Syed Shahabuddin: Passing of an important community leader will leave a vacuum

By M Reyaz

I woke up today to the sad news of demise of Syed Shahabuddin sahab, IFS Retd., Ex MP from Kishanganj & former President of All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat.

I am numb still! I never had the opportunity to meet him in person and I was too young during his active politics days on late 1980s.

My memories of him are of late nineties when he was still a regular in TV panel discussions and boldly put forward his views on issues pertaining to Indian Muslims. He was one of those community spokespersons I began to idolize as a teenager. Looking back, I may have several differences with him on many issues but his contributions will always be remembered and appreciated.

Of course for Bihari Muslims he had another special mention, all of us were given his example of how he topped the civil service examinations (he stood second and was an IFS); and was indeed an inspiration for all of us. As Mahtab Alam Bhai said, he was often equated with Dr Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India, by Muslims in Bihar, at least.

It’s an irreparable loss to the community; I don’t see any recent leader filling that vacuum. He was not just any diplomat turned politician but was also a public intellectual and was a well read man as well. He wrote extensively and participated in debates.

He had started a very important academic journal ‘Muslim India’ that contributed immensely to debates on Muslim issues and I remember one academician once saying that this journal covered almost every issue related to Indian Muslims. Such was his contributions.

Only weeks ago, another important Muslim politician E Ahmed of IUML had left us for heavenly abode.

Shahbuddin Saheb was old and was not keeping well; may his soul rest in peace. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un (We surely belong to Allah and to Him we shall return)!

(Author is Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Aliah University, Kolkata. This is taken from Facebook Post with author’s permission)

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