muslims…..now come to the era of the first quarter of 20th century(iqbal’s era)…at that time muslims were politically much awakened….and a struggle was going on for safeguarding the rights of muslims…so time was ripe for revolutionary work…and Iqbal did this miracle…so my point is that instead of indulging in baseless discussion over such topics and praising one over the other, we must act upon the fundamental principles of both personalities in the greater interest of today’s Pakistan

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  • Mj
    Feb 9, 2013 - 6:54PM

    @Mansour:

    “The Quran is in absolute, and I repeat, in Absolute conformity with ‘scientific facts’”

    Serious question: how do you reconcile evolution of man with the creation of adam and eve? And the global flood of Noah, who lived to be 950 years old, Jonah living inside a large fish for three days, the ‘ashab-e-kahaf’, the night journey, Solomon’s corporeal servants, talking snakes, creation of earth in 6, 4, and 8 days, people turning into apes and pigs, angels, djinn and other supernatural entities?Recommend

  • M.Hanif Khan
    Feb 9, 2013 - 7:31PM

    Now I understand why no English paper hardly commemorates 17th October, as Sir Syed’s birthday. It took me 5 years to get a letter published in Dawn this year on this occasion. Education is not our priority. The result is obvious.Sir, you have unlocked the mystery.

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  • shakeel
    Feb 9, 2013 - 7:35PM

    Sir Syed was a realist, and Iqbal was an Idealist. Realism and Idealism are fundamentally opposing views.For example a teacher’s philosophy will be evident in the classroom. An idealist, for instance, will seek the role of a facilitator, guiding students towards truth. Students will be able to seek truth independently, thinking freely with the careful guidance of the teacher. As a facilitator, the teacher will not take the role of absolute authority, but as a gentle guide for the student. A realist, on the other hand, will seek to infuse students with knowledge from without. A realist will seek to employ the scientific method of hypotheses and careful study over a use of pure logic and reason, as found in an idealistic education. Realism is consistent with behaviorism, which is a system of learning through punishment and reward. Being reliant solely on information from the external world, Realism discounts the original thought of the student. The teacher, then, will be seen as the highest authority, a figure to which students must answer rather than a guide who can be questioned.

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  • Lyari
    Feb 9, 2013 - 7:51PM

    This is call intellectual honesty…. It seems we are blind believers in millions, as you can see for many comments…

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  • Zakir
    Feb 9, 2013 - 7:58PM

    Sigmund Freud on loss of religion in Europe

    “If you want to expel religion from our European civilisation, you can only do it by means of another system of doctrines; and such a system would from the outset take over all the psychological characteristics of religion—the same sanctity, rigidity and intolerance, the same prohibition of thought—for its own defence.”

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  • Zahid Iftikhar
    Feb 9, 2013 - 8:03PM

    Sir Hoodbhoy I have a regard for your contribution to Physics teaching and research. I humbly differ to say that what Iqbal has preached in not new ideology. Radical Islam was followed by early muslims and they succeeded not because of the power of the sword but the philosophy they preached. The muslim expansion if had been due to their military then it would have met the same fate as did those of Gengiz Khan and Halaku Khan. But we must accept those radical muslims (the jehadis or terrorists in modern words) did influence with the power of their character and newly embraced faith. Have you read this in history that when the second Caliph of Islam entered Bait ul Muqaddas as victorious ruler, his servant was riding the camel and he was holding its rope. When his troops marched thru the city , their heads were bowed with modesty and no incident of loot or rape took place.
    Dear Sir I disagree with these terrorists and their ideologies. They are not true representatives of Islam and not follower of Iqbal. They are exploiting the radical ideology. You are an international scholar you must know what international agenda is behind all what is happening in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and in other muslim countries. Pl do write sometime about this as well.

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  • Maula Jut
    Feb 9, 2013 - 8:11PM

    People like Sir Syed and Sir Iqbal made history. What do people like not yet Sir Hoodbhoy do?

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  • Maula Jut
    Feb 9, 2013 - 8:17PM

    Nirendra Modi is also making history. His way.

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  • Milestogo
    Feb 9, 2013 - 8:43PM

    We should Forget poetry and concentrate on the message of Quran.

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  • Javed
    Feb 9, 2013 - 8:46PM

    Heres why we love Iqbal. He talks about our glorious past, the forgotten heroes, the golden days of Islam and we just because we believe in the same faith we think of those as our accomplishments. Whatever the glorious past, whatevers their victories, whatever their accomplishments they were theirs. Not ours and never will be ours.

