Billionaire businessman Anand Mahindra has been among many prominent people who have reacted to Indian-origin Rishi Sunak’s appointment as the next prime minister of the United Kingdom. The 67-year-old business leader – known for his wit on social media – recalled a Winston Churchill comment as Sunak gears up to take charge of his new post. Churchill, Mahindra suggested, remarked about the calibre of Indians, which, he further pointed out, has proven to be wrong.
“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…,” Mahindra’s latest tweet on microblogging site Twitter read. Churchill, UK’s former PM, has his name etched in British history for more than one reason, including pulling out his country during the crisis at the time of the Second World War. He is, however, also remembered for his eccentricities and public remarks that were not taken well.
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Here’s the statement attributed to Churchill, made in British Parliament: “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. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles. A day would come when even air and water would be taxed in India.”
Meanwhile, with over 70,000 likes and about 10,000 retweets, Mahindra’s tweet on Sunak’s appointment drew a huge response. Social media users have been calling the historical event – the former colonial country’s “karma” – as many wished the UK a “happy Diwali” following the political development. “I have also emailed ‘List of Top Indian Origin CEOs in American Companies’ to Winston Churchill just now in case,” a user wrote jokingly in response to Mahindra’s tweet.
Rishi Sunak, 42 will succeed incumbent PM Liz Truss after she resigned on Thursday amid growing economic uncertainty, aggravated by Truss’ economic programme that swirled the country into further chaos. Truss was appointed as the leader of the Conservative Party and Britain’s premier in the first week of September and now holds the tag of shortest PM in UK’s history.