Hyderabad: Hyderabad accomplished a literary feat of sorts on Wednesday when it witnessed the 1,000th lecture being delivered on Allama Iqbal, one of the greatest Urdu poets. The celebrated poet who penned ‘Saare Jahan se accha’ is loved and respected by all. However, it goes to the credit of Jama Masjid Aaliya, Gunfoundry, to honour Iqbal like no one else. For the last 22 years, it has been organising weekly lectures on Iqbal Shinasi without a break.

Today Masjid-e-Aaliya touched a milestone when the thousandth lecture was delivered to a packed audience at its conference hall. No other country, not even Pakistan where Iqbal is regarded as the national poet, can boast of this record. Prof Khaja Nasiruddin, who addressed the landmark lecture, was beside himself with joy for being part of this rare achievement.

The credit for this marathon lecture series goes to senior advocate, Ghulam Yezdani, who thought of organising talks on the poet. The first lecture was delivered by Mohd Zaheeruddin Ahmed, President of Iqbal Academy, on October 8, 1997. Since then, the weekly lectures had continued without any break except when the city was under curfew.

Over the years, several national and international scholars have held forth on Iqbal’s poetry. Speakers like Ziauddin Shekeb, Dr Taqi Abedi, Dr Murtuza Siddiqui, Maslehuddin Saadi, and Dr Yousuf Azmi have expounded on various aspects of Iqbal’s shayeri. Come Wednesday and Iqbal aficionados make a beeline to the Masjid-e-Aaliya to understand the poet-philosopher.

“The idea of launching a lecture series on Iqbal is to enthuse the youth to take inspiration from his poetry and achieve excellence in whatever field they choose to work in,” says Yezdani.

To commemorate the occasion in a befitting way, a two-day celebration is planned to be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Urdu Hall, Himayatnagar.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan.

Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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