    We should pause and think what have we done? What have we achieved? Absolutely nothing. Oh we did gift terrorism. Suicide blasts, yes thats a great contribution of ours to the modern society as well.

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  • Rex Minor
    Feb 9, 2013 - 9:36PM

    @Maula Jut:

    visit the centre of energy in mecca.

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  • Allama Iqbal
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:03PM

    Why are you so bitter child? Always some gripe or the other. A big block on your shoulderRecommend

  • polwala
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:18PM

    Obviously, the wrong guy won.

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  • Mansoor
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:23PM

    If he is a philosopher, what books on philosophy Iqbal has written?

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  • Rajeev Nidumolu
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:47PM

    It is clear Sir Syed was a secularist and his quotations make it clear that his ideology was nationalist and his belief in notion consisting of Hindus and Muslims is antithesis of TNT ideology of Jinnah

    Sir Syed quotes

    “By the word ‘qwam’, I mean both Hindus and Muslims. That is the way in which I define the word nation (Qwam).”

    “Remember that the words Hindu and Mahamedan are only meant for religious distinction—otherwise all persons, whether Hindus or Mohammedans, even the Christians who reside in this country, are all in this particular respect belonging to one and the same nation.”

    “All the inhabitants of India whether Hindus , Muslim or Christians, are by virtue of the fact of their residence one nation …… The time is past when merely on the ground of religion the inhabitants of one country could be regarded as members of two nations.”

    “If we ignore that aspect of ours which we owe to God , both of us, on the basis of being common inhabitants of India , actually constitute one nation: and the progress of this country and that of both of us is possible through mutual cooperation.”

    “India is like a bride which has got two beautiful and lustrous eyes—Hindus and Musalmans.”

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  • Zobia
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:33AM

    Both of them were great people of thier time. Sir syed struggled when there was’nt any cogress or mahsabbah etc, while Iqbal saw the time of Hindu biasness and prejudices.Why Iqbal is consedered or admired more in Pakistan, bcz he expressed his feeling in poetry. he paased in near past. His message is still alive. Though Sir Syed said, Hindu and Muslims are two different Nations but he didn’t experience their cruelity or hatred as Iqbal did. I think this is not fair to start debate on the personality of two great people. Both had performed their role fully in there time period.

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  • Parvez
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:35AM

    Reading your views is definitely a treat.
    There was Sir Syed then Iqbal then Jinnah resulting in Pakistan and then one big vacuum right up to today. Today the respective ideologies of the three are irrelevant because the ideology fed to the people is a mish-mash of the three tailored to suite various ad-hock agendas according to the requirement of the time, with little thought to the long term welfare of the nation. How unfortunate are we ?

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  • Mona
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:55AM

    so what the writer is trying to say that we as a nation prefer ambiguity coz its pretty words and open to interpretation instead of practicality and rational thinking????????? Thats the only part of the article I agree with. as for the rest….

    What I dont get is the basis for comparison. Sir Syed was an educationalist – and his writings are directed towards that end. two different schools of thought, two different mediums, and two different generations. two different educations.

    In addition, I quote from the article:

    “Sheikh Ahmed Sirhindi and other influential religious figures had issued fatwas against mathematics and the secular sciences, and demanded that the education of Muslims be limited to religious books. Initially Sir Syed was also inclined to this point of view but, following his gradual transformation during the 1850s, he rejected this view and challenged his contemporaries.”

    ummmm wrong. Sir Syed was a student of Madrassa-e-Rahimya, Delhi. And mathematics and sciences were a prominent part of their syllabus which was on par with Eton. (reference: The last Mughal, William Dalrymple) along with Quran, fiqah, hadis and philosophy. according to Dalrymple, had Madrassa-i-Rahimya not been destroyed, it would have surpassed Eton in education.

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  • bball
    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:14AM

    Unfortunately Mr. Hoodbhoy suffers from a serious problem that was resolved in the west at least couple of hundred years ago, and that is that he mixes science with social science, wants to define all social/psychological/economic activity in terms of the field that he belongs to and ridicules and dismisses other perspectives. Basically, someone who thinks that he has the answers to everything based on the classical laws of physics. I am just dumbfounded at the naivity of displayed by a man whom I expect to possess above average intelligence.

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  • S.Khan
    Feb 10, 2013 - 1:34AM

    @sensible:
    I dont think iqbal is honored because of his poetry , there are many other good poets but no body is given the status of ” Muqadus gayee” as he has.

