The first experience of many Pakistanis in Britain is often unwelcoming and difficult. They have come full of expectations only to be met with indifference and a cold shoulder both from the weather and the community. But despite
The first experience of many Pakistanis in Britain is often unwelcoming and difficult. They have come full of expectations only to be met with indifference and a cold shoulder both from the weather and the community. But despite these problems most thrive and do well and often look back to their earliest experiences with a mixture of sentiments and gratitude that they have survived.
Muhammad Ayyub first came to Britain from district Gujrat, Pakistan when he was 22. It was 1961 and he felt homesick and wet from the continuous rain. He had been persuaded by a friend in Pakistan to give up his job teaching maths and physics and seek out new opportunities in Britain.
He first got a job in motorcycle factory but this was just a stop gap measure until he found his true vocation in the music industry. He had never envisaged himself becoming involved in music but he found his work as a quality control inspector in the motorcycle factory boring and repetitive so he opened a small electrical goods shop in Birmingham.
It was while selling electrical goods that he realised that there was a gap in the market for Asian music. Ayyub approached the music company EMI with the idea of producing music from the Asian subcontinent.
They began producing small seven inch records and from all over the country the demand came for more. Ayyub's company, Oriental Star Agencies Ltd; made a deal with EMI to become the first distributor of Asian music.
As the business grew Ayyub was increasingly drawn toward radio and TV broadcasting. He began in 1971 in a small way on the local hospital network and, as a result, was invited to present programmes for BBC Radio WM where he still presents two one hour programmes a week.
In 1975 he organised Britain's first Asian Song Contest and Music Festival and the annual event quickly became a huge success. The rise of the industry presenting Asian music reflects the growth of the community as a whole. Ayyub still runs the electrical business which now operates from larger premises and has a second shop.
Ayyub has been able to balance his business with his interests in music along with helping out community, being involved with Pakistan Welfare Society and UK Pakistan Cultural Foundation. He does a lot of work for Asian charities including the Imran Khan hospital. He feels his life has far exceeded his expectations and looks forward to more surprises in the future.