Symposium on Sir Allama Iqbal's discourse on democracy

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Dr. Allama Iqbal is one of the greatest philosopher poets of India; he and
Swami Vivekananda continue to be the most quoted in awakening the masses with
their wisdom. Their words were magical, thoughtful and evoked practical
attitudes towards life.

was particularly interested in his work on Pluralism, as we are getting ready
to do a poetry session in Urdu-Hindi on Pluralism, as I was familiar with some
of his works, like “ Mazhab nahin sikhata aapas me bair rakhna”  meaning religion does not teach one to hold
grudges against people of other faiths.  Boy,
was I happy to hear the response from the audience? Apparently there is a lot more
poetry to explore. There was group of ladies on the table next to mine, and
they were happy to express their familiarity with his work on pluralism, and I
have requested them to write a poem about pluralism.   

MikeGhouse-Dr.Nyla Khan-Dr.Anwar
Dr.MonaKazimShah-Mrs and Dr. Masood Raja-Dr.Anwar

The South Asia Democracy watch organized the event, and had invited great
speakers to talk about his work. Dr. Jaffar Mahallati, former UN Ambassador got
everyone floored when he talked about Dr. Iqbal’s influence on the Iranian
intellectuals and continues to be part of the study and speeches even to this
day. Dr. Nyla Ali Khan, the granddaughter of Sheikh Abdullah, Chief Minister of
Kashmir and a Professor in Oklahoma delivered one of the greatest speeches on
democracy and the impeccable value of US Constitution and Iqbal’s preference
for democracy, where leadership with morality was to be valued, but religion and
state were to be separate entities. My admiration for Iqbal continues to grow.

Dr. Talmeez Fatima, Dr. Masood Raja and Dr. Qaisar Abbas delivered the messages
that I have been craving to hear all my life – about his views on democracy and
pluralism. I hope to read Dr. Abbas’s article in Urdu to fully grasp the
thoughts he has written, and Dr. Fatima talked about timeliness of Iqbal’s
message. Dr. Basheer Ahmed did a fabulous job as the master of the ceremonies. 

One of the rigors of intellectualism is to
question everything, and questioning they did. Particularly Masood Raja; no one
should be given a free pass.  In the  story of my
quest for pluralism
, I have quoted my sister’s innocent throw back question
at me some 40 years ago – “do you know more than Allama Iqbal” and my response
remains the same to this day, no, but I will not take any one’s words for

camera died on me at the all day event “many faces one peace” from there I
rushed to this program and did not get a chance to charge up my camera or the
cell phone. I am writing a separate note about the program, where I spoke how
to build a cohesive America, where no American has to live in apprehension,
discomfort or fear of the other, and book and the move is in the making on the
Americans Together.

Mike Ghouse is a

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