When Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian to travel to space, was asked by the then Indian Prime Minister - Mrs. Indira Gandhi: "Upar se Bharat kaisa dikhta hain" (How does India look from the space), the astronaut was quick to reply "Saare jahan se achcha, Hindustaan hamara" (India is best among all the nations).
This was the fantastic appeal and widespread popularity of Tarana-I-Hind, an anthem composed by the great poet Muhammad Iqbal. For decades, it has been successfully igniting the patriotic zeal among millions of Indian, the world over.
And, recently, the anthem completed 100 years. For the whole century, this anthem has instilled the sense of confidence and belief among Indians about their motherland. I am sure the anthem has enough auras for keeping the enthusiastic devotion among Indians for the country in high spirits for the next 1000 years, and even more.
An immortal anthem from an extraordinary poet!
The following piece appeared in the Islamic Voice, Bangalore:
Saare Jahan Se Achcha turns 100
Mumbai: Saare Jahan Se Achcha, Dr Allama Iqbal’s unique tribute to India, which is today an inseparable part of the national consciousness, has turned 100. On April 21, Iqbal’s death anniversary, Mumbai-based Urdu scholar Abdus Sattar Dalvi and his associates had organized special centenary celebrations for the song at the V P Naik Bhavan at Mumbai University’s Kalina campus.
In 1904, Iqbal, then a young lecturer at the Government College, Lahore, was invited by his favorite student Lala Hardayal - a patriot who established the Gadar Party in the US. Iqbal sang Saare Jahan Se Achcha with gusto. When poet Dr Allama Iqbal sang Saare Jahan Se Achchha, the audience was stunned; no one had heard anything like it before. Simple and alluring, the song became a rallying point for freedom fighters.