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Sare Jahan Se Accha

Saare Jahan Se Achcha

Saare Jahan Se Achchha (Urdu:, Hindi: सारे जहां से अच्छा) is one of the enduring patriotic poems of the Urdu language. Written originally for children in the ghazal style of Urdu poetry by poet Muhammad Iqbal, the poem was published in the weekly journal Ittehad on 16 August 1904. Recited by Iqbal the following year at Government College, Lahore, now in Pakistan, it quickly became an anthem of opposition to the British rule in India. The song, an ode to Hindustan—the land comprising present-day Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan—both celebrated and cherished the land even as it lamented its age-old anguish. Also known as Tarana-e-Hindi (Urdu: ترانۂ ہندی "Anthem of the People of Hindustan"), it was later published in 1924 in the Urdu book Bang-i-Dara.

Iqbal was a lecturer at the Government College, Lahore at that time, and was invited by student Lala Har Dayal to preside over a function. Instead of delivering a speech, Iqbal sang Saare Jahan Se Achcha. The song, in addition to embodying yearning and attachment to the land of Hindustan, expressed "cultural memory" and had an elegiac quality. In 1905, the 27-year old Iqbal was still in his idealistic phase and viewed the future society of the subcontinent as both a pluralistic and composite Hindu-Muslim culture. Later that year he left for Europe for a three-year sojourn that was to transform him into an Islamic philosopher and a visionary of a future Islamic society.

Iqbal's transformation and Tarana-e-Milli

In 1910, Iqbal wrote another song for children, Tarana-e-Milli (Anthem of the Religious Community), which was composed in the same metre and rhyme scheme as Saare Jahan Se Achcha, but which renounced much of the sentiment of the earlier song. For example, the sixth stanza of Saare Jahan Se Achcha (1904) is often quoted as proof of Iqbal's secular outlook:

mażhab nahīñ sikhātā āpas meñ bair rakhnā
hindī haiñ ham, vat̤an hai hindostāñ hamārā

or,

Religion does not teach us to bear ill-will among ourselves
We are of Hind, our homeland is Hindustan.

In contrast, the first stanza of Tarana-e-Milli (1910) reads:

chīn-o-arab hamārā, hindostān hamārā
muslim hain ham, vatan hai sārā jahān hamārā

or,

Central Asia and Arabia are ours, Hindustan is ours
We are Muslims, the whole world is our homeland.

Iqbal's world view had now changed; it had become both global and Islamic. Instead of singing of India, "our homeland," the new song proclaimed that "our homeland is the whole world. Two decades later, in his presidential address to the Muslim League annual conference in Allahabad in 1930, he was to propose a separate nation-state in the Muslim majority areas of the sub-continent, an idea that inspired the creation of Pakistan.

Popularity in India

In spite of its creator's disavowal of it, Saare Jahan Se Achcha has remained popular in India for over a century. Mahatma Gandhi is said to have sung it over a hundred times when he was imprisoned at Yerawada Jail in Pune in the 1930s. The poem was set to music in the 1950s by sitar maestro Ravi Shankar and recorded by singer Lata Mangeshkar. Stanzas (1), (3), (4), and (6) of the song became an unofficial national anthem in India, and were also turned into the official quick march of the Indian Armed Forces. Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian cosmonaut, employed the first line of the song in 1984 to describe to then prime minister Indira Gandhi how India appeared from outer space. Current prime minister, Manmohan Singh, quoted the poem at his first press conference. The song is, however, little known in Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Urdu text

سارے جہاں سے اچھا ہندوستاں ہمارا
ہم بلبليں ہيں اس کي، يہ گلستاں ہمارا

غربت ميں ہوں اگر ہم، رہتا ہے دل وطن ميں
سمجھو وہيں ہميں بھي، دل ہو جہاں ہمارا

پربت وہ سب سے اونچا، ہمسايہ آسماں کا
وہ سنتري ہمارا، وہ پاسباں ہمارا

گودي ميں کھيلتي ہيں اس کي ہزاروں ندياں
گلشن ہے جن کے دم سے رشک جناں ہمارا

اے آب رود گنگا، وہ دن ہيں ياد تجھ کو؟
اترا ترے کنارے جب کارواں ہمارا

مذہب نہيں سکھاتا آپس ميں بير رکھنا
ہندي ہيں ہم وطن ہے ہندوستاں ہمارا

يونان و مصر و روما سب مٹ گئے جہاں سے
اب تک مگر ہے باقي نام و نشاں ہمارا

کچھ بات ہے کہ ہستي مٹتي نہيں ہماري
صديوں رہا ہے دشمن دور زماں ہمارا اقبال! کوئي محرم اپنا نہيں جہاں ميں
معلوم کيا کسي کو درد نہاں ہمارا

Roman Transliteration

sāre jahāñ se achchā hindostāñ hamārā
ham bulbuleñ haiñ us kī vuh gulsitāñ hamārā

ġhurbat meñ hoñ agar ham, rahtā hai dil vat̤an meñ
samjho vuhīñ hameñ bhī dil ho jahāñ hamārā

parbat vuh sab se ūñchā, hamsāyah āsmāñ kā
vuh santarī hamārā, vuh pāsbāñ hamārā

godī meñ kheltī haiñ us kī hazāroñ nadiyāñ
gulshan hai jin ke dam se rashk-e janāñ hamārā

ay āb-rūd-e gangā! vuh din haiñ yād tujh ko?
utarā tire kināre jab kāravāñ hamārā

mażhab nahīñ sikhātā āpas meñ bair rakhnā
hindī haiñ ham, vat̤an hai hindostāñ hamārā

yūnān-o-miṣr-o-rumā sab miṭ gaʾe jahāñ se
ab tak magar hai bāqī nām-o-nishāñ hamārā

kuchh bāt hai kih hastī miṭtī nahīñ hamārī
sadiyoñ rahā hai dushman daur-e zamāñ hamārā

iqbāl! koʾī maḥram apnā nahīñ jahāñ meñ
maʿlūm kyā kisī ko dard-e nihāñ hamārā!

Translation

Better than the entire world, is our Hindustan,
We are its nightingales, and it (is) our garden abode

If we are in an alien place, the heart remains in the homeland,
Know us to be only there where our heart is.

That tallest mountain, that shade-sharer of the sky,
It (is) our sentry, it (is) our watchman

In its lap frolic those thousands of rivers,
Whose vitality makes our garden the envy of Paradise.

O the flowing waters of the Ganges, do you remember that day
When our caravan first disembarked on your waterfront?

Religion does not teach us to bear ill-will among ourselves
We are of Hind, our homeland is Hindustan.

In a world in which ancient Greece, Egypt, and Rome have all vanished without trace
Our own attributes (name and sign) live on today.

Such is our existence that it cannot be erased
Even though, for centuries, the cycle of time has been our enemy.

Iqbal! We have no confidant in this world
What does any one know of our hidden pain?

Notes and References

See also

External links

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