He is known for his active role in the opposition to the Demolition of Babri Masjid and in Shah Bano case. He was votary of empowerment of Muslims in the country.
He refused ministry offered during by Prime minister Chandrashekhar in early ninties.
He began as a diplomat working for the Indian Foreign Service, but later became a politician. He served three terms from 1979-1996 as a member of the Parliament of India both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. He was involved with many Muslim institutions and organizations including the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, of which he was the President between 2004 and 2007.
He would be remembered as the first political leader who did not compromise on his political principles through out hi life.
Shahabuddin had served as a diplomat, an ambassador and a politician. During his time as a politician, Shahabuddin was the Joint Secretary in charge of South East Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific in the Ministry of External Affairs.
He founded the Insaf Party in 1989 (dissolved in 1990 and later revived). He is known for his strong belief in the federal structure of India and his desire to see more people participating at every level of governance.
He has often called for persistent action against corruption, nepotism and inefficiency, for democracy within political parties and for equitable distribution of national income and resources in order to provide a life of minimum dignity for all people.
Shahabuddin edited the research monthly journal Muslim India between 1983 and 2002 and again from July 2006. He is a regular contributor to TV discussions relating to current affairs. He has written many articles on Muslims and Indian politics.
His body was led to rest in Qabristan Panjpeeran in New Delhi amid crowd of his relatives and fans. Vice President Hamid Ansari was among those who attended his Namaaz Janaza (updated)
Vice President condoles the passing away of Syed Shahabuddin
The Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari has condoled the passing away of former Member of Parliament, Shri Syed Shahabuddin. In a message, he said that Syed Shahabuddin was a man of deep convictions, he pursued issues that were dear to him with great tenacity and determination.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the demise of renowned political leader, scholar, diplomat and former Parliamentarian Syed Shahabuddin.
Syed Shahabuddin was a friend and his passing away is a personal loss. A man of deep convictions, he pursued issues that were dear to him with great tenacity and determination. He will be remembered for his tireless work towards a more inclusive, less corrupt democracy in India.
I convey my sincere condolences to the bereaved members of the family and join the nation in praying for eternal peace for the departed soul.