British PM Rishi Sunak: My Hindu Faith Guides Me
LONDON, (IANS) – British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on August 15 attended spiritual leader Morari Bapu’s Ram Katha, which was taking place on the campus of Cambridge University.
A practitioner of Hinduism and the first Prime Minister of Indian descent in Britain, Rishi Sunak made a floral offering to Morari Bapu’s Vyas Peeth, making a salutation of “Jai Siya Ram”.
Sunak said: “It is truly an honor and pleasure to be here today at Morari Bapu’s Ram Katha at the University of Cambridge on Indian Independence Day. Bapu, I am here today not as a prime minister but as a Hindu! For me faith is very personal. It guides me in every aspect of my life. Being Prime Minister is a great honor, 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. For me, it was a wonderful and special moment to light diyas for Diwali outside 11 Downing Street back when I was Chancellor. And just like Bapu has a Golden Hanuman in his background, I am proud that a Golden Ganesha sits gleefully on my desk at 10 Downing Street,” he said, commenting on Lord Hanuman’s image behind Vyaspeetha, adding: “It is a constant reminder to me about listening and reflecting on issues before acting!”
Rishi Sunak said that he was proud to be British and proud to be Hindu.
He recalled his childhood and growing up years in South Hampton where he visited his neighborhood temple with his siblings and participated in rituals like havans, pujas, aartis, and distribution of prasad with his family.
“Our values and what I see Bapu does each day of his life are the values of selfless service, devotion, and keeping faith. But perhaps the greatest value is duty or seva, as we know it. These Hindu values are very much shared with British values.
“I leave here today remembering the Ramayana that Bapu speaks on, but also the Bhagavad Gita and the Hanuman Chalisa. And for me, Lord Ram will always be an inspirational figure to face life’s challenges with courage, to govern with humility, and to work selflessly.
“Bapu, with your blessings, I aspire to lead in accordance with how our scriptures have taught leaders to lead,” he said emphatically.
Later, the PM participated in the Aarti on stage.
Morari Bapu invoked the blessings of Lord Hanuman, seeking boundless strength to facilitate his devoted service to the people of Britain. He said that Rishi Sunak’s name is derived from the revered sage Rishi Shaunak, and this connection to an esteemed sage resonates deeply with Indians who find great joy in witnessing a leader with such roots occupy the prime ministerial role.
He said that while the Prime Minister typically refrains from accepting gifts, he chose to present a consecrated Shivlinga from Somnath as a token, a sacred offering from the Jyotirlinga Ram Katha Yatra.