Mohammed Iqbal was a great Urdu poet and the ideologue behind the demand for the creation of Pakistan. He was born in 1873 in Punjab, with a strong Islamic upbringing. He studied philosophy and eventually became a lecturer in philosophy and a lawyer after studying at Cambridge. He started devoting a lot of time to studying and writing and was recognized as an able poet and thinker.

Although he was influenced by Nietzsche and Bergson, Iqbal credited Islamic tradition as his main inspiration. He saw national divisions as petty and wanted their removal. The answer that he saw to the many troubles he felt afflicted the world lay in the realization of the self. This, he proposed, could be done by following Islam. In fact, the highly egalitarian and classless Islamic society was perfect for nurturing people in this mould.

Iqbal proposed that Muslims in India lived in a very well-knit, tightly-integrated society. They had a very strong and separate identity. The key to creating a successful future Indian state would be recognizing the existence of this separate nation within India and granting it great autonomy as a separate geographical region within India. He opposed the prevalent secular view of the state and believed that true nationalism operated on religious lines. He advocated a religious federation for India, with each major group retaining sovereignty over itself.

Iqbal was also affected by the many communal incidents between Hindus and Muslims. He felt that a civil war was looming and the potential existed for the extermination of Muslims in India. As such, he felt that there was no choice but to push forward for a Muslim homeland, the latter-day Pakistan. He saw in Jinnah a capable leader who would be able to realize this dream. Thus, it was Iqbal’s vision that truly lead to the creation of Pakistan and Bangladesh and the perception among the followers of the Muslim League and others that India really consisted of two communal nations.

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