A Bradford man is celebrating his centenary, and was overjoyed at receiving a personal congratulations on his 100th birthday from HM The Queen.

Born in 1922, in the then British ruled India, Mr Mirza Khan belonged to a humble Kashmiri family who migrated from Barmoola (now occupied Kashmir) and settled in district Jhelum, Punjab in Pakistan.

Mr Khan joined the then British India army seeing action in Burma and being awarded various bravery awards by the British armed forces. After partition of India in 1947 he joined the Pakistan Army.

He moved to UK in the 1950s when the UK Government welcomed immigrants from across the common wealth as it needed to rebuild and regenerate its economy with cheap labour for the betterment of the country..

Mr Khan lived and worked in London in the then British Rail as a senior railman.

Most of these first generation migrants, like Mr Khan, were economic migrants who dreamed of making their fortunes here in Britain and returning to their homelands.

However due to various economic and social factors that philosophy became a “myth of return”.

In 1969 Mr Khan decided to call over his children and family from Pakistan in the hope of giving them better life opportunities.

Marking his 100th birthday, Mr Khan said: “I am eternally grateful that God enabled me to raise my children and give them an education through the work I did with my own two hands. I always earned my money through Halal means, and all my prayers were heard and fulfilled by Allah, I feel blessed.”

It may seem surprising to us now that he decided to move the family from London to Bradford, but the economic historians amongst us will recall that during that era Bradford was one the most thriving cities in England. It had a significantly large mix of ethnic minorities especially, those from Pakistan and Mirpur.

Mr Khan raised his young family of five sons and one daughter taking advantage of the thriving city with its excellent education system.

Mr Mirza Khan celebrates his 100th birthday with his five children, 18 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren

Like all of the first generation of migrants despite not knowing the language or the culture facing humongous challenges they got on and worked hard to sustain their families, they built social institutions to build societal cohesion here in the United Kingdom.

Mr Khan became the committee member of Hanfia Masjid on Carlisle Road. In Pakistan, Mr Khan and his wife set up schools and a masjid in their village to help the needy. Thus helping societies both here in the UK and in Pakistan.

Mr Khan celebrated his 100th birthday with his five children 18 grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren and other friends and relatives in Bradford.

His children have taken advantage of the education system and the excellent ecosystem of enterprise here in Bradford to build businesses in the city and beyond.

His family, standing on the strong foundations of the first generation, have created wealth and employment for themselves and for the people of this nation. The family owns and manages the many multi-million famous businesses with its headquarters in Bradford.