Photograph of Chaudhri Riaz

Chaudhri Riaz

Born: 10th June 1946

Nanka Kohana, Pakistan

Date of interview: 25th May 2006

Map showing where Chaudhri Riaz came from

Mr Riaz Ahmed Chaudhri

Can you tell me when and where and when you were born?

I was born at a village in Pakistan in Punjab. The village name was Nanka Kohana. It is near Faisalabad and that is in the centre of Punjab. That's where I was born and I was born in 1946, the tenth of June.

Can you remember what were your earliest memories of your childhood?

Well we had the large family system and I would say really it was very relaxed sort of environment. I had all my cousins around and basically we belonged to a land-owner or farming family whereas you did not have to worry about your bills and food and all that because that was all at the farm. I was lucky to be born in a sort of middle-class family so, from the financial point of view and my fees were paid and I was sent to school. The transport was there [laughs] and whatever I needed. So I would say that I was one of those lucky people who had very sound ... pleasant and enjoyable childhood

I had wonderful loving parents ... I consider my mother to be a saint and they give me a lot of love and I was raised in accordance with some basic values and fundamental moral and ethical principles. And that is one of the reasons that I never ... actually sort of broke my contact or you know link with you know my place of birth. I always, you know I visited them on a regular basis. And then obviously I went to school there, I went to college, university and you know, that was wonderful.

What was your father's profession?

My father use to work for Inland Revenue. He was their officer ... before then he was in Police and as I said this is why I was lucky because my father also owned, my grandfather was one of the largest landowner in the area. So due to that reason my father inherited the land [laughs] which we have a reasonable income from. And so we had double income. One was from my father's salary and the other one was actually from the land.

OK and what was your mother's profession?

My mother was a housewife basically and ... she was always busy together with the assistants, the ladies which she had who used to cook at home because we used to have a lot of guests. So this is why even now here, you know since you have been here, the tea is going out and all that. [interviewer laughs] So this runs in our family it is in our blood you know. Any time anyone can come and we will entertain them. So at our home we had a special room where obviously the guest will come and sit. There will be one domestic employee whose job will be to welcome the guest and, you know accommodate the guests and then take the food and tea and coffee and whatever they want to eat or drink. Not alcoholic drink though.

So you know my mother was always busy with the other ladies actually to make sure that there is plenty of food for everyone who comes in to visit my father or anyone else. The rest of the time she used to spend in praying, because as I said, I consider her to be a saint and she used to spend a lot of time in prayer and [emphasised] a lot of time in worrying about other people and praying for them. You know if someone is sick my mother will pray to God and she will spend hours in praying. 'Oh God ... you know, you know ... give him a ... you know, health.' And likewise if anyone got any problem people used to contact my mother and she will pray for them. For I must say here that that was all voluntary, voluntarily and you know for charitable basis. She will not charge a single penny to anyone. Whosoever comes, whosoever used to come, my mother used to give them food, tea, milk, whatever. And she used to actually look after a lot of people, usually poor people from the area, vicinity and village, the ladies and all that they used to come to me, you know and my mother will give them free milk and sometime what meat we have got actually for ourselves. My mother would [laughs] simply take some of it and say 'OK, go home and cook it and eat' because as you know, not everyone could afford meat ... and so many other things.

So my mother really I think she was an angel. She was a wonderful lady and she has lived all her life for other people. She was never bothered about how much money you have got and how much property you possess. She was not interested in money and property. She was interested in serving people and she used to tell actually that, I have quoted that in my speeches. She used to train me, she said 'Look, rivers and seas don't drink their own water. They provide it to the people who are thirsty and for the people actually to the farmers to cultivate their land, for their irrigation purposes.

