Iqbal’s poetry unifies Pakistan and India at border

Updated November 09, 2019


— Dawn
— Dawn

SIALKOT: Poetry of Allama Iqbal has become a unification point on the border posts of Pakistan and India at Sucheetgarh at the Sialkot Working Boundary. The Rangers of Pakistan and the Border Security Force (BSF) of India hardly see eye to eye with each other on any issue, given the rivalry and frequent tension on the border but their small posts, however, present a unique picture as the lines of two of famous poems of Iqbal have been written there by both sides in Roman script.

Sucheetgarh is village in Jammu district on Indian side, 27km from Jammu city.

It is amazing to see that India has written Iqbal’s verse “Sare Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara” from his poem Tarana-i-Hindi on its post at zero point in Sucheetgarh sector while Pakistan also replying with writing “Muslim Hain Hum, Watan Hay Sara Jahan Hamara,” the second line of the couplet from his later poem, Tarana-i-Milli, at the Pakistani border post. The lines have been written above the flags of both countries painted on the wall.

According to Wikipedia, Tarana-i-Hindi, was originally written by Allama Iqbal as a poem for children. It was published in the weekly journal Ittehad in 1904. The following year, Iqbal recited his poem at the Government College Lahore. It soon became an anthem of the opposition to the British rule in India.

Iqbal wrote Tarana-i-Milli in 1910 whose first two lines are Cheen-o-Arab hamara, Hindustan hamara/ Muslim hain hum, watan hay sara jahan hamara. Both these poems are published in Bang-i-Dara, first published in 1924, also represent the difference in mindset of the poet. However, his lines written on both sides of the border show that he is owned by both the countries.

Mahatma Gandhi used to sing Saarey Jahan Sey Accha and when he was imprisoned at Yerwada Jail in Pune during the 1930s. Former prime minister Manmohan Singh quoted the poem in his first press conference after becoming the PM.

The lines of Iqbal from two different poems on the check posts of the Pakistani side and the other on the Indian side also make an interesting point as they represent different views of both the states. The people from Pakistan and India who visit the zero point in Sucheetgarh express surprise to read Iqbal’s lines on both the sides in proximity.

What’s interesting to note is that Allama Iqbal, the son of soil of Sialkot famous, is still spreading fragrance of peace, love, religious harmony and unity on the both sides along the Sialkot Working Boundary despite the passage of more than a century since he wrote these poems.

Published in Dawn, November 9th, 2019