My name is Faisal Hussain, my background is British Pakistani, I was born in Solihull in 1977, I am one of two sons, and, well I am first generation, I am the first generation in my family to be born here, however my Father and my Grandfather both moved here and worked here from Pakistan, actually the Punjab, and I would describe myself as a mixture of identities in terms of who I am.
My first memories of my Grandfather are from him returning home after markets, he was a market trader and had worked as a market trader for many years, before that he was a factory worker, and worked within an electrical factory in Hall Green. This would be in the period around, I was born in 1977, so my earliest memory would have been around 1980-81, perhaps even earlier of my playing and he returning home with my Father from the markets that he had been doing.
My earliest memory of my Father is one which is linked with Pakistan because early on in my life I went back to Pakistan with him, when I was approximately between two and three years old. My Mother was expecting my younger brother and my Father wanted me to be with him. So my earliest memories of him are been on a plane with him, going back to Pakistan and living with him in Pakistan and going to a variety of places from Russia through to the Middle East on a number of occasions. Then after that the memory is of him working, similarly to my Grandfather, in England in Hall Green.
I think my Father, being an early son, found that rather than confrontation the only thing left for him to do was to work himself to a better place, and that is something that is instilled within me and my brother. I used to go to markets with my Father from a very young age, but it was never to work. It would have been around the mid eighties, so it would have been just before moving to Solihull, and then a little bit after.
I was the apple of his eye. My Grandfather was the person who, I mean my Grandfather and my Grandmother put me on a pedestal, I was treated me like a prince form a very young age, and all the way throughout their lives then did everything, I could do no wrong on a number of occasions; apart from when I did in which case I was told very firmly. However, their opinion of me, as I grew was obviously slightly different, because their romanticised idea of what I would become and who I was, was not something that was becoming apparent in my mid thirties, and also with old age they needed looking after and they wanted myself to get married, they wanted, numerous things which unfortunately I was unable to give, which I feel very very sad about. However their opinion of me was always of a very large amount of love, of a really great amount of love and I don’t think I will be ever as lucky again to have someone who loves me that much.
From the few conversations that I had with my Grandfather I was able to find out that he wasn’t a particularly religious man when he first moved over to Birmingham, that the history of our village was not something that was specifically linear and Muslim, that the majority, or some people within our village were Seek and perhaps even going back, when I asked him a direct question he said perhaps we even ourselves, within our generations previously were Sikh; pre-partition.
There are a number of questions that I didn’t get the chance to ask him. What he really was interested in was building a better life. He arrived in 1964 and he lived in, he went , I think he flew directly into London where he stayed for only a number of days, around Brick Lane, around the East end, he then moved directly to Birmingham and stayed in a house full of eight gentlemen on Stoney Lane in Birmingham, which is now the Balti Triangle. He went to work at a factory called MEM, which is now Eaton which is based within Hall Green and worked there for a number of years, for approximately five of six years until he could afford his own house, his own car and then was able to ask my Grandmother and my Father to move over and live with him in 1971.
Its really important to take your parents with you. To take your parents with you means that, yes there are certain things that they many not agree with or like and yes there will be occasions where you probably don’t need to tell them certain things. But the more effort you into doing it, the more you can take them on the journey of your life.