The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shahabuddin sets out to rewrite his record

Patna, Dec. 27: Is the pen mightier than the sword' Ask Mohammad Shahabuddin.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal MP from Siwan, facing multiple charges of abduction and murder, has chosen to write for a regular column in a “friendly weekly paper” published from his constituency.

Shahabuddin was heard lecturing his friends on education and even quoting from books. Sources close to the RJD leader say he might be suffering from battle fatigue.

There are also rumours that Shahabuddin may have obtained a Ph.D in political science from a university in Muzzaffarpur, though he refuses to either confirm or deny it.

Known for his strong-arm methods against political rivals, Shahabuddin was keen to effect a makeover, party workers said. He was talking of opening a hi-tech hospital and spoke on educational issues at his political rallies.

However, even his own men were surprised when his columns started appearing, particularly as Shahabuddin is known to criticise local reporters for portraying him as a villain.

The column in Prayas, which campaigns against the CPI-ML (Liberation) and front-pages everything that the MP says, comes close on the heels of his new-found interest in the media.

Last year, he is believed to have made overtures to get a franchise from a national Hindi daily, which was planning to start an edition from Patna. The franchise arrangement may have collapsed, but not Shahabuddin’s resolve to grab a stake in the media market.

“Often I ask myself a simple question: How long will the leaders of this time keep on playing with the sentiments of people by feeding them fake dreams'” Shahabuddin writes in one of his columns. His political rivals wonder if he was talking about himself.

In another column titled ‘Social change possible only after revamp of education’, the Siwan MP argued that education can survive without commercialisation and be effective without proper infrastructure.

“I have read when Tagore had opened Shantiniketan, he used to take classes under a tree,” Shahabuddin wrote, adding that we could do away with all the sophisticated tools used to make education more effective.

When Shahabuddin was recently asked to confirm rumours about his Ph.D, he retorted: “How does it interest you' After all you cannot imagine me without my involvement in nefarious activities. However, it does not matter what you write.”

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