Law Student, New Delhi

Bang-e-Dara: Buddha wa Nanak

Parcham Hilal

Bang-e-Dara translates into English as the call of the marching bell. It is a collection of deeply philosophical poems in Hindi* written by Allama Iqbal in the early 20th century. Given below are some couplets of this magnificent poem dealing with the message of Gautam Buddha and Guru Nanak. Through these lines, Iqbal pays tribute & obeisance to both these great personalities who lighted the lamp of knowledge in this Bar-e-Sagheer Hind which was deeply engulfed in the darkness of ignorance & inequity. Broadly speaking, this great poem reflects on the aspect that despite the repeated attempts of evil Brahminical forces since ages to enslave this glorious Nation in idolatry, inequity & caste oppression, great men like Buddha and Nanak have also risen from time to time to liberate it from such fraud & corruptions. The poem is apt in today’s context as well, given that the same forces inimical to justice & equity have once again seized this holy land of Adam (s) and have usurped & monopolised its resources to the great exclusion of others and a temple of idolatry & fraud is once again going to be erected on the ruins of justice by piercing the heart of the Bahujan Hind or the Greater India.[1]

Qaum ne Paigam-e-Gautam ki zara Parwah na ki
Qadar na pehchani, na apne Gohar-e-Yak dana ki

Ah! Bad-Qismat rahe Aawaz-e-Haq se be-Khabar
Ghaafil apne fal ki Sheerini se hota hai Shajar

Aashkara us ne kiya jo, Zindagi ka raaz tha
Hind ko lekin, Khayali Falsafe par naaz tha

Shama-e-Haq se jo Munawar ho, ye woh mehfil na thi
Baarish-e-Rehmat hui lekin Zameen qabil na thi

Aah! Shudra ke liye Hindustan Gam-Khana hai
Dard-e-Insani se is basti ka dil Begana hai

Brahman sarshaar hai ab tak Mai-e-Pindaar mein
Shama-e-Gautam jal rahi hai Mehfil-e-Aghyar mein

Butkada phir baad muddat ke magar roshan hua
Noor-e-Ibraheem se azar ka ghar roshan hua

Phir uthi aakhir, sada Tauheed ki Punjab se
Hind ko ek Mard-e-Kamil ne jagaya khwab se


The nation didn’t care at all about the Message of Buddha;
It didn’t realise the value of its priceless gem!

Aha! The unfortunate ones remained indifferent to the voices of truth;
Like a tree remains indifferent to the sweetness of its fruit.

What he revealed was the secret of life;
But Hind was proud of its whims and fancies.

It was not an assembly-hall to be lit up by the lamp of truth;
The rain of mercy fell, but the land was barren.

Alas, for the Shudras, India is a house of sorrow;
And this land is indifferent to the sufferings of Humankind.

The Brahmin is still drunk with the wine of pride;
Buddha’s lamp is burning in the assembly‐halls of foreigners.

The idol houses have lit up again after ages;
But Azar’s house was lit up by the light of Abraham.

The call of monotheism rose again from the holy land of Punjab;
When a pious man awakened India from its deep slumber.

*Hindi here does not mean Sanskritised Brahmanical Hindi in Devanagari script. Hindi here refers to the exalted Jaban-e-Urdu/Ordu written in a Persian/Arabic script. We prefer to refer ‘Urdu’ as ‘Hindi’ because Hindi seems to us a more appropriate or better name for this magnificent tongue. By the way, the word ‘Hindi’ itself is an Arabic/Persian term derived from the river Sindhu. Also, the word ‘Hindi’ gives a geographical identity to this Jaban-e-Ordu. Since it is the language of al-Hind, it is appropriate/better to call it ‘Hindi’. The quote below better describes the identity of Muslims belonging to the Bar-e-Sagheer Pak-o-Hind (Indian Sub-Continent) and the Qaumi Tarana best captures the concept & vision of the Muslim Nationalism in the Indian sub-continent which is egalitarian in character in both substance & form and which talks about & advocates the interest & welfare of oppressed, marginalised & backward classes as opposed to the parochial Hindu-Brahmin Nationalism that harps on some whimsical ancient Brahmanical glory and advances the interest of Brahmin and allied upper castes only.  

We are Muslims. Al-Islam is our Faith/Imaan. Equity & Unity are our legacies. Social Justice, Welfare & Progress are our visions. Al-Hind is our Homeland, Al-Hindi is our mother-tongue and which is also our Geographical Identity.