Sunday, 26 August 2012

IQBAL a biography by Khurram Ali Shafique

Nonfiction is considered boring and tedious reading but not when it is written by someone as gifted as Khurram Ali Shafique, who uses pen like flute and through that what flows is always relishing and mesmerizing.

I had read the first two volumes of Iqbal's biography and was keenly waiting for the next part and when I got this 3rd volume before the Eid holidays I knew that these Eid holidays would certainly be more than just holidays. All those who have read Khurram Ali Shafique know that he not only surprises readers with his profound insights and an unusual and remarkable way of looking at things but at the same time he crafts his lines so beautifully like a skilled curator that captures the readers’ attention till the last word is written and even after that point reader remains intoxicated for a long long time.

IQBAL: volume 3 , the middle period, is a voluminous undertaking, a book that spreads to 944 pages of immaculate research, beautiful narrative and ingenious insight. The book is divided into 9 chapters of unequal length and has been given a title which provides essence of the period that was under consideration. Each chapter is written point wise like the previous two volumes and each point is given a number and a point contains a complete event, a thought or a description. It is sometimes a lengthy paragraph and sometimes just a sentence but still it narrates a complete picture in itself. The complete book comprises of 1459 such eventful points.

The chapters have very interesting titles which corresponds to the basic current underling the period which they belong to, the list is:
1-Khudi ka nashamen (January 1914 to June 1915) خودی کا نشیمن
2-Ma ka mazar (July to August 1915) ماں کا مزار
3-Nizam uddin Auloia ki Basti September 1915 to August 1916 نظام الدین اولیا کی بستی
4-Milat ka Derbar September 1916 to June 1917 ملت کا دربار
5-Taqdeer ki Mahfil July 1917 to April 1918 تقدیر کی محفل
6-Goethe ki Dersga April 1918 to November 1920 گوئٹے کی درسگاہ
7-Abe Hayat ka Chashma November 1920 to April 1922. آب حیات کا چشمہ
8-Samrna April to September 1922 سمرنا
9-Hafiz ka Mekhana September to December 1922 حافظ کا میخانہ

Once 9 chapters end one wish that more was there to be read as the pleasure that the 807 pages provided and built a feeling of enormous interest in the life of a genius that Iqbal was, the Appendix appears. This is as interesting and useful as the preceding nine chapters were and the book thus culminates on a very satisfying note but with a promise that the best is still to come as the next book deals with the prime period of Iqbal and is titled Daur e Urooj and so very rightly promises that the best is still to come.


  1. I have the book in possession but have not read it yet...but even than I can tell it would be interesting read.

    Nice post Dar Sahib.

  2. Thanks for the beautiful description about the remarkable book that it would be like the previous two volumes. I am keen to read this book as soon as possible.

  3. Thinking you must start reading to know the joy and pleasure that this book has in store.

  4. Thanks Urooj, and plz come back with your valuable comments after reading the book.

  5. Thanks a lot for this beautiful review of the books. Now it makes me more eager for it.

  6. thanks Noor, and I bet once you start reading anyone of these books you would not keep them away until they are read from cover to cover :)

  7. Greetings,

    Thank you very much for this very descriptive review of Khurram Ali Shafique's book. Your description makes clear what I've come to learn of his other writings. Reading his works leaves me questioning my old, tired answers about life, and desiring to empty out, open up, and dig more deeply, always with a certain aim.

    I understand that this book is in Urdu. It is, therefore, off limits to me. God willing, in time, some or all of it will become accessible.

    All good wishes,


    1. I hope in future this book will be available in other languages also because this is one of the best works done on Iqbal.