Today, you have provided me with some intellectual pleasure by searching and presenting, what seems to you to be the best treasure, supposedly aimed at helping the Dalits, by Allama Iqbal through his poem about the Sudras of Manusmriti or Hinduism, which was then put by him in words through Urdu poetry.
The concerned lines of Allama Iqbal unravelling the unforgettable truth about the Sudras, in Urdu cannot be called a Gazal, since it is reserved for a sweet dialogue between two lovers in a particular poetical form. They apparently qualify the title of a nazma, since they are devoted to explain the particular truth in a poetical narration, which has got its own immense value.
But whether it is called as gazal or nazma, its value cannot be minimised as one unfolding the greatest truth that has exposed the fraud, which has been perpetrated for millennia, and which was kept concealed by the enemies of humanity under the series of layers of conceit and falsehood, in the name of questionable spirituality through the ages.
But the poetical composition of Iqbal does not seem to cover and concern the plight of the Ati-Sudras or the then Untouchables or the Depressed Classes, for the simple reason that the word Sudra stands for those who are today referred to as OBCs as distinguished from the then Untouchables or modern Dalits.
Surely, the philosophy underlying this composition appearing to be great thinking and exposition were devoted to Guru Nanak as is clear from the composition, since they had been emancipated in Punjab region undoubtedly by the medieval saints, out of whom Guru Nanak came to enjoy the best prominence on account of becoming the propounder of Sikhims, which continues to be the main religion of Punjabis at large.
The specific distinction between the Sudras and Ati-Sudras or the then Untouchables actually came to be recognised after the publication of the analytical works of Dr. Ambedkar, who had named the latter classes as Depressed Classes.
Iqbal was born in 1877 and died in 1938. He studied in England and taught there. He was a practicing lawyer. He had even a stint in Punjab Politics, since he was elected to Punjab Legislative Assembly in 1927.
He had also taken part in Round Table Conferences held between 1930 and 1932.He was the first one to give birth to the ideas of Pakistan.
Had Iqbal any sympathy for the Ati-Sudras or modern Dalits also, he would have surely mentioned Dr. B R Ambedkar, by name. Could he be uninformed about the unmistakable role of Dr. B R Ambedkar, who was his (Iqbal’s) political contemporary for a long time, which fact is confirmed by the fact that both of them had been participants in Round Table Confernces during 1930 to 1932?
If so, his lines could have been made applicable by him to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, as you have rightly anticipated this possibility.
Present day Indians politicians take great pride in Iqbal for the lines “ Hindi hain hum, watan hai Hindostan hamara.” Is it very clear that he was addressing these words to Hindus and Indians as such and not specifically to Muslims alone?
Anyhow, it cannot be assumed that Allama Iqbal, better known as Mohammad Iqbal, was totally oblivious of the historical and unprecedented role of Dr. BR Ambedkar in Round Table Conference (RTCs) leading to the announcement of the Communal Award, through the modification of which, who had become instrumental in raising the masses, accounting for 90 per cent Indian population to human level (through Poona Pact of 1932.
It appears that Mohammad Iqbal had not yet graduated to the level of even recognizing the existence of the Depressed Classes or modern Dalits and that he was still involved with the traditional fight between Hindu and Muslim leadership in both political and religious senses.
Had he done otherwise, he would have surely advised to take a better human stand than that the Muslims then had taken while being in RTCs, when they had decided to consider the controversy regarding granting of human rights to Depressed Classes as internal matter of the Hindus alone, in keeping with the general attitude adopted by other religious minorities.
This attitude can be underlined to suggest that the Dalits of India cannot legitimately expect any support from such minorities even in their contemporary fight for their full emancipation.
Further, even if the religious minorities are seen as making common issues with Dalit politics as in UP, it cannot be assumed that the former are pro-Dalits, since they have been apparently aiming at serving their own limited and selfish political interests and they have been only using the apparent Dalit solidarity, seemingly achieved through BSP politics.
I am sorry to say that if Iqbal did not intentionally take the specific notice of Dr. B R Ambedkar and his fight for the dumb and dumb Depressed Classes. Iqbla’s concern for Sudras could be only at his intellectual level and it had not yet travelled to lower down to his heart.
At best, he was concerned only to further the limited Muslim political interests as against caste Hindu interests as distinguished from Dalit interests represented solely by Dr. B R Ambedkar.
Samaybudhha! I hope you will appreciate my point of view, which I believe is not much different from that of yours in as much as it pertains to the serving of the best Dalit interests in all fileds, at the present stage that stood submerged in the mire of varna vyavastha, in which exploitative and oppressive philosophy stood targeted against the masses.
But that philosophy of the Buddha has still not become irrelevant, since the flag bearers of Hindutva have been trying to enlist the support even at international level with the help of so-called Hindu liberalism, which is nothing buy practical Buddhism.
Dr S.L. Dhani (IAS-Retd.)
Banujan Writer,Vishnary and Thinker
Author of more than 2 dozen of massive and Enlightning books
2013/2/14 S L Dhani <firstname.lastname@example.org>