Saturday, 7 February 2009

The Day Diversity Died

The Scottish Parliament became an all white chamber again on Friday after the death of the death of Bashir Ahmad the SNP list MSP for Glasgow.

The Indian born former bus conductor was raised in Pakistan was only elected to Parliament in 2007 breaking the mono-colour nature of the MSPs and also taking his oath of office in both English and Urdu. The SNP's Deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon paid tribute by saying:

"Bashir Ahmad was an exceptional person, and I will miss him deeply. He will be an enormous loss to parliament, to Glasgow, and to Scotland, as well as to his party.

"Bashir had a loving family, and countless numbers of friends from all walks of life, because he was such a warm and generous man, and my thoughts are with his wife and children.

"He made all of us immensely proud when he took his Holyrood seat wearing traditional Pakistani clothing, swearing in using both English and Urdu."

It is indeed sad that the passing of the first MSP of an ethnic minority leaves it less "representative of the whole country" as Alex Salmond commented on his indefinable contribution to Scottish political history.

So the first Muslem and first Scots-Asian to serve at Holyrood does leave a gulf in the diversity represented. I hope that his legacy is that we don't have another 8 years or more without a truly reflective collection of MSPs.
خدا حافظ
Goodbye Bashir Ahmad MSP.

1 comment:

  1. As a matter of interest is the phrase at the end in Arabic or Urdu? I know, however, that urdu borrow some words from Arabic, specially those having a religious connotation.

    I read/speak the former (and have no knowledge of the latter), but it does not seem to mean anything in Arabic although the second word (ie. the one on the left) does indeed seem to mean something relevant; one of the other derivations of that word was traditionally applied as a mark of respect to someone who knew the Qu'ran by heart - as you are perhaps aware there are competitions in the Islamic world for those who can accomplish this amazing feat.

    I am curious simply from a linguistic point of view where this phrase came from.