Allama Iqbal

February 15, 2012 10:24 pm537 commentsViews: 7553

Allama Iqbal – The Great Poet And Philosopher:

Great Poet-Philosopher, Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal, universally known as Allama Iqbal, born in November 9, 1877, he is counted as one of the most basic pillars of the Urdu culture.

Iqbal is widely known as an outstanding classical poet not by just Indians and Pakistanis but by other International scholars too. He was not only known as a poet but was much admired as a Muslim philosopher as well. His first poetry manuscript named “Asrar-e-Khudi” was published in 1915 and it was in Persian language. His other famous Persian poetry books are Rumuz-e-bekhudi, Payam-e-Mashrique and Zabur-e- Ajam. His Urdu masterpieces include Bang-e-Dara, Bal-e-Jibril and Zarb-e-Kalim.

Over the years by his poems and philosophy, by his speeches and writings, his letters and lectures he laid a great influence on cultural, social, political, and social disputes. He was given the title of “Sir” by King George V. While his stay in London for the study of law and philosophy he became a member of All India Muslim League’s branch in London. Afterwards in his historical speech at the place of Allahabad in 1930, he proposed the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent. He proved to be the right hand of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

He is known as the Poet of the East, (Urdu: مشرق شاعر), Thinker of Pakistan (Mufakkir-e-Pakistan) and the Sage of the Ummah (Hakeem-ul-ummat). The Pakistani Nation officially recognizes Allama Muhammad Iqbal as first and the greatest national poet. Iqbal’s poetry is not only valued in the sub continent but the Afghanis and Iranis too appreciate his Persian work and know him well by the name of Iqbal Lahori. 9th November, Allama Iqbal’s birthday is celebrated warmly in Pakistan and it is a national holiday.

Muhammad Allama Iqbal’s Biography:

The allama iqbal biography is as follows;

Allama Iqbal, the poet of East was born in Sialkot, a town in Punjab, Pakistan, on 9th November, 1877. In the reign of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, his forefathers were converted to Islam, they were Kashmiri Brahmans before. Iqbal loved his mother very much. She was a nice humble woman who even solved the problems of the next door neighbors. On her death he was so grieved that he wrote the following verses.

Who would wait for me anxiously in my native place?

Who would display restlessness if my letter fails to arrive?

I will visit thy grave with this complaint:

Who will now think of me in midnight prayers?

All thy life thy love served me with devotions

When I became fit to serve thee, thou hast departed

Iqbal was sent to a Masjid to learn Quran when he was only four years old. Later he had the honor to be taught by Syed Mir Hassan, who was a great teacher and head of Islamic School too. In 1895, Iqbal got the diploma of arts from Scotch Mission College. Iqbal was married to the daughter of a Gujarat physician in the same year named, Karim bibi. This was a pure arranged marriage.

In the meanwhile, he started learning Arabic, English literature and Philosophy from Government College Lahore. He did his Bachelors in Arts and was the first student to graduate in his philosophy class.

His Stay In Europe For Higher Education:

Allama Muhammad Iqbal was inclined to Sir Thomas Arnold’s teaching, who was a great philosopher. Iqbal went to England for further studies where he became very close to Arnold. In 1907 Iqbal qualified for scholarship in Cambridge from Trinity College. In 1908 he was called to the bar as a barrister from Lincoln’s inn.

While his stay in Europe, he realized that his Persian poetry has got the power to influence the people and this will be an easy way to convey his ideas and feelings to the common people.

He went to Germany in 1908, where he was taught about Goethe’s Faust, Heine and Nietzsche by his German teacher Emma Wegenast. It is heard that Iqbal had feelings for her but no relationship progressed. In 1907 he got admission in the faculty of philosophy of the Ludwig Maximilian University at Munich and sustained with his PhD degree. His doctorate thesis entitled as: The Development of Metaphysics in Persia was published in 1908 under the guidance of Freidrich Hummel.

The great Philosopher, Poet of the East and The sage of the Ummah died on April 21, 1938 in Lahore.

