Pride in Sunak


As more than a billion Hindus around the world this week observed Diwali, “the festival of lights,” the appointment of one of their own as British prime minister offered a second cause for celebration.

Sunak, a former British Chancellor and a practising Hindu, won the race to lead the Conservative Party on Monday and was officially appointed prime minister by King Charles III on Tuesday.

Narendra Modi, the prime minister of majority Hindu India, quickly congratulated him.

“Special Diwali wishes to the ‘living bridge’ of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership,” he tweeted.

Indian newspapers and TV channels were already clamouring for the Sunak “era” Sunday after scandal-ridden Boris Johnson, whom Sunak served as finance minister, dropped his bid to return as prime minister.

In the 1960s, Sunak’s family emigrated from Africa to Britain, which, according to the 2021 census data, is home to almost a million Britons of Indian heritage. Born in the southern port city of Southampton, he attended Oxford University, worked at Goldman Sachs and married Akshata Murty, daughter of the Indian tech titan Narayana Murthy, a co-founder of the software giant Infosys.

Many Indians are immensely proud when those who trace their roots to the country of 1.4 billion do well abroad, including figures such as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai and the new Twitter CEO, Parag Agrawal.