• By Naeem Khan Niazi

LAHORE: House museums are very simple interactions with history manifesting the architectural and historical legacy of those who changed the course of history through their achievements in arts, literature, philosophy, politics, and other aspects of life.

The houses, famous for their architecture, historical feat, or being once inhabited by some great figures, are preserved for posterity to provide coming generations, glimpses of the lifestyle and achievements of legendary persons.

Like Emily Dickenson Museum, Massachusetts, USA; Elbert Einstein’s apartment in Bern, Switzerland; Gaudi House – Museum, Barcelona, Spain; the Bronte Parsonage, Haworth, England; the Javed Manzil in Lahore also boasts of its historic grandeur.

An abode to great poet and philosopher, Allama Dr Muhammad Iqbal where he spent the last span of his life and breathed his last on April 21, 1938, the Javed Manzil has been named after his son Justice ®Javed Iqbal.

Situated in the close proximity of Lahore Railway Station, the location of the house complements well the busy political life of Allama Muhammad Iqbal who traveled extensively in length and breadth of the country during the movement for the independence of Pakistan.

Earlier, in possession of Justice ® Javed Iqbal, the Javed Manzil acquired from him to turn into ‘Iqbal Museum’ on the occasion of the centenary birth celebrations of Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal and declared it a national monument in 1977.

Born on November 09, 1877, Allama Dr. Muhammad Iqbal is the greatest benefactor of the Muslims of sub-continent who reminded them of their glorious past, awakening them from deep slumber and motivating them to win an independent motherland from British colonial regime.

Besides fertile thoughts and a rich mind, his revolutionary poetry served as a clarion call to the old and young alike who waged a freedom struggle under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to win Pakistan.

Spanning over an area of seven kanal land, the four rooms of Javed Manzil (Iqbal Museum) that remained under the use of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, have been preserved in their original form including the Bed, Drawing, and Dinning rooms.

The belongings placed in the museum speak highly of the simple but graceful lifestyle of the great poet, philosopher Allama Iqbal.

On the mantel above the fireplace in the bedroom, are placed photos of Sir Ross Masood, grandson of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and King of Afghanistan Mohammed Nadir Shah. One chair stands by the left wall opposite to bathroom with a spittoon, a dressing table, a wall-clock, and some medicine used by the great poet, still part of the setting.

“Allama Iqbal love for the Afghan nation, as reflected in his poetry, was boundless,” remarked Prof. Mazhar Moeen, former Principal Oriental College, Punjab University, and Chairman Department of Arabic. “I feel that Iqbal’s admiration for Afghanistan was because of its being an independent state for Muslim in Asia.”

Iqbal also penned down a travelogue; ‘Musafir yani Siahat Chandroza Afghanistan’ (Traveller: Few Days Travelling to Afghanistan) and its original manuscript is also preserved in the museum.

Picture of Cordova Mosque, Spain placed in the drawing room on a mantle-piece besides a simple six seats sofa also manifest great admiration of Allam Iqbal for the Muslims renaissance. Iqbal also has an honor of performing prayers at Cordova Mosque when he visited Spain, as it even today symbolizes the glory of Islamic rule in Europe

Its architecture like most of the buildings of the glorious Muslim era in Europe, reflects finesses and grandiosity of the Islamic art and culture.
Iqbal’s picture with teachers of Al Azhar University, Egypt is hung on one of the walls in the room and his son Javed Iqbal is also seen in the memorable photo.

The Dining Room houses a dinning-table with six chairs, two cabinets and a dressing table. Two rooms, at the museum, showcase various glass-casements with original manuscripts of Allama Iqbal’s poetic and prose works that won him perennial renown. The first-editions of Bang e Dara, Baal e Jibrael, Javed Nama, Zarb e Kaleem have also been displayed besides some personal diaries, invitation letters and correspondence.

Allama Iqbal’s educational certificates and PhD degree from the German University are also exhibited for onlookers to seek inspiration from the visionary poet and philosopher.

“Iqbal Museum’ conserves and exhibits important phases of Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s life,” said Director Archaeology Masood Ahmed Malik.
“This museum is a beacon of light for our younger generations. We are endeavoring to preserve relics of posterity to make it more convenient for the visitors,” he stated.

Another room in the museum, exhibits pictures of Dr. Iqbal’s wives; Karam Bibi, Mukhtar Begum and Sardar Begum. The youngest Sardar Begum was mother of Justice (R) Dr. Javed Iqbal and a daughter Munira Bano. Allama Iqbal had two children, Aftab Iqbal and Meraj Bano, with his wife Karam Bibi while no children with Mukhtar Begum.

The three plaster-of-Paris models of Government College, Lahore (alma mater of Dr. Iqbal), Model Scotch Mission High School, Sialkot (school where Allama Iqbal got early education) and Iqbal Manzil, Sialkot (birth-place of Allama Iqbal) are also on display.

On the entrance to museum, instead of main portico, a visitor is welcomed by the life-size photos of Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s father Sheikh Noor Muhammad and mother Imam Bibi, before entering the room where carpets, dresses, garments and personal effects are displayed.

Dr. Iqbal’s spectacles, a wrist watch, an ash-tray, a ring, gold cuff-links, collars and bow-ties are also displayed providing an insight into the scholarly living of Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

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