Belfast Hindu community shares ‘pride’ as Rishi Sunk becomes UK’s first Asian prime minister

Members of Belfast's Hindu community have spoken of their pride in seeing Rishi Sunak - the UK's first prime minister of Asian descent - taking up residence in No 10.

The Indian community came together on Monday night to celebrate Diwali - the festival of lights.

Diwali is a religious Hindu festival which usually takes place on the day of the new moon. This is seen as the darkest night of the year and is Holy to the Hindu community.

This year, Diwali fell on Monday 24 October and women from the Belfast Asian Women’s Academy performed a flash mob at City Hall to mark the occasion. The building was also lit up yellow and red for the celebration.

The Hindu festival fell this year on the same day it was announced that Rishi Sunak would become prime minister.

Rishi Sunak’s “coronation” as Tory leader came less than two months after losing out to Liz Truss in the most rapid political comeback in modern UK political history. As an Asian, he sets records as he will become the UK’s first prime minister who is not white, the first Hindu in the top job and, at 42, the youngest PM for more than 200 years.

Those involved in the flash mob at city hall were asked of their views on the astonishing rise of the former chancellor.

Director of the Asian Women's Academy Ana Chandran admitted having "mixed emotions" but wanted Mr Sunak to be a "prime minister for everybody" regardless of "what background or what religion he is".

Shrinidi Deshpande, who was watching the flashmob, said he was "very proud... his wife is from our place and she speaks my language".

One of the dancers Namradhe Dasu said "it's really beautiful" and "its all about how he has been supported and it shows how all of the UK are into supporting someone from outside".

Afshan Abdul had a similar view to Ana: "For me, I don't look at it like, ok he is of my ethnicity, or anything as such.

"For me, anyone who is fit to rule this country, I will be happy. Yes of course I'm happy that he looks a tad bit like me. I'm not going to deny that, but I'm elated."

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