Monday, March 4, 2024
Monday, March 4, 2024
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Rishi Sunak explains why his mother wanted him to speak without an accent


Rishi Sunak, the Indian-origin UK Prime Minister, has said he experienced “racism” as a child and that his parents sent him for extra drama lessons so he could “speak properly” without an accent to “fit in”.

In 2022, Sunak wrote history when King Charles III appointed him as the first British prime minister of Indian origin after being elected unopposed as the new leader of the ruling Conservative Party in Diwali.

The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, 43 and a devout Hindu, is the youngest British prime minister in 210 years. He is also the first Hindu Prime Minister of Indian descent in the United Kingdom.

Speaking to ITV News, Sunak shared how his parents were so determined for him to fit in and speak without an accent that they sent him for extra drama lessons.

“You are conscious of being different,” he said.

“It’s hard not to be, right? And obviously I experienced racism as a child.” Sunak also recalled the pain of hearing insults directed at his younger siblings, adding that racism “stings” and “hurts in a way that other things don’t hurt.”

She felt that what she experienced would not happen to her children now.

Discussing his Indian heritage, Sunak said his parents were keen for him and his siblings – a brother and a sister – to “fit in and not have that be, in any way, a barrier”.

His mother, he added, was particularly aware of how her children spoke. “One of the things my mother was obsessed with was that we didn’t speak with accents and that we spoke correctly,” she said. “So she was interested in us trying to do some additional drama.” “I think any form of racism is simply unacceptable,” she continued, adding that when she speaks to world leaders, “most people look to the UK as an example of how to do this right.”

Sunak admitted he never dreamed there could one day be an ethnic minority prime minister “because there were no role models like that. (It) hadn’t happened yet.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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