unique combination of “honour and excitement”. Honour in sense, for the home where I along with my two other friends was visiting had served as the very last abode to a great scholar of all times. And the feeling of excitement was mandatory because of my attempt to envisage the great personas present in the same home where I was standing at that moment in time. Indeed, it was one of the most memorable days of my life. I could not help a smile when entered his room. The window opened towards the verandah accommodated his single bed just beside it. Everything was in apple pie order. The old ceiling fan, brown polished single bed covered with a plain but dirt free bedspread and a huka just beside it were witnessing his simple way of living. “Sir, the date you are seeing on this old calendar has not been changed since he passed away”, Muhammad Irshad, the guide, spoke in low tone. “21 April, 1938”, I muttered looking at the calendar. Followed by a dim smile and moisture in eyes.
Javed Manzil, today that is known as Iqbal Museum is the last residence of the poet of east and the great visionary Dr. Muhammad Allama Iqbal. Here Allama sahib breathed his last on 21st April, 1938. I along with my two pals, Faseeh and Taimur planned to pay a visit to this memorable dwelling situated at one of the busiest roadways of Lahore, Allama Iqbal Road.
(In fact the vicinity around it is known as Garhee Shahoo. However, as the museum is located here, so later on this particular road was named after Allama Iqbal.) It was pretty fine that day. The pleasing sun of spring was playing hide and seek in clouds. Lush green plants in the lawn of Iqbal Museum were swaying with the puffs of gentle breeze. The sight was worth seeing. As soon as we stepped into the museum we were welcomed by two attendants out there who guided and channeled us to various galleries of the museum that are 9 in number.
For the construction of Javed Manzil a plot measuring seven kanals was purchased in 1934 through public auction for Rs. 25025/-.On the completion of the building sum of Rs. 16000/- was spent followed by an additional expenditure of Rs. 1000/- that was incurred on electrical fittings and furniture. The total cost including the land cost of the building thus was Rs. 42025/- Allama sahib named the building, “Javed Manzil”, rented one on Mcleod Road. On 21st May, 1935 Allama Iqbal issued a rent after the name of his son. Out of 7 kanals area, Iqbal gifted one kanal to his beloved servant Ali Bakhs. Later on, in May 1935 he shifted to this house from deed on court document in favor of his son Javed Iqbal for the four rooms he used up to his death. The rent was paid in advance to his son every month till his death. In 1977, Javed Manzil was purchased by the government of Pakistan to house a museum on Allama Iqbal. Thus, now it is under government’s custody and remains opened for its visitors till 4 p.m.
Museum Information Gallery, very first in the series of nine small yet prestigious galleries, contains information about Javed Manzil and biography of Dr. Iqbal. It’s followed by Iqbal’s court to offer prayer and some classy
black and white pictures of Imam Bibi (departed: 9 November, 1914) and that f Sheikh Noor Muhammad (departed: 17 August, 1930), the parents the great visionary. Entering gallery number two was not less than a great surprise as it contained manuscripts and degrees of Allama sahib. Allama’s handwriting though seemed short sized but yet it was elegant. Despite the fact that the papers of his manuscripts have fainted but still they are (and would always be) alive to witness the intellect of the great man of the bygone century. Second gallery also contains a beautiful picture of Allam’s teacher, Shams-ul-ulama Molvi Meer Hassan.
Poems, articles, documents and 1st edition of Allama’s works are the featuring elements of third gallery. Going through the gallery one instantly lands to the time when these masterpieces would have been written. The gallery also contains youth group photo of Iqbal, Chaudry Rehmat Ali (the founder of the name of Pakistan) and some other prominent leaders of that time. The fourth gallery of Iqbal Museum encompasses letters, welcome addresses and some rare photographs of the poet of east and his community. Models of buildings and institutions which are associated with Iqbal and the very rare pictures of his wives are displayed in g
allery number five.
Surprisingly, soon after his matriculation Allama Iqbal got married with Karam Bibi in April 1893. The couple was bestowed with two off springs Aftab and Miraj Bano. Sardar Begum, second better half of Iqbal, is mother of Iqbal’s renowned son Javed Iqbal and daughter Muneera. Iqbal’s various biographers agree that Sardar Begum was Iqbal’s favorite wife who was the most beautiful of the three. Iqbal married her in 1913. Mukhtar Begum, the daughter of the famous Dr. Subhan Ali from Ludhiana Punjab, became the third and last life partner of Dr Iqbal in December 1914. She passed away during pregnancy. The gallery includes the pictures of all of the three wives of Allama Iqbal.
In contrast to previous galleries, gallery number six contains some two piece suits, bow ties, Shalwar Qameez and the shoes which were used by Dr Iqbal. They are neatly arranged in various showcases. Some of his attires have been shifted to National Museum Islamabad from here. Gallery number seven, eight and nine comprise of Iqbal’s bed, drawing and dinning room respectively. Some memorable pictures of Iqbal along with Quaid-e-Azam and other leaders are displayed in drawing room that opens before the lawn. Dinner sets and the dinning table that were in his use are still there in almost perfect condition. Just beside dinning room the kitchen of the building is being used as office of the museum these days. Despite being an imperative place of attraction, the museum also has to endure sheer negligence of the higher authorities. Recently Aftab Iqbal, the son of Allama has reserved some amount of money for renovation of the museum on private basis. However, it is not enough. This very precious asset of the Land of Pure ought to be taken very good care of.
Places like Iqbal Museum, indeed, are equally worth visiting for youth and old. Their presence, in fact, is a token of love by a nation to its supreme leaders. Visiting them is just like paying homage to these men of parts. It fortifies our attachment with their personalities and develops an intense feeling of love for them. Folks, do visit Iqbal Museum and experience a unique feeling of affection with the poet of the nation, Dr. Muhammad Allama Iqbal
(Dawn YW,25 April, 2009. Due to shortage of space the article was edited in YW, so the context may not match to that of the newspaper.)