“We kept chickens, lamb, sheep, cows – mostly the cows early on, and then the cows (were) given up and mostly the sheep…chickens and things…oh yeah, we did! We did farming for a long while. ’70s he stopped farming. …We all mucked in…and then we built the garage across the road, and then we ran the petrol station for 10 years.
Besides bringing the kids up! Doing their homework with them; teaching them the Qur’an majeed (the glorious). Which they had all learnt the Qur’an majeed and I had taught them all myself…and built this house! This was the barn, where we’re living, where we’re sitting now…was the shippon. The cow used to stand on there and this was a mucky place…(laughs). We used to live next door in the cottage ourself and this was the barn and then in ’87 we converted the barn into the house, and moved in here. So then we renovated the cottage and sold that to next door, to 22, that’s where we used to live before, when Ayesha was born.
My kids…(laughs)…they are my world, put it that way. Here! That’s all there is…nothing much…and grandchildren of course (laughs), which I love them to bits! Every one of them …the older one is 18 now. The younger one is 3…I’ve 7 of them.”
“So I always wanted to do something by myself and I started looking for class where I could go for learning English…
In the meantime I had my second child, second boy, and I had to wait, and then my daughter so in the…I didn’t do anything and after then there were 2 or 3 years and I said I had to do something…then I started going to Accrington College…to learn English. …because I always involved with that school, always used to go there and I tried to help them and they really liked me, and then one day they needed an Asian volunteer worker at the playschool. I said, yeah, yeah, I’m happy to do that, and they said you can start…
…I got a Youth Worker, I got…for 18 years I worked with Farida (Begum) as a Youth Worker and then I qualified as a Youth Worker and it still continued…I worked there for 25 years, but when my husband got ill I left it.
…yeah, and of the community. I’ve tried to help them, but some of the ladies they’re straight from Bangladesh, they don’t have any English, they always ask me to go to the doctor (with them)…things like that. And the main thing is my children…they’re well established and everything…this is my dream, yeah…
Most proud; yes, because my daughter and my sons both went to BRGS (the local grammar school) and my daughter went to Cambridge University, and that sort of thing…I’m really, really proud of myself because this is my biggest achievement.”
“…Ye hua, ke, kyon ke population barri iss ki Haslingden mein, families aa gayain. Aur kutch …main jaatha tha library…
(…What happened is, because the population in Haslingden increased, families came. And sometimes I used to go to the library…)
…Tou wahan har qisimii books hain. Main ne daikhiin French books hain, German books thiin, English ke thiin.Tho abi Pakistani aa’ae, tou…
(…So over there, there was every kind of books. I saw there are French books, there were German books, and there were English books. Now Pakistani people came, so…)
…I thought why not? Urdu books, so I talked to the librarian, he was a good chap. See, this is where I’m proud of my achievement, I could talk with people, because they were understanding, good people, with personal…
Dost bann jaate hain, jo bhi kaam kar rahay te… I wasn’t asking something out of law, ke law main nahin hai… I was within that…
(They become friends, whatever work they do. I wasn’t asking for something outside the law, because not in the law… I was within that…)
…I thought why not? Urdu books, so I talked to the librarian, another good chap. See, this is where I’m proud of my achievement, I could talk with people, because they were understanding, good people…
I talked with him; he said ‘Yes, Mazhar…why not’, then talked with the councillor, councillor was ‘no, no Mr Hussain,…why, they should read English…so many books in there. I said ‘yes, they will do…one day! But there are French books; how many people in Haslingden who read and speak French?’ There are French books there! So I caught them…eventually…”
“So, yes then gradually I had been changed and I started thinking about other people and (at the) same time I was doing different events for the ladies. I (was) involved with the mushaira (poetry gathering), I went to Manchester. Because I was writer, you know, from my childhood, since I start writing, I learnt writing, I started, you know, writing poems and essays. And I used to write for the newspaper when I was 11 years old. In newspaper every week I used to write a story for the children’s page.
So when I went to different, you know, mushaira’s, so then I start writing again. And then we organised mushairas in Haslingden. That was a completely different thing for Haslingden people. They are were saying: they doing…sin…this is not right in Islam and in the Deen (religious way of life). But I said, no, this is a culture. This is our roots, and our young generations should know what we used to be.
And then I made a group with Mid Pennine. This Project 101, (121, I can’t remember)…a workshop every Saturday with young children, and my son. Because I was worried about my son I wanted him to (be) proper cultured person. I wanted him to…he should know our roots, our family, our culture and then he can, you know, adopt what he wants nice things from this country. So I started a workshop with the children every Saturday morning.”
“I do most of my life research and I found what I wanted to…Urethane. It has got the NCO group, now you have to turn the NCO group into the ring. Six ring you know like benzene and things like that. So I found it. I did it. And…captain was very happy, so was I, because we are ahead of the ICI. ICI used to have four or five hundred people for research, where we are only two or three people in here. And I did it. ‘Cos I, on and on for a few years, at last I found it.
I think this was great achievement you know then ICI tried to buy us material from us, from here, bit by bits you know so that they could find out (their) our formulations. So and then a few years after they found as well, you know because they were keep adding materials from us. Say don’t put this thing in, you know if ingredients you know. And then eventually they did it as well, but we were the pioneers.
So that’s the story of my success you know. My name is there now in the patent.”
