AN ODE TO INDIA
This beautiful poem is what its name shows. As has been explained in Chapter 3, paragraph "Political Views of ‘All«mah Iqb«l, particularly the Concept of Nation" this and some other similar poems do not indicate ‘All«mah Iqb«l's belief in secular nationalism even early in his life. ‘All«mah Iqb«l's political philosophy is based on the Islam's concept of nationalism on the basis of ideology and not geographical boundaries. Love of the homeland is a quality in Islam but not making it the basis of the State, as has been done by the West. In other poems he has explained his political philosophy and has shown the evils of secular nationalism. One such poem is 85. "Waèaniyat" (Nationhood) in B«ng-Dar«.
Better than the whole world is this India of ours
We are its nightingales, it is the garden of ours
If we are in foreign lands our hearts think of the homeland
Consider us present where this heart of ours is present
The highest mountain, touching the sky
It is our sentinel, it is our watchman 1
Thousands of rivers are playing in its lap are playing
Which make this garden of ours to be the world’s envy
O, The River Ganga’s waters ! Do you remember the day
When our caravan landed at your banks2
Religion does not teach hostility with each other
We are Indians, India is our homeland
Greece, Egypt, Rome are all extinct from the world
But our renown and fame have continued so far
There is some secret that our existence is not effaced
For centuries time's vicissitudes have been our foe
Iqb«l! In the world there is no confidante of ours
How would anyone know the hidden pathos of ours 3
1. Allusion to the Himalayan Range, for which see Poem 1 Him«la (The Himalayas).
2. Allusion to the arrival of Muslims in India. Unlike the British the Muslims settled in the Indian sub‑continent and made it their homeland, which establishes their claim to settle the political problems of India with due regard to their interests.
3. Allusion to the callousness of the world community to the calamity of the people of the Indian sub‑continent resulting from their political subjugation by the British. This was due to the complete political and economic domination of European countries over Asian and African nations by the beginning of the twentieth century when this poem was written. Naturally, India could not expect any sympathy from European countries. Unfortunately, this state of affairs has not changed after one more century and no European country is sympathetic with any other country in distress, particularly Muslim countries. Among other things this is due to the lack of real independence in spite of apparent political freedom.