LAHORE - The ambiguity surrounding the first residence of Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal in Lahore has finally ended as a committee comprising distinguished professors and experts have discovered the room where Poet of the East had shifted to from his hometown Sailkot in 1895 and spent five crucial years of his student life till 1900.
The cubical, located at the then Boarding House (now Allama Iqbal Hostel) of the Government College (University) Lahore most astonishingly, is still in the same condition as was during the Allama Iqbal’s stay, and no renovation or alteration has been made to it during the last 120 years, said GCU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah while inaugurating the Iqbal’s room along with his grandson Muneeb Iqbal .
The committee comprising Prof Dr Khursheed Rizvi, Prof Dr Zaheer Ahmed Siddique and Iqbal Hostel Superintendent Dr Khalid Mahmood Sanjarani, who is PhD on Iqbal from Germany, searched and reviewed all the available literary and historical references to ascertain the room at the GC Boarding House where Allama Iqbal spent the most memorable and precious time of his youth.
The most authentic evidence which helped in tracing the room was an article of Iqbal’s contemporary at the Government College Lahore and close friend, Ghulam Bhik Nairang (Sep 26, 1876-Oct 16, 1952), who had elaborately sketched Iqbal’s personality as student and the exact location of his cubical in the college’s boarding house which was later named after Allama Iqbal .
Addressing the inauguration yesterday, Muneeb Iqbal said it was one of the last wishes of his father (the late Justice Javed Iqbal) that the room of Allama Iqbal at the GC Boarding House be ascertained and preserved. This room was first residence of Allama Iqbal in Lahore and it was here his journey to become Poet of the East had started and flourished, he added.
Muneeb said no other residence of Allama Iqbal was 100 percent preserved as this room where not a single brick was replaced. He wished that he could spend time in this room and feel the spirit, feelings and thoughts of his grandfather.
The vice chancellor said it was a national obligation on the part of the university administration to discover and preserve this national heritage site. The committee has recommended to the VC that instead of converting this room into a museum; it should be maintained in its original condition and the academic toppers be given opportunities to stay in the room for shorter periods.
A list of poems written by Allama Iqbal during his stay at the GC Lahore was placed in the room along with the books and manuscripts of his poetry. The excerpts from the article of Ghulam Bhik Nairang are also exhibited in the room. Even, the wooden chair and table placed in the room was also from the hostel’s furniture stock of 1890s.
Dr Sanjarani said it had always been evident from college records that Allama Iqbal had stayed at the GC Boarding House but nobody knew about the exact room. He said that the complete hostel had been declared the National Heritage Site by the Pakistan Archeology Department.
Professor Khusrheed Rizvi said Ghulam Bhik Nairang had given a crystal clear location of Iqbal’s room and without his article, it was impossible to locate this national heritage. He said that there were other articles about student life of Iqbal in the books of history and literature but nobody had elaborated the location of Iqbal’s room in the hostel.
Later, VC Prof Shah and Muneeb Iqbal inaugurated the 125 years celebrations of the Boarding House which was established in 1891 and named after Allama Iqbal in the year 1967. Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) Director General (licensing) Javaid Iqbal and former superintendents and wardens of the hostel also attended the celebrations.