A Genius that was Syed Shahabuddin

Personal tribute by Prof. Saifuddin Soz Former Union Minister

The passing away of Syed Shahabuddin, Advocate, former MP, retired IFS officer and Editor of Muslim India, is a great loss to the Indian Nation at large. It is particularly a very great loss to the Muslim Community.

It is so tragic that certain chauvinists dubbed him as only a Muslim leader with sectarian issues. That was absolutely wrong as he was a forward-looking gentleman espousing the cause of Secularism, Patriotism, and togetherness of all Indians.

But, there is no doubt that he was compelled by the circumstances to raise particular issues with which the Muslim Community was confronted. He espoused the cause of the protection of the Babri Masjid only to remind the Indian Nation that its demolition would cause a deep hurt to the Muslim Community and also it would bring a very bad name to India as a great democracy having nourished pluralism and secularism throughout.

It was Swami Akshay Brahmachari of Allahabad who wrote a pamphlet and supported Syed Shahabuddin for espousing the cause of the Babri Masjid. Swami Akshay Brahmachari said that on the basis of records, he was convinced that the site should continue to be a mosque.

The demolition of Babri Mosque has certainly brought a very bad name to India.

It was so unfortunate that this genius of a man never cared to produce a book on any social subject, especially on the sufferings of the downtrodden sections of Indian society. A great scholar, Prof. Zainul Abideen who met me once in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) lamented the fact that Syed Shahabuddin was most learned on Islam and many other spheres of life, but he never found time to pen a book. He had further felt sad that Syed Shahabuddin ceaselessly wrote letters to the successive Prime Ministers and other Ministers in India to raise public issues, mostly on violation of Human Rights. He also raised issues about the suffering of the Muslim Community and also about his concerns for the Dalit Samaj.

I had known Syed Shahabuddin for more than three decades and I always respected him as a very good human being with a secular outlook. I also knew Syed Shahabuddin for his personal integrity.

I offer my deepest condolences to the bereaved family. May his soul rest in peace and give fortitude to his family members to bear this loss.

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