Literary Career In India:

When allama iqbal returned to India he took assistant professorship at Government College Lahore. But for monetary reasons he started practicing law within a year. Moreover, he kept on working on his literary work, poetry and religious subjects. Anjuman Himayat-e-Islam was an organization of Muslim scholars, writers and poets as well as politicians; Iqbal was a vigorous member of this organization too. He became the general secretary of this organization in 1918. The allama iqbal shayari and his other work was based on his personal experiences while his stay in Europe and the Middle East. Additionally, his work revolved around the spiritual direction and advancement of human society. Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Berg son and Goethe were the western philosophers Iqbal was inspired with.

Iqbal was deeply influenced with the teaching of Maulana Rumi. Iqbal embraced Rumi as his spiritual guide. As he was brought up in a pure Islamic culture from the beginning, he thus laid emphasis on the studying of Islam, the ethnicity and history of Islamic empire and its political future. The poetry of allama iqbal focuses on reminding its readers about the past glories and victories of the Muslims. According to Iqbal, Islam is a religion of socio-political freedom and magnitude.

Iqbal’s poetry was also very famous in European countries in the 20th century and his writings were translated into many different European languages. R. A Nicholson and A. J Arberry translated Iqbal’s Asrar-e-Khudi and Javaid Nama respectively.

Poetry In Persian Language:

Iqbal’s work, for the most part is in Persian relatively than Urdu. Out of 12000 poetry verses, 7000 are in Persian language.


His first manuscript, Asrar-e-khudi was published in 1915 and was in Persian language. allama iqbal poems in this book give the message of self-confidence, spiritual values and have religious perspective. Many of the critics have called this the best of all allama iqbal poetry. The alama iqbal has widely explained the theme and the concept of the term “khudi” (self) which is synonymous with the word “Rooh” mentioned in Quran, “Rooh” was that divine spark present in all human beings which makes them superior to all other creatures and it was the sacred spark due to which God asked all the angels to bend in front of Adam. One has to ponder deeply to realize what Iqbal actually means by the term Khudi.

This same concept was used in Mantaq-ul-Tair by Khwaja Farid-ud-Din Attar. He proved that every single being has to obey the one and only “Self”. For Iqbal, the aim of life is self-realization, self judgment and self-knowledge. He condemns self-violation. He marks the step which one has to follow to finally attain the point of perfection of being the true Naib (vice- regent) of God.


He seeks to prove that Islamic code of conduct and way of life is the only key of success of a nation and is essential for a nation’s viability in this iqbal book Rumuz-e-Bekhudi (Hints of Selflessness). He says that one should keep his individual characteristics in one piece but when it comes of the entire nation welfare, he should know how to sacrifice one’s personal ambitions for others. With the theme of ideal community, Islamic ethics, Social principals and the relation between an individual and society, other poetry books of allama iqbal were also published in 1917 and were in Persian Language. Though Iqbal is true to Islam throughout, he also accepts the positive aspects of other religions. The two manuscripts Rumuz-e-Bekhudi and Asrar-e-Khudi are often put together as one in a volume entitled as Asrar-e-Rumuz (Hinting Secrets). The whole Muslim world is addressed in it.


The 1924 publication of Allama Muhammad Iqbal Payam-e-Mashrique (Message of the East) is closely related to the famous German poet Goethe’s West-östlicher Divan. Goethe condemns the extreme materialistic West-östlicher Divan outlook of the West and expects that the east will provide some positive message which will give a new breath to the spiritual values. The allama poetry is considered by himself as a memento to the West about the significance of moral values, religion and traditions by mentioning the need of cultivating passion, love and vitality. He believes that until or unless one knows the importance of spirituality, he cannot aspire to higher proportions. He always admired the liberal Afghanistani movements against the British Empire in his book Payam-e-Mashrique and presented it to king Amanullah Khan in his first visit to Afghanistan.

He was officially invited to attend the meetings of Kabul University in Afghanistan.


Zabur-e-Ajam, 1927 master piece of sir allama iqbal includes poems of allama iqbal: Gulshan-e-Raz-e-Jadeed (Garden of New Secrets) and Bandagi Nama (Book of Slavery). In this book of poetry allama iqbal asks a question first and then he answers it himself by using modern and classic insight and its value in the practical world. He also explains the spirit behind the fine arts of enslaved societies and thus denounces slavery. In the residual Allama poetry he emphasis love, enthusiasm and energy along with doing well in the present and being watchful about the future.