And a lot of people eat food from there and they don't charge anything and the rivers don't demand any reward. And she said, the fruit trees they provide their fruit to the other people to eat, they don't eat it themselves. For people respect the fruit trees, people respect the river because they need it.' And she said 'Likewise, if you are useful for other human beings, then you will be respected and God will like you.'
So I was raised in such a way that I had [with emphasis] to serve the human beings [laughs] but I think this was probably which brought into me the spirit of service, serving human beings. And his is how well I'm very pleased to have heard people say that I am a people's mayor and basically I think all I did was just to ... acted upon my mother's, you know sort of ... guidelines and served the people of Reading during my mayoral year. And thanks God people have liked that, they have liked it, and so that's what she was to me, doing all her life.

And what about your father?

When he used to come home he was a loving father and he still is. He will be ninety-three next month, by the way and ... you know he had a stroke but he's still in good health because my father was one of the best athlete, and he had very good health. Even now at the age of ninety-three he walks about forty-five minutes a day ... with his stroke ...

And then when he used to come home he used to listen to people's problems and you know if they had any argument or dispute between themselves the people of the area, village they used to come to my father. And my father would listen to both the parties and decided for them whatever he thought was the best. And then help people and assist them with you know if they had any problem ... You know if someone was being unfair or they had ... For example if someone was sick because as you know yourself in third world or developing world are sick the government can't give them much facilities so people have to make their own arrangement. If someone is sick my father will provide the transport and make sure that they are being taken to the hospital or a doctor ... and if they can't afford the medicine my father will pay for the medicine and help them. And likewise in the village if people didn't have wheat or flour or you know some other financial assistance, if they needed any financial assistance my father will assist them.

When he used to come home he used to teach me as well. He was one of the best mathematician in our town. He used to be first in the whole city, in all the schools and he was given actually a prize by then Director of Education who was an English chap. And the name of the book which was given to my father as a prize together with some money was "The Schoolboys' Stories." And we've still got it in the family.

What was the significance of being a landowner there ... in the community?

Well first of all obviously if you own land you've got crops of your own, wheat, flour and all that ... You know, grain, all that, vegetables, fruits and all that ... milk ... butter. So I think it gives you a little bit financial soundness because you don't depend on other people, you don't have to worry about where you are going to eat. So that's for number one.

Number two obviously give you a little bit ... you know, you get respect, people respect you because you help them out, and you get some sort of job satisfaction that you are in a position to help the other human being. And of course it gives you a reasonable status in the society because you are on the giving end rather than on the receiving end. And as a person I would say that it gives you confidence because you are never desperate and you know you don't have to compromise. I mean you are nice, you are polite, you know you accommodate people, but you don't have to compromise because you are not dependent on other people.

What about the rest of the family, your brothers and your sisters?

Two brothers.

Two brothers?

And it was important. As a matter of fact let me tell you here something. I had admission here because I wanted to be an accountant. And I had admission in 196 ... 7 or late of '66. And my parents did not allow me to come and I did not come here until 1970. It took me over three years to get permission for visa from my parents. Forget about British High Commissioner or [inaudible, laughing]. I was not worried about that because that was a secondary thing. I had to get the permission from my parents. And my father's and my parents' their argument was 'Why you want to go?' And I said I want to go for higher education. They said 'Look. You've got a Master Degree which is a good education. Now start your practical life.'

I came here basically actually because I wanted to see Europe and all that. And I had no plan to stay here you know, because it took me three years to get my parents' permission. And I only got it by giving the undertaking that, 'Look, I'll be back in four years' time after my study.' [laughs]

But once I completed my training as an accountant I was advised by my principal who used to be Mr Jones, actually Jones and Son, chartered accountant at 66 Queens Road, I still remember that basement where I used to sit there during my training. He said 'Why, to get some varied experience, go to some other firms and then go back.' Now here I am getting the varied experience. You know, so then obviously you get stuck with that because then I started my own practice in 1975 so I have completed thirty-one years of my practice as an accountant.

Mind you I was only because I was the first ... you know, number one son. And I only had one brother and he had to stay with my parents because he had to look after them and he stayed there.

Why was it important for you ... to get permission from your father. Couldn't you just have gone?

