Row erupts over photo of ‘Sare Jahan Se Accha’ writer in BHU

Varanasi: A photo of poet Mohammad “Allama” Iqbal, famous for his 1904 song Sare Jahan Se Accha, on a departmental poster sparked a controversy at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on Tuesday with authorities ordering an inquiry and student protests against the 20th century figure.

According to South Asian Wire, the Urdu department of the university used a photo of Iqbal for a webinar on Urdu Day, which is celebrated on the poet’s birthday on November 9. But many students objected to this and questioned why photos of Madan Mohan Malviya, the founder of the university, were missing. They also held protests.

“The picture of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malviya is put up on e-posters of every programme in BHU, including Urdu Day. But this time, the picture of Allama Iqbal was printed on the e-poster in place of Mahamana ji,” said Patanjali Pandey, a research scholar.

Students also alleged that the “kulgeet” (anthem) of BHU was also not sung at the beginning of the event. They submitted a memorandum saying that glorification of a Pakistani leader in BHU was unfortunate. Iqbal, one of the proponents of the two-nation theory, died in 1938, before Pakistan was formed in 1947.

After the controversy, the department replaced the picture of Iqbal with Malviya. Dean of the faculty of arts, Vijay Bahadur Singh, apologised for the “mistake”. He said that a probe will be initiated into the matter and action taken accordingly.

BHU public relation officer Dr Rajesh Singh said a notice was issued to the head of Urdu department and an inquiry committee constituted under M Pandey, head of the English department.


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