British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, a “devout Hindu,” expressed wishes for Diwali and Bandi Chhor Divas on Saturday, expressing optimism for a better tomorrow, news agency PTI reported. In the annual festive statement from 10 Downing Street for Hindus and Sikhs in the UK and throughout the world, the 43-year-old leader mentioned his Indian roots. “Happy Diwali to all those celebrating around the world and across the UK, and a very happy Bandi Chhor Divas to our friends in the Sikh community,” said Sunak.
“With the lighting of the diyas, let this be a moment we can look to the future with hope. My guiding light as Prime Minister is the determination to change things for the better, and as a symbol of the triumph of light over darkness, I believe Diwali is a poignant representation of the endeavour for a brighter tomorrow,” he said.
“As your first British Asian Prime Minister, and a devout Hindu, I also hope this can be a celebration of the fantastic ethnic and cultural diversity which makes the UK the place it is today,” he added.
He and his wife, Akshata Murty, threw a special Diwali celebration at 10 Downing Street earlier this week, which was attended by notable members of the Indian diaspora as well as Bollywood stars Akshay Kumar, Twinkle Khanna, and Preity Zinta.
On Wednesday evening, the Prime Minister’s office-cum-residence was decked in a theme of brilliant marigolds, rangoli, and candles as the UK’s first couple honoured a year since Sunak assumed office as Britain’s first Prime Minister of Indian descent.
On Thursday, entrepreneur and Noor number of Hotels UK head Roop Partap Choudhary said that he was among a small number of guests for a special “Diwali Milan” thrown by the first couple in Downing Street.
“It’s an immense honour to represent not just myself but also my hometown Karnal and the incredible Indian hospitality industry on such a prestigious platform,” said Choudhary, who is preparing to open the second Colonel Saab Indian restaurant in London’s Trafalgar Square later this month.