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Reply to the allegation on Allama Iqbal by Mr. Ahmad Saleem in his interview to BBC Urdu regarding Jallianwala Bagh Massacre 

On 100th Anniversary of Jallianwala Bagh massacre, BBC Urdu broadcasted an interview of a so-called historian Mr. Ahmad Saleem. In the said interview, he stated that Rabindranath Tagore had returned his knighthood as a protest to the said incident. But, Allama Iqbal was awarded knighthood in reward of verses in favour of the Crown to celebrate the World War I victory He also said that these verses are part of Kuliyat-e-Iqbal (Urd). This allegation is hereby rebutted on the following counts:-
1. The poetry of Allama Iqbal, in favour of Crown is not part of any of his Kuliyat.
2. World War I was ended in November, 1918.
3. Allama Iqbal wrote the poem in favour of George V, which was published in Monthly Makhzan in January, 1912.1.
4. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre was dated April 13, 1919. Iqbal’s following verses show his grief on the incident:-

جلیا نوالہ باغ امرت سر 2.
ہر زائرِ چمن سے یہ کہتی ہے خاکِ باغ
غافل نہ رہ جہان میں گردوں کی چال سے
سینچا گیا ہے خونِ شہیداں سے اس کا تخم
تو آنسوئوں کا بخل نہ کر اس نہال سے

The Iqbal has used the term Martyrs for those who were killed in the incident.
5. Tagore was awarded knighthood on July 16, 19153. , which, according to Mr. Ahmad Saleeem, was returned as protest against the massacre.
6. Allama Iqbal was awarded knighthood on January 1, 19234. , about five years after World War I and four years after the massacre. From the citation available in the official record of the Governor House, Lahore, it is clear that Iqbal was granted knighthood as an acknowledgement of his poetical contributions. Allama Iqbal in reply to Maharaja Kishan Prasad’s letter dated January 4, 1923 writes (on January 23, 1923):-

سرکار نے میرے خطاب کے متعلق جو کچھ سنا ہے صحیح ہے۔ یہ اسرارِ خودی کا انگریزی ترجمہ ہونے اور اس پر یورپ اور امریکہ میں متعدد ریویو چھپنے کا نتیجہ ہے۔ 5.

…what yours Highness have listen about grant of knighthood to me, this right. It is the result of English Translation of Asrar-e-Khudi (The Secrets of the Self) and publication of several reviews on it in Europe and America. This is, materially it is a sort of an honor. But, All Honor belongs to Allah only…
On 8th February, 1923 he replied a letter from Mr. Abdul Wahid Benglori:-

خطاب جو مجھ کو دیا گیا۔ اسرار خودی انگریزی ترجمے اور یورپ اور امریکہ میں جو ریویو اس پر شائع ہوئے ہیں ان کا نتیجہ ہے۔ آپ مطمئن رہیں کہ اس کا کوئی سیاسی مفہوم نہیں ہے۔ نہ دنیا کی عزت و دولت مجھ ایسی فطرت والے آدمی کو اپیل کرنے والی چیزیں ہیں۔ اگر آپ کو میری طرز زندگی میرے مقاصد ادبی اور مل کے موجودہ حالات میں ان مقاصد کی تکمیل کے لیے جو طرز عمل میں نے اختیار کر رکھا ہے۔ ان سب امور سے آپ کی واقفیت کما حقہ ہوتی تو آپ کو شاید اس استفسار کی ضرورت ہی پیش نہ آتی جو ااپ نے اپنے خط میں مجھ سے کیا ہے۔ بہرحال اس استفسار کا بہترین جواب میرے آیندہ زندگی دے گی۔ باقی رہی ہندوستانی سیاست سو میں فطرتاً اس کے لیے موزوں نہیں ہوں۔ 6.

I have been granted knighthood due to of English Translation of Asrar-e-Khudi (The Secrets of the Self) and publication of several reviews on it in Europe and America. Please be assured that this doesn’t have any political motives. The money and the respect of this world do not appeal any person like me. If you understand my lifestyle, literary objectives and the current situation of the country and the practical efforts I am doing to fulfill these objectives, you must not have asked this question!
Even Mr. Abdul Majeed Salik felt sorry on what he wrote on January 6, 1923 against grant of knighthood to Allama Iqbal .7.
7. It is pertinent to mention that English translation of Asrar-e-Khudi i.e. Secrets of the Self was published in 1920 .8.
Thus, it can be safely said that the allegation of Mr. Ahmad Saleem is incorrect and biased.


1.Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Kuliyat-e-Baqiyat-e-Iqbal: Matrooq Urdu Kalam, comp. by Sabir Kalorvi (Lahore: Iqbal Academy Pakistan, 2004), p. 332.
2. ibid, p. 329.
3. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29232/page/6960
4. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/32782/supplement/2
5. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Shad-e-Iqbal, comp. by Syed Moheyuddin Qadri Zor (Hyderabad Deccan: Sub Ras Kitab Ghar, 1980).
6. Sir Muhammad Iqbal. Kuliyat-e-Makateeb-e-Iqbal Vol: 2, comp. by Syed Muzaffar Hussain Barni (Delhi: Urdu Academy Delhi, 1991).
7. Abdul Majeed Salik, Zikr-e-Iqbal: Hazrat Allama Iqbal ki Sawanhe Hiyat (Lahore: Bazm-e-Iqbal, 1955).
8. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Secrets of The Self, trans. by Reynold A. Nicholson (London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 1920)

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