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The most sung poet and perhaps the most sung song in India “Saare Jahan Se Accha” written by Allama Muhammad Iqbal is all set to ignite the imagination of theatre lovers in Delhi. Playwright and directors, M. Sayeed Alam and Danish Iqbal’s spring time production ‘Sir Iqbal’ is a biographical work on the life, times and scholarship of Allama Iqbal who continues to be misunderstood in India but is celebrated in Pakistan as the man who came up with the idea of a separate nation for Muslims. “Iqbal’s love for India which clearly comes through in the poem ‘Saare Jahan Se Accha’ and yet his choice of living in Islamic Pakistan over a secular India is in itself a study in contrast, a paradox that has pushed him far away from public memory in India. Iqbal died in 1938 much before the idea of Pakistan even took shape. Doctored history, misapprehensions about Allama being a fanatical Muslim who chose to live in a Muslim dominated undivided India needs to be closely looked into. My play is an effort to demystify Iqbal and clear some perceptions about the great poet, philosopher and politician and above all a humanist who has given India its most enduring patriotic poem yet remains forgotten in the country,” said Alam in the midst of rehearsals for the play which opens to public on March 20 at Sri Ram Centre. “From what I have read about Iqbal’s political philosophy, he never demanded a separate home for Muslims outside India. Iqbal’s formulations somehow suited the supporters of Pakistan and they hailed him as the ideological father of the country – something that many Indians came to detest and therefore Iqbal remains forgotten whereas his poem as a song is sung everyday in schools all over the country. Our play brings out this dichotomy,” said Alam. “Sir Iqbal” had first premiered in Kolkata in November last year to much critical acclaim. The one and half hour play with a 15-member cast will see Alam himself essay the role of Iqbal. The play is centred around the poet and philosopher’s life. In the play, Iqbal’s story is narrated by his trusted servant Ali Baksh who enjoyed Iqbal’s confidence and had witnessed many events in his life. Set in British India in the backdrop of the first half of the 20th Century, ‘Sir Iqbal’ will mirror the socio-political churnings during Allama’s times till his death in 1938 in undivided India. The play will perhaps set some records straight and clear many perceptions about Iqbal, who for many Indians still remains an enigma.   Read More...

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