Did Iqbal Say This?

Posted on March 6, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Education, Health & Disease
Total Views: 15828


Adil Najam

I was thinking of making this an ATP Quiz, but that would be wrong because I really do not know the answer to this. So, the headline here is an honest question. Any takes?

My own guess – based just on the idiom of the quotation – is that he did not. Although he may well have thought this, or even said something quite similar.

My first thought on seeing this was to think of the comments made on this site; and those not made. But since I have recently written about those frustrations, let me not do so again. Suffice to say, whether Iqbal said this or not, its a thought worth sharing.

The picture was sent to us by a reader who took it at Abbottabad’s Kingston School for Deaf and Speech Impaired Children. That, of course, makes the subject of what we choose to say, and what we do not, all the more poignant.

I do not know why the school is called ‘Kingston’, and would love to find out. From what I have heard about the school, however, it seems to be doing good work in an area where we need to do so much more. Indeed, there is so much happening in so many places that gives one hope for a better future.

Too much of this, however, is too often drowned out in the noise of sarcasm that emanates from the perpetual cynics and the cosmetic naara baazi of patriotic tamashbeen. It is always good, therefore, to remind ourselves of the good work being done out there: one kid, one school, one step at a time.

12 Comments on “Did Iqbal Say This?”

  1. Ejaz Asi says:
    March 6th, 2007 4:49 am

    I have read Hazrat Iqbal quite a bit including his renowned thesis and I could safely say that the above words are not his. Yet, it could be possible that someone might have used his own words to associate some thoughts/reflections/words of Iqbal. “shut up” is the phrase that bothered me to think that. Anyways, aside from that, as you mentioned, the irony is heightened by the source of the quote. I followed the link you mentioned in the post and was pleased you’d covered JAWS. It’s little discomforting for me to think such valuable software is priced at 800$+ for standard version. No offense to the software developers, but certain organization should have funded this to bring price little low. That was my biggest concern once I got to know of JAWS a little while back. But nevertheless, it seems pretty useful and brings many insights into the web design industry, for one, and draws new lines of how accessible our software or computing environment should be for those visually impaired or total blinds. I am certainly hinting the respect and considerations for wider audience on a larger scale irrespective of their ability to use computing environment. Thankfully a group of nice people have thought of that idea already – Web Standards (http://www.webstandards.org/)

  2. Aqil Sajjad says:
    March 6th, 2007 8:33 am

    What are the words? Are they in the picture?

  3. Naveed says:
    March 6th, 2007 9:51 am


    Yes the words are in the picture. I’ve copied them below:

    “The tragedy with nations is that those of their men who ought to speak, remain silent, and those who must shup up keep on talking.”

    Allama Iqbal

  4. MQ says:
    March 6th, 2007 10:34 am

    This seems to be a rehash of the often quoted saying of Edmund Burke:

    [quote]“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” [/quote]

    But as you said, the diction is not Iqbal’s.

  5. Eidee Man says:
    March 6th, 2007 12:23 pm

    This is off-topice (as usual :-)), but I’ve seen many, many Western quotes and events being attributed to Subcontinental figures. For instance, I sometimes watched that stupid “Akbar Birbal” show on an Indian channel back when I was a kid. MANY of their episodes were ripped directly off Wetsern works such as Shakespeare, etc.

  6. YLH says:
    March 6th, 2007 11:59 pm

    This is an important quote and something we should heed from…

    For long we have let those who have nothing to do with us, dominate the discourse on Pakistan and Pakistaniat. We should reclaim our rightful due by speaking out and screaming louder than them…

  7. Shaji says:
    March 7th, 2007 11:38 am

    Whether or not this is his quote, we might as well associate it with him considering how he is revered in the country. Can act as a stimulus in getting people to talk.

  8. Aqil Sajjad says:
    March 7th, 2007 4:13 pm

    In addition to the quote, I also like the following lines:

    “Too much of this, however, is too often drowned out in the noise of sarcasm that emanates from the perpetual cynics and the cosmetic naara baazi of patriotic tamashbeen. It is always good, therefore, to remind ourselves of the good work being done out there: one kid, one school, one step at a time.”

    I think we want instant change, some kind of divine help that would quickly solve all the problems. Such magic can not be had in reality, so this attitude also becomes an excuse for inaction and naturally a cause for extreme sinicism.
    When Musharraf came, a large number of Pakistanis went wild with all kinds of fantacies about him being that saviour who had finally come to sort out our mess. Later, as it started dawning that he was not that rescuer, a lot of us turned into Musharraf bashers.
    Today most of the mainstream discourse on democracy is based on the refrain that ‘if the military allows the political process to continue, then…’ Again, a desire for the civil-military equation to be streightened instantly, a wait for divine or outside help in this regard, a refusal to look at what the society can do, those apparently smaller things that do not carry a promise of instant change, but are within our grasp and are very crucial for gradually developing a democratic culture.

  9. Aqil Sajjad says:
    March 7th, 2007 4:20 pm

    Just to add to Ejaz’s comment on webpage accessibility for the blind/visually impaired, the following on-line tool allows you to enter the URL and get a report on its accessibility:

    Their home page also has some accessibility guidelines for webpage developers:

  10. March 7th, 2007 7:24 pm

    i am glad the did iqbal say this “quote”
    generated interest..i loved the concept behind it when i took the picture..if he didnt say it,
    then someone should!!
    i am glad i did..

  11. Aqil Sajjad says:
    March 9th, 2007 2:25 am

    The quote in the picture also reminds one of some other thoughts/questions that often come to mind.

    Why are Pakistanis so polarized? Our discussions on politics often tend to degenerate into heated exchanges, extreme opinions are more to be found, while Down to earth voices often get drowned in the noise. How is this to be explained?

    Also, at times I wonder how much of the foreign influence on our national discourse is positive. I am certainly not an isolationist, we should learn good things from other societies by all means. However, identification of our problems and solutions should mainly be inspired by our own independent thought rather than resulting from what others would like us to think about ourselves. Sometimes it seems that we Pakistanis get too much gratituous input on our internal problems from outsiders who have their own biases and/or vested interests, and our educated and English speaking elite (all of us at ATP included) is at times more in touch with the rest of the world than our own fellow Pakistanis. The gap between the haves and have-nots has not only created an economic apartheid, but also that of worldviews. There are several different Pakistans, and they all have very different experiences, issues, outlooks and languages, very badly disconnected from each other, with very little effort being made to bring them closer.

    PS: Naveed, thanks for copying the quote in the picture.

  12. July 12th, 2007 5:02 pm


    Interesting post. I came across this blog by accident, but it was a good accident. I have now bookmarked your blog for future use. Best wishes. Ragheb Alama Website Team….

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