Monaf Miaf

Monaf Miaf, born in East Pakistan in 1952, came to East London at the age of 15 with his father, already living in the UK, and younger brother.

Monaf Miaf was born in a village in Sylhet, East Pakistan in 1952. His father came to the UK in 1946 and brought Monaf and his younger brother to East London when Monaf was 15. At that time Monaf’s father was living with other Sylhetis in Old Montague Street in Whitechapel. Monaf went to school for a couple of months but stopped because of the racist attacks.

When Monaf was 17 or 18 his father went to Mecca and then to Pakistan where he died. Monaf and his brother stayed in the same house in Old Montague Street, looked after by his Dad’s friends from the same village. Monaf wrote letters home every week and went back to Sylhet in 1971 as his mother was sick. He stayed for a year, got married and then returned, leaving his wife in Sylhet. Three of his children were born in Bangladesh and the rest here. He worked in both the catering and clothing industries. He still lives in Whitechapel and attends Toynbee Hall’s Surma group for older men of Bangladeshi origin.

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