Well in those days people used to have some values. And I'll tell you something that if my parents hadn't allowed me I wouldn't have come here. I was so respectful to my parents and I loved them ... my father would never say no if someone wants to get further education. He will finance ... and he will do anything for him for facilitating, he is a go-ahead for education because he thinks that knowledge is a virtue and one should possess it. And how you get knowledge? By education.

Our family name is Aulakh and when you asked my name I said Riaz Ahmed Chaudhri. As a matter of fact it is Chaudhri Riaz Ahmed Aulakh.

You have spoken about your brother. How many sisters did you have?

I don't have any sister. My mother, my parents adopted one of my cousins who I consider to be my sister and who is living with my parents.

What in particular do you remember about your schooldays and your early childhood?

Well I remember that I was beaten up by my dad because once I think I got ninety-four percent or ninety-five percent marks out of one hundred in maths. And my father hated anyone who didn't get a hundred percent. [Both laugh] So I was beaten up when I was at school. He said 'Why on earth they are not a hundred percent?'

And once actually I didn't go to school ... you know I shouldn't have told you that but I'll be honest with you. I went out ... I was going to school and I met some of my friends. And there was some funfair going on and we decided that we'd go to funfair, and instead of going to school. And the headmaster said to my father 'Chaudhri Sahib, Riaz hasn't come to school,' he said 'Oh, didn't he?' He said, 'No.' He said, 'Fine.' So my father came home and I went late because we were enjoying the funfair without telling them and when I came back my parents hated someone you know who will tell lies. And he said, I said ... I came back and I said 'Salaam aleikum' which means Good Afternoon and all that. And I was pretending to be all tired and exhausted because after school day, you know. And I think I was about seven eight years old then, you know in those days maybe nine. And my father said 'OK, how was the school today?' I said 'Fine, dad.' And he said 'So it went very well.' I said 'Yes.' He said 'OK. So you got the homework from school?' I said 'Yes.' He said 'Come on tell me what it is. Let's do it together.' And he caught me. He proved that I was telling lies so.

And that was the day I can never forget. And I salute my father because I was beaten up quite ... in a good way. And he said 'I can tolerate anything but not lies. I can tolerate anything but you know not the wrong statement. So you've got to be honest, you've got to be straightforward. If you don't go to school ... number one, you shall never miss the school even if you haven't done the homework. Bear the punishment.' But I can assure you since then I have never ever missed the school and college and the university. And I used to go and say 'I'm sorry sir I haven't done my homework today.' [laughs] Because I think that one day put me right and I'm quite open and I'm quite straightforward now. I mean if I haven't been able to do something I'll tell people. 'Look I haven't been able to do that ... or I can't do that, I don't know it. I'll come back to you later.'

What about your secondary ... and your university life?

Our teachers were so devoted and wonderful teachers that I think it will be unfair if I don't pay tribute to them. The Persian teacher was brilliant. The maths teacher was brilliant. They were born teachers ... OK, they used to give us extra time near the exam. And not only I, a lot of people used to get very, very high marks in those days. I did my O Levels which we used to call Matriculation. And that was in physics, chemistry, math, English, geography, history, Urdu, you know ... and geometry ... quite a few subjects. And then I went to college and I did my A Level, in economics, political science, history and English.

And then I went to graduation which as you know we call it ... they call it here under-graduation. That was in economics, political science and English, and Persian option. Then I went to university for post-graduation which is Master and that was in politics. And my favourite subjects in that, that was a wonderful time, was international law and international politics. And at that's where I think I got attracted into the international sort of world rather than the local one.

Why are you called Riaz Chaudhri instead of the ... Aulakh?

Well quite honest speaking, when I sent my degrees here, one of my friend, who was an accountant, he got my admission and because as in Pakistan in those days there was no concept of surname, you know you will just put your family name at the end if you want to. But I didn't even bother to put that. I used to just write Riaz Ahmed, you know. But then obviously because if you are landowner and you know that background then people will call you Chaudhri. Chaudhri was basically used for the people who used to own quite a big bit of land and who could actually assist other people. It was a little bit of distinguished position to be in. But basically my surname, my family name is Aulakh because Aulakh is my family. And you see here people who are Sikhs, you know Sikh ... from India, they are Aulakh because they are from the same tribe. My family Aulakhs, they used to own seventeen villages in Amritsar in India and they still do.

