Allama Iqbal’s poetic and philosophical works have influenced many generations. A recent academic conference, Afkaar-e taaza (creation of new thoughts) arranged by the Information Technology University (ITU), drew inspiration from Iqbal’s poem Takhleeq (creation) where the full verse reads, in translation: ‘New worlds derive their pomp from thoughts quite fresh and new/From stones and bricks a world was neither built nor grew.’
The agenda of the conference was to achieve similar objectives by providing a space for dialogue on creativity, innovation and development. It was designed to encourage scholars and academics to share their research with the general public through presentations and dialogues.
Ideas and individuals influence the modern mind everyday. The process of creativity is dependent on the environment and the accessibility of authentic – scientific content.
Scott Barry Kauffman, scientific director of ‘The Imagination Institute’ at the University of Pennsylvania, explains creativity as “a process of creative collaboration. More parts of the brain are involved in innovation than you probably realize, and more stages are needed to go from a blank page to a fully executed creative idea.”
The event itself could be defined as a unique process of enhancing creativity and innovation. According to The Governance and Policy Institute at the ITU, “this event aims to become the incubator of fresh thoughts in Pakistan so that not only does the country develop but we too personally gain from such interactions.
The role of academia and the government is crucial to the development of new initiatives. The current role of academic institutes is limited, and knowledge creation is not shared through critical dialogues. Dr. Bangash, the main architect of the event and the Head of the Governance Department, emphasized the role of academic institutes:
“Academia’s role is much bigger than what it’s currently doing in Pakistan. In other countries, it aids the dialogue for the government and it produces conversations of extreme importance. If we look at the global trends we are still far behind. Academia must realize its role and understand the seriousness of the matter. We prepared in a months time and scholars agreed to come to Pakistan. We just took the first step and things happened. We hope to develop this into a serious activity that challenges the present environment. “
It is pertinent to point out that such initiatives can change the societal paradigms and revolutionize the roles of knowledge creating bodies. Allama Iqbal’s work is a major influence that may allow us to preempt that an intellectual revolution can mold public opinion and provide direct access to transparent knowledge sharing, so that Afkaare-e-Taaza is realized, i.e. new thoughts are created and nurtured.