It was a hard time for Rashid and Razia raising two children with a third child Robina on its way. On an auditer’s wage with the Pakistan military it was difficult to raise a family to a high standard. Additionally the earnings from the family business in Calcutta had largely dried up. Rashid was looking to move on.
It was around this time that Rashid got news from his first cousin Karam Ellahi Moghul (1919-2003), son of Mehera Ellahi his paternal aunt. Karam Ellahi Moghul had earlier come to Glasgow Scotland in 1951 and was self-employed as a trader, selling various commodities to the Scots population. The letters from Karam Ellahi wrote of the opportunity to earn good money working in the hard town of Glasgow, especially for one educated and articulate like Rashid. Although it was a hard life it brought much promise to those former ‘subjects’ on the British empire. It was late in 1955 that Rashid finally decided he was going to try to travel to Scotland to work and save some money and then return to Pakistan a rich man.
However the journey to Scotland was not inexpensive. The voyage by merchant ship was still many months salary for Rashid and he did not have the disposable income. The generosity of his older brother Latif, who was by now a practicing physician assisted Rashid in buying the vital ticket on the 25th of April (see below ticket preserved by Robina), by liner that changed his destiny and those of his children to follow. The price of the ticket was the huge sum of 80 pounds and 10 shillings.
So, on the 27th April 1956, Rashid boarded the Lloyd Triestino liner SS Timavo from Karachi port and set sail on his life-changing journey. The SS Timavo carried passengers and cargo from Karachi to Port Saeed in Egypt, through the Suez Canal to Brindisi in Italy. Rashid traveled deck class without food, one can only wonder how he managed to eat during those days! Once in Italy he then traveled by 2nd class rail from Brindisi to London, and then from there onto Glasgow. The whole journey took one month. It was an incredible journey for someone who had rarely left the comfort of the Punjab and he must have come into contact with so many individuals of all backgrounds.
Glasgow welcomes you
Rashid takes up work in Glasgow
Arriving in May 1956 at the port side of Govan he was joined by his cousin Karam Ellahi and friends. Rashid joined a very small group of pionnering Indians and Pakistanis that had already arrived in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s in Scotland. Below Rashid is pictured with Karam Ellahi Moghul (first picture in group below; top-left). This is his first known photo shortly after his arrival in Scotland.
Other then Karam Ellahi, there were other Pakistani and Indian pioneers arriving at this time such as Bashir Maan (1953), Yaqub Ali (1953), Mohammed Sharif (1952), Rafiq Sher (1955) and M T Shaheen (1954). Most Pakistanis at that time were employed as non-skilled labourers or door-to-door peddlers, although there were notable exceptions; Bashir Maan (a close friend of Abdul Rashid) came as a self-supporting student, Rafiq Sher (1938-1997) came as a businessmen as did F M Sharif (1910-1988) and Yaqub Ali (1931-2003). One can only imagine the experiences these brave men faced in those early days particularly in the cold grey winter months. This was however offset by the generosity of good Glasgow folk welcoming the new immigrants.
Glasgow was a hard town and may lived in tenement flats, often without modern sanitary standards.The above photographs shows the hard, grey streets of Glasgow in the 50’s – home to only a few Pakistani and Indian families.
Rashid stayed with his cousin in the West End of Glasgow for the duration that he was searching employment and getting on his feet. It was important for Rashid to gain employment early, and with his grasp of the English language and education he did so easily. Within 2-3 weeks of arriving he quickly interviewed with the Glasgow Underground who were looking for young men like Rashid to be employed as drivers of guards/ticker collectors. In August 1956 he started working with the Glasgow Underground as a guard/ ticket collector.
At that time he met up with Muhammed Amin who was the driver on the train that Rashid was a guard, the two became good friends.
While working at the Underground Rashid had some time on his hands, so in the evenings he took classes in photography and shortly bought himself a camera. So started a passion that would stay with him all his life. Rashid became a avid photographer taking photographs at every opportunity. Shortly afterwards, in the early 1960’s he recognized an opportunity in the growing Glasgow community. There was no-one able to take photographs professionally and so Rashid started on a new career part-time, and for the next 50 years he would be known as ‘Minhas Photographer’.
Being in Glasgow was a great experience for Rashid. He made new friends and started earning good money, much of which went back to Pakistan to Razia and the children. His new Scottish Pakistani friends had automobiles which gave him opportunities for road trips and he travelled with friends to places up north in Scotland to the Highlands and even across to Ireland. He loved the amazing Scottish scenery.
