This Day in History (29-Dec-1930) – Sir Muhammad Iqbal’s presidential address in Allahabad introduces the two-nation theory

Sir Muhammad Iqbal remains in India both a controversial and revered figure. To nationalists he is the misguided intellectual progenitor of Pakistan; but to many lovers of poetry he is one of India’s greatest 20th century poets, perhaps next only to Rabindranath Tagore. Though he wrote in both Urdu and Persian, it is mainly upon his Urdu poetry that his fame rests. In India he is also remembered as the author of the popular song Tarana-i-Hindi  – ‘Saare Jahaan Se Achcha’. In 1922, he was knighted by King George V, giving him the title “Sir”.

Having pursued higher studies in Lahore, by 1905 he was off to England. Prior to his departure, he had already become famous as a poet for such nationalist poems as Naya Shivala- ‘The New Temple’ and Tarana-i-Hindi. Western society and German vitalist philosophy had a major impact on him. He envisaged that if Muslims could recreate the Islam for modern-times, they could offer a model for the East and to the world in general. He believed that a polity created by Muslims in India could serve as a rallying point for Muslims throughout the world and the beginning step towards a global brotherhood. This is the background to his 1930 speech at the Allahabad session of the Muslim League where the first geographic outlines of this state were demarcated.

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal delivered the presidential address at the 21st Session of the All India Muslim League held from 29-30 December, 1930, in which he declared: “I would like to see the Punjab, North-West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluschistan amalgamated into a single state. Self-government within the British Empire, or without the British Empire, the formation of a consolidated North-West Indian Muslim state appears to me to be the final destiny of the Muslims, at least of North West India”. Largely due to the course of the political events that ensued, Iqbal has ended up becoming the poet-patriot of Pakistan. After the creation of Pakistan, nine years after Iqbal’s death, Jinnah and other League politicians would publicly credit Iqbal as one of the visionaries and founders of the new state. The Pakistan government officially named him a “national poet”. His birthday ‘Iqbal Day’ is a public holiday in Pakistan.

Reference:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_29

http://www.allamaiqbal.com/publications/journals/review/aproct09/7.htm

https://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/British/Iqbal.html

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Muhammad_Iqbal

http://www.poemhunter.com/allama-muhammad-iqbal/biography/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Iqbal

This Day in History (4-Dec-1924) – Gateway of India was inagurated by Lord Riding

The objective behind the construction of the Gateway of India was to commemorate the visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay (Mumbai). In March 1911, Sir George Sydenham Clarke, who was then the Governor of Bombay, laid down the monument’s first foundation. Although, this plan was approved in 1914, the reclamations at Apollo Bunder were completed in 1919. The architectural design of Gateway of India was fashioned by architect, George Wittet. It took four years to complete this monument’s construction.

The structural design of the Gateway of India is constituted of a large arch, with a height of 26m. The monument is built in yellow basalt and indissoluble concrete. The structural plan of Gateway of India is designed in the Indo-Saracenic style. One can also find traces of Muslim architectural styles incorporated in the structure of the grandiose edifice. The central dome of the monument is about 48 feet in diameter, with a total height of 83 feet. Designed with intricate latticework, the 4 turrets are the prominent features of the entire structure of the Gateway of India. There are steps constructed behind the arch of the Gateway that leads to the Arabian Sea. The monument is structured in such a way that one can witness the large expanse of the ‘blue blanket’ right ahead, welcoming and sending off ships and visitors.

At one point of time, this monument represented the grandeur of the British Raj in India. The total construction cost of this monument was approximately 21 lakhs. The passing of the ‘First Battalion of the Somerset Light Infantry’ was recorded as the first main event that took place at the Gateway of India. This ceremony was conducted on February 28, 1948, when the last set of British troops and divisions left India, post-independence.

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

http://www.mumbai.org.uk/gate-way-of-india.html