‘Our Obama moment’: UK Hindu temple leader on Sunak becoming PM


London, Oct 25

Rishi Sunak becoming UK's Prime Minister is "our Barack Obama moment", said the leader of the Hindu temple set up by the Indian-origin leader's grandfather.

Rishi Sunak's grandfather Ramdas Sunak, who was from Gujranwala town (now in Pakistan), set up the Vedic Society Hindu Temple in Southampton in 1971.

"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," Sanjay Chandarana, president of the temple, told LBC News.

He added that Rishi Sunak regularly comes to the temple located in Hampshire city when he is in his hometown.

Rishi Sunak, who will be taking charge as the Prime Minister after meeting King Charles III, visited the temple in July, just a couple of days before he resigned as chancellor. He had offered a family prayer and had lunch at the temple.

Chandarana told LBC News that he is sure that Rishi Sunak will come to the temple for prayers once he becomes the Prime Minister.

Rishi Sunak made history when he swore his oath to Parliament after the 2017 general elections with his hand on a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, as pointed out by 'The Guardian'.

And he was also the first occupant of No 11, Downing Street, the official residence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to celebrate Diwali at the doorsteps of his then-home.

Despite growing up in Britain and going to Winchester, Oxford University and then Stanford, Rishi Sunak has never glossed over his cultural roots, staying away from beef and keeping a statuette of Lord Ganesha on his work table.

"I can proudly say that I am a Hindu, and being a Hindu is my identity," he said in a media interview, adding that his faith "gives me strength; it gives me purpose. It's part of who I am," Rishi Sunak had told The Times earlier this year.

Chandarana said Rishi Sunak's appointment as Prime Minister showed that integration was working in the UK.

"It will unite the country because he practices the Hindu religion religiously and one of the key values we have is that the whole world is our family, and we believe in unity in that respect," the temple leader told LBC News.

Rishi Sunak is scripting history as the UK's first Prime Minister of colour and the first Hindu premier.


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