Dr. Manmohan Singh pays tribute to former diplomat Syed Shahabuddin

New Delhi [India], Mar. 10 (ANI): Remembering the late diplomat, Syed Shahabuddin, who passed away on March 4 at a Noida hospital, former prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Friday said even those who did not agree with his ideologies admired his skill and contribution to the working of both the Parliament Houses.

"It is very difficult for me to imagine that Syed Shahabuddin is no longer amongst us. Whatever he took, he took deep and abiding interest in analysing the pros and cons of those issues. Even those who did not agree with him admired his skill," the former Prime Minister said at Shahabuddin's memorial ceremony.

"He was a brilliant student, a brilliant scholar, who topped the list of people who competed for the UPSC in 1958 if I remember correctly," he added.

He added that for some reason Shahabuddin got frustrated with the working of the Foreign Service and joined politics.

"I came to meet him when he was our Ambassador probably in Peru. He had made his mark as a leader of the student community when he took part in a demonstration against the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1955," he asserted.

Dr. Manmohan Singh further said the impact, the contribution that Shahabuddin made in the Foreign Service is well known to those who know the working of our foreign service.

"He was a member of the Rajya Sabha, twice the member of the Lok Sabha and made a powerful contribution to the working of both the houses. In later part of his life, what absorbed him was the fate of Muslims in India whether it was the Shah Bano case or for that matter Salman Rushdie's book or the other controversial subjects. Whatever he took, he took deep and abiding interest in analysing the pros and contents of those issues," he added.

In the end, he concluded by saying, "the friendship and respect that I cherished for Shahabuddin will always live fresh in my memory. His life and work will live forever."

Former MP and diplomat Syed Shahabuddin, 82, died at a Noida hospital. He was hospitalised two weeks ago after suffering from pulmonary complications.

Shahabuddin, who had not been keeping well for the last few months, was among the most articulate post-Independence Muslim voices.

He quit the Indian Foreign Service before joining politics in 1979.

Shahabuddin represented Bihar's Kishenganj in the Parliament and served as a Rajya Sabha member between 1979 and 1996.

He headed the All-India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat from 2004 to 2007.

The former diplomat was a leading light of the All-India Babri Action Committee, which sought to counter the Sangh Parivar's Ramjanmabhoomi movement.

His primary concerns were protection of the Muslim Personal Law, safety and empowerment of the community. (ANI)