Hyderabad: Hyderabad’s prominent Muslim leader Syed Vicaruddin, who strived to promote relations between India and Arab countries, passed away here after prolonged illness. He was 82.
Vicaruddin was the editor of Urdu daily ‘Rahnuma-e-Deccan’, which completed its centenary last year.
Vicaruddin breathed his last at a private hospital late Thursday night, his family members said. His burial will take place at a graveyard in the old city after ‘Namaz-e-janaza’ at the historic Mecca Masjid.
He was chairman of the Indo-Arab League, an NGO established in 1967 to promote relations between India and Arab countries and recognised by the UN.
A scion of Hyderabad’s aristocratic family, Vicaruddin was highly regarded for his endeavours to bridge the gap between India and the Arab World, and travelling to over 22 nations in this pursuit. He pioneered the cause of Indian support towards Palestinian peace.
An alumni of the Aligarh Muslim University, Vicaruddin’s publication was the gold standard of Urdu journalism for many decades.
He had distinction of calling on several head of states and governments, including Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
It was at Vicaruddin’s invitation that the then Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had visited Hyderabad twice. During his last visit to Hyderabad in 1997, Arafat had laid the foundation stone for the Indo-Arab Cultural Centre.
Vicaruddin had met the King of Morocco, Presidents of Iraq, Yemen, Cyprus, the Maldives, Iran, Palestine, Sudan and the Prime Minister of Libya. He had also visited several European countries and the US.
He was also honoured as the “Star of Morocco” – the highest honour conferred personally by King Mohammed IV of Morocco at a special ceremony held in New Delhi.
Vicaruddin, who was also conferred Palestine’s highest civilian award ‘Star of Jerusalem’ in 2015, had been a strong supporter of the cause of the Palestinians.
The League had organised several meetings in the past to show solidarity with the Palestinians. The then Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi, V.P. Singh, I.K. Gujral and Atal Bihari Vajpayee had addressed its meetings.
Vicaruddin had offered land free of cost to Palestine for setting up its consulate in Hyderabad and also proposed to set up an Indo-Arab University in Hyderabad.
He served as the first chairman of the Andhra Pradesh State Minorities Finance Corporation and the Andhra Pradesh Minorities Commission.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has condoled the death of Syed Vicaruddin.