November 9, 142 years ago a legend was born in Sialkot. He knighted in ‘1922 New Years Honours’ by King George V, although he did not own a sword or a gun, was not a military commander, he was known as Sir Muhammad Iqbal by the British out of respect for his great title. Allama Iqbal was a poet, philosopher, politician, barrister (Lawyer) and a scholar. He is known as the “Spiritual Father of Pakistan.” He is considered one of the most important figures in Urdu literature with literary work of art in both Urdu and Persian.
There were objections raised against Allama Iqbal by his denigrators that he accepted knighthood from the British government in 1923. Research on the subject of Iqbal’s Knighthood reveals that, almost everything in support or against the subject had already been said within weeks of the knighthood.
Iqbal’s critics did not usually explain why they believed that he should not have accepted it and mostly resorted to exaggerated humor and sarcasm. A poem, written by Abdul Majeed Salik became very famous, with its repeating pun on the word ‘Sir’, which has a very diverse usage in Urdu. Iqbal himself was entertained by it, and is reported to have asked for it to be recited before him several times.
Detractors believe that accepting knighthood from the colonists was seen as unpatriotic at that time. However, this is false as the honor was extended to Iqbal for his literary services. Politics had no connection with the title whatsoever. Many of Iqbal’s contemporaries elucidated that many had also accepted titles from the British and not even rigid nationalists were criticizing them.
Some notable people that have also received a Knighthood include, Ayub Khan, Field Marshal and Former President of Pakistan who was awarded twice for his service to the nation. Dr. Abdus Salam also received a Knighthood for his services in the field of theoretical physics.
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16 November, 2019