Chaudhri Riaz

Born: 10th June 1946

Nanka Kohana, Pakistan

Date of interview: 25th May 2006

Map showing where Chaudhri Riaz came from

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.'