“Well, is lot, first of all I can speak in English at least, with help and support of library and staff, Marcia and Anne Howard..Aurther Netherwood. …Third one, is on the buses. Do you know why I say on the buses? Well I was very quick to collect the fare and then I concentrated with the children on how they are talking you know their pronunciation, dialects, sentences that follow and this is how I pick all this you know? …I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that man who knows no English was working for the Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service as interpreter, what you think about that?”
His book and mother:
“Actually I wrote one book about Mum, in Bengali… I published about 500 books for the charity. First of all although I have been living here for 51 years I still can’t forget my beloved Mum.
…The accident…incident of how that happened, took place, that’s something still affecting me in my heart. I’m still thinking my heart is black. Mum who fed me, clothed me, educated me, loved me, looked after me…I didn’t believe she wanted to leave me like this, and I didn’t contribute a penny…I just came to this country…that’s it. So I thought…I’m not a very educated man, neither in English or in Bengali, I’ve told you already. With what little knowledge I’ve got I thought I’ll do something for the community, specially the village community, and once they’ve read the book they’ll know what Mum means. That’s all…and that is why I wrote this book and I hope everybody shares with me, with my heart, and they’ll always think about Mum.”
“Aerobics. Aerobics classes, for women. When I was not an instructor, but I was used to arrange this for the women. And I used to also arrange swimming classes for ladies. And then I used to run Youth Clubs. And I’m the first one who started a youth club in Haslingden. First time there was no youth club at all for Asian girls only. And I said it should be for girls only because when the girl goes thirteen, fourteen year old, fifteen years, parents don’t like for them to mix with the boys. Even though they go to school that is a different, but for social engagement they want the girls have a separate youth club… After five years I was working in Youth and Community, there is a job came in Haslingden Primary Bi-lingual assistant they needed. …And since then, I’m still working there as a Level 3 Teaching Assistant. And last year I resigned, I took voluntary redundancy from the Youth and Community after twenty six years.
So because how I used to do two nights and then for the youth club. And one Saturday morning and then used to take them girls to trips. I was used to drive the mini bus. Every four years I was used to give theory test and practical test for the mini bus 17 seated. And my husband didn’t mind, he said you can carry on. …They gave me a good package after twenty six years. So I resigned there and that is finished. But school I’m still carrying on because it’s only twenty hours I work in school that’s just part time. And I love that job… and I don’t want to leave until my health will allow me to work, head teacher is very pleased with me. All the staff is very pleased with because we have an Ofsted (the office for standards in education) and they gave a very, very good report of myself and another three TA (teaching assistants) who were working with Key Stage 1. So since then the head teacher want me to stay as long as I could, so I will. Definitely.
…I’m proud of the work I did for my community. I tell you the truth because I felt very happy to help anybody if they need, specially on those days when the girls ladies were not familiar with this culture. And they didn’t have English at all, I was used to go with them to the hospital, or used to go and help then to take to the clinic. And gave(s) quite a lot of support(s) to my own community and I’m proud of that. Because I think my life if anybody get the benefit of my life that is the best thing.”
Setting up a mosque:
“…so I say I want to buy that house…that church, and he say ‘what for?’ and I say we want to make a mosque out of it. He said first you had better get permission, then you’ll buy this…I you say how much it’s worth…he said ‘I want £12,000…I said ‘no, that’s too much’. So £8,500 we paid for it and bought it and then we asked the Council for permission…and it’s very, very good that mosque, and plenty of people round here, so mosque always full from the people to go to mosque to pray. Kids pray as well, they study Islam.
…I think 34 years ago…quite a while, isn’t it? 1980…we four people used to go to every city, to every town to collect the money for this mosque…because in those days nobody could afford it by themselves or by three or four people…to get together that much money…so we get together to make collection for this mosque and now it’s doing very, very nicely.
All the Haslingden people from around the area who are coming to this mosque for prayer, member of this mosque, we charge them £8 per month.”
“…I brought up the children, made the dinner, food… made food… I did that work, I didn’t go out… I didn’t go out to work…
I used to have a slipper job, there was material on the slippers and I would stitch it. (moccasin style slippers). Yes, I did that in this house. …They would give me money wouldn’t they every week they would pay me, they would take a big bag full of slippers and pay me.”
Luai Ullah (Bengali)
“Ami kushi okan or lagi ek numbar eh desho ayse. (I‘m mostly… first for the fact that I have come to this country.) Aya ame sla feera kotham faree shadin babeh.
(That I been able to live in this country and get along with everything and one peacefully.) Okta oyloh amar beshi onksho kushi. (That’s the one thing that I’m most proud of.)
Banaitham ketha, ar tho ami ruzi korsi foysha thisi Bangaldesho. (What else is there to do? All there is I have earned, provided to Bangladesh.)
Bai boin, everybody you know. Kaisoin, kushi foysha fise. (For brothers, sisters everybody you know they ate and were happy. They had money.)
Thue number oyloh, ami beshi kushi oylan amar familiy anya e desho. O amar last kushi. (The second number is, I am very happy about my bringing my family to this country. That is my last happiness)…
Er foreh sair number oyloh ami hozoh gesi zeneh (The fourth thing is that I went to Hajj.) Hazoh gesi ami amara family anbar ageh.” (I went to Hajj, before bringing my family.)