Ata Turk and modern Turkey

Arrangements were made by the administration of Istanbul University, to hear with headphones, the speeches in their languages, but this facility was rarely used. My thesis was to be delivered at the last session of the last day. After my speech, another scholar had to give his speech but he was not present at the occasion so his time was also given to me which was a golden opportunity for me to prolong my discussions in some more detail and take questions also.

I requested Dr. Rajab Urdgan – The Turkish Language Translator – that I would speak gradually for him to translate my discourse into the Turkish language. With the permission of the President of the conference & Head of the department, Dr. Halil Toqar also said that formal discussions are being made and my article has also been published in English and Turkish languages

Here I want to entertain the opportunity to speak from the bottom of my heart to my Turkish friends I shall take purview of Pak-Turk relations, not only with Khilafat Movement but also appropriately discuss the relationship of the Founder of Modern Turkey Kamal Ata Turk with the Founder of Pakistan and our National poet Allama Iqbal. Want to tell you that the founders of Pakistan had deep respect and honour for the father of modern Turkey Kamal Ata Turk.

I acknowledge that in Turkey the personality and struggle of Ata Turk were made controversial by some quarters and the very sort of things also happen in Pakistan but for the two Muslim nations, the work done by both personalities is very substantial. Ata Turk gave fresh zeal to the dilapidated Turk nation and made it strong, moderate, and progressive. This deed is and will remain eternal. Houses built on weak grounds can never sustain heavy storms, fragile and delicate revolutions come as easy as a wind blowing from somewhere and then instantly vanishing into the sky.

The revolution of Ata Turk emerges on solid ground so that almost one century is lapsing but no weakness is shown in its perseverance.   In the life of nations, minor changes come for a little time, and live nations purview their deeds and values periodically and where the need arises they provide for amendments same as human beings learn from passing time, nations learn the same way. Ata Turk built grounds of constitutional, democratic, and liberal Turkey with a secular approach. Praise to Nature that modern Turkey continues on new ways of development by staying firm on its grounds, but also democracy is strengthened than before with increased feelings for Human Rights. With the passage of time, Turk Nation wants to go ahead in advancing its democracy and human rights awareness.

I want to say here that many things have been said about Caliphate Movement, Indeed, South Asian peoples ran a full-fledged movement for the restoration of the Caliphate, but when in 1924 Turkish Nation itself announced the end of the Khilafat Movement adopted the constitutional and democratic way keeping in view the new requirements, the national leader of South Asia Sir Allama Iqbal openly supported Ataturk and even said that this is the new “Ijtehaad” live- inference of Turk nation.

The whole authority of the legislation lies with not one individual but with the elected parliament. Now, this authority will not belong to the Caliph but parliament will itself take full authority. Eventually, other Muslim nations will follow a similar path to the Turks. I admit that in some ways Iqbal’s poetry criticized Ataturk and his revolution, but the son of Iqbal Javed (who recently passed away, and this also is a tragedy that the Twenty-First century’s Iqbal has left us) told me that when Iqbal was suffering from severe illness Muslims of Durbin said to Iqbal that “We in all South Africa have led prayers for your long life”. Iqbal was then in his last period of life, and he gave the message to Muslims of Durban, “What I wanted to do have done already before, now there is no need for me of prayers but do pray for Jinnah and Ata Turk Mustafa Kemal Pasha”.

From this, it can be estimated to what extent Iqbal gave importance to Ataturk. On the other hand, you already know, how our Founder Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah looked to Ata Turk Mustafa Kemal Pasha as an ideal leader. We all know that during the Caliphate Movement Jinnah remained isolated, he made London his home, it is evident from his biography how much he was involved in the study of the book “Gray Wolf” often putting notes on the margins, and underlining phrases. That is why Jinnah’s only daughter Dina named her father “Gray Wolf”. According to Jinnah’s daughter Dina Wadia, he would talk so much about Atatürk at home that she started calling her father the “Grey Wolf”, the name Harold Armstrong gave to his biography of Turkey’s founding father.

Stanley Wolpert also mentions this fact in his biography of Jinnah that, writing that one time on vacation, Dina said to her father: “Come on, Grey Wolf, take me to a pantomime; after all, I am on my holidays.”

Jinnah also said that: “Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was the foremost figure in the Muslim East. In Iran and Afghanistan, in Egypt and, of course, in Turkey, he demonstrated to the consternation of the rest of the world that Muslim nations were coming into their own. In Kemal Atatürk, the Islamic world has lost a great hero.”

To say so, if it was a sort of commitment with a rotten old system, then surely it had to be broken after 1924. But we see that our ideological and intellectual foundations had been further strengthened over time.

Kemal Ata Turk was adorned in all undivided India. But these figures should not be made idols and worshipped, every theory can be taken to criticism from its inception to implementation, similarly no person should be above this trial on reason. With due respect and dignity, we both have gone through the experiences of democratic and military governments. Our two nations have faced internal conflicts and confusion. By the grace of Almighty Allah, today both civilian democratic governments are moving forward with success. Our real problem is that with high democratic constitutional values, not only that we get our two nations to meet with human rights and liberties, but also remove their economic and social issues, and bring up the suppressed classes of our society, no coercion should be done to anyone.

At the end of my speech I would like to refer to Iqbal’s couplet which he said during the Khilafat Movement;

After killing hundred thousand stars, Dawn emerges,

Be not sorrowful though mounting grief over Ottomans;.

Iqbal had no grief over the Ottomans’ predicament. At the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphate, with the leadership of Ata Turk, a new dawn of democratic revolution rose as the sun rises. Iqbal feels joy when he says, “Dawn emerges after killing hundred thousand stars”.

God bless with the dawn, which will one day illuminate the Muslim World as he said in his famous lectures, Reconstructions of religious thoughts, “If the renaissance of Islam is a fact, and I believe it’s a fact, we too one day, like the Turks, will have to re-evaluate our intellectual inheritance.”

Today at his 84th death anniversary, here I am presenting his everlasting statement, which is relevant even today.

Afzaal Rehan is a journalist, columnist, author, analyst and lawyer. He is the President Liberal Human Forum and former chairman of Arbitrary CouncilsSpeciality : 1- Pakistan's Politics and Political Parties 2- Comparative Study of Islam With other Religions 3-Critical Analysis of Religious, Political and Social Issues 4- Urdu literature specially comparative study of Ghalib and Iqbal, Sir Syed and Maududi 5- National and international affairs, issues of rural areas, local bodies, women and minorities 6- Islamic History, Ideology, Sects, Sharia and Family Laws 7- Muslim Extremism and Terrorism 8- Israel-Palestine Conflict 9- Indo-Pak relationsBooks : 1- اسلامی تہذیب بمقابلہ مغربی تہذیب ( حریف یا حلیف ؟) 2- جہاد یا دہشت گردی؟ 3- جمہوریت یا آمریت؟ 4- اعتدال پسندی یا انتہا پسندی؟


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