Exhibition marks Iqbal’s birth anniversary
By Peerzada Salman
KARACHI: It is sad and a matter of concern that not many people visit museums and galleries where personal belongings and works of our national leaders, writers and intellectuals are put on display.
A similar situation was witnessed at the National Museum of Pakistan on Iqbal Day (Tuesday) when objects related to, and used by, Allama Iqbal were exhibited. A handful of people were seen in the morning, trickling down into the museum to view the exhibits depicting various facets of the great poet’s life.
Close to the entrance gate to the hall there were encased signed copies of first editions of a few of Iqbal’s masterpieces, including Jawednama and Zarb-i-Kaleem. Letters to a couple of noted dignitaries were also on display and grabbed the attention of the viewers. A letter addressed to Pervaiz Qureshi (31-1-38) was an interesting piece in which IqbalÂ’s description of his health was worth reading. The last line of the epistolary communication was particularly noteworthy when Iqbal sends his aadab to Hakeem Sahib and ends the letter with Wasalam. Aadab doesn’t seem to be a part of our oral tradition any longer.
A poem Hayat-i-Jawidan written in the poet’s handwriting depicted not only the precision of his verse but also his meticulous application of pen to paper. Letters written in chaste Urdu clearly indicated the scholarliness of Iqbal.
Those who are into the academic progress of Iqbal, there were Middle School and intermediate certificates (1891 and 1895) obtained from the University of Punjab. The doctorate (degree) that he acquired from Munich (1907) was also on display.
As for the great poet’s personal belongings, a paper weight, an eyeglass case, a turban, an umbrella, a walking stick and a chair were an important part of the exhibition. However, one felt that given Allama Iqbal’s literary stature and eminence as a national leader the number of items exhibited was not sufficient to truly signify his place in our society. Some more pieces, personal as well as those delineating his achievements as a poet, might not have been a bad idea.