The federal government’s decision to declare November 9 as a public holiday to commemorate Iqbal Day, honoring the 146th birth anniversary of Dr. Allama Mohammad Iqbal, holds great significance in Pakistan’s history and culture. Dr. Iqbal, affectionately known as the “Poet of the East,” was a towering figure whose contributions continue to influence the nation.
Born in Sialkot on November 9, 1877, Dr. Iqbal was not only a celebrated poet but also a profound philosopher. His poetry, with its rich blend of spirituality, philosophy, and patriotism, inspired Muslims in the Indian subcontinent to aspire to a separate homeland where they could freely practice Islam. His work advocated for the political and cultural rights of Muslims in British India.
Dr. Iqbal’s 1930 Allahabad address was a turning point in the pre-partition politics of the region. It provided a clear vision and distinct identity for the Muslim community in their pursuit of Pakistan. This address articulated the idea of a separate Muslim state, which eventually led to the creation of Pakistan in 1947.
Iqbal Day is a day of reflection and remembrance. Special prayers are offered in mosques across the country for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan, while a Change of Guards ceremony is held at his mausoleum in Lahore, paying tribute to this iconic figure who left an indelible mark on the nation’s history and ideals. The holiday serves as a reminder of the values and vision he espoused, emphasizing the importance of unity, self-determination, and the pursuit of a just and free society.