Now because that chap you know he was filling in my form for me and they said 'Surname' and he put Chaudhri because he used to call himself Chaudhri. This is how Chaudhri was given to me and then he wrote to me and he said 'Look. There's a system of surname in England, so because I have put your surname as Chaudhri, make sure that your passport is under Chaudhri and everything is under Chaudhri.' So since then I'm stuck with bloody Chaudhri. [Both laugh.] I'm not really, I'm not that much fond of that.

OK so you went Chaudhri ...

Let me tell you, it doesn't look nice to call yourself Chaudhri, you know, because you are praising yourself. [Interviewer: OK] You know, the way I was raised we didn't used to praise ourselves so obviously. That chap he put it there, so I had to call that because I had to write it out again. But now I have put my surname which is original surname, family name, I would say, Aulakh. Even in the mayor book, you know, in my diary it says: Chaudhri Riaz Ahmed Aulakh.

OK, so your name Chaudhri is actually a title?

It's just a title like Mister. So when you call me Mr Chaudhri actually you are calling me 'Mister Mister.'

OK [Laughs]

As a matter of fact I should be Mr Aulakh. [Interviewer: OK] And anyone from Indian subcontinent, Pakistan, India, they call me Mr Aulakh, they don't call me Chaudhri.

Which was the name of the university that you attended?

Punjab University.

And what were your impressions about Britain before you came?

Well [clears throat] there's no doubt about it that because there was British rule in Indian subcontinent. You saw those buildings ... and also I have studied about British constitution and you know so as I said my education medium was English medium so I was familiar with the setup government and system of government and democracy and all that. And my impression was that Britain was one of the old-established democratic system, and I think today, being British, and being a Mayor of Reading and being you know in Britain for thirty-six years, I'm very proud of that. But my impression then was that Britain was one of the ... you know best place for education because my uncles came here for education eighty years you know ago which was about fifty-six years before I came here. [pause] And I knew so many other people, my cousins and relatives they came here for education.

Which university did you study in, in Britain when you came in?

To do accountancy you didn't have to go to university. I used to go to Reading University Library regularly because I was living only three hundred yards away, four hundred yards away. I was in, I was living in London Road which is called Foley Hall. The great, a wonderful lady Miss Foley, she donated those properties to IFL which is abbreviation of International Friendship League. And obviously you know I was here, I was looking for accommodation and I was told that go to Foley Hall. So I stayed four years while I was student.

The system in those days was that you do, you used to do the articles with a principal who used to be a chartered accountant and you actually learned, get the training there. And then obviously you had the study leave and you go to actually the colleges which used to run the courses like London School of Accountancy.

So I have always lived for the last thirty-six years in the one mile radius of this area because I love this area because I came here as a student. This is why I have always stayed in this ward. And, this is the ward I am councillor of.

OK, when you came to England did your impression change from the one that you had before you came into this country?

Ah [pause] ... yes and no. Because there weren't many people and unfortunately the people who came before me [pause] maybe they didn't give the good impression. I came from a social environment where obviously ... to be honest with you it was considered to be a privileged class, and when you came here obviously the ... most of the people are, they were wonderful and nice, but there were people, and you know you could feel that you know they were ... they had their reservations and you know they thought, 'Oh my God.' You know and that happened when I became an accountant and I started my own practice. When they booked an appointment to come in and they saw, and ... you know, some people who didn't have any experience of dealing with [er] ... Indians or Asian person or Pakistani person ... you know they thought, you know ... the first look that you get you sometimes, not always, some ... it depends what exposure the people had who were dealing with you. And they just assumed probably that either you are incompetent or you are not going to be able to do it, or you will not do it properly ... the job and all that.

