There is a fascinating piece written by M.A.H. Hobohm called "Muhammad Iqbal and Germany" in which he provides some wonderful details of Iqbal's stay in Heidelberg. This essay is worth reading in its entirety. Iqbal stayed for some time in the "Pension Scherer" which was a boarding house for foreign students. At this boarding house Miss Emma Wegenast was Iqbal's German language tutor. Iqbal corresponded with Fraulein Wegenast for several years after returning to Lahore. Hobohm has copies of 27 such letters which includes 2 postcards and this collection reveals Iqbal's fondness for his former tutor but also his love for German literary culture and his affection for Heidelberg. Hobohm provides some wonderful quotes from the letters:
"Here it is: Fraulein Wegenast, that is Goethe, Heine, Kant and Schopenhauer, it is Heidelberg, the Neckar, Germany —it is those happy days!"
"It is impossible for me to forget your beautiful country where I have learned so much. My stay in Heidelberg is nothing now but a beautiful dream. How I’d wish I could repeat it!"
"I’d wish I could see you once more at Heidelberg or Heilbronn whence we shall together make a pilgrimage to the sacred grave of the great master Goethe."
All Things Pakistan has done a post about this location in the past. However a colleague of mine, knowing my interest in Iqbal, just sent me a couple of rare photographs of the house where Iqbal lived in Heidelberg and where a sandstone plaque from 1966 acknowledges the historic landmark.
The plaque reads:
1877 – 1938
1877 – 1938
National Philosopher, Poet
and Spiritual Father of Pakistan
lived here in the year 1907.
This honorary plaque was displayed on September 16th, 1966 by the minister of cultural affairs of the state of Baden Wuerttemberg Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Hahn in the presence of His Excellency the Ambassador of Pakistan Abdurrahman Khan and the 1st mayor of the city of Heidelberg, Georg Klemm.
Picture of the house with the plaque on the brick wall
(Darya-e-Neckar (Heidelberg) ke kinare par)
Khamosh hai chandni qamar ki
ShaakheiN haiN khmosh har shajar ki
Waadi ke nawa farosh khamosh
Kohsaar ke sabz posh khamosh
Fitrat behosh ho gai hai
Aaghosh maiN shab ke so gayee hai
Kuch aisa sakoot ka fasooN hai
Neckar ka kharam bhi sakooN hai
TaaroN ka khmosh kaarvaaN hai
Yeh kafila be dara rawaN hai
Khamosh haiN koh-o-dasht-o-darya
Qudrat hai muraqbe maiN goya
Aye dil! tu bhi khmosh ho ja
Aaghosh maiN gham ko lay ke so ja
Update: September 20th, 2012:
Much to my delight I found a beautifully done video on YouTube by Dr. Homayun Shirzadeh reciting "Aik Shaam". The video has lovely images of Heidelberg evoking Iqbal's poetic imagery and includes English and German ("Ein Abend") translations of the poem. Here it is: