Muslim Personalities: Syed Shahabuddin
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President, All India Muslim
Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Editor, Muslim India Monthly (now closed) since
January 1983, Convenor, Babri Masjid Movement Coordination Committee,
Vice-President, National Union of Backward Classes etc. National
Convenor, Insaf Morcha, Writer and Speaker on Public
Affairs, Ex-Ambassador to Algeria and Mauritania 1972-75, Ex-Member of
Parliament (Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha) 1979-84, 1995-89, &
1991-96, Ex-General Secretary, Janta Party 1980-85,
Ex-Vice-Chairman, Haj Committee. Prominent participant in
Backward Classes movement since 1983. Vice-President of the
National Union of Backward Classes.
Birth and Education
: November 4, 1935 at Ranchi, Married Shaher Bano in 1958EDUCATION
Education at Gaya, Ranchi and Patna. Had a brilliant academic career,
standing first (gold medalist)in the Patna Universityfrom Matric (1950)
to M.Sc. (1956) and Bachelor of Law. Part I (1957), Part II
Participation in Student Activism
student day received many prizes as speaker and was connected
with many student bodies. Led student agitation against police
firing on students in 1955 as the Convenor of the Patna University
Students’ Action Committee and as the General Secretary of the Bihar
State Students’ Council of Action. Led the Movement for the formation
of the University Union, drafted its constitution and was a member of
its Steering Committee. Was associated with the United Nations’
Students’ Association and the Students’ Relief Committee. Was elected
Secretary of the National Committee of the World University Service in
1955. Was elected Secretary of the Indian Foreign Service
Association in 1968.
Teacher: in Physics, Patna University, 1956-1958.
Diplomat: Member of the Indian Foreign Service, 1958-78.
as Vice-Consul/ Consul at New York (59-61), Second Secretary, Rangoon
(61-63), First Secretary, Jeddah (63-66), Under Secretary/ Deputy
Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs (66-69), Charge
d’affairs, Embassy of India, Caracas (69-72), Ambassador of India to
Algeria and concurrently to Mauritania (73-75) and Joint Secretary,
Ministry of External Affairs, in-charge of South-East Asia and Haj
Affairs, 1975-78. Took voluntary retirement from the IFS, in November
1978, to enter public life.
Writer & Orator: Edited
Muslim India, the monthly journal of research, documentation and
reference from 1983 to 2002 and again from July 2006 till 2009. He has
been a regular contributor on current affairs in the media and a
familiar participant in seminars and TV discussions.
Contributed numerous articles in English and Urdu on national and
international affairs in various magazines, newspapers, journals etc
with special focus on Human Rights, Minority Questions, South Asia,
South East Asia, and the Islamic World. He has also been writing to
policy makers, political parties as well as governments on the issues
relating to Muslims and Islam.
CONFERENCE & TRAVEL
While in the Indian
Foreign Service, participated in many international conferences,
including Afro-Asian Legal Consultative Committee, Rangoon, 1962,
International Conference on Human Rights, Tehran, 1963, the
UNCTAD-III,Santiago, 1972 and the Non-aligned Summit, Algiers,
1973. Traveled widely in the Americas, Europe, North Africa, West
Asia, South Asia, and South East Asia. Also performed Haj several
times. Participated in several Conventions and Conferences
organized by the CCIM, Chicago, IMF (UK), London and BMAC, USA, and
UK. Addressed various Universities inIndia and abroad, including
Oxford, East-West and Cornell.
Indian Council of World Affairs, New
Delhi, Institute of Defense Studies and Analyses, New Delhi, Indian
Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, People’s Union of Civil
Liberties, New Delhi.
Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha & Lok Sabha) in 1979-84, 1985-89,
& 1991-96,1979 from Bihar. Nominated as Permanent Invitee to
the Janata Party National Executive. Served as a Member of its
Manifesto Committee during the 1979-80 election campaign.
Nominated Chairman, Committee on International Affairs. In
December 1988, on formation of Janata Dal, he kept Janata Party alive
and later in August ’89 formed the Insaf Party and became its
Founder-President. On fall of Janata Dal Government, dissolved Insaf
Party and joined Janata Dal. Nominated Member of its National
ACTIVISM RELATED TO MUSLIM ISSUES
President, All India Muslim
Majlis-e-Mushawarat*. Associated with All India Muslim
Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM) since 1979 and was its
Vice-President/Working president from 1981 to 1990. Served as a
Member/Vice-Chairman of the HajCommittee, India. Served on the
Academic Council and the Court of the Aligarh Muslim University.
Served as Member/Chairman of the Dargah Khwaja Saheb Committee, Ajmer.
Served as the convenor of the AIMMM’s Central Action Committee for the
Restoration of the Babri Masjid. Organized All India Conference
on Babri Masjid and has served since then as Convenor of the Babri
Masjid Movement Coordination Committee. Organized National Convention
on Babri Masjid in February 1991. As the Member of the Council and
Working Committee, All India Muslim Personal Law Board participated in
negotiation leading to the legislation of Rights of Muslim Divorcees.
Organized the National Political Convention of Muslim Indians in New
Delhi on 8-9 July 89 and drafted the Charter of Demands.
Organized Bihar State Conference on the Education, Employment and
Economic Status of Muslims of Bihar in Patna in October 1992. Reinvented
and revamped All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (AIMMM)
constitutionally, making it more democratic. Brought openness and
accountability. Published all his accounts quarterly and its
achievement includes acquisition of new Mushawarat building (earlier it
used to work from rented premises) and the improved finances. For
years the Mushawarat had been working on an annual budget that would
not suffice to pay even a month’s electricity and phone bills.
Under his presidency a “Circles of Friends of Mushwarat” was created,
consisting of persons within India and abroad who were asked to
contribute financially to the Mushawarat.
In the 80s
he lead Muslim MPs, from all parties and met the then Prime Minister,
Mrs. Indira Gandhi, to highlight the problems being faced by Muslims in
India. Indeed, after being nominated as a Janata Dal M.P. in
Rajya Sabha he articulated Muslims' grievances, asked questions and
kept an eye on all the ills faced by Indian Muslims. Undeterred
by the hostility of the media as well as his own party he kept on
speaking and writing on Muslim issues and paid the price by never being
able to return to the Parliament. In this respect (being in a
secular party and still articulating Muslims' issues), except Maulana
Hafizurrahman saheb, he has no match in post-independent India.
No Muslim or non-Muslim politician has written so much on Muslim issues
as Sahahabuddin saheb did. One will hardly find any other Muslim
leader or intellectual who has opposed and exposed Hindutva forces with
such a force as Syed Shahabuddin Saheb. His 'Muslim India'
journal will be an outstanding contribution, a journal of reserach and
documentation that no research scholar working on Indian Muslims can
afford to ignore. Syed Hamid had once commented: 'Some years ago Syed Shahabuddin was the best to lead (Muslims). But people did not support him
'. (Milli Gazette. 1-15 July, 2001)
First recipient of The Al-Ameen Tipu Sultan Memorial Award for Community Leadership. Numerous citations and appreciations.
* All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat
is a federating body of major Muslim organisations, which also has a
Guiding Council consisting of eminent Muslim Indians who are there in
their individual capacity and are not necessarily associated with any
organisation. The function of Mushawarat is to keep
abreast of the community’s needs and protecting its larger interests by
making representation to the government, writing to them, doing a
follow-up, building public opoinion etc.