There is a complex story behind his arrival at No 10. The Conservatives worked hard to erase a hatred that went back to the era of Churchill
Rishi Sunak’s arrival in No 10 is a more complex story than that of the first brown man to hold the highest office in the land advertising the diversity of our country. It is the result of a remarkable revolution in the Tory party’s attitude to the Hindus, which illustrates the complex nature of postwar Asian migration to this country. It should also ring loud alarm bells for Labour. The Tory Hindu revolution has seen it convert from a party that, historically, hated Hindus – and that is not too strong a word – to one that has pivoted enough towards the Hindus for the community to lose its old fear of the Tories.
The Tories may not like being reminded of their hatred for Hindus, but inside No 10 Sunak will be unable to miss the portrait of the man who articulated it: Winston Churchill. As recorded in the diaries of Churchill’s Downing Street secretary, John Colville, on returning from Yalta in February 1945, “the PM said the Hindus were a foul race, ‘protected by their mere pullulation from the doom that is their due’. And he wished Bert Harris [head of the RAF Bomber Command] could send some of his surplus bombers to destroy them”.
Mihir Bose is an author whose books include The Spirit of the Game, How Sport Made the Modern World, and From Midnight to Glorious Morning? India Since Independence
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