As Rishi Sunak was announced as the new British Prime minister on Monday, October 24, he also became the first Asian-origin person, as well as the first Hindu to acquire the UK hot seat. The 42-year-old will be appointed formally in his new role on Tuesday, October 25.
Following the news, Vedic Society Hindu Temple president Sanjay Chandarana is celebrating the appointment. The temple was established by Rishi Sunak’s grandsire Ramdas Sunak in 1971. The new British PM’s father, Yash, continued to be a trustee in the temple even in the 1980s.
As per Chandarana, Rishi Sunak remains a frequent visitor to the temple in Southampton, where he was also born. The temple president revealed that Sunak visited the temple last July when he contributed meals for the worshippers, a tradition that his family has been following for a long time.
“It’s a proud moment, the temple is buzzing right now, a lot of people are showing their own pictures with him, when he was here before he took pictures with every single person who was in temple, 300 people,” the temple president told Metro.
“It’s like for the UK, it’s the Barack Obama moment, where a non-white person becomes Prime Minister for the first time, also a person from Indian origin and Hindu which is another dimension and everyone is very proud,” he added.
The Barack Obama reference is regarding the American politician’s rise to power as the US President when he became the first African American person to occupy the seat in 2009.
Sanjay Chandarana also revealed that when they heard the news, they offered a special prayer for Sunak, who will also be part of his Diwali speech.
The temple official also quipped that he thinks Sunak becoming the new British PM is proof of integration in the UK communities.
“It will unite the country, because he practises Hindu religion religiously and one of the key values we have is the whole world is our family and we believe in unity in that respect,” he said.
Sunak’s appointment comes at a crucial time in UK’s history when the country is facing stark economic challenges following a mini-budget by his predecessor Liz Truss and his finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng. According to Chandarana, it is also Sunak’s biggest challenge in his new role, which he will have to address quickly.
While the new British PM and his wife are one of the most wealthy couples in the UK, Sunak’s rise to power started from humble beginnings. He used to clean tables at an Indian restaurant when he was a teenager and the proprietor, Kuti Miah, thinks he will be running the country passionately.
“It’s a tough time, he’s got a tough task on his hands but he’s up to the task,” Miah said. “‘He will do the job passionately, he’s a passionate person,” he added.
The restaurant owner also feels that Rishi Sunak will be honest with the British citizens as he is not working for money.