Pakistani-origin Hindu to become UK’s prime minister
The leader of the Conservative Party, Rishi Sunak, is about to make history by becoming the first Hindu and non-white person from Pakistan and India to become prime minister of Great Britain.
Rishi Sunak MP, 42, was born in Southampton to Hindu-Punjabi parents, but his grandparents were born and raised in the Pakistani city of Gujranwala in Punjab, Pakistan.
Oddly enough, the new British prime minister is both an Indian and a native Pakistani. Rishi is a practicing Hindu and takes an oath on the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred text in Sanskrit.
Rishi’s paternal grandfather, Ramdas Sunak, left Gujranwala for clerical duties in Nairobi in 1935. His wife, Suhag Rani Sunak, moved to Delhi initially from Gujranwala, with her mother-in-law, before traveling to Kenya in 1937 to join her husband. Ramdas and Suhag Rani had six children, three sons, and three daughters.
Rishi’s father Yashveer Sunak was born in 1949 in Nairobi. He moved to Liverpool in 1966 and pursued his medical studies at the University of Liverpool. Yashveer married Usha in Leicester in 1977. Three years later, Rishi saw the light of day in 1980 in Southampton. His parents managed a successful pharmacy until they retired.
“The Sunaks are a Punjabi Khatri family from Gujranwala, now in Pakistan,” tweeted one Queen Lioness 86, adding: “Ramdas Sunak, Rishi’s paternal grandfather, left Gujranwala to work as a clerk in Nairobi in 1935.”
Ramdas’s wife, Suhag Rani, moved to Delhi initially from Gujranwala, with his mother-in-law, before traveling to Kenya in 1937. According to Queen Lioness 86, who gave all the details on the family, including the migration of the family and the birth of Rishi in 1980 in Southampton.
As soon as it became clear that Rishi will become the next Prime Minister, many on Twitter claimed the new British leader.
“I think Pakistan should also lay claim on Rishi Sunak because his paternal grandparents were from Gujranwala who from there migrated to Kenya and then to Britain,” one Shafat Shah tweeted. Someone with a Twitter handle as Grand Finale wrote: “Wow! What a tremendous achievement. A Pakistani man reached the highest office in England. Anything is possible if you believe.”
Some suggested that this was a happy time for both India and Pakistan. “Going to bed in the US with hopes that a Punjabi from Gujranwala will be the prime minister of the UK in the morning! Both Pakistan and India should be proud of this occasion!” tweeted Yaqoob Bangash.
“Since Gujranwala is in Pakistan, any person who belonged to that city even 100 years ago is a Pakistani now,” said Zulfikar Jatt.
Gujranwala, known for its fine food and wrestling culture, is around 1.5 hours from Lahore.
Before partition, when Rishi’s grandparents used to live in Gujranwala, the city used to be a locality surrounded by at least seven gates, used as entry and exit points to it. Today’s Gujranwala is a congested, densely populated city surrounded by narrow streets, filled with shops of clothes, jewellery, electronics, and others. Before partition, the city had a large and thriving Hindu community.
When community riots broke out in British India (present-day India and Pakistan), many Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims were forced to migrate and move. Many Muslim and Hindu families moved from India and Pakistan to Kenya and elsewhere.