To many youngsters unaware of post-Babri Mosque movement, Syed Shahabuddin, who died today after illness, must be an unknown figure.
But for those following post-Independence Indian Muslim history, Syed Shahabuddin was an iconic personality, who wore several hats and worked tirelessly throughout for the uplift of Muslim.
He was laid to rest at Nizamuddin graveyard after Zuhar prayer today.
He was born on November 4, 1935 and was not keeping well for months and in Delhi lived in Mayur Vihar.
“His whole family is in Mayur Vihar. He was an old friend of my father going back to Patna University many years ago. He will be missed,” Ranjit Bhushan, Senior Editor Financial Chronicle, and also a neighbour, told OT.COM
A polymath, he started his career as a diplomat after cracking the Civil Service Examinations. After which he took a political plunge to guide the Muslim community. He was a former Member of Parliament from Kishanganj on Janata Dal ticket and was associated with Babri Mosque movement.
Shahabuddin was suffering from a chronic respiratory disease and he was undergoing treatment in Noida’s Jaypee Hospital in Sector 128. He served three terms from 1979-1996 as a MP and was known for his involvement in the Shah Bano case and his opposition to the demolition of the Babri Masjid.
His aura diminished over years as many Muslims hold him responsible for the failure of the movement. But many continued to revere him in post-Babri and Shah Bano as a powerful Muslim voice.
Besides being a politician, Syed Shahabuddin was a writer, who had command over several Indian languages, including Urdu, Hindi and English.
His riveting columns in national dailies were a regular thing until a few years ago.
Born in Ranchi which now is capital of Jharkhand, Syed Shahabuddin studied in Patna University and was a student leader with great fan following. During his student career, he had protested against then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru during his visit to Patna.
Many in Bihar still remember him as a highly talented person. Even at the age of 83, he used to work hard, busy writing letters to leaders and policy makers. He was an expert on Muslim issue.
Also, he started Muslim India magazine that could not last for long due to not getting support from community, as claimed by many. He even floated a political party Insaaf that died over a period of time.
Those who knew him said he was not cut out for politics because of his temperament.
He was an excellent writer, orator and strategist who had extraordinary grasp over current and Muslim affairs, with only a few in the community matching his talent.
“It was in 2013 when I met him at Mushawarat office in AFE. I was inspired by him. I saw him working in winter. He used to work for long hours. He had hearing problems and was very particular about details,” said a youth journalist, who has written a book on Mushawarat.
Syed Shahabuddin’s one daughter Parveen Amanullah, is activist-turned-politician. His one son Nayyar Pervez, was found dead in mysterious conditions in a hotel room in the United States, where he was working as a professor in Columbia University, reported TOI in 2005.
People close to Syed Shahabuddin said the incident left him in deep shock.
Syed Shahabuddin had a frugal lifestyle.