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  • Rajeev Nidumolu
    Feb 10, 2013 - 3:02AM

    Regarding Iqbal’s proposal for Northwestern Muslim India

    Jinnah threw his head back,as was his habit when something amused him and chuckled :My dear boy , don’t you know that Iqbal isn’t a politician ? He is a poet and a poets are dreamers ”
    in *Witness to India by Late Frank Moraes editor of Indian Express newspaper .

    This was acknowledged by the poet himself in his poetry

    Iqbal is great sermonizer,
    He wins people by his talk
    He is a crusader of words,no doubts
    Alas he could not become a crusader of action.
    ( English translation from book mentioned below Pg 55)

    Iqbal was not a practical man and was also bundle of contradictions if you read his biographytitled Iqbal by Indian Politician Rafiq Zakaria ( father of CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria). Though he was staunch in his religious belief amd Muslim revivalism he was admirer and wrote poetry on Hindu deity Rama, Buddha ,Guru Nanak and praised wisdom of Indian rishis. I believe as a descendent of Kashmiri Hindu Pandit family he was conflicted over his dual heritage

    I suppose Mr Huddubhoy was correct in saying that Pakistan has preferred the legacy of dreamer Iqbal over Sir Syed the rationalist and practical man

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  • jugnoo
    Feb 10, 2013 - 3:58AM

    @Mj:
    I add here. How can this be explained that the genome sequence of human is 98% similar to great apes (Gorilla, Chimpenzee). The more closely related an organism is to another one, the more similar their gene sequence is. Also kindly differentiate between the fact that evolution has occured or not versus its mechanism. As far as evolution is concerned, genetics, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, embryology, etc all support it. However there may be difference in opinion on the exact mechanism of evolution. Darwin mechanism of natural selection of fittest can explain the origin of variation in a species beautifully. However there are other modern explanations which further refine the mechanism of evolution such as quantum speciation, epigenetic role in evolution, hologenome etc. to further explain the origin of species, family, class etc. If one to ask me what is the cream of scientific thinking, I will say this: Every thing in the universe is in flux and is constantly changing with the passage of time. Nothing is static and things will keep on changing with time including universe, galaxies, stars, planets, earth, geology and life.

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  • jugnoo
    Feb 10, 2013 - 4:00AM

    @Majid: If some body is not understood by masses he is not Awami poet. This defeats the purpose of his poetry.

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  • Fizza
    Feb 10, 2013 - 4:43AM

    Despite Hoodbouy’s clear biased against Allama, I am happy he has reached a good conclusion.It’s true that people of sub-continent can’t be win over with rational scientific views. They are more inclined to emotive language. But he has missed a lot of things in between. First, he is comparing apples and oranges. Sir Syed was more a political leader and less a poet or writer. Allama was more a poet and philosopher than politician. Their writing approach, therefore, differs a lot. Second, Hoodbuoy lacks understanding of poetic messages. You can’t give black and white opinion in poetry – it’s always grey. And lastly, he needs to study Iqbaliat, there is a context behind the verses Allama wrote. If you believe his stance to be unclear, you’d have to say the same for Quran because it also favours Qital yet ask you to be forgiver and peaceful. Context is important. Iqbal’s poetry is very much similar to Holy Quran and people even say that it is the poetical version of the holy book. I partially agree that there is connection, though I can’t put a man’s word equal to the God’s.

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  • Saad
    Feb 10, 2013 - 5:09AM

    What’s the relevance of this article? Comparing Bruce Lee to Mohammad Ali is not gonna change history or impact the future. Pick the best from both and keep on marching forward!

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  • bball
    Feb 10, 2013 - 6:23AM

    Pakistan would have been in a much better position if using the simple elemental laws, that even a high school student knows, our so-called know-it-all made something productive that the world could use. This type of discussion did take place in Europe during the 17th and 18th century, but then they moved on and decided to keep the application of physical sciences, and social sciences separate. Unfortunately the author is still simplifying the world into good and evil – exactly what he accuses others of. Fix corruption? well only if you first apply the laws of classical physics first; bring rule of law? but first physics. Myopia leads to theories that do little good for oneself or others. Recommend

  • International Student
    Feb 10, 2013 - 6:23AM

    As a descendant of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, I take deep offense in the title of your article. How can you say Sir Syed loses?

