Day In the Life of Allama Iqbal
An Interview with Mian Ali Bakhsh
did Iqbal usually get up in the morning?
A. Very early. As a matter of fact, he slept very little. He was keen on his
morning prayer. After the prayer he read the Qur'an.
Q. In what manner
did he read the Qur'an?
A. Before his throat was affected, he used to recite the Qur'an in a clear and
melodious voice. Even after he got the throat disease he used to read the Qur'an
but not loudly.
What did he usually do after he had finished his prayer and recitation?
A. He used to sit in an easy-chair. I would prepare his "hookah" and
place it before him. He would study the briefs of cases which were to come up
in court that day. Now and then, while still at his files, he would have moments
of poetic inspiration.
How did you know when he was in his poetic mood?
A. He would call me and say: "Bring my note book and my pencil." When
I brought these, he would write down the verses in pencil. Now and then, when
he did not feel satisfied with his composition, he was extremely restless. While
composing he would often ask for the Qur'an to be brought to him. Even otherwise
he called for the Qur'an a number of times in the day.
Q. What time
did he usually go to court when he was practising at the bar?
A. He used to leave 15 or 20 minutes before court time. As long as he lived
in Anarkali [his house, which is no longer in existence, was where the New Market,
Lahore, is now] he used to go to court in his horse carriage. Later, he bought
Q. How long
was he active as a legal practictioner?
A. He was in practice until he got his throat disease which was around 1932
Q. What did
he do on return from court?
A. Before doing anything else he used to ask me to help him take off his court
clothes. He was never fond of formal dress and used to put it only for the court
and that also with effort.
Q. What did
he do after changing his dress?
A. He composed verses whenever he felt like it.
he sleep in the afternoon?
A. Not usually, but he did so now and then.
what time did he take his meals?
A. Between 12 and 1 o'clock in the day. He ate only one meal. Normally he did
not eat in the evening.
were his favourite dishes?
A. He was fond of pulao, mash-ki-daal seasoned with ghee, karela stuffed with
minced meat, and also khushka.
Q. Did he like
many dishes at his meals?
A. No, there were only a few dishes at a time. He was a poor eater.
he take any exercise?
A. In the early days, he did. In those days he used dum-bells, and performed
dand [a stretching exercise].
Q. Was he interested
in games and sports?
A. He was interested in watching wrestling matches.
Q. Was he in
the habit of going out in the evening?
A. Getting out in the evening was almost an impossibility with him. In the earlier
days when he was living inside Bhati Gate [where he lived before going to Cambridge,
England in 1905], he would sometimes walk as far as the platform outside the
house of Hakim Shahbazuddin [a close friend of the poet]. Once in a while Sir
Zulfiqar Ali [of the ruling family of Malerkotla; author of book on poet 'A
voice from the East'] would come in his car and take him out.
Q. When did he go
to sleep in the evening?
A. In the evening a number of friends and visitors used to call on him. These
sittings went on till 9 or 10 o'clock. After this he sat alone with Ch. Mohammad
Husain and recited to him the verses he had composed during the day.
long did Choudhry Sahib normally stay?
A. Up to 12 or 1 o'clock in the night. After this Doctor Sahib would go to bed,
but would get up for his Tahajjud prayer after he had hardly slept for two or
after the Tahajjud?
A. He used to lie down for a short time until it was time for the morning prayers.
Note: The above
extracts are from an interview with Mian Ali Bakhsh, the life-long domestic
assistant of Allama Muhammad Iqbal. It was conducted by Pakistani man of letters
Mumtaz Hasan on 23 September 1957. It's from "Tribute to Iqbal" by
Mumtaz Hasan, collected and edited by M.Moizuddin
[republished with permission
Date/Time Last Modified: 6/18/2002 8:04:15 AM
Aman: 10/3/2006 10:39:46 AM
First of all I wold like to thanks the publishers of this site.They have really shown many hidden aspects about Allama Iqbal.The best thng about Iqbal as described in this interview is the very short time of sleep of Iqbal.Again Thanks alot for the site
ATIQ MIRZA: 10/18/2006 2:02:13 AM
Thanks for sharing. It is really a great interview with some lessons for us. Our young generation must read such stuff and move their life towards our ancestors and not blindly follow the west.
Nasir Yusuf Zai: 1/4/2007 11:09:44 PM
I am really thankful for the creators of this site, they perdormed a unique job, I request them to include Allam's work in urdu. Thankyou
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