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Did You Know –
The popular song ‘Saare jahaan se achchha’ (Urdu:سارے جہاں سے اچھا) was written by Urdu poet and philosopher, Muhammad Iqbal (1877-1938), also known as Allama Iqbal. A pre- eminent poet of India in the early twentieth century, he eulogised the land and its peoples with his mellifluous verse.

Saare Jahan Se Achchha is one of the most enduring patriotic poems of the Urdu language. Written originally for children in the ghazal style of Urdu poetry by poet 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 (Anthem of the People of Hindustan), it was later published in 1924 in the Urdu book Bang-i-Dara. (Source: Wikipedia).

 The song is below in Urdu and the Roman transliteration:

saare jahaan se accha hindostan hamara
ham bulbulen hain uskī voh gulsitan hamara

ġhurbat men hon agar ham, rehta hai dil vatan mein
samjho vahin hamen bhī dil ho jahan hamara

parbat vuh sab se uncha, hamsayah asmaan ka
voh santarī hamara, voh pasbaan hamara

godi mein kheltī hain us kī hazaaron nadiyan

gulshan hai jin ke dam se rashk-e janaan hamara

ay ab-rud-e ganga! voh din hain yaad tujh ko?
utraa tire kinaare jab karavan hamara

mażhab nahin sikhaata aapas mein bair rakhna
hindī hain ham, vatan hai hindostan hamara

yunan-o-misr-o-ruma sab mit gayi jahaan se
ab tak magar hai baaqi naam-o-nishaan hamara

kuchh baat hai ki hastī miti nahin hamaarī
sadiyon raha hai dushman daur-e zamaan hamara

iqbal! koi mahram apna nahīn jahaan mein
maluum kya kisi ko dard-e nihaan hamara!

The English translation is below:

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 land and country still lives 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?

The first line of the song is also most famously quoted as part of a conversation between Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma (who embarked on a historic space mission in 1984 spending eight days in space aboard the Salyut 7 space station) and the then Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi. When she asked how India looked from space, he replied, ”Main binaa jhijhak ke keh sakta hoon.., Sare Jahan Se Achcha Hindustan Hamara” (I can say without doubt, our land, Hindustan is the best in the world).