Essay Competition

"Iqbal’s Concept of Individuals’ Significance in Nation Building"

Commemorating Allama Iqbal’s 146th Birth Anniversary

Date: November 14, 2023

In commemoration of Allama Iqbal’s 146th Birth Anniversary, Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN), Quetta arranged an essay competition on the topic “Iqbal’s Concept of Individuals’ Significance in Nation Building” for all the private and public sector universities of Pakistan. The competition was announced on BTTN’s social media platforms and website on September 15. The submission deadline was set for October 31. On November 9, the winners of the competition were announced on the website and social media handles. Students from Balochistan enrolled in different universities of Pakistan under all programs were invited to submit their essays and an overwhelming response was received. The essays were evaluated by BTTN’s Institutional Review Board through a blind peer review. The rationale behind the competition was to promote critical thinking and engaging the youth through inclusivity and outreach. Based on the assessment, the top four contributors were invited to BTTN for the prize distribution ceremony held in BTTN Seminar Hall, BUITEMS, Quetta on Tuesday, November 14, 2023.

The event began with the National Anthem followed by the recitation of the Holy Quran. Research Officer Mr. Muneeb-Ur-Rehman moderated the event.
Brig Agha Ahmad Gul (R) delivered the welcome remarks in which he congratulated the winners for their effort and subsequent achievement. He noted that the individuals’ contribution in the fate of nations was the anchor which this competition was based on. He stressed that Iqbal’s thoughts are still relevant till this day and that his concept of “Khudi” transcends far beyond individualism and is more focused on self-actualization.

Following this, BTTN’s Director Research Dr. Maria Malik briefly explained the assessment methodology and rationale behind the competition.

Mr Muhammad Ilyas from COMSATS, Islamabad, was awarded the special recognition prize. He stressed on the importance of individual as a component of society. According to him, Iqbal stresses that the individual qualities of humans do not possess any significance if taken out of societal contexts. Ms. Fizza Mehek Batool from BUITEMS, Quetta, who secured 3rd position, highlighted the need for self-reliance of individuals as a key to nation building. She stated that knowing one’s potential and developing it is the highest form of achievement for a human according to Iqbal. Mr. Zahoor Ahmed, from BUITEMS, Quetta secured 2nd position. He mentioned that Iqbal’s enduring legacy serves as a poignant reminder that individuals are not mere bystanders, but rather, they are dynamic catalysts in the construction of a robust and thriving nation.

Ms. Mahpara Baloch who belongs to the remote area of Washuk that is 100 miles South of Kharan and is now studying at Kinnaird College for Women University Lahore. Mahpara who secured 1st position in the competition stressed on the need for spiritual revival and that we as Muslims have failed to follow our deen in our daily lives.

The Keynote Speaker for the event was Director of Iqbal Academy, Dr Abdul Rauf Rafiqi. He congratulated BTTN for carrying on with the tradition of holding Iqbal in high esteem. Iqbal’s poetry, according to him, is the key for intellectual mobilisation of the youth. He lamented the fact that Iqbal is not studied as systematically in Pakistan as it is done in other parts of the Muslim world. According to Dr. Rafiqi, Iqbal’s thoughts are the center of Islamic Thought as Iqbal stressed that if one wants to live according to Islam, one must not look further than the Quran itself. While concluding his address, Mr. Rafiqi stressed that it is incumbent on the youth of today to learn more about Iqbal as his thoughts revive and rejuvenate the most pessimistic of the souls.

The Chief Guest of the occasion Prof Dr Khalid Hafeez, VC BUITEMS, shared that Iqbal had a huge contribution in inspiring him as a youngster. He noted that Iqbal’s poetry deal both with the physical and the metaphysical and that there are no limits to human ingenuity if one goes by Iqbal’s maxims. He regretted the fact that our own school curricula do not pay the credit to Allama Iqbal as much as he deserves and that most of our educated people are unaware of Iqbal’s ideology and its instrumentality in the revival of the Muslims.

In his note of thanks, Brig Gul thanked all the guests, participants, and the audience.
The event was attended by the students as well as people from academia and other walks of life. Towards the end the winners were awarded cash prizes and certificates of participation. The event concluded with a group photo and refreshments.