Javaid Nama:

1932 Allama poetry Javaid Nama is addressed to his son Javaid whom he features in the poems. Through mystical and exaggerated depictions across time, it is an example of Ibn Arabi and Dante’s The Divine Comedy.

Sir iqbal allama through various heavens and spheres, depicts himself as Zinda Rud (stream full of life) as guided by Rumi “The Master” and has the honor of achieving divinity and coming in contact with divine illuminations. Iqbal condemns the Muslims involved in the defeat and death of Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula of Bengal and Tipu Sultan to benefit the British and ultimately leading the nation to the darkness of slavery. In the End, he directly addresses his son Javaid and generally speaks to the young people and provides them guidance.

He had great love for the Persian language, as he says in one of the allama iqbal sher:

گرچہ اردو در عذوبت شکر است

garche Urdū dar uzūbat shekkar ast

طرز گفتار دري شيرين تر است

Tarz-e goftar-e Dari shirin tar ast

Translation: Even though in sweetness Urdu* is sugar(but) speech method in Dari (Persian) is sweeter *

Work In Urdu Language:


In 1924 Iqbal’s first poetry volume Bang-e-Dara (The call of the marching bell) was published in which he showed three discrete phases of life. The time Iqbal left for England (1905), the poems written by then were completely absorbed in the passion of patriotism and descriptions of landscape. Poems in Bang-e-Dara include Taraana-e-Hind (song of India) generally known as ‘Saarey Jahan Se Aches’ and Taraana-e-Milli (Anthem of the Muslim Community). 1905-1908 is the period in which Iqbal wrote the second deposit of poems in which he says that this western community has lost its all religious and moral values and is weak. This was the basic thing which urged Iqbal to write poems not from a Muslim but from a global perspective, to make the world realize the significance of Muslim heritage and Islamic culture. Iqbal addresses the whole Muslim community as ‘Ummah’ and insists them to define individual, social and political perspective according to the teachings of Islam.

Shikwa And Jawab-e-Shikwa:

In April 1911, the poem of allama iqbal shikwa (complaint to God) was published. Shikwa as one of the most famous poems of Iqbal. Iqbal recited himself at the yearly session of Anjuman Himayat-e- Islamin Lahore at Islamia College. It was appreciated widely and was published frequently in the magazines and journals of India. This poem comprises of thirty-one stanzas, each having six verses. In the poem Iqbal has tinted Islam’s living mores in such a way that it leaves a mark on the heart of every listener. It gave new life, courage and enthusiasm to the whole Muslim Nation. The poem Shikwa is Iqbal’s complaint to God in a very distinctive way.

In this poem Allama Iqbal says;

we effaced falsehood from the earth’s surface

we freed the human race from bonds of slavery

we filled Thy Kaa’ba with our foreheads

we put Thy Qur’an to our hearts

Still Thou complaineth that we are lacking fealty

If we are lacking fealty Thou also art not generous.

He also wrote a poem entitled Jawab-e-Shikwa (reply of the complaint) which became extremely famous too.

He says

Weare inclined to Mercy, but there is no one to implore

Whom can us show the way? There is no wayfarer to the destination

Jewel polishing is common but there is no proper jewel

There is no clay capable of being molded into Adam

We confer the glory of Kaion the deserving

We confer even a whole new world on those who search.

After 1930, he worked mostly in Urdu language, addressing directly the Muslim masses of India and urging them to wake up for the social and political progress, in spite of the fact that he preferred working in Persian language. He chiefly wrote on the topic of Islam.


Iqbal went to Spain where he visited the monuments and legacies of the Kingdom of The Moors, inspired from that, in 1935 he wrote his famous book Baal-e-Jibril (wings of Gabriel). It comprises of ghazals, poems, quatrains and epigrams and promotes the passion and love for religion. According to the critics this is the finest of dr allama iqbal’s manuscripts.

His poem Musafir (traveler) is present in Pas Cheh Bayed Kard ai Aqwam-e-Sharq (What should then be done O people of the East!). The clarification of mysteries of Islamic Laws and Sufi perceptions is given; he also depicts Rumi as a character. The disunity between the Muslims as well as Muslim nations is condemned by Iqbal. Iqbal went to Afghanistan and this poem Musafir is an account of that journey where he asks the Pashto people to understand the basic concept of Islam and to believe in the “Self”.