In 1959 he made a memorable trip with 2 friends (Habib and Hamid) in a little Fiat 500 motorcar to Ireland as you can see below.
Meanwhile Razia was living in Sialkot with the extended family. Without her husband life was difficult for her. She now had three children, Robina (born after Rashid left in December 1956), Shahbaz and Shahida. Without her husband she felt exposed in the large family household where the other family members had their partners with them. See large family photograph (without Rashid) in Sialkot.
Shahida and Shahbaz played with cousins, Khalid & Rukhsana, son & daughter of Ghulam Fatima, Ejaz and Tariq, sons of Abdul Aziz. Because funds were tight Rashid & Razia’s children felt like the poor relatives. Khalid & Rukhsana were at private schools and dressed well, Ejaz and Tariq’s father Aziz at this time was working in Saudi Arabia and was earning good income to able to assist his children. Aziz was a generous uncle and on his returns to Pakistan would bring back gifts for Shahida and Shahbaz.
The children savored small treats like ice-cream, when the ice-man would come to the street with his ice machine, pressed crushed ice with sweet red and green colored juice, a rare luxury.
The below family picture taken in 1956 after Rashid had left for Scotland is a good snapshot of the whole family in Scotland.
Starting right to left – excluding children on bottom: Abdul Aziz, Abdul Latif, Abdul Hamid (son of Fazal Ellahi), Sakina Bibi (wife of AbdulAziz), Zarina Bibi (daughter of Fazal Ellahi), Anwar (wife of Yusuf, son of Abdul Ghani), Fazal Karim (husband of Rashid’s maternal aunt), Fatima Bibi (wife of Fazal Ellahi), Arjamand (wife of Abdul Latif), Ameena Begum (sister of Rashid), Ayesha (wife of Mohammed Sadiq), Ameena Bibi (daughter of Fazal Ellahi), Ghulam Fatima (sister of Rashid), Hamida Bibi (daughter of Fazal Ellahi), Mohammed Sadiq, Miriam (wife of Abdul Ghani with son Sohail), Ashrif (son of Mohammed Sadiq), Hussain Bibi (wife of Mohammed Atta), Razia Begum, Abdul Ghani, Hakim Bibi (holding Robina, daughter of Rashid), Meher Ellahi.
Children at bottom (right to left): Shahbaz, Saeeda, Rafia, Saida (daughters of Abdul Aziz), Tariq (son of Abdul Aziz), Soraya (sister of Razia), Ejaz (son of Abdul Aziz),Iqbal (brother of Razia), Shahida, Khalid (son of Ghulam Fatima), Rukhsana (daughter of Ghulam Fatima).
Rashid spent five long years in Glasgow, separated from Razia. He missed his family greatly and additionally he knew of, but had not seen his new daughter Robina. Robina was born late in 1956 months after Rashid had left for Scotland.
Rashid kept in touch with the family in Scotland by writing letters. Rashid was a great penman and wrote elaborate letters telling of his experiences in the ’new world’ of Scotland. He mostly wrote to his brothers Aziz, Ghani and Latif.
It was in 1959 that Rashid’s parents, Meher Ellahi and Hakim Bibi, left Sialkot for Haaj (see below). They have completed their obligations to family and set off for the long journey returning many months later.
It was in 1959 that Yusuf (son of Abdul Ghani) joined him in Glasgow and they rekindled their friendship. See Figure 38. Yusuf had arrived in Glasgow with his wife and son Sohail (5 years). Shortly afterwards Seema was born to the couple in Glasgow.
Additionally another cousin, Ahmed Hussain Minhas (1935 – 1999) son of Begum Bibi (sister of Meher Ellahi) had arrived in Glasgow seeking work and was gainfully employed as a local tradesman. He married a local Scottish girl Margaret and had their first son, John in 1960. It was common at the time for young Pakistani men to take Scottish brides as it was financially prohibitive to bring wives from Pakistan. Ahmed’s brothers Bagh Hussain and Shaukat Hussain also joined him for a short period in Glasgow where they all lived together.
Rashid by this time had decided that he wanted to set his roots in Glasgow. He finished working at the Underground in early 1961 and then joined British Rail Parcels Division, located in Sighthill Glasgow, as a Clerical Officer. He remained with this organization for over 30 years and took advantage of the subsidized and free travel that was available as an employee of British Rail.