TALK at Islamic Cultural Centre: This was the original Iqbal Day for which I had been invited by the Urdu Speaking Union. It was attended by the former vice president of the country, minister of culture, high commissioner of Pakistan as well as the directors of the host organizations, some great intellectuals and general audience. One thing which especially impressed me was the quality of talks by these dignitaries. My own presentation was about “the Seven Stages” in the poetry of Iqbal (readers of this newsletter are familiar with that).
TALK at Mahatma Gandhi Institute (MGI): It was attended by the students and some faculty of Eastern languages. On suggestion from some of my friends in Mauritius I repeated “the Seven Stages” presentation. LECTURE to the students of Diploma in Urdu at MGI: One of the teachers, Mr. Farooq Husnu, invited me to talk to his students and on his suggestion I discussed “how to appreciate Iqbal critically.” The poem which we analyzed was ‘The Child’s Prayer’ (Lab pay aati hai dua…). We saw how this simplest of all poems contains the entire philosophy of Iqbal in a nutshell and actually traces the movement of the observer through multiple layers of reality.
TALK at the University of Mauritius: ‘Consensus Culture’ is a term which I am trying to float through my academic writings, one of which was published recently in the
research journal of Iqbal Academy Pakistan and can be seen at Ibne Safi Website. At the University of Mauritius I was able to develop the concept a bit farther, and in fact, it became my first proper presentation on the subject to an all-academic audience. Basically we saw how consensus artists respond to “the collective ego”. The presentation was participatory and some of the input which I received from the faculty members who attended the session was, to say the least, quite valuable for my research.
INTERVIEWS with MBC (TV): Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation is the official television and radio channel in Mauritius, and I was briefly interviewed for a news slot on the occasion of Iqbal Day. Later, on the last day of my trip, I received the honor of being a special guest in Anjuman, a talk show about Urdu Literature. I was especially touched by the supportive attitude of the fellow participants (most of whom were much more senior intellectuals than me). INTERVIEW with MBC (Radio): Three episodes of 15-minute each were recorded in which I spoke about various aspects of Iqbal’s philosophy (I guess these as well as the interviews for TV might be available on YouTube sometime soon).
Monday, 4 May 2009
Iqbal Studies in Mauritius
When I told my friends that I was going to Mauritius to attend a belated Iqbal Day celebration on April 25, many were surprised. Just in case other readers of this newsletter also share that curiosity, Mauritius has a population of about 1.2 million, out of which a great majority is originally from India and migrated long ago in the days of colonialism. I hope I won’t be exaggerating if I say that Iqbal is just as popular there as he is in India. Of course, the Urdu speaking ones know more about him than others but here is a summary of my activities in Mauritius, April 25-29, which will give a better idea.