Born in 1888 in Sialkot, Iqbal Shedai was a devoted member of Indian independence movement. He joined “Anjuman Khadami Kaaba” organized by Ali Brothers in 1914 for which he was jailed. On his release in 1918, Shedai left for Kabul, a journey which marked the start of his three decades long exile. During this time period, he went to Tashkent, Russia, Turkey and also travelled throughout Europe to gain support for independence of India from the British rule, representing two important anti-imperialist parties of the sub-continent; Ghaddar Party and Kirti Kisan Party. His most important contribution came through Hemala Radio, a radio station he sat up in Rome in 1941 with the support of Mussolini. Its broadcasting in India criticized the exploitative rule of the British, urging people to strive for their freedom. After the partition, he returned to Pakistan. However, he was consistently harassed by the governments of Ghulam Muhammad and Iskander Mirza because of his associations with the progressive movements and went back to Italy. He died in Lahore in 1974 and was buried in Miani Graveyard.

As the life of Iqbal Shedai highlights, a whole generation of Indians devoted their entire lives for its freedom, underpinned by the hopes of a better life in a British-free sub-continent. However, after seeing their dreams shattered, betrayed after the independence, people like Shedai must have died with a sad, disappointed, weary heart. Perhaps, the least we can do today is remember, celebrate, acknowledge their efforts.

“Our program is purely for the betterment of the laborers and farmers and we are only concerned about the working classes of India”

–Iqbal Shedai on his program Hemala Radio