Manipur governor Syed Ahmed laid to rest with state honours

Mumbai, Sep 28 (IANS) The last rites of Manipur Governor Syed Ahmed, who succumbed to cancer, were held at a cemetery here with full state honours on Monday morning.

The body of Ahmed, a prominent Congress leader and former Maharashtra minister, was brought to the Rehmatabad cemetery in Byculla in south Mumbai, accompanied by a host of senior political leaders from different parties, family members and a large number of admirers from different walks of life.

Ahmed, 70, passed away on Sunday morning after battling cancer at the Lilavati Hospital in Bandra, where he was admitted last week, his son Syed Zeeshan Ahmed said.

He is survived by his wife Syed Hasan Tara, two daughters and son.

Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao isited Nagpada – where his body was kept for people to pay their last respects – to pay homage to the departed leader, while the state government declared a day’s official mourning.

Rao, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Leader of Opposition in assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, union minister Nitin Gadkari, former union ministers and senior Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Subodh Kant Sahay, state Congress president Ashok Chavan, several state and central leaders, and other prominent personalities attended the funeral.

Ahmed was sworn-in as governor of the northeastern state of Manipur on May 16. Earlier, he was governor of Jharkhand since September 2011.

He was elected to the Maharashtra legislative assembly five times on Congress tickets from the Nagpada constituency in south Mumbai and later served as a minister in two governments, handling various portfolios.

In a condolence message to Ahmed’s wife, President Pranab Mukherjee said: “I am sad to learn about the passing away of Dr. Syed Ahmed. He served the nation with distinction in different capacities during his public life.”

He said Ahmed’s services to the nation as the governor of Jharkhand and Manipur would always be remembered.

Vice President Hamid Ansari in his message said Syed Ahmed was “a leading figure of Maharashtra’s political firmament and his departure leaves a large void”.

“A humanist, he was dedicated to working for the uplift of the weakest sections of society. In his capacity as the minister for housing, slum improvement, house repairs and reconstructions in the state government, he worked to address the issues facing the homeless and the slum dwellers in Maharashtra,” he said, adding Ahmed had a special role in the advancement and welfare of minorities in India, particularly in Maharashtra.

“He was also a scholar, having written on topics as diverse as revolutionary poetry to the role of Muslims in India’s freedom struggle,” he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also condoled the death, saying Syed Ahmed was “an experienced leader who held many positions in his long political career. Saddened by his demise. Rest in Peace”.

Expressing grief over Ahmed’s demise, Rao described Ahmed as “a gentle, soft-spoken and studious person”.

“Dr. Ahmed had a sincere urge to address the problems of the common man. He was a writer and poet too. I convey my heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” Rao said in a condolence message.

Ahmed had also served as a member, Central Wakf Council and Maharashtra Haj Committee Chairman, besides other social, educational and cultural activities in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.

He was also with masters’ degrees in Hindi and English and a Ph.D. in Urdu.

Some of his prominent works include “Kafas Se Chaman”, “Jang-e-Azaadi Me Urdu Shayari”, “Makatal Se Manzil” and his autobiography “Pagdandi Se Shahar Tak”.

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