Welcome to Marghdeen. It is the name of a perfect world depicted by Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal in the fourth chapter of his much acclaimed epic poem Javid Nama (1932). It is a society where individuals are aware of their destiny, and therefore there is no crime, injustice or poverty.

My work is different from other Iqbal scholars because I contend that Marghdeen is achievable. I believe that it is an allegory about our world.

For this, we need to revisit history from the perspective of the political organization to which Iqbal belonged, All-India Muslim League, a party formed in 1906 and disbanded in 1958. Its point of view was significantly different from the more well-known narratives of the British Raj presented by the British rulers and the Indian nationalists.

The British parliament usually maintained that its rule in India was temporary, and its purpose was to supervise the evolution of democracy in the region. To this end, it introduced periodical reforms – initially every twentieth year and then every tenth year, with occasional delays. It claimed to have fulfilled its promise when it left India in 1947.

The other narrative, proposed by the Indian nationalists, focuses on the so-called ‘revolts’ carried out by Gandhi, Indian National Congress and some others in 1920, 1930, 1932 and 1942. Usually, the acclaimed goal used to be an immediate reform instead of the ten year schedule followed by the British, or sometimes even the immediate exit of the British instead of the promised exit in future. Invariably, all four ‘revolts’ were called off within a year or two, without success.

Unfortunately, these two narratives are the only ones known to most of us today because the third narrative – the perspective of the League – has been overlooked even in Pakistan, since the organization was banned in that country in 1958. A few works serve as foundations, but they are exceptions and a complete construction over them has not been carried out.

From the point of view of the League, its history comprised of a series of consecutive goals, each of which was adopted and achieved collectively:

  • On 27 December 1886, the representatives of the Indian Muslims founded an educational organization with the purpose of organizing the community like a modern nation. The goal was declared to have been achieved when this body gave birth to All-India Muslim League in December 1906.
  • The acclaimed goal of the League was to secure separate electorate for the Muslims. These were conceded by the British immediately and by the Hindus ten years later. They became a popular success with the first successful general election in British India, the election of 1926.
  • Starting in March 1927, the Indian Muslims developed the idea of self-rule in the areas where they were in majority. This was presented as an alternative to separate electorates, since the Hindus had started opposing them again. The goal was achieved when 90 percent of the elected representatives of Muslim India adopted a resolution demanding a separate state in April 1946.

The point of human interest here is that a party succeeded in achieving each of its acclaimed goals, precisely in a period of twenty years each time. Opposition from more powerful adversaries could neither stop the achievement of the goal nor cause any delay. The principles that enabled the League to achieve this have been stated very clearly in the documents of that party, and so is the process. Iqbal, as the official poet-philosopher of the party, explained the underlying worldview and the political principles in his prose, and illustrated the potential in his poetry through the allegory of Marghdeen.

By following the same principles today, we can once again achieve the same results: achieving every goal with certainty, no matter how great the difficulties.