Extra special Diwali brings back memories of becoming PM: Rishi Sunak

Extra special Diwali brings back memories of becoming PM: Rishi Sunak
Courtesy: Simon Dawson / No. 10 Downing Street

 UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and wife Akshata Murty hosted their second annual Diwali reception at 10 Downing Street this week, welcoming members of the British Indian diaspora, Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami as well as visiting Bollywood stars Akshay Kumar, Twinkle Khanna and Preity Zinta. 

Schoolchildren from Avanti Court Primary School recited hymns as the couple lit the ceremonial lamp before an idol of Lord Ganesha at their residence, decorated in vibrant flowers and candles for the Festival of Lights. Sunak began by thanking the mandirs (temples) which had contributed to the Annakut display, or religious offerings to the divine, including the ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor temple which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Sunak said: “Diwali is an incredibly special time for all of us and our families, but for me, now, it also brings back amazing memories of becoming Prime Minister this time last year.

“It's been a year of incredibly hard work, some real progress, and of course, memories that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

“It was an incredible moment to go to India for the G20 as the first British Indian Prime Minister, and be there for India's big moment on the world stage with [Indian Prime Minister] Modi-ji; that was a very special moment for all of us, as we saw what has happened to India's development over the years. It was a proud moment for everyone, and it was an incredible success.”

On a personal note, Sunak spoke of his parents’ values sustaining him through the challenging times of his first year as UK PM.

He added: “In all honesty, as I look back over the last year, this job has brought many challenges. But what has sustained me throughout and continues to sustain me is remembering the values that my parents brought me and my brother and sister up with – hard work, a commitment to service, understanding the value of education in all things and making the right decisions, not just the easy ones. And I know, as I look around, that many of you were brought up with the same values too.”

Sunak was announced as Britain’s first Prime Minister of Indian heritage on Diwali day last year and had previously made history by lighting diyas on the doorstep of No. 11 Downing Street as the country’s first British Hindu Chancellor.

Diwali celebrations have been resonating across the UK ahead of the festival which falls on November 12, with the House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle hosting a celebration in the House of Commons and State Bank of India (SBI) marking the festivities in the Tower of London this year.  


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