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Khurram Ali Shafique

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The Republic of Rumi

Twelve Great Thinkers


The following personalities stand out in modern history as critical links in the evolution of the idea that is Pakistan. They managed to reach even those who could not read or write. Since each was an institution in themselves, scores of other like-minded thinkers, poets and artists can be identified and appraised through them.

Shah Waliullah gave the dream of reorganizing the society along spiritual lines. This dream has been lived and enriched by each successive generation. In the era which seems to have has just started since 2007, the message of Waliullah is becoming increasingly more relevant, as if taking an extended life.

Mir Taqi Mir redefined love as a value that transcends nationality, race or religion.

Sachal Sarmast wrote in seven languages including Persian, Urdu, Sindhi, Saraiki and Punjabi. He worked with ethnic material to discover a collective identity for Islam, hence seeking a unity in cultural diversity.

Mir Amman translated the rich metaphor of Sufi storytelling into modern Urdu prose by retelling an age-old story about the unification of love and power in a futuristic society.

Mirza Ghalib redefined the meaning of faith in a world which insisted on becoming more pluralistic than could have been imagined ever before.

Bahadur Shah Zafar helped disseminate poetry through recitals at Red Fort and presided over the last flowering of the Mughal culture before it succumbed to the onslaught of the British rule.

Sir Syed Ahmad Khan reworked the dream of Shah Waliullah and enlisted modern science as an important tool for discovering "the secrets of religion." In the later phase, he extended his earlier work by pioneering a movement for unifying the Muslims of South Asia.

Muhammad Ali Jauhar extended the work of Zafar through journalism, gramophone records and political activism. He practically founded Muslim ideological journalism in a modern sense of the term.

Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal extended the work of Ghalib by showing the practial implications of faith in the modern world through such concepts as spiritual democracy and the state of Pakistan.

Ibne Safi extended the work of Mir Amman by demonstrating the coplex issues of law, sovereignty and international relations through fiction which was equally popular among the masses and the educated elite.

Waheed Murad extended the work of Sachal Sarmast by giving us the modern folklore of Pakistan: films and music which translate love as integration of diverse segments of the Pakistani society.

Mustansar Husain Tarar extended the work of Mir Taqi Mir by suggesting that since the unity of Pakistan is rooted in 5000 years of history, therefore it transcends interpretations and political arrangements.

Entries in the above list are linked to pages on The Republic of Rumi Blog where you can also post comments. Just click on a name and follow the link.



Each thinker mentioned here has a separate page on The Republic of Rumi Blog (above) where you can also post comments.