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MUSSARET. 1957:

Mus : FROM PAKISTAN TO ENGLAND

Mus has no childhood photos so we took a modern one of her.

Name

Mus

Age

7

Place of Birth

Pakistan, Mandi, Hasilpur, in the District of Bahawalpur.

Gender

Female

Occupation

Child

Place living now

Newcastle upon Tyne, the North of England & then Streatham, London from 1963

Photos

Click photo for fullsize image

Good stuff : In Pakistan : playing with all her cousins in their family compound in the village. In Newcastle, England : watching the Blaydon Races parade from the roof of the house. Mus was not allowed to go to the parade so she sneaked out of the window and sat watching all the excitement from the roof of her house.

"I can still remember the noise of the drums and the rest of the band and seeing giant floats go by. People were cheering non stop."

Bad stuff : No dolls. When her teacher gave her an old doll she had to hide it as her father was a strict Muslim who did not allow them to have anything that was a representation of a living thing in the house. Mus's mother got round that by teaching her to knit and sew clothes using the doll.

Waving goodbye to her grandfather as they boarded the aeroplane for England.

"I remember my Grandad actually coming to the steps of the plane. It was only at this point that I realised that I would not be seeing him, my cousins and my uncles again, probably for a long time."

Mus came to Newcastle in England at the age of 7 as her father who was a scholar wanted to settle here. Her early life in Pakistan was idyllic, as the family had their own compound in the village, where she lived with her grandfather, mum and cousins. Life in England was very different.

Teachers notes

Mus is an advisory teacher in Lambeth. She remembers coming to Britain in the 1950s.

" When my two sisters and I arrived in England with my mother we first lived in Newcastle Upon Tyne. My dad met us at Heathrow Airport in London. I remember we travelled to Newcastle by train and I can still 'see' my mum getting out of the taxi wearing her long white burkha when we arrived at our house. I can remember the jolting in the taxi because the streets around our house were the old cobbled streets. It was a grey and gloomy time in the early evening when we arrived.

I don't remember much of the first few days but about five or six weeks later my father took my sisters and I to a huge old red building and enrolled us in school. My younger sister who was 5 years old was left downstairs and my older sister and I were taken upstairs. It was one of these schools where the Infants were on the ground floor, the Juniors on the middle floor and the Secondary pupils were on the top floor. Years later, when I got to be of Secondary school age, I found the playground for the oldest children was on the roof of the building!

The first few weeks in school were confusing. It was even more alarming because after the first day every morning we could hear my youngest sister screaming downstairs. Her crying seemed to go on for hours. My older sister was called to go to her again and again. Then the teachers found out that they could keep her quiet for a little while by giving her a bottle of milk! After a few days, we would take her home again and try afresh each day. This seemed to go on for weeks and weeks. I suppose my older sister and I were luck because we had another pupil in our classes who could speak Urdu. My younger sister did not have this support.

Amazingly, years later when we compared notes about school, it was my young sister who thoroughly enjoyed her school life!

We moved to London when I was 13 years old. Once again my young sister was separated from us. This time she was in the Lower School building (about 2 miles away from the main school) whilst my older sister and I were together on the Upper Site. Secondary school is a haze. I remember playing under the pear trees in the school playground. I remember participating in the school and house plays, eventually becoming House Drama Captain, the school trips and the dreaded EXAMS!

Good stuff : Playing with all my cousins in our complex. We did not play in the village although I knew some of the other children because our mothers knew each other. I come from a family that lived as an extended family in a large complex and so we cousins were together most of the time. Our formal education started here because when my uncles said they wanted to educate their daughters as well as the sons, my grandfather had a bungalow built in the complex. (My father was in England by then). A governess was employed and she lived in the bungalow where we girls were taught each day. The boys went to the local Madrassa school where they were taught Urdu, Maths and Islamic Studies. Later on they went to colleges further afield. Around the house we helped my mum and played with miniature clay pots copying the things she did. Collecting water was easy for us because we had a well in our family complex as well as having a lovely little stream that ran through the grounds. When it came to shopping, my uncles would make sure that all foodstuffs were supplied to each of the families directly from their farmland. Sometimes we would accompany the servant if anything was needed from the town bazaar.

As a special treat at harvest time my uncles would allow us to join in with the harvesting e.g. of the cotton or picking peanuts or gathering the kinos (a type of orange) and mangos. We were not allowed to do this often because the harvesting was done by traveling groups and my uncles did not want to lose their goodwill by allowing their families to take too much from the harvest because the harvesters were paid by weight.

One of my earliest memories of Newcastle was of watching the Blaydon Races Parade from the roof of our house. We were not allowed to go to the Parade and so I sneaked out of the window and sat on the roof looking out at the city of Newcastle. I can still remember the noise of the drums and the rest of the band and seeing giant floats go by. People were cheering non stop.

Bad stuff. No dolls. When my teacher gave me an old doll I had to hide it as my father was a strict Muslim who did not allow us to have anything that was a representation of a living thing. My mum got round this for me by teaching me to knit and sew clothes for the doll.

Saying goodbye to grandpa as we boarded the aeroplane for England was especially sad although I think I had been more excited about traveling by plane. I remember my granddad actually coming to the steps of the PIA plane because my uncle knew someone who was a PIA pilot and had got permission for my granddad to get so close to the plane. It was only at this point that I realized that I would not be seeing my grandad, my cousins and uncles again, probably for a long time. "

Photos of Blaydon Races parade http://www.blaydon.frankgillings.com/pages/B4.htm