Why Iqbal’s Saare Jahain se accha Hindustan Hamara is a pack of lies

The Joke goes like this : A new born baby asks the Nurse why there is no electricity in the hospital. The nurse replies there is a power-cut. The baby responds… dhat tere kee.. fir se india mein paida ho gaya :(. ( Oh shit I’m born again in India).

In 1904 Iqbal wrote “ Saare Jahain se Accha Hindustan Hamara“.  If you were like me who studied in Kendriya Vidyalaya you could not miss singing this song every week during assembly. And all of us  truly believed in it. Its only later in life I realised that how we have been fed a bunch of lies through this song. May be that was the purpose of the song when Iqbal wrote it.

For instance when ever I would sing these lines my heart would be  filled with pride.

Sāre jahāṉ se acchā, Hindositāṉ hamārā
Ham bulbuleṉ haiṉ is kī, yih gulsitāṉ hamārā

Its now only that I realise that first of all we are not Hindustan. Suddenly Hindustan has become very communal word.  Every 2 cent politician and secularist will remind you that we are  India and not Hindustan. And second we are one of the poorest countries in the world with thousands of our countrymen dying of hunger and disease every day. We are also a country filled of filth and dirty every where. We don’t even leave our holiest places. So all this talk about “Ham bulbuleṉ haiṉ is kī, yih gulsitāṉ hamārā “is a bucket full of shit.

Now sample this. How much praise for the rivers of India.

Godī meṉ kheltī haiṉ is kī hazāroṉ nadiyāṉ
Guls̱ẖan hai jin ke dam se ras̱ẖk-i janāṉ hamārā

It seems like we all worship and love our rivers. Yes we do but we dirty them with even more passion. Ganga is one of the dirtiest rivers in the world.  I live in Delhi and Yamuna can be best described as a dirty sewer line. And this is Indians doing it to their own rivers, their lifeline.

I bet all of us can remember these lines.  For some of us this is the only line that we remember.

Maẕhab nahīṉ sikhātā āpas meṉ bair rakhnā
Hindī haiṉ ham, wat̤an hai Hindositāṉ hamāra.

And how much we believed in it. But look at the times now in India and the world.  Al- Qaida is opening a branch in India and asking for Muslims to join for a Islamic state. ISIS is  fighting for its brand of Islam and killings people in thousands. Many thousands have been killed  in the names of  religion in Gujarat and elsewhere. So I wonder what does religion teaches us anyways if its not hate and hatred. How many people need to be killed before we can prove conclusively that our  “religion is the religion of peace”.

But what finally broke my heart came from none other than Iqbal himself.  As I was searching for the lyrics of  Saare jahain se accha I chanced about another text that Iqbal wrote in 1910.  Its called  ” Tarana-e-Milli” .  The first stanza of Tarana-e-Milli (1910) reads:

Cīn o-ʿArab hamārā, Hindūstāṉ hamārā
Muslim haiṉ ham, wat̤an hai sārā jahāṉ hamārā


Central Asia and Arabia are ours, Hindustan is ours
we are Muslims, the whole world is our homeland

Contrast this with what Iqbal wrote in Saare Jahain se accha.

Maẕhab nahīṉ sikhātā āpas meṉ bair rakhnā
Hindī haiṉ ham, wat̤an hai Hindūstāṉ hamārā


Religion does not teach us to bear ill-will among ourselves
We are of Hind, our homeland is Hindustan.


Iqbal Sahib, what a shame. If you were still around you could have become the torch bearer of ISIS.  I can only say that you have broken my heart.

qbāl! ko’ī maḥram apnā nahīṉ jahāṉ meṉ
Maʿlūm kyā kisī ko dard-i nihāṉ hamārā!

Iqbal! We have no confidante in this world
What does any one know of our hidden pain?

I hope you are listening 😦


2 thoughts on “Why Iqbal’s Saare Jahain se accha Hindustan Hamara is a pack of lies

  1. May peace be upon you

    Thanks for this post.

    You are right about what you said in this post that Iqbal wrote two very different things. I hope you have also delved into why did he write these two? I hope to hear from you on this. I am learning about Iqbal.

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