The final work of Iqbal was his book entitled Armughan-e-Hijaz, which consists of two portions. One has some quatrains in Persian while the second part comprises of Urdu epigrams. Persian quatrains deliver the feeling that as if the writer is travelling through the Holy places of Hijaz and spread the feeling of love in one’s heart for those sacred places. While he was in London for the sake of higher studies, he wrote an Urdu ghazal which shows Iqbal’s vision of mystical experience

He says:

At last the silent tongue of Hijaz has

Announced to the ardent ear the tiding

That the covenant which had been given to the

desert-dwells is going to be renewed


The lion who had emerged from the desert and

had toppled the Roman Empire is

As I am told by the angels, about to get up

again (from his slumbers. )

You the dwells of the West should know that

the world of God is not a shop (of yours).

Your imagined pure gold is about to lose it

standard value (as fixed by you).

Your civilization will commit suicide with its

Own dagger.

Work In English:

In addition to his letters in English in which he discussed the Persian ideology and Islamic Sufism in his opinion that real Islamic Sufism proves as a catalyst for the uncomfortable soul to higher thought of life, he wrote about the way of life, God and the sense of plea, human character and Muslim mores, political, social and religious issues. He also wrote two books in English entitled as The Development of Metaphysics in Persia and reconstruction of Muslim thoughts in Islam.

The allama iqbal quotes also have a great importance in history. In 1931, he was invited to Cambridge to participate in the conference.

Where the iqbal poet said;

“I would like to offer a suggestion to the young men who are presently studying at Cambridge . . . . . . I advise you to guard against incredulity and avariciousness. The chief error made by Europe was the separation of Church and State. This deprived their culture of ethical soul and abstracted it to the atheistic materialism. I had twenty-five years ago seen through the drawbacks of this civilization and therefore had made some prophecies. They had been delivered by my tongue although I did not quite understand them. This happened in 1907. . . . . After six or seven years, my prophecies came true, word by word. The European war of 1914 was an outcome of the aforementioned mistakes made by the European nations in the separation of the Church and the State”.

Political Career Of Allama Muhammad Iqbal:

He remained vigorous in Muslim League despite of giving full attention to law and poetry. He remained close in touch with the Muslim leaders like Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar and Muhammad Ali Jinnah but did not support the Muslim involvement in world war-1. He backed The Caliphate Movement. He was a conventional critic and regarded the Indian National Congress dominated by Hindus. During the 1920’s the Muslim league was factually divided between the all for British faction, headed by Sir Muhammad Shafi and the centrist group led by Sir Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

With the encouragement and support of friends and colleagues, Iqbal stood for a seat in the Punjab governmental Assembly from the Muslim district Lahore and defeated his opponent by a margin of 3. 177 votes, in November 1926. With the plan to guarantee Muslim political rights and leaving an influence in a coalition with the Congress, Iqbal supported the constitutional proposals presented by Mr. Jinnah. He also worked with Sir Agha Khan and other Muslim leaders to eradicate the disunity between the members of All India Muslim League.

His Role In The Revival Of Islamic Concepts And The Two Nation Theory:

In 1934, Oxford University published Iqbal’s The Reconstruction of Religious thoughts in Islam, which included the six lectures read at Aligarh, Hyderabad and Madras in 1930. These lectures were based on the role of Islam as a religion and political and as a social reformer in the present age. Iqbal condemns the activities of some Muslim politicians in these lectures that seem as morally and ethically misguided and attached to power. Iqbal describes his fear in this allama iqbal essay that the crowd of Hindu population will diminish the Muslim culture, heritage and political and social values. Moreover secularism will weaken the foundations of Islam and Muslim society. He promoted ideas of Muslim unity, shedding of national differences and Islamic political cooperation in his visits to Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey and Iran. In a dialogue with Dr. B. R Ambekdar, Iqbal said that he wishes to see Indian provinces as independent units under the direct control of British and without central any government. He also feared that the Muslims will have to suffer morally, ethically, religiously, socially, politically and in many other aspects if they continued to live with the Indians in a common state. In 1930 at Allahabad, Iqbal was elected as the President in the United Provinces as well as in 1932 at its session in Lahore.

