Rishi Sunak takes the helm of No. 10 Downing Street as the third prime minister of the UK in 2022 and the fifth in the previous six years.
He has talked about growing up spending time at the Hindu temple and rooting for the neighborhood soccer team. He was born in southern England to parents who are of Indian descent.
Rishi Sunak| 10th Prime Minister of the UK
Despite being occasionally stirred up by anti-immigrant fervor, the polyglot nation of Rishi Sunak is set to become the first prime minister of color in the history of the United Kingdom.
Mr. Sunak was born in Southampton, on the southern coast of England, to parents of Indian descent who had moved from British colonial East Africa sixty years earlier. He progressed quickly from being a new member of Parliament to being chancellor of the Exchequer at the age of 39.
Although Sunak’s appointment to Britain’s highest office may be indicative of the nation’s political climate, it is noteworthy since Sunak is the first person of Asian ancestry to hold the position.
Details about Prime Minister Sunak
Rishi Sunak, the first prime minister of Indian ancestry, is the son of Hindu parents of Indian Punjabi ethnicity who were born in Africa. The fact that he starts in the position the day after Diwali starts is just the icing on the cake.
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His mother was a pharmacist, while his father was a general practitioner. Working in his mother’s tiny shop was one of Mr. Sunak’s earliest business experiences, according to his official website.
“I grew up watching my parents serve our local community with dedication,” he writes.
The grandparents of Mr. Sunak were originally from Punjab. Despite claiming to have had little exposure to racism as a child, he described an incident from his teenage years that has stuck with him in a BBC interview. He claimed that while eating fast food with his two younger brothers, he overheard some other customers calling them by a racial slur.
He told the BBC, “It stung, I still remember, it’s seared in my memory,” However, he continued, “can’t conceive of that happening today” in Britain.
His parents gathered money to enroll him at Winchester College, one of Britain’s most prestigious and demanding academic institutions.
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He earned a fortune in banking, including a stint at Goldman Sachs, after graduating with a top degree from Oxford University and enrolling at Stanford University. Then he won a seat in Parliament in 2015, representing a constituency in Yorkshire.
He was appointed chancellor in 2020, and after the Covid pandemic, when the Treasury spent billions to support struggling Britons and save jobs, his popularity increased.
His future wife Akshata Murty, a fashion designer whose father Narayana Murthy co-founded the IT behemoth Infosys and is one of India’s richest men, was a classmate at Stanford when he first started seeing her. They live in Santa Monica, California, have a home in London, Yorkshire, and have two kids, according to news reports.
Road to becoming Prime Minister
However, this year’s reports that Ms. Murty had reduced her tax exposure in Britain caused Mr. Sunak’s rapid climb to stall. She offered to pay the additional tax after the controversy and days of negative press.
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When it became known that Mr. Rishi Sunak had kept his U.S. green card, which would have allowed him to reside there permanently, he was also chastised. Prior to his first trip to the nation as chancellor last October, he gave it up.
More than his ancestry, his appearance of privilege during this summer’s Conservative Party leadership race seemed to cause concern among party members during a period of rising inflation and a cost-of-living issue.
Concerns about his lack of relevance were heightened by a photo opportunity where he appeared confused about how to pay at a gas station and claims that he visited a construction site wearing a pair of Prada loafers worth $490 ($555).
He has discussed juggling his two identities as a member of a generation with British parents but foreign origins. He revealed to the BBC that as a youngster, he would spend weekends at the Hindu temple and at games of the neighborhood Southampton soccer team, the Saints.
“You do everything,” he said. “You do both.”
The Hindu celebration of Diwali, which celebrates the dawn of a new year, fell on the same day as his triumph on Monday.
When Mr. Sunak was elected to Parliament, he took his oath of allegiance to the Bhagavad Gita, the most respected Hindu literature, and has spoken of his faith as a source of strength.
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However, the religious connection of a politician is rarely a hot topic in Britain, and Mr. Sunak has not made his faith a central aspect of his political character.
“I am open about being a Hindu,” he stated to the Business Standard newspaper in India (2020). However, he continued by contrasting religion in America and Britain and said: “Religion pervades political life there, and that is not the case here, thankfully.”
Moreover. He is not the first leader of European Indian descent. There have been three prime ministers from Europe who are of Indian heritage.
Mixed Reaction from the Public
Sathnam Sanghera, a British journalist, noted on Twitter that “Britain systematically excluded Indians from top jobs. Sikhs, for instance, were not trusted to drive trains.”
Some people still perplexed about why Rishi Sunak’s race matters. It matters because of the imperial context. As I explain in #Empireland, Britain systematically excluded Indians from top jobs. Sikhs, for instance, were not trusted to drive trains…
— Sathnam Sanghera (@Sathnam) October 25, 2022
“This racism was imported into postwar Britain. Transport workers banned overtime in protest at the recruitment of black labor (1955), a newspaper revealed that there was not one single ‘coloured worker’ in the West Midlands police force or working as a clerk in a bank (1968).”
“In Wolverhampton an Indian teacher was appointed to a post at a local comprehensive only to have the decision reversed by the School Management Committee (1978). So, yes, whatever your politics, it matters that we have our first British Asian PM,” Sanghera writes.
Yesterday, the Indian channel NDTV ran the title,“Indian son rises over the Empire. History comes full circle in Britain”.
Also, Sunak’s appointment was described as “a groundbreaking milestone” by US President Joe Biden.
Sunak, the first leader of Indian descent in Britain, is praised by India, 75 years after colonial rule. According to Tiktok, we can also say Tables have Tables!