It has been a hectic week for Sunak’s Indian cousins and uncle in Ludhiana as they explained the family tree to visitors.
By: Pramod Thomas
Around 100 relatives of British prime minister in western Indian city of Ludhiana in Punjab are celebrating the victory of Rishi Sunak.
This week they threw a grand party to celebrate his achievement. A flurry of WhatsApp messages, some bordering on memes, Hindu ceremonies, and a cheerful blue cake with the words “Rishi Sunak” emblazoned on it were the major attractions during the celebrations.
“Our connection to Rishi was a well-kept family secret. Everyone in the city was so shocked when it came out publicly this week. We’ve had people arriving at our house non-stop to congratulate us,” said Ajay Berry, Sunak’s second cousin.
He added that the family has never met Sunak but had met his uncle in 2009 when he was in India for Sunak’s wedding.
Sunak’s maternal grandfather, Raghubir Sain Berry, grew up in Jassowal village.
One of five brothers, Raghubir migrated to Tanzania in the 1950s and then to the UK in 1966. He went on to join Inland Revenue and was even made a Member of the British Empire in the Queen’s 1988 Honours list.
His three brothers remained in India, eventually establishing a spirits business in Punjab. One of them was Berry’s grandfather. He now runs the family business in coordination with several of Sunak’s other cousins. He now owns 200 liquor shops across the state, reports said.
According to Berry, relatives see Sunak as ‘very witty and very smart’.
“He is also very much connected to his roots and his culture. I know that he will come to visit us in Ludhiana one day soon and we can call up all our family for a huge dinner,” he is reported to have said.
Subhash Berry, Sunak’s 74-year-old great uncle, said that Sunak will be honest and serve the people in the UK well.
“He possesses the good qualities that we all have in this family. The ability to be a good manager and to understand the needs of the people. I think we already saw him demonstrate these skills during the Covid-19 pandemic with the furlough scheme,” he said.
Sunak was born in Southampton to father Yashvir Sunak, a retired doctor, and mother Usha Sunak, a pharmacist, both of Indian descent.
Both his grandfathers were born in undivided Punjab province in British India before moving to Africa and then moving to the UK in the 1960s.