Where are Rishi Sunak’s parents from? Where is new Prime Minister’s family from, nationality - and religion

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After winning the top political office, Rishi Sunak has become the first Hindu prime minister of the United Kingdom.

His appointment has been hailed as a "historic moment" that demonstrated the highest office “can be open to those of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds”.

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Sunak is a practising Hindu who takes his Commons oath on the basis of the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Sanskrit text.

But what exactly is Sunak’s background? Here is everything you need to know about him.

Where were Rishi Sunak’s parents born?

Rishi Sunak was born in Southampton on 12 May 1980 to African-born Hindu parents of Indian Punjabi descent, Yashvir and Usha Sunak.

His father was born and raised in the Colony and Protectorate of Kenya (modern-day Kenya), and his mother in Tanganyika (which later became part of Tanzania).

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Both of Sunak’s grandfathers were born in Punjab province, British India, and emigrated to the UK with their families in the 1960s from East Africa.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, as today it has been announced that Rishi Sunak is the new Conservative party leader (PA / Ready for Rishi)Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, as today it has been announced that Rishi Sunak is the new Conservative party leader (PA / Ready for Rishi)
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, as today it has been announced that Rishi Sunak is the new Conservative party leader (PA / Ready for Rishi) | PA / Ready for Rishi

Ramdas Sunak, the Prime Minister’s paternal grandfather, was born in Gujranwala (modern-day Pakistan) and migrated to Nairobi in 1935 to work as a clerk, where he was joined by his wife Suhag Rani Sunak, who arrived from Delhi in 1937.

His maternal grandfather, Raghubir Sain Berry MBE, worked as a tax official in Tanganyika, and had an arranged marriage with 16-year-old Tanganyika-born Sraksha, with whom he had three children.

The family relocated to the United Kingdom in 1966, funded by Sraksha selling her bridal jewellery.

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What have people said about Sunak’s appointment?

Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, said: “Rishi Sunak becoming the first British Indian Prime Minister is a historic moment. This simply would not have been possible even a decade or two ago.

He added: “Most people in Britain now rightly say the ethnicity and faith of the Prime Minister should not matter.

“They will judge Sunak on whether he can get a grip on the chaos in Westminster, sort out the public finances, and restore integrity to politics. But we should not underestimate this important social change.”

He pointed out that when Sunak was born, there had been no Asian or black MPs in the post-war era, but that said Sunak’s rise “does not make Britain a perfect meritocracy”, and while there is “more to do”, it is a “hopeful sign of progress against the prejudices of the past”.

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But not all commentators are convinced, including NationalWorld’s own Suswati Basu, who said Sunak’s appointment is purely “down to the fact that he’s now the last man standing.”

“Sunak is not our fellow man,” she adds. “more like a ‘model minority’, in the sense that he is both an Oxford and Stanford University-educated Fulbright scholar and now the leader of the country.

Sunak is married to Akshata Murty, “who herself owns a 0.91% stake in Infosys, which was valued at about £746 million in April, making her one of the wealthiest women in Britain.

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“Wth this came claims that Sunak was clearly “out of touch” with the common person, especially during a cost of living crisis.”

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