As a young man, Rashid, after completing Islamiya school, attended Murray College in Sialkot, established as Scotch Mission College by Scottish missionaries, and belonging to the Church of Scotland.
Murray College was also the place of Study of Mohammed (Allama) Iqbal see Figure below, the visionary behind the creation of Pakistan, of whose poetic works Rashid was a great fan. For many years after Rashid would recite Allama Iqbal with passion.
At Murray College, Rashid took his Matriculation examinations in 1945 at about the end of the Second World War. He had a strong passion for geography and had a keen interest in international affairs of the time, particularly relating to the British occupation. Throughout his teenage years and early 20’s Rashid had collected political cartoons from the late 1800’s up to the early 1950’s and his collection, well-preserved, now offers a window into the unique political landscape of the time. If anyone wishes to see these cartoons, please contact the author.
Rashid was also an admirer of the Soviet state and had read the works of Lenin and Marx, and post 1945 was very interested in the formation of the post-war Soviet Union emboldened by its victory over Germany. At one time he thought of the Soviets as being potential liberators of British occupation in India.
The other passion Rashid started, which was to stay with him his entire life, was the movies. The young Rashid would always save his paisa (1 rupee = 100 paisa) to go to the cinema in Sialkot to watch the most recent Hollywood movie. Bogart, Cagney and Gable were his favorites, but he loved the Westerns; particularly those featuring John Wayne and Audie Murphy. The well-dressed rogue gentlemen was whom he aspired to be and Rashid formed a very polished sense of style of his own which he would follow for all his life. In addition he also loved the classic Hindi/ Urdu movies of the time, such as Amnol Ghadi, with stars such as Noor Jehan, Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar being his favorites.
Rashid at this time was growing closer to his nephew Yusuf, who despite being a few years younger than him, spent much time with him in these early days in Sialkot, and who later would meet up with him thousands of miles away in Glasgow.
Although Rashid was bright and articulate with aspirations, after completing his studies at Murray College in 1946, he was encouraged by his father to enter into tailoring to support the family business. The family were now wrapping up in Calcutta with the upcoming independence of Pakistan, and starting anew in Sialkot. Rashid entered into training to become a tailor and made many different types of suits and other fine outfits. His real ambition was to go to university but with limited family funds for education, it was only his older brother Abdul Latif who was afforded this opportunity, and who went on to become a very successful physician and medical professor.
In 1947, shortly after independence, Rashid starting working in Sialkot City for Haji Mian Mohammed Din and Company. Din and Company were forestry contractors and general merchants. They were an approved Pakistani government contractor and organizational Rashid worked with them in the Accounts department learning valuable financial and skills.
After two years, in 1949, Rashid moved positions within Din and Company to become an independent agent for supply point refugees, at their Station Supply Department, Jammu & Kashmir Refugee Camp. He stayed in this role until 1951 when he left shortly after marriage.
It was shortly after this time that his father Meher Ellahi and mother Hakim Bibi were planning for his wedding. Meher Ellahi had previously arranged (in 1947) with his younger brother Mohammed Sadiq that he was to marry one of his daughters. Mohammed Sadiq had 2 daughters of marrying age; Razia Begum and Sofia Begum. Razia Begum was chosen for him and her sister Sofia Begum was chosen for Qamar (son of Mohammed Shifa). In 1951 the two couples were wed It was a joint wedding and the two grooms turned up together to be wed to their two brides, as seen in the picture below to the left.
After marrying Razia, Rashid was offered the position of Accounts Auditor with the Pakistani Military Accounts Department in Kohat, North West Frontier Province, Pakistan. He was providing support to the newly formed Pathan Regiment Corp, of the 16th Frontier Force on the time. It meant he would have to leave Sialkot but with the scarcity of work around he agreed and in late 1951 he took the position and moved up to Kohat initially by himself. Shortly after Razia moved up to join him, but then returned to Sialkot to her groom’s family as was the tradition of the time.
In February 1952 Shahida was born, Rashid’s first daughter. He was delighted. Initially Shahida stayed in Sialkot with Razia but shortly they joined Rashid in Kohat. The months spent at the garrison of the newly-formed Pathan Regiment Corp in Kohat was a very interesting time for Rashid and opened his perspectives politically. He also gained independence from the family which helped him mature considerably. The financial organization at the Pathan R C was managed by Sultan Ahmed and his team of auditors,
During the time in Kohat Rashid also made a trip to Karachi to visit his elder brother Latif who had recently graduated from Medical School and was employed as a physician in Karachi. It was shortly after this time that his other older brother Abdul Aziz took up employment in Saudi Arabia for Aramco and left the family for Al-Khobar.
Rashid’s son Shahbaz was born a year later in Sialkot in December, 1953. At this time Rashid was working and spending a considerable amount of time in Kohat and travelled back to Sialkot to join Razia – who spent most of her time in her husband’s family home in Rungpura. Razia lived in the large family home with Rashid’s mother Hakim and father and her brother –in-laws and their families.
Rashid had a cousin, Mr Karam Ellahi Moghul, who had earlier made the bold step of coming to Scotland. Mr Moghul was working as a door-to-door salesmen selling what he could to rural areas of Scotland. Rashid received word from Mr Moghul that there was an honest decent wage to be made in Scotland, and that he should make plans to join him there. It was this cousin, Karam Ellahi, that changed Rashid's life forever and brought him and us to Scotland.