By Mohammed Ayub Khan
TMO Contributing writer
TORONTO, CANADA—The poetry and thought of the legendary poet Allamah Iqbal was the subject of discussion at the Annual Iqbal Day event organized by the International Iqbal Society (Canada chapter) in the of town of New Market near Toronto on Saturday, May 23, 2015. The venue was the expansive library of noted Urdu scholar and author Dr. Taqi Abedi. The well attended event was addressed by a range of local and international scholars. The respective consul generals of India and Pakistan, stationed in Toronto, were also present.
The keynote address was delivered by Professor.Akhtarul Wasey, Commissioner of Linguistic Minorities in India and Director of Dr.Zakir Hussain Institute of Islamic Studies at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi. He expounded on the silsilat ul zahab or the golden chain which extends from Ghalib to Iqbal. He stated that the connecting links in the chain between the two stalwarts includes legends such as Sir Syed, Deputy Nazeer Ahmed, Khwaja Altaf Hussain Hali, Shibli Nomani, and Akbar Allahabadi.
Pointing out the Univer-salist theme of their thought, he said that all of them showed concern for the common problems of humanity. Wasey said that the Iqbal’s poetry and prose are replete with Universalist themes despite his strong attachment and concern for the Muslims. “Iqbal extracted insights from the diversity of the world’s religious, spiritual, literary traditions, and formulated a universalist thought which is reflected in his concept of khudi or selfhood … Iqbal’s poetry and philosophical thought is unique in uniting the light of both the East and the West and in conceptualizing the creation of a new civilization. His thought is even more relevant in today’s world,” he said.
Wasey also focused on the reformist thought of Altaf Hussain Hali which he said is often neglected. His concern for women’s education and welfare, for instance, was way ahead of his time, he said.
The Consul General of India in Toronto Akhilesh Misra in his remarks regaled the audience with his poetry. He said that it is the arts which make the humanity unique from other creations. He praised Dr. Taqi Abedi’s work and his zeal for collecting rare manuscripts and other works.
Asghar Ali Golo, the Consul General of Pakistan in Toronto, praised the organizers of the event. In his remarks he quoted Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other luminaries of India and Pakistan who held Iqbal in high regard.
Noted academic Dr.Satyapal Anand, Hindi poetess Sinha Tahkor and Noman Bokhari of the International Iqbal Society also addressed the audience.