The only role Allama Iqbal ever played in active politics was in 1926 when on the insistence of his followers he opted to contest the Punjab Legislative Council Membership elections. While all others withdrew their names to honor him, one diehard Malik Din Mohammad stayed in the contest. The election campaign started with all the traditional wherewithal of mud-slinging which in diction and dirtiness was not very different from that of today’s.
Allama Iqbal was unabashedly called a “kafir (due to his endorsement of Sultan ibn Saud)”, a “Kashmiri”; a “pro-Ahmadi”; “a Wahabi”; “an enemy of Tasawwaf (Sufism). In short, some 14 points highlighting the absence of character in Allama Iqbal, which included the accusation of his being a wine-addict, a murderer of a Tawaif, a man with three wives, etc appeared on the walls of Lahore. This was too much for Allama Iqbal. But he was made to believe that it was a part of politics.
According to Hafeez Jullundhri, one day after a tiring campaign in the downtown area of Lahore, Allama Iqbal and he were walking on foot towards their car when something unique happened. Being a candidate, Allama had to extend his salutation to each person he countenanced while walking. In one such courtesy offer, Allama extended his “Aslam-o-Alaikum” to a person, who as it turned out, happened to be belonging to the opposite group of Malik Din Mohammad. That unruly person reciprocated Allama’s salutation, just by dropping off his, “dhoti”, and Lo, there he stood in the middle of the street, and in front of Allama in his utter naturalness.
This, indeed, was too much for a poet and thinker.
Taking his seat in the car, Allama addressed Hafeez Jullundhri in a somewhat dismayed and tired tone, “I have lost my sleep thinking about the causes of the decline of values, self-respect and good-conduct in this nation, and look how they are acting!”. Hafeez Jullundhri in his typical Jullundhri way, replied to Allama, “Doctor Sahib. Do not get upset or sad. The nation has showed you whatever it possesses”.
The remark freshened up Allama Iqbal for the moment and he smiled, losing all bitterness. Our people also should not get upset, nor should they lose hope because “the politicians are showing whatever they possess”, like the man in the story.
” Nations are born in the heart of poets, they prosper and die in the hands of politicians ” – Dr. M. Allama Iqbal