But I'm proud to say that I have got clients with me who have been with me for the last thirty-nine years, or twenty-nine years, thirty years. So obviously those people and ... I haven't got more than I think three or four Asian clients. You know, the rest are all local clients. But then I was lucky because I had clients who were American, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, Australian, African, Asian, you know ... Middle East, everywhere. So I never really ran my practice as an Indian or as a Pakistani or as an Asian. I ran my practice as a professional, you know, who will render the professional services to anyone who comes in. And I'm very proud to say that probably I am now one of the oldest, established practice in Reading because I have completed thirty-one years. You know, my firm Brain and Co is about twenty-six, twenty-seven years, but you know I used to have AA and Co before then and overall my practice is about thirty one years old now.

What were the bad experiences that you had?

Bad experiences? [Interviewer: Yes] Well, I wouldn't call it bad but, yes, it was disappointing. I applied to two hundred and sixty-five people to get the articles and [wry laugh] some of them didn't bother to answer. The others actually sent a regret that four, five others had got the invite too and I didn't get the articles, and I thought, well I'm not that bad. [Both laugh.] I mean, I wouldn't call myself to be Plato or Aristotle and a philosopher... not a Shakespeare and [Interviewer laughs] not a Wordsworth, but at the same time I don't think I was that bad. So probably, you know, I think in those days there was ... probably you know sort of reservations and, you know sort of ... You can call it psychological barrier. You know in crude language you can say discrimination.

And I would say that it was psychological barrier because the people ... I'll give you an example. One of my clients came to me and he rang me. And you know he's realised that I am an Asian. I mean probably when I was younger I would have told him off, you know but now as I said ... you have, you get mature, and you have so much experience you enjoy things rather than being irritated about it. He said 'Where are you from?' I said 'I am from Pakistan originally.' He said ' I don't like Pakistanis.' And I said 'Look, I didn't ask you that question, so this is unasked for and unwanted for.' So I said 'But again, if you had a bad experience, there's nothing that I can do. If you don't want to come to me, don't come to me. OK. But I think now that you don't like Pakistanis, I would like you to come to me. Don't pay fees, but come and see me because where on earth you got that impression? You know I'm proud to be a Pakistani.'

He came to me, and do you know what happened? He gave me a bouquet and he said 'You are wonderful person. My sincere apologies. It has changed my impression of all Pakistanis.' But probably he must have met someone you know who didn't do good ... you know who didn't behave properly. But I told him. I said 'Look. You go to zoo. You know it doesn't really matter which country you go, you see animals of every colour, every skin, every height, every size, every nature, you know, and ... every character. God has created human beings. You find the human beings. There are wonderful human beings, there are worst ones, there are criminal, there are sick, there are saints. You know there are angels. So really you shouldn't form opinion until you have met the person and you have experienced the behaviour, you know, he is putting forward and presenting.'

Anyway I have never had a problem, you know, once the people came in. And as I said, now I have been councillor, I'm happy. My ward people have been wonderful and I was Mayor of Reading as you know just a week ago and it was a brilliant experience. I have enjoyed every moment of it. I was welcomed and never ever even once a single time I felt any discrimination or anything. And I really think so far as the system is concerned, as I said, there are individuals of every type, probably sometimes it's based on ignorance, you know lack of experience ... lack of exposure. But I can tell you that system is brilliant because otherwise I wouldn't have been mayor. And not only me, I mean there are you know seven, eight Asian and Africans who are Members of Parliament, there are members of the House of Lords. The system did not stop me. It encouraged me to go forward.

Then I came into politics when the children were grown up and, yes, the credit goes to my wife. She helped me along because she gave, always gave me support. You know, Naeema Chaudhri, the Mayoress of Reading and she is a wonderful girl and, a lady, and she has supported me as the mayoress as well. And she was always willing to actually be in the kitchen and cook the food like you know the part which my mother played there at my home, she has played here. So I made a lot of friends and you know we did wonderfully well and I didn't have any problem with that. I was welcomed in politics, I was welcomed as a councillor, I was welcomed as a mayor. And as I said credit goes to her because you know she supported me all the way now.

