Iqbal Society of Chicago Celebrates Annual Day
By Zafar M. Iqbal & Khursheed Khizer
The Iqbal Society of Chicago celebrated its Annual Day on April 15, 2012 at the East-West University.
A long-time friend of the Society who wished to remain anonymous provided lunch before the meeting, and snacks through the afternoon. The Society gratefully acknowledges his thoughtfulness.
The meeting was conducted by Mr. Syed Azher Shah, who peppered his comments with Iqbal's lines and anecdotes, in keeping with the spirit of the day. Mr. Zafar Malik and Mr. Tasleem Raja, both of the East-West University, were very helpful in making the preparatory arrangements. A large group of Iqbal scholars and admirers from Chicago-area had assembled to make the event successful and memorable.
The proceedings began with a recital of some Qur’anic verses by Prof. Aqueel Alam Khan and a ‘naath’ by Mr. Mohd. Nooruddin. Society’s secretary, Dr. M. Wasiullah Khan, summarized the 18-year history, with highlights, and then introduced the keynote speaker, Dr. Hafeez Malik, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the Villanova University, PA.
Prof. Malik specializes in US-Pakistan and US-Russia relations, with a long association with the Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Earlier in his career, he had compiled a book composed of scholarly reviews of Iqbal’s work, “Iqbal: Poet-Philosopher of Pakistan” (1971). In his talk, he first described his long relationship with the Iqbal family, but the main focus of his lecture was the current status of US-Pakistan relations, which included some probing, albeit controversial, comments.
Dr. Habibuddin Ahmed took time to respond to some of Prof. Malik's comments. Society’s president, Dr. Teepu Siddique, presented a scholarly overview of Iqbal's philosophy, supported by many Iqbal lines (ush-aar). Aqueel sahib recited Iqbal's Farsi and Urdu verses that described Iqbal’s philosophic themes.
In addition, there was some original poetry. Dr. Khursheed Khizer presented a poem on Iqbal Day, and a quatrain which seemed appropriate for the meeting. Mr. Itrath Hussain, a popular local poet and Urdu scholar, recited his recent poem on Iqbal, which was well-received.
Iqbal has stressed the importance of “Azaan” in different verses. Recalling some pertinent lines, Mr. Mohammed Wasiuddin shed light on Iqbal’s interest in this topic.
Dr. Zafar M. Iqbal presented from his forthcoming book his translation of two Persian poems from 'Payam-e-Mashriq': first, 'Paigham-e-Bergson' (Message from Bergson) and then, 'Hookma' (Philosophers) in which Allama Iqbal imagines how different philosophers (Locke, Kant and Bergson) would interpret a bud's opening. Bergson’s views on intuition and empiricism (as opposed to rationalism) played a key role in Allama’s own thinking. Incidentally, Henri-Louis Bergson, a French Nobelist, was also a contemporary of Allama.
In his concluding remarks, Dr. Siddique reminded the audience of the Society’s monthly meeting schedule (“3-3-3” ; 3rd Sunday of every month at 3 PM for 3 hours) at the Islamic Foundation, 300 W. Highridge, Villa Park, IL 60181.