    You really should focus more on your science than churning our articles ever so often on every topic under the sun.Recommend

  • Azm Aftab
    Feb 10, 2013 - 6:50AM

    The reason Sir Syed stressed on learning english was to make sure the Muslims are not barred by the advances the british empire had made in different fields such as science and logic just because of a language.
    In my opinion what should have happened was that once the muslims had learnt the language they should have reignited a translation movement like the early muslims did to the Greek literature in the “golden age”. When renaissance began in europe it was no mere coincidence that ships after ships of arabic texts were brought in to be translated in to the local languages. The tragedy is that this translation movement never happened in India and instead we associated success and enlightenment to becoming like “them”. Instead of mastering the language we became cultural and intellectual stooges. I call it the Gora Sahab Syndrome, where the Gora sahab is all mighty and successful so we must imitate him in everything so we too can also be mighty and successful. Unfortunately that didnt work either. When the arabs made advancements in science based on Greek works they didnt become Greeks, when the Europeans made advances in science based on Arab work they didnt become Arabs but we became English and learnt absolutely nothing from them. Sir Syed actually never advocated that Muslims should become like the English, his main idea was to break the stagnantion around the Muslim mind.
    My advice to Dr.Hoodbhoy would be to take some time out of Religion bashing and maybe translate one odd scientific text for the betterment of our country.

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  • Gujesh
    Feb 10, 2013 - 7:25AM

    @Feroz:

    During Gandhi’s birth centenary in 1969, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan visited India as a special guest. He travelled all over the country and took Congress and all other politicians to task for all the ills of the country. He was heard patiently and commanded so much respect that nobody asked him not to interfere in India’s internal matter.

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  • Mav
    Feb 10, 2013 - 10:16AM

    I am extremely surprised that you think Iqbal’s prescription cannot dig us out of our mess. I think Iqbal’s message is the only sure formula that can dig any nation out of its mess. His message in a nutshell is passion and hardwork, and every great scientist or personality did not become great with out these two key ingredients. Achievement and progress in life is dependent upon nothing but passion.

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  • Feb 10, 2013 - 11:07AM

    Even as a child I found Iqbal’s poetry like smoke-and-mirrors; beautiful but beguiling. A thinking child, I tried to draft a hypothesis about his philosophy but reached nowhere: What does he actually want? What’s the next step after ‘khudi’. I never shared the rogue thoughts, assuming that the intellect pools that glorify Iqbal’s poetry can’t be les significant than a discerning mind’s doubts. These recent debate about ‘beauty of word’ being a separate entity from ‘beauty of thought’, proves that over-glorification is a possibility; bot OH! What colossal size it has reached in this particular case!

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  • Feb 10, 2013 - 11:20AM

    Even as a child I found Iqbal’s poetry like smoke-and-mirrors; beautiful but beguiling. A thinking child, I tried to draft a mental hypothesis about his philosophy but reached
    nowhere: Where is the foundationa of what he is saying? What is the next step after khudi? I kept the rogue ideas that popping up in my head to myself, thinking that world pools of knowledge that glorify his work can’t be less significant that a single mind’s oddity. The recent debates about ‘beauty of word’ being a separate entity from ‘beauty of thought’ prove that over-glorification is a possibility. But OH! What colossal heights it has risen to in this case!

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  • faisal
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:09PM

    U are my hero “Pervez hoodbhoy”. U are a superman, batman and spiderman too. Its impossible in Pakistan to loud your voice for truth. But u have done so. I slute you. I think i am the only one here to support you.

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  • faisal
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:26PM

    I think the main difference is when they were born and brought up. Syed Ahmed Khan was seeing the down fall of Muslim empire in India during his times and he was trying to equip muslims for adjusting in the new realities and on the other hand in Iqbal’s times uprising for Indian independence started and so he was trying to equip muslims for these times. Both Syed Ahmed Khan and Iqbal advocated rationality and opposed blind following. Iqbal’s idea of liberating Khirad from slavery or his opposition to mullaiat and sufism (he considered these as agents of totalitarianism as they both lead to blind following and mental slavery) were also in the same direction. both syed ahmed khan and iqbal advocated ijtihad. sometimes seeing everything in ‘A vs B’ mentality will not lead to rational judgment.Recommend

  • faisal
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:26PM

    the other problem we are seeing is that instead of accepting diversity and accepting diversified thoughts as reality, we still want one type of pakistan like jinnah’s pakistan or zia’s pakistan or maududi’s pakistan or khomeni’s pakistan or taliban’s pakistan or iqbal or sir syed’s pakistan or mushi’s pakistan. we are too diversified to have one kind of pakistan and time and again we ve seen consequences of imposing the idea of one size fits all. its time that we think for a new social contract allowing diversified (now matter how absurd, obsolete or good) ideas to prevail in parallel to each other.

