shikvah

Published in baang-e daraa (The Sound of the Bell) (1924).
From: kulliyaat-e iqbaal urduu
(Lahore: Shaikh Ghulam 'Ali and Sons Publishers, 1973 (and later reprints), pp. 163-170; the text of javaab-e shikvah : pp. 199-208

a musaddas ; *meter*: = - = = / - - = = / - - = = / = =
(in this meter, the next-to-last long syllable can be replaced at will by two short syllables)

This is one of Iqbal's most famous poems; it's polemical rather than subtle or sophisticated. Though it's not one of his truly great ones, I like it for its wild, passionate energy that spins off in all directions, and for the glimpses it gives us of the development of his poetic thought. I've presented it here with detailed notes that I hope will be useful to students.

The poem consists of thirty-one six-line stanzas [band] in the same meter, each of which is made up of four lines in the same rhyming pattern, followed by two lines in a different one that act as a kind of ;Tiip or 'punch-line'. My translation is as literal as it can possibly be, since it's meant for students of the poem and not for literary effect in English.

Iqbal first recited it in 1911, at the annual meeting of the Anjuman-e Himayat-e Islam in Lahore. He is said to have refused to perform it in the musical, semi-sung tarannum style, despite the demand of the audience, because he thought it so important. It moved many listeners to tears, but was also attacked for showing disrespect toward God.

In 1913 he recited "Answer to the Complaint" [javaab-e shikvah] at a mushairah in Mochi Gate, in Lahore. In it God replies that the reason he's less kind to Muslims nowadays is that their forefathers were much better men in every respect; God reproaches the present generation of Muslims far more severely than Iqbal, in "Complaint," reproaches Him

Nusrat Fatah Ali Khan's performance of "Shikvah," in sections, on YouTube: [one]; [two]; [three]; [four]; [five]; [six]

Here's an *illustrated recitation*

Here's Javab-e Shikvah: [part one]; [part two]; [part three]

And here's a political parody version that was circulating widely among American Muslims in September 2007: *parody page 1*; *parody page 2*.

"Complaint" (1911)

*the Urdu text*; *a serial glossary*; *a transliteration*

*stanzas 1 through 5*
*stanzas 6 through 10*
*stanzas 11 through 15*
*stanzas 16 through 20*
*stanzas 21 through 25*
*stanzas 26 through 31*

"Answer to the Complaint" (1913)

*the Urdu text*; *a serial glossary*
*the Urdu text, with stanzas numbered* (a special present for the Spring 2010 class)

*stanzas 1 through 5*
*stanzas 6 through 10*
*stanzas 11 through 15*
*stanzas 16 through 20*
*stanzas 21 through 25*
*stanzas 26 through 30*
*stanzas 31 through 36*

 

 
 
 

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