Rishi Sunak, son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy, has been appointed Britain's new Finance Minister, but all some Indians seem to be concerned about is his caste. Even as the 39-year-old prepares to take on the second most important government position after the Prime Minister, his fellow Indians are busy wondering and Googling Sunak's caste.
Sunak, MP from Richmond in Yorkshire, will be joining Home Secretary Priti Patel in what is already being described as the most "desi" cabinet ever. He will also be moving into No. 11 Downing Street, next door to the Prime Minister's Office. The promotion came after Britain's former finance minister Sajid Javid resigned on Thursday, just weeks after Brexit and a month before he was due to deliver the government's annual budget.
Sunak is in the hottest and one of the most coveted political seats in the country. However, as Google trends show, Indians have been desperately searching for his caste in the past twenty-four hours since news broke. They have also been looking up his surname, "Sunak", to understand his lineage.
While searching for Sunak's caste is passé, Sunak's accolades fill up page after page on Google. Here are some other things that Indians could have Googled instead.
Sunak was born in 1980, and studied at Winchester College. Like most British politicians, he studied Political Science, Economics and other subjects at Oxford before doing an MBA from Stanford University.
Before joining politics, Sunak worked at Goldman Sachs and then went on to co-found an investment firm. He's also married to Akshata Murthy, the daughter of Narayan Murthy, the Indian billionaire and co-founder of Infosys. But to caste-Googling Indians, none of that probably mattered.
Sunak has himself been quite outspoken about his Asian identity. In an interview with BBC, he had said, "I'm a first-generation immigrant. My parents emigrated here, so you've got this generation of people who are born here, their parents were not born here, and they've come to this country to make a life."
Since Indians have been so eager to know about Sunak's caste, it wouldn't be presumptuous to say that many have also been wondering if he was Hindu or not. Sunak once told BBC, "I'm a Hindu - but I'd also be at the Saints game as well on a Saturday - you do everything, you do both."
He's also previously spoken about his brush with racism in the UK while growing up. He narrated one particular incident to BBC, where he was out with family and someone used the "P word" to describe him. Little did he know that a few years down the line, he would have to encounter discrimination once again and this time from the keyboards of fellow Indians.
In four weeks, Sunak will be presenting the Budget in the critical first year of post-Brexit Britain. Britain, at this point, stands at the crossroads of a historical shift of paramount importance, and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that he's at the helm of it. One can only hope that while Sunak continues to lead Britain from the forefront, Indians back home can let him and his identity be and judge him on the basis of his merit instead.