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  • Umair
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:32PM

    Now this is a fantastic writeup. It takes true wisdom and insight to be able to distinguish how the country is reacting to these two leaders now compared to how they did a generation ago. When I was a schoolchild, Sir Syed was the coolest and most revered figure to read about in history classes. Now, nobody cares a hoot about him.

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  • Organ of Big Profit
    Feb 10, 2013 - 12:51PM

    I believe both thinkers and their schools of thought are actually compatible with each other. One focuses on ascendency of “Self”, the other focuses on the improvement through adoption of a “Reasonable, and Rational-self” approach.

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  • Daniel Mussulman
    Feb 10, 2013 - 3:42PM

    Thanks Dr. Hoodbhoy for an excellent article, I admirer your courage to write it, in modern day Pakistan there are not too many who would have done it even if truly believed it.Sir Syed was a true reformer and visionary , Iqbal was merely a dreamer even though a good poet. The reason Sir Syed is fading off in Pakistan because he was not born in a majority province of Pakistan.

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  • Feb 10, 2013 - 6:24PM

    Dear Hoodbhoy,
    I read all your writings with great interest. Your ideas are clear and each word is in the true interest of people of Pakistan. I agree, How the world can solve the problems of today with the knowledge and prescriptions of an era gone hundreds of years? But I sincerely feel sad and frustrated by majority of comments that make fun of your writings and ideas. Some time ago some one had written a comment “You are a right person at a wrong place” I agree with him. In an emotionally charged sectarian society on the fuel of Jihad people fail to see the point as they are blinded. I have my admiration for the Tribune for publishing your articles. Sure we have great regards for you.

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  • Ashraf
    Feb 10, 2013 - 7:49PM

    Do you know that Sir Syed, the so-called founder of Aligarh University was jewish?

    To this date, there is extreme confusion among Muslims regarding who was Sir Syed. Recently, new evidence has surfaced that Sir Syed, was not only a non-muslim, but a secret Jewish descendant of the Jewish Sabbati Zevi! The evidence comes not from tracing his genaology, but from the statements he himself made.

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  • Avtar
    Feb 10, 2013 - 7:55PM

    So I assume Iqbal must have written his: Saare Jahan se Achha, Hindustan Hamara, prior to turning for a separate homeland for Muslims. This poem is sung in Indian many schools but rarely mentioned in Pakistan.

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  • Hina
    Feb 10, 2013 - 10:13PM

    No wonder Pakistanis are so much influenced by poetry. Meaning no hard work or action. Just talk or BS day in and day out

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  • Mir Hassan
    Feb 11, 2013 - 12:37AM

    Only a person like Dr Hoodbhoy – somebody firmly grounded in Physics , Engineering , Mathematics and cognizant with Islamic theology , Islamic history and that too in the relevant local background , could have penned something like this …
    I say brilliant ….

    ” Iqbal , unlike Sir Syed, leaves the gap between science and religion unbridged. He takes no explicit position on miracles. On the contrary, he asserts that, “Classical Physics has learned to criticise its own foundations. As a result of this criticism the kind of materialism, which it originally necessitated, is rapidly disappearing.” But no real physicist can take this statement seriously. Even with the discovery of quantum physics — which superseded and improved upon classical physics — the description of observed physical phenomena requires nothing beyond material causes. In the battle for Pakistan’s soul, Sir Syed’s rational approach ultimately lost out and the Allama’s call on emotive reasoning won. Iqbal said what people wanted to hear — and his genius lay in crafting it with beautifully chosen words. Unfortunately, his prescriptions for reconstructing society cannot help us in digging ourselves out of a hole.”

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  • Feb 11, 2013 - 2:09AM

    @Ashraf:
    “Do you know that Sir Syed, the so-called founder of Aligarh University was jewish?…..”

    .
    Absolutely brilliant. You must be gifted with eyes of a shaheen who spots a Jew, even when hovering many miles above us earthlings.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Feb 11, 2013 - 4:57AM

    Its easy to say what allready happend in the past like i can say muslims own splite cause
    more damage to islam and muslim than others for example when muslim spain was getting
    out of our hand no one came to help them back Damasus lost to Abbasied and they never
    wanaa help umavied and when Mughals were losing the india that time Afghan o persia never come to help us and what Nishat e sania u dreaming about we dont even agreed on language in pakistan yet???? divided in ethanicity and firqah on quran translations some time make laugh we are the most stupid on earth like late king faisal descriped us right uneducted emotionals on islam…

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