Saturday, December 5

CRG: The Iqbal Sessions Click for more info

Before today I honestly didn't know much about Mohammed Iqbal. I knew he was a poet and possibly a homie of Jinnah and had some hand in the formation of Pakistan, but that was about it. So when a friend from the CRG (something I have unfortuantely much neglected since those first couple of sessions I had attended) told me they were going to devote a whole day to him I can't claim to have been particularly enthusiastic; but still I do think there's a need to support such things in order for bigger and better stuff to come out of it. So yeah, I wasn't planning to stay for very long.

On arriving I found that this wasn't an arty showcase on the life and talent of Iqbal but more of a series of lectures discussing the quite deep philosophical, religions and political themes he spoke about. I walked in on Dr Mahbub Gani's talk on divinity and was immediately captivated; this wasn't poetry but religious philosophy, you know, the abstract stuff I try to touch on here in this blog. Sure, a lot of it was contextual with respect to Iqbal, but Gani did a good job of extracting the essences and presenting them to us. After his talk had ended I cancelled my lunch plans and decided to stick around for the rest of the day.

After lunch Dr. Rabia Malik talked about Khudi, or the Human Ego, and how it can be defined and measured. AbdoolKarim Vakil took the final slot, talking about how we should consider how Iqbal was read; a discussion on meta-Iqbal if you will.

The plenary (don't worry, I didn't know what that was either - it's basically a Q&A where formal debate and conclusions might be drawn) took things way over my head as the day finally took its toll, although I did notice that it was of a higher quality than usual as the audience resisted making it more about them than Iqbal. And although the whole thing overran by an house I am glad that I hung around; in fact I actually regretted not joining in from the start, although I do hope I'll be able to catch what I missed via a recording or something. I guess if anything I've learned not to be so easily dismissive about stuff I actually don't really know much about of in the first place.

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