I think one thing I missed out which I would like to mention was my father's name and my mother's name. My father's name is Chaudhri Mohammad Sherif Aulakh spelled as M-O-H-A-double M-A-D Sharif S-H-A-R-I-F and Aulakh A-U-L-A-K-H. My mother is [pause] Ayasha Bibi A-Y-A-S-H-A B-I-B-I. And children I have got five.

And how have you maintained contact with people in Pakistan?

Yes, ten days ago or two weeks ago I went back on official tour because I wanted to see the chairman of ERRA because I have started RIPER with Martin Salter, which is an abbreviation of Reading Initiative for, Pakistan Earthquake Relief. So we have decided to take over a project in Pakistan, a primary school which we will be actually funding from here and building that school. There will be a plaque put there in the name of RIPER. So I would say that that would be a wonderful thing, you know. So I went there, I saw the chairman ERRA, Earthquake Reconstruction Relief Authority. And I saw a few other people there, a few other ministers, the Inspector General of Police and all that. Deputy Mayor of Reading Chris Maskell. He was with me as well.

And so, yes I have ... kept in touch, you know, I never broke my link with you know them because I visited them regularly and I see them and you know I got good friends there and my relatives, my friends and yes, I enjoyed it. That's a good way to get away from your normal routine life for a few weeks and relax, recharge your battery and come back again into the pressure life.

OK ...You have been Mayor of Reading ...

Yes ... and Deputy Mayor.

And Deputy Mayor, yes. How did you see your role, as ... as somebody coming from ... a big family in Pakistan and being mayor?

As I said, I think from day one my outlook and approach was ... international ... and multinational rather than actually village or town or a province or a country or a ... you know anything like that. And proof of that is now that I didn't learn English when I came here. I started learning English when I was only nine years old. OK? So when I came here I had studied English for fifteen years. And then when I had a choice either to do my BA or even O-level or A Levels, you know or whatever, and degree basic degree, either in Urdu medium, which was my national language or in English medium, I decided to go for English medium.

I like being exposed to the other parts of the world and that's something. And I can tell you now. As and when I can afford it timewise we would like to actually go away a few days and you know see the world. I can tell you because my outlook was international I didn't have any language problem but I had an added advantage being an Asian, originally because I could speak, can speak Punjabi, I can speak Urdu, I can speak a little bit of Arabic, I can speak a little bit of Persian. I can understand Hindi ... and English. So it was a wonderful experience actually whenever I used to go, if I used to go to Sikh Temple I used to speak Punjabi, their language, their mother-tongue. If I used to go to Hindu Temple I used to speak their language ... OK? If I go to you know other, somewhere else, I will speak their language. So I think as a matter of fact it gave me an advantage and I was in a position to actually put the communities together, bring them closer. And to make them feel at home ... and I felt at home as well because wherever I went I adapted to that because I was familiar with it. So I think it was wonderful and believe you me I was welcomed everywhere I went ... you know, in Reading and I loved it.

I am grateful to my colleagues and my friends. And in particular to the people, like you know my ... particularly in earthquake you know. As you know we collected about hundred and thirty-five thousand pound in Reading all of us, with the other friends and ... you know then ... other people helped me as well and I'm grateful to all of them.

And is your wife working?

She helped me at the phone, here, and most of the time actually she is in the kitchen because we receive a lot of guests. This is part of the culture and part of the family and ... but yes she was actually best athlete at her university. And when we were given you know ... leader of the Council he was doing this vote of thanks. He said he was really amazed the way Naeema Chaudhri has worked as mayoress. You know they were actually really impressed, the way she has behaved, the way, the grace she has introduced and all that, and she has actually done quite a few engagements as the Mayoress of Reading on her own. I was in Pakistan, or I was somewhere else, and she did that. So obviously she's done her job wonderfully well. I'm grateful to her. I wouldn't have been here today if it was not due to her, I would say. Number one due to my mother and number two due to my father and number three due to my wife. These are the three people who have helped me to achieve this.

