Veteran Congress leader, Islamic scholar and distinguished writer Dr Rafiq Zakaria passed away at his residence in Mumbai early on Saturday, family sources said.
He was 79.
Zakaria complained of acute back pain shortly before he breathed his last at around 7am.
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His body will be shifted to a city hospital as one of his sons Farid is expected to come from the United States only on Sunday.
An outstanding academic achiever, Zakaria had won the Chancellor's Gold Medal in the MA examination of Bombay University.
He received a PhD from the University of London and qualified for the bar from Lincoln's Inn.
A versatile scholar on Indian politics, Zakaria was closely associated with India's freedom struggle and spent over 25 years in public service.
He had also represented India in many countries and also at the United Nations in 1965, 1990 and 1996.
A prolific writer on Indian affairs, Islam and British imperialism, Zakaria had authored several books including A Study of Nehru, Rise of Muslims in Indian Politics, Struggles Within Islam, Conflict Between Religion and Politics.
His other books include Iqbal, The Poet and The Politican, The Price of Partition, Gandhi and The Break-up of India, Indian Muslims: Where Have They Gone Wrong? and Sardar Patel and Indian Muslims.
Zakaria's interest in literature and journalism went back to his student days when he worked for the News Chronicle and The Observer in London.
He also ran a regular bi-weekly column in The Times of India.