Barkat Alam – an old comrade passes on

Barkat Alam001_2

Barkat Alam. Photo courtesy Barkat Alam's family via Eric Rahim

From Eric Rahim in Glasgow:

Dear Friends,

I bring you the sad news of the death of Barkat Alam in the early hours of this morning (Saturday, the 10th of October). Barkat had been seriously ill for some months now and the end was not unexpected. I was with him last night, but he was unconscious and the doctor told me that he would probably go during the night. Najma, his wife, and daughter Sabaa were with him when he passed away peacefully.

Barkat joined the Karachi student movement of the early 50s (and the Party), along with Mohammad Shafi and Saghir Ahmad, while still at school. All three of them played an active role in the movement. Many friends from that time will remember him with affection, a quiet, unassuming, serious-minded young man.

After completing his studies at Karachi University, Barkat came to London some time in the early 60s, worked there for a while and then came to Glasgow to work as research assistant  to the head of economics department, University of Strathclyde. During this period he worked for, and obtained,  Master’s degree by research, and soon  after  was appointed lecturer in economics in the institution that later became Glasgow Caledonian University. He retired some years ago.

Barkat was a member of the Solas Educational Trust, a Glasgow-based charity some Pakistani and Scottish friends have set up, and which currently supports a number of community-based schools in Chitral.

Please forward this message to other friends who knew and remember Barkat.

Eric Rahim
19 Westwood Avenue
Giffnock, Glasgow G46 7PD

From S.M. Naseem:
Very sad news indeed; please convey our deep condolences to the family. I remember him well — he was among the most active workers of DSF and its affiliate the High School Federation, along with Shafi (who died many years ago) and Saghir (whom I haven’t heard about since). I hope Beena will put the news in the Sarwar blog and due recognition will be given to him and the HSF in the 8 Jan 2010 celebration and the contemplated book on Sarwar.

I met him in Glasgow about 20 years ago while visiting Eric when he was on dialysis; later he had a kidney transplant, but remained in poor health. He was indeed very serious minded and achieved much despite his limitations.



3 Responses

  1. Comment from Iqbal Alavi of Irtiqa:
    Very sad to learn the sad demise of our stalwart Barakat. Sghir expired three years ago. Shafi has also faded out.
    The High School Student Federation was a very vibrent organization and played its role in motivating and educating students on the cause of education and students. Barkat and Saghir were firebrand speakers. Saghir later joined PIA Finance Department and retired as Corporate Manager. He worked for the Airways Employees Union and worked at its General Secretary for approx three years. When Senior Staff Assocation was founded by us he joined that Association and became it General Secretary for two terms.

  2. This is a very sad news. I met Barkat Sahib at his residence last year and interviewed him. He was not in good health yet spoken for hours about early days of his activism and students movement.

    Asim Ali Shah
    Former Secretary General
    NSF Pakistan

  3. Message from Eric Rahim, Dec 19, 2009:
    We had an excellent Memorial Meeting on Saturday to remember Barkat. It was very well attended – academics, friends, social workers, etc.
    Najma and her daughter did really appreciate the occasion – said it meant a lot to them.
    Caledonian University International Department is instituting a scholarship in Barkat’s name

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