OK. How do you see your role in the future? Your own contribution to the community of Reading?

At the moment I am still a councillor and I shall be councillor up till 2008, so I've got two years you know, to go and I love my ward and you know probably I would like to serve my ward. I'm never scared of responsibility. I'm never scared of hard work and I'm never scared of challenges. I like challenges because I want to test myself. Forget about other people, I want to test myself. I want to see my limit. I can tell you up to now I'm not disappointed with me and people are not disappointed with me so ... I'm here. If someone wants me to do something I'll do it and nothing matter. I have always been actually asked to do jobs.

I have been the chairman of Reading Islamic Centre, I have been vice-chair of board of governors at a school, vice-chair of Pakistan Community Centre. I have been chair of Asian Community Leaders, chair of Asian Parents' Association, you know education group, chair of Reading Earley Police and mosque and Muslims you know Liaison Committee, where my vice-chair was Chief Superintendent of Police in those days, Mr Webb. And I have done so many jobs. You know I have taken so many responsibilities. I was chair of Pensions Working Group.

In conclusion ... What, what would you ... say to fellow immigrants like you that have come to this country?

I'll say: Opportunity doesn't knock at your door all the time. You've got to go and open the door. It's a good system. Don't be put off, don't be discouraged and disgusted and disappointed by one two bad experiences. Keep on fighting. When going gets tough, the tough gets going. So work hard, be committed, be honest with yourself and to your community and to your nation and to your country which is now Britain. OK? Work hard. If I can do it so can you. Sky is the limit. And believe you me, this system, they don't look at your colour. Once obviously you can prove that you are worthwhile and you are capable of doing the job, they'll give you the job. No-one is stopping me because I am a Pakistani. I'm a ... Quite honest speaking I wouldn't accept that you know because I'm there to serve. Why should people stop me from serving the humanity and human beings. I'm proud to be a servant of human beings.

And I'll read here ... you know ... from a book of a famous poet Dr, Sir, Muhammad Iqbal, who had his PhD and barrister-at-law from Cambridge. And he says: [recites in Urdu]. I have said it in Urdu so that if someone hears it who knows Urdu they know what it means. But I have translated. He says: 'There are lot of, thousands of people who call themselves people of God. You know, like they say we are very noble. But I'm not interested in that,' he said. 'I will become slave of that person who serves the human being, who loves the human being. Who loves the people of God, who loves the, you know, mankind.' So what he's saying, his message is: love the mankind. Help the mankind. Assist them. Salve them. That is the real achievement in life.

And then there is a famous, you know, philosopher in Persian and Sheikh Saadi, he said [quotes in Persian] [Clears throat] 'If you want to be served or you want to be leader, learn to obey. OK? So whosoever obeys, is obeyed. So if you want command, obey first.' [Quotes in Persian] 'Whosoever, who serves...[quotes in Persian] he will be served, he will command.'

Also, [Quotes in Persian]. 'God has created the human being to care about the others, to feel the pain about, the, others. To look after them , to assist them, to serve them. Because he says, if He just wanted the human being to keep on praying in the mosque, in the temple, you know, in churches, in synagogues, wherever, He could have created more angels and asked them to keep on doing that. It means He wants you to do something different. Be useful to them, like my mother said. Serve them, look after them. Care about them, OK? And that ... they'll care about you and there will be a wonderful society, because everyone is the neighbour of somebody.'

So my message ... to the immigrant ... and to everyone, local and immigrant is: don't think about impossible things. Everything is possible. It depends how many hours, how many efforts you put into them. OK? That's my message.

One of the best persons I met in my life. He tries his best to support his community. I was really impressed by his managerial skills by giving time to all aspects of his life.

Iftikhar, 27 April 2009

He is my uncle.he is my ideal in my family. he is really a great person and it is his key of success

M. ASHFAQ AULAKH, 18 March 2009

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