UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak marked Diwali in Southampton, his hometown in the UK, alongside his wife Akshata Murty and their two daughters.
A video circulating online shows the family sitting on the floor and singing the bhajan Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram. The Diwali festivities took place at the Vedic Society Hindu Temple on Radcliffe Road where Prime Minister Sunak was also joined by his parents, Yashvir and Usha Sunak.
Diwali night Bhajan by PM Rishi Sunak & family at Southampton Mandir .
गर्व से कहो हम हिंदू है। pic.twitter.com/2Zx6oVpHQQ
— Minni Razdan (@mini_razdan10) November 14, 2023
Mr Sunak also spoke to the crowd and said it was “wonderful to be back home in Southampton”, reported BBC News. “I have so many happy memories of my time here as a kid. This was the place the values my parents raised me with were reinforced – the importance of family, faith and service, education and hard work. Looking around, I’m inspired that there is a whole new generation raised with those same values.”
One of the attendees said, “He was part of our Sunday classes of children coming up learning about Hindu culture and all the different gods and prayers. For us, he’s like our family and we’re really excited to see him today.”
Rishi Sunak, the first British Prime Minister who is Hindu and of Indian origin, and family also celebrated Diwali at 10 Downing Street.
Mr Sunak also “welcomed guests from the Hindu community to Downing Street ahead of Diwali – a celebration of the triumph of light over darkness.”
Rishi Sunak has been quite vocal about his beliefs. Speaking at the Ramayana recitation by spiritual leader Morari Bapu at Cambridge University, earlier this year, he said, “For me, faith is very personal. It guides me in every aspect of my life. Being Prime Minister is a great honour, but it is not an easy job. There are difficult decisions to make, hard choices to confront and our faith gives me courage, strength, and resilience to do the best that I can for our country.”