In 1930 at the point of Allahabad, in his presidential speech Iqbal outlined his vision for a separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent

He said;

“I would like to see, Punjab, Sind, North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan, merged into a single state, to me self-government within the British Empire or outside the British Empire, the creation of a independent Northwest Indian Muslim state is the fate of the Muslims, at least of North West India”

He said that Islam came with its religious ideals, civic significance and legal concepts, unlike Christianity, in his speech.

He said;

“Thus, the creation of a strategy on national lines, if it means a disarticulation of the Islamic code of harmony, is plainly ridiculous to a Muslim”

He was strictly against the amalgamation of Muslims in a wider state not based on Islamic ideology. Moreover he laid emphasis on the political unity of Muslim communities. He was without any doubt the first Muslim politician who expressed the point which was later called the “Two Nation Theory”- the Muslims are a separate nation with distinct beliefs, heroes, and moral values so they should be allowed to have a separate homeland where they could live independently according to the Islamic ideology. As he was against secularism and nationalism therefore he did not clarify that either this independent state r would interpret theocracy. In the latter period of his life, he travelled Europe and East Asia to gain monetary and political benefits for the All India Muslim League. In 1932’s Third round table conference, he disagreed with the proposals of Indian national congress, which demanded the transference of ruling power from the British to the Indians without any decision about the independence of Muslim provinces. He wrote letters, took out rallies for the right of the Muslims to be independent. Iqbal also condemned the Muslims against to the league and the feudal system in Punjab. The idea of two nations Theory was opposed by the Muslims across the sub-continent. He also wanted the people of the sub-continent to believe that the defeat of Muslim Ummah can be saved in this area by the division of the sub-continent into two societies.

Iqbal As A Supporter Of Taluoo-E-Islam:

For a quite long time, Iqbal wanted a journal for the Muslims of the sub-continent which can propagate his ideas, aims and the objectives of All India Muslim League. It was his close friend Syed Nazeer Niazi who took this step and by the support of Allama mohammad iqbal, the journal Taluoo-e-Islam was presented, edited by Syed Nazeer Niazi in 1935. This journal was named so because of a famous poem of Iqbal, Taluoo-e-Islam. This was the first social, political, cultural, historical and religious journal for the Muslims of sub-continent. Syed Nazeer Niazi dedicated this first edition of the journal to allama muhammad iqbal. Syed Nazeer Niazi also translated The Reconstruction of Muslim Thoughts in Islam in, By Allama muhammad iqbal, in English.

“Millat Islamia Hind” (The Muslim Nation of India) was published in the first monthly journal of Taluoo-e-Islam in October, 1935. Political conditions of the Indian Muslims and the aims of the Muslim community were described in this article by Syed Nazeer Niazi. The basic principles of Islam and the aims and objectives of the Islamic state demanded by allam iqbal were also discussed by him in this article.

Early Contributors Of The Journal:

Ghulam Ahmad Pervaiz, Dr. Zakir Husain Khan, Syed Nazeer Ahmad, Maulana Aslam Jairajpuri, Sheikh Suraj-ul-Haq, Rafee-ud-din Peer, Dr. Tasadduq Husain, Maulvi Ghulam Yazdani, Ragheb Hassan, Raja Hassan Akhtar, Prof. Yusuf Saleem Chishti, Prof. Fazl-ud-din Qureshi, Agha Muhammad Safdar were the early contributors of this journal.

Ghulam Ahmad Pervaiz, who was one of the early contributors of Taluoo-e-Islam, continued this journal afterwards. The objective of this journal, after the establishment of Pakistan was to make the Pakistani people remember that what actually were the reasons and objectives for demanding a separate homeland. Idara Taluuo-e-Islam Lahore still publishes this journal.

Iqbal-Jinnah Interaction And The Theory Of Establishment Of Pakistan:

Iqbal was discontented with the factional leaders like Sir Muhammad Shafi and Sir Fazl-ul-Rehman. Iqbal was sure that in the whole sub-continent only Muhammad Ali Jinnah is the person, capable of protecting the aims and objectives of the League. He build a strong personal affiliation with Jinnah and along with some other eminent leaders, forced Jinnah to come back to India and take the charge of the league. Iqbal was sure that only Jinnah can unite the Muslims of the sub-continent at one platform and stand against the Indian National congress and British Government.

