Who would I be if My Grandparents never immigrated to Canada from Pakistan?
My roots on my maternal side are from England and Ireland, and on my paternal side my roots are from Pakistan. I will focus on roots on my paternal side and how my grandparents came from Pakistan to Guelph, ON.
If my grandparents on my paternal side never immigrated to Canada my father would have never met my mother and I would not be alive today. But, if by some miracle I was born, my life and who I am would have been very different in Pakistan.
My grandfather, Muhammad Masood, immigrated to Canada in 1969 of November and my grandmother, Musarrat Masood, and my father Asim Masood, immigrated to Canada 3 months later in January of 1970. Muhammad was 39 years old when he came over, Musarrat was 32 years old, and my father was 6 years old. My grandfather decided to move to Canada when the opportunity arose because he believe it would be a better life for him and his family. This includes many new and a better opportunities for jobs and to live a health and well balanced life between family life, job, and time for fun. The factors for my grandma to go to Canada were that “[she] wanted to be a doctor but [her] father told [her] that [she] could not because it takes to much time and that he needed to marry off [her] six sisters first,”(Masood). So Musarrat wanted independence, to make her own living, and not be a burden on her parents anymore which she could do if she immigrated to Canada. The factors were that she was scared to travel to Canada, that it was far from her family, and she would miss them.
Figure 1 Figure 2
Musarrat Masood's family she had to leave behind in Pakistan.
My grandfather travelled to Canada by plane, lived in Toronto for 10 days, and got a job within that 10 days in guelph. Then 3 months later my grandmother and father came over by plane as well. My grandmother recalls “[that] [her] first job was babysitting the next door neighbour children in the apartment they lived in and was paid $20 a week,”(Masood). My grandmother later went to college and went to be a training officer but change because she did not like talking to the men that worked there. So then she became a nurse because she wanted to help people. Soon after they got settled and got a house and had two more children.
Figure 3 Figure 4
Figure 3: Musarrat and Mohmand Masood’s Canadian Citizenship Certifications. Figure 4 Muhammad's first letter home to his wife and child when he got to Toronto, which would take two to three weeks.
If I was living in Pakistan right now at age 16 I would be living in my great grandmother's house with my family, the education expectancy is 7 years for girls living in Pakistan, according to the CIA world fact book. So, I would mostly likely complete grade 8 and then I might go to secondary school but my mother could make me drop out if she needed help at home, like my grandmother did for her mother. “The unemployment rate for youth 15-24 in Canada is 13.5% and in Pakistan it is 7.7%,”(The World Fact Book). The unemployment rate is much lower in Pakistan because they want young works who can work longer, harder and quicker for them instead of older people who work slower and get tired faster. The unemployment rate is higher in Canada because they want older people who have experiences and skills to work for them instead of young people who do not have the skills or experience. I would most likely have job because there is a higher rate of employment in urban and in high income families which my grandmother comes from. “Pakistan, like many other developing countries, has a health-care system that is split between low-cost government-funded hospitals offering basic services and expensive private-sector medical institutions. But the majority of the country’s 180 million people have little access to health care,”(Bahree). My family would be able pay for the basic services but not the private-sector. So more expensive treatment I would not get like chemotherapy or surgery to insure I will live a long healthy life. Rights and freedoms are very equal between men and women in Pakistan like in Canada. In Pakistan there is a lot more violence towards women and child marriages. There a lot of “Violence against women and girls—including rape, murder through so-called honor killings, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage—remained routine. Pakistani human rights nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) estimate that there are about 1,000 “honor killings” every year,”(World Reports 2016: Pakistan). So in Pakistan I would be married off at age 12 or 13 to an older man. I would have to end my schooling and care for the children that I would have. I could possibly die in childbirth or experiencing abuse from my husband.
All in all my life and who I would be, would have turned out very different from the life I have now, if my grandparents never immigrated from Pakistan to Canada. I have a very comfortable life in Canada I got to school for free, I have a job and make my own income, I have free healthcare so if I am badly hurt I can get treated for what I need, and I have equal rights and freedom. In Pakistan my life would have been hard and maybe even fatal, if I was abused badly or killed and could not get the help I need. I am very thankful that my parental grandparents immigrated to Canada, so I could become the person I am today.
Bahree, Megha. "Bringing Healthcare to More Pakistanis." The Wall Street
Journal. Dow Jones and Company, 6 Nov. 2012. Web. 30 May 2016.
Ghosh, Palash. "Child Marriage Should Be Legal: Pakistani Legal Advisory Body."
International Business Times. IBT Media, 11 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 May 2016.
"Map of Pakistan." Radio Free Europe. RFE/RL, n.d. Web. 30 May 2016.
Masood, Musarrat. Personal interview. 26 May 2016.
"Women's Rights in Pakistan." Wikipeadia. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2016.
"The World Fact Book." Central Intelligence Agency. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 May 2016.
"World Report 2015: Pakistan." Human Rights Watch. 2016 Human Rights Watch, n.d.
Web. 30 May 2016. <https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/
Figure 1. 1962. Photograph.
Figure 2. 1964. Photograph.
Figure 3. 1971. Photograph.
Figure 4. 1969. Photograph.