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Monday, June 27, 2022

Dearly loved father who served in British Indian Army celebrates 100th birthday

A beloved father from Bradford who fought in the British Indian Army is celebrating his 100th birthday, today.

A dearly loved father and grandfather from Bradford is celebrating his centenary birthday, today.

Mirza Khan, who came to Britain 70 years ago, is celebrating his 100th birthday with a party this afternoon with his friends and family.

Mr Khan, who was born on 24 May 1922, was born before the Partition of India. His ancestors came from Baramulla, the Indian-administrated region of Kashmir and then settled in Jhelum District in Punjab in Pakistan.

Mr Khan, who fought in the British Indian Army, turned 100 today.

As a young man, Mr Khan served in the British Indian Army fighting in the Burma (now known as Myanmar) campaign, which was part of the Pacific War in World War Two and was awarded the George’s Medal for his acts of bravery.

He then joined Pakistan’s Army before leaving the country in the early 1950s to settle in London in the search of a better life after the devastation of the divide between India and Pakistan.

He worked in the railway industry before retiring and has six children, five sons and a daughter and has 14 grandchildren. He moved his young family and his wife, Hazran Bibi, to Bradford from the capital in 1971, because of the “cultural aspects” the city provides.

His birthday comes just over a week before the Queen, who is 96, will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee for serving 70 years on the throne. Mr Khan is “expecting a card from the Queen in the post any day now,” his son, Amjad Pervez said.

Mr Pervez, said: “My father was bought on 24 May 2022. At that time, India was under British Rule and my father was in the British Indian Army. He saw active service, he nearly got killed in Burma, as it was known then, defending the British interests.

Mr Khan will celebrate his birthday with his family at a party this afternoon.

“After 1947, he then joined Pakistan’s Army but left in the early 1950s after young people from the Caribbean and the Commonwealth were invited to come over after the UK was devasted by World War Two.

“My father has five sons and one daughter. The first batch of us came over in 1969 and the rest followed. In 1971, he decided that we would move from London to Bradford because he thought it would be a better environment for us. There were more Pakistanis and South Asians here and more cultural aspects such as masjids, South Asian grocery shops, and halal butchers.

“The first generation had great values of determination and sharing, not only the wealth they created within their families but setting up schools and providing medicine to communities back home.”

“The first generation had great values of determination and sharing, not only the wealth they created within their families but setting up schools and providing medicine to communities back home.

Mr Khan received a George’s Medal for his outstanding bravery.

“The first generation focused on economic prosperity, and they realised the value of education as they didn’t have any. Despite, them being uneducated, poor, and working 24/7, they made sure that my generation got a good quality education.

“Today in Britain, when you see the entrepreneurs, the accountants, the doctors and the bankers, it comes from the first generation laying down the foundations for them.”

Mr Khan was also instrumental in setting up Jamia Masjid Hanfia in Manningham, Mr Pervez said.

“My father was one of the founding committee members of Jamia Masjid Hanfia. He alongside others from the first generation from different communities not only worked hard and sacrificed their lives for their families, friends, and relatives, but laid out the foundations for us to keep our identity, culture and character by giving us social institutions such as masjids, Gurdwaras, and temples.

“The first generation have done their job admirably under exceptional circumstances. The second, third generation and now even the fourth generation have the privilege of being educated here because of their contributions and foresight to ensure that our culture, heritage and identity were maintained.”

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