In a letter to Jinnah, he said:

“I am aware of the fact that you are a very busy person, but I do expect that you would not object my frequent writings to you. As you are the only Indian Muslim to whom community can look up to for safe assistance through the storm which is about to strike the North-West India and, probably, to the whole of the sub-continent”

Though the two men worked for different perspectives at the same time, as according to Iqbal Islam was the only force and the source of government a ns society while Jinnah worked hard for the independence of Muslims in the government and their political rights, Iqbal had backed the caliphate struggle, Jinnah did not calling at a “religious agitation” Iqbal gave an outline for the separate homeland for the Muslims in 1930, while Jinnah was still holding talks with the Congress though officially embraced the goal of Pakistan in 1940. And above all, for a quite long period of time Jinnah was always hopeful for a peaceful agreement with Congress and was not in favor of partition of the sub-continent where as Iqbal outlined the establishment of a separate homeland years ago. In spite of all these contradictions, these two men were quite alike. In June 1937 Iqbal wrote a letter to Jinnah mentioning his view of the partition of India;

“An independent alliance of Muslim Provinces, renewed on the outline I have given before, is the only way by which we can make the peaceful India safe and secure and save Muslims from the supremacy of Non-Muslims. Why are not the Muslims of North-West India and Bengal allowed to be measured as nations entitled to autonomy just as other nations in sub-continent and outside sub-continent are?”

Speaking about the future of Indian Muslims Iqbal said;

“There is only one way of survival. Muslims should join their hands with Jinnah’s. They should unite themselves with the Muslim League. Indian query, as is now being solved, can be countered by our combined face against both the Hindus and the British. Otherwise our demands will not be acknowledged. According to the people our demands hint at communism. This is absolute misinformation. These demands have to do with the protection of our national survival . . . The joint face can be shaped under the headship of the Muslim League. And the Muslim League can succeed only with Jinnah being there. None but only Jinnah is competent enough to lead the Indian Muslims. ”

Sir Sikander Hayat Khan was a Muslim in favor of feudal system, when Jinnah made an agreement with him, Iqbal as the President of Punjab Muslim League criticized this action of Jinnah.

Last Days Of Life And His Death:

Iqbal began suffering from serious throat illness in 1933 after he returned from his visit to Spain and Afghanistan. In his last days he took part in the establishment of Dar-ul-Islam trust at the Jamalpur state near Pathankot and helped a lot Chaudhary Niaz Ali Khan in its functioning.

It was an institution where along with advocating the demand of a separate homeland, the classical Islamic studies and contemporary social science studies were promoted. The Nawab of Bhopal started granting pension to Iqbal when he ceased his law practice in 1934. For spiritual guidance in his last days he often visited the Dargah of Sufi Hazrat Ali Hajweri in Lahore. Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal died on April, 21st after suffering months from his illness. Dr. Muhammad allama iqbal tomb is located in Badshahi Mosque, Lahore. Government of Pakistan has appointed official guards there.

Iqbal-The Ideological Father Of The State:

Iqbal is recognized as the ideological father of the stated and is commemorated widely in Pakistan. Speaking of communal harmony, his Taraana-e-hind is used widely in India as a patriotic song. His birthday is celebrated on a large scale in Pakistan, as Iqbal day and is a national holiday. There are many public institutions in Pakistan by the namesake of Iqbal like, allama iqbal academy, allama iqbal library, Allama Iqbal Open University, Allama Iqbal international airport Lahore, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Karachi.

Establishment of schools and colleges is sponsored by many government and public organizations, iqbal academy is also established for research, study and preserving the philosophy and literature of Allama Muhammad Iqbal. For the promotion of Iqbaliyat in philately, Allama Iqbal stamp society is also established. In the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Iqbal’s son Javaid Iqbal has served for many years. The last residence of Allama Iqbal was Javaid Manzil. Without him, the creation of Pakistan was impossible.

One of the greatest resources for Allama Iqbal could be found on Wikipedia by searching “allama iqbal wikipedia” and “allama iqbal wiki”.



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