Amidst the confusion of whether Iqbal day will be a national holiday or not, KP will be observing a holiday along with all private schools in Sindh, while the rest of the country will continue business as usual. It is a tradition that goes back in history that Pakistan celebrates the Birthday of Sir Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal, the poet of the East, a great visionary thinker and the philosopher of Pakistan. While it is sad that there was no holiday, the government is somewhat justified in its opinion that the culture of excessive holidays and low productivity should be changed. Celebrating Iqbal Day has become a cultural tradition, and rightly deserves to be celebrated- but we will just have to find a way to do it without taking a day off from work.

The celebration of Iqbal Day became an event of great national importance during the early days of Pakistan’s existence. In fact, besides Pakistan, Iqbal Day used to be celebrated at all the major capitals of the world under the auspices of various socio-cultural associations in collaboration with the Pakistan’s diplomatic missions. In reality, the personality of Allama Iqbal provided an opportunity to introduce the newly established nation-state of Pakistan into the international academic circles. So it is almost sad that we have lost the national holiday and must make an effort to preserve its significance regardless.

Allama Iqbal is known as the architect of Pakistan because he was the first person to address the partition of India and gave the idea of an independent Muslim state. Through his poetry he recalled the Muslims their past glory. He kindled the candle of freedom and provoked their desire for having a separate state. He deserves to be celebrated, but he also deserves to be read and reread- something that people have forgotten to do. In our heady nationalism, we celebrate our figures vehemently, yet majority are ignorant to the specific ideas and beauty of though of our forefathers. That is the real debt we owe to Iqbal, the effort of understanding and remembering.