A Distinguished Lecture Series on “Iqbal as History, Iqbal as commodity” by Dr. Noman ul Haq at IBA
May 07, 2018: Institute of Business Administration, Karachi
organized a distinguished lecture series by Dr. Noman ul Haq,
Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts, IBA
on ‘Iqbal as History, Iqbal as Commodity’ at the IBA City
Campus. The welcome note was delivered by Mrs. Malahat Awan,
Head of Alumni Relations, IBA, followed by the recitation of the
Eighty years after the death of Allama Iqbal, the lecture aimed at assessing the literary, philosophical, and political status of Dr. Allama Iqbal. Dr. Haq's assessments were based essentially on primary sources, particularly Iqbal's Urdu and Persian poetry as well as his private letters. He commented on how the irony lies in the fact that despite their ideological rejection of Iqbal’s ‘philosophy’, Pakistan’s leftist groups still appeared to be utterly charmed by Iqbal’s verse in their private moments.
Before delving into Iqbal’s poetry, Dr. Haq expressed how Urdu as a national language is undergoing a process of getting lost. This language vacuum, he argued, appears regardless of numerous Urdu electronic media channels, Urdu print media publications, and emerging Pakistani film industry, which uses Urdu as its underlying carrier. And this happens primarily due to the lack of proper cultivation of language in schools and colleges that fail to teach how to articulate speech.
Dr. Haq linked this apparent language blackout with blocked access to Iqbal’s poetry. He stressed that Iqbal’s poetry is not aimed for ‘declamation in a performance assembly to display the poet’s virtuosity’. Instead, it is poetry for reading.
“The loss of languages, together with the retrograde motion of what was rising as a reading culture of Urdu poetry beyond sheer hearing — these two historical accidents go a long way in explaining why Iqbal-the-poet is receding into darkness from the skies of contemporary cultural vogue”, remarked Dr. Haq. However, he also added that there exists another agency that fuels this culture: the tendency to talk about Iqbal’s message and philosophy to an extent that conveniently excludes his poetic expression.
The Professor acknowledged that there are many aspects to Iqbal’s poetry such as philosophy, politics and economy, international relations and community affairs of his time. ‘And yet,’ he added, ‘It ought to be declared forcefully that whatever else Iqbal happens to be, his primary abode, the loftiest of all, is the abode of poetry’.
The session concluded with Dean & Director Dr. Farrukh Iqbal presenting Dr. Noman ul Haq with a shield and giving a note of thanks. The lecture was attended and appreciated by luminaries from all walks of life, academics, alumni, faculty and students of the IBA.
About the speaker:
Dr. Noman ul Haq has been serving as a senior faculty member of IBA in the Department of the Social Sciences and Liberal Arts and is functioning as its advisor. He continues to be a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania (U.Penn). In the past, he has taught at LUMS, Brown University, and at U.Penn. He has been published in some of the world's top journals and by some leading academic presses. Dr. Haq has written widely about Iqbal's poetry and thought.