Continuing this tradition; Coke studio brought back one of Iqbal’s most iconic works and introduced it to the younger generation. Iqbal’s Shikwa took the internet and was trending worldwide on YouTube. No doubt Natasha Baig and Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad Qawwal beautifully presented it to the audience, but this work isn’t something only to listen to when you want a catchy beat.
Written nearly a century ago, it still stays relevant because of how wonderfully Pakistani people have resisted any positive change. The Muslim in Iqbal’s work has a very odd worldview, one of self-victimization and narcissism at the very same time. At that time, Muslims mourned the end of their rule over India and the start of a foreign occupation in the form of the British Raj and simultaneously believed that they were destined for greatness because they were the heirs to the golden age of Islam.
The first part of the poem reflects this mindset, where one pins all their downfalls on the divine will and simply waits for their fortune to change through divine intervention because they think they are destined to rule. And this mindset is very prevalent in Pakistan, we believe that through no action or efforts of our own, this country will prosper and become the greatest there ever was because this country is “God’s gift” to the Muslims. Iqbal admonishes sentiments similar to these in the second part of the work, where he provides us with an alternative.
The to aa’ba wo tumharey hi
Magar tum Kia ho?
Haath par haath dharey
Muntazir e farda ho?
[They (who led the world) were your ancestor
But who are you?
Sitting in patience without action
Waiting for divinity to deliver you?]
Iqbal further explains how the British have dominance of the world because they are united and are part of a nation that values work over words. And these are certainly lessons that Pakistan is in dire need of.
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