The federal government’s choice to mark November 9 as a public holiday in honor of Iqbal Day, commemorating Dr. Allama Mohammad Iqbal’s 146th birth anniversary, is profoundly significant in Pakistan’s cultural and historical narrative. “Poet of the East,” Dr. Iqbal profoundly influenced the nation, serving as an inspiration to its people.
Born in Sialkot on November 9, 1877, Dr. Iqbal was not only a celebrated poet but also a profound thinker. His poetry, a fusion of spirituality, philosophy, and patriotism, motivated Indian Muslims to strive for a separate homeland where they could freely practice their faith, advocating for their political and cultural rights during British rule.
Dr. Iqbal’s 1930 Allahabad address was a defining moment in the region’s pre-partition politics, outlining a distinctive vision and identity for the Muslim community in their pursuit of Pakistan. This address proposed the concept of a separate Muslim state, eventually leading to the establishment of Pakistan in 1947.
Iqbal Day serves as a day of reflection and honor. Mosques nationwide hold special prayers for Pakistan’s progress and prosperity, while a Change of Guards ceremony at his mausoleum in Lahore pays tribute to this influential figure who significantly shaped the nation’s history and principles. The holiday stands as a reminder of his advocated values and vision, emphasizing the importance of unity, self-determination, and the pursuit of a just and liberated society.