Why is Winston Churchill trending after Sunak became UK PM?
As Rishi Sunak emerged victorious in the race to become the United Kingdom's prime minister—the third in two months—on Monday, over 7,000 kilometers away, Indians were celebrating that he has proved "Winston Churchill" wrong. Churchill—who served as the UK PM during 1940-45 (World War II) and 1951-55—had allegedly called Indians "rascals, rogues, and freebooters" who wouldn't be able leaders, before the country gained independence.
Why does this story matter?
- In light of Indian-origin Sunak's appointment as the UK PM, Indians are celebrating that Indian-origin people have proved their mettle to show Churchill was wrong.
- Post-independence, India has been swiftly growing and is the world's biggest democracy and a major trade destination.
- In fact, India and the UK share strong ties today, and the duo upgraded their bilateral relationship to "Strategic Partnership" in 2004.
'Winston Churchill was wrong'
As Indians were celebrating the takeover by an Indian-origin man as the premier of the UK—accused of looting India during its rule—Indian billionaire businessman Anand Mahindra found a unique way to be part of the celebrations. On Monday, he posted mid-20th century British PM Churchill's alleged comments on India and its people—undermining their capacities and nature—on Twitter. His tweet received a lot of appreciation.
'Life is beautiful,' Mahindra tweeted
In 1947 on the cusp of Indian Independence, Winston Churchill supposedly said “…all Indian leaders will be of low calibre men of straw.” Today, during the 75th year of our Independence, we’re poised to see a man of Indian origin anointed as PM of the UK. Life is beautiful…— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) October 24, 2022
What exactly did Churchill say?
In 1947, when undivided India was on the verge of gaining freedom from the British, Churchill allegedly made derogatory remarks against the country. "If Independence is granted to India, power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw," he had said. Notably, undivided India comprised present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Netizens also lauded Kamala Harris
While Mahindra, several other top personalities, and numerous Indian netizens were talking about how Churchill was wrong, many brought up the name of Kamala Harris, the vice-president of the United States, another Western country, to laud her as well. To note, Harris, who became the 49th US vice-president in 2021, also has Indian roots as her mother hailed from Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
'First Kamala Harris, now Rishi Sunak:' India's former finance minister
First Kamala Harris, now Rishi Sunak— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) October 24, 2022
The people of the U.S. and the U.K have embraced the non-majority citizens of their countries and elected them to high office in government
I think there is a lesson to learned by India and the parties that practise majoritarianism
UK's prime ministerial contest
Following PM Liz Truss's resignation last week—within 45 days of assuming power—Rishi Sunak on Monday won the Conservative Party leadership race to become the new British premier. Notably, it is for the first time in the history of the UK—which ruled India for nearly 100 years—a person of color, a Hindu, and a person of Indian origin has made it to the top post.