While Asma Jehangir may feel that her recent election as President of the Supreme Court Bar Association may entitle her to say anything she likes about the Founding Fathers of the country, she should keep in mind that her victory does not allow her to twist the facts. Speaking at an Iqbal Day function, she is reported as having said that, It is good that Iqbal got freedom from the Pakistan ideology school of thought which claimed all rights over Iqbal under the patronage of a media group, which held Iqbal hostage in the name of ideology of Pakistan. The first thing to be noted is that Ms Jehangir obviously does not have any real knowledge of Iqbal. Iqbal was an active politician, a lawyer of standing and much more, but first and foremost he was a poet. It was as a poet that he inspired the Muslims of India to a separate homeland. True, his poetry was informed by his deep studies in philosophy, which was the subject in which he obtained his doctorate, but his poetry is the medium through which he propagated his philosophical ideas. No media group can claim, nor has any media group ever claimed, to have done more than understand Iqbals message, expressed both through his poetry and through his prose writings, like his Allahabad Address or his Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam. The question of any media group attempting to 'hold Iqbal hostage does not arise. It is not just shameful but dangerous that someone who heads the Supreme Court Bar Association should be so ignorant as to assume that there is any difference between the thoughts of Iqbal, and the ideology of Pakistan, even though it was he, in the Allahabad Address just mentioned, which was actually his presidential address to the All India Muslim League Convention at Allahabad in 1930, who first gave the concept of a Muslim homeland, and provided the ideological moorings on which the Quaid-e-Azam, another of the Founding Fathers, was to unite the Muslims of the Subcontinent in the struggle for the creation of Pakistan. This does not just amount to belittling the role of the Allama, but denying it altogether. There is no question of liberating Iqbals thought because it needs no liberation. There is an intrinsic link between Iqbals thought and the Pakistan Movement and to deny that link is only ignorance. That is to be charitable, because the thinking behind it is an Indian interpretation of Iqbal, which has been made necessary by its desire to explain why it has stuck with the poet of the immortal 'Saarey jahan sey achha Hindustan hamara. This view of Iqbal tries to ignore his politics, and the thrust of his poetry, and focuses on a narrow period through which every Muslim passed, in which the departure of the British is wished, with the cost of Hindu domination. It was in fact Iqbal who made the Muslims aware that they could avoid both British and Hindu domination if they had a separate homeland of their own. And that is the basis of the ideology of Pakistan. That ideology is something which Indians deeply wish Pakistanis to detach themselves. One way of denigrating that ideology is to stop Pakistanis from looking up to their Founding Fathers. One way is to 'prove that they are not Founding Fathers, and are not related to the countrys founding ideology. One of the main things resented by Indians is that Pakistans Founding Fathers, the Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal, not only match theirs, M.K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, but surpass them by far. While the Quaid is equated to Nehru, Iqbal is paralleled by Gandhi. Gandhi was not a poet by far, and it is by a stretch of the imagination that he is made into an ideologue for India. On the other hand, Iqbal was an accomplished poet with a reputation that went beyond the bounds of all India, which was the reason why he was given the honour of a knighthood by the British, despite his participation in the freedom movement. Thus to present Allama Iqbal bereft of ideological content is to present an Indian line, which is contrary to facts. It is particularly ironic that this line should be taken by the Indian establishment at a time when its occupation forces are engaged in violently suppressing the movement for self-determination in Kashmir, from which the Allamas ancestors originally hailed. The small regard in which the Indians hold the Allama in actuality is shown by this. The attempt to denigrate the Allama would be wrong, because untrue, at any juncture, but at this particular juncture, it would be particularly painful. If Ms Jehangir was trying to hurt the feelings of myriads of fans of the Allama, she was unsuccessful. The Allama spoke through his writings, both prose and poetry, and it is an acquaintance with this that will prevent any misunderstanding of his message, and of his relationship to the creation of Pakistan. Indeed, any misinterpretation of his work, poetic or in prose, is only possible if the person making the interpretation is either motivated or perverse, or even both. Ms Jehangir cannot be imputed either motivation or perversion by virtue of her office, which probably precludes both but she stands exposed before her voters, who cannot surely be so ignorant of the Allama. As she will probably not stand for re-election at the expiry of her term next year, her voters are not in a position to punish this ignorance. It is also worth noting that Iqbal does not belong to anyone. As has been said about Shakespeare, he belongs to the ages. One difficulty of being a literary giant is that one is always subject to having bits and pieces torn out of context, and being ascribed an ideology that the poet did not originally subscribe to. Particularly painful, yet inevitable, is the fate that poets of the Allamas status suffer, which is that of having an ideology ascribed to them without benefit of quotation. This is particularly painful when the poet has used his verse to project a particular ideology. One reason for the continued attention paid to the Allama has been the fact that his verse contains the rationale for Pakistan. Therefore, it is not just the generation which created Pakistan, or at the very least witnessed its creation, which the Allama appeals to, but the succeeding generations, which turn to Iqbal to find out why the country came into being, and what are its ideological roots. Since Pakistan is an ideological state, in the sense that its creation was the result of an idea, and the sense of nation-hood on the basis of which independence was obtained, was based on an idea, it was lucky to have a great poet as one of its Founding Fathers. Attempts like Ms Jehangirs, to denigrate him, serve only those who attempt to deprive Pakistan of its ideological moorings. Email:maniazi@nation.com.pk