Global domination! A look at Indian-origin politicians dominating international politics

August 23, 2020 7:15 AM

The first Indian-American governor in US history, Piyush Bobby Jindal was born in Louisiana in a Punjabi-American family.

Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley and Pramila Jayapal (Left to Right)Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley and Pramila Jayapal (Left to Right)

By Reya Mehrotra

Kamala Devi Harris made headlines when she was chosen as the Democratic vice-presidential candidate for this year’s US elections, making her the first African and Asian-American woman to run for US vice-president on a major party ticket. Here, we take a look at other Indian-origin politicians dominating international politics.

Bobby Jindal
The first Indian-American governor in US history, Piyush Bobby Jindal was born in Louisiana in a Punjabi-American family. His parents were professors at an engineering college in India before migrating to the US. Jindal completed his studies at Oxford and worked at a consultancy firm before interning in the office of Louisiana’s Jim McCrery, an American lawyer and a Republican. Jindal later served as the 55th governor of Louisiana from 2008 to 2016.

Pramila Jayapal
Jayapal was born in Chennai and raised in Singapore and Indonesia before migrating to the US at the age of 16. The first Asian-American to represent the State of Washington at the federal level, she is a member of the Democratic party and the US Representative for Washington’s 7th Congressional District since 2017. She was a Seattle-based civil rights activist before entering politics. House speaker Nancy Pelosi described her as ‘a rising star in the Democratic Caucus’. She is also the first Indian-American woman to serve in the House of Representatives.

Nikki Haley
Nimrata Nikki Haley was the first female governor of South Carolina and the first female Indian-American governor in the US. She was born in an Indian-American Punjabi Sikh family that migrated to the US from Punjab. She worked at a waste management and recycling firm before joining her family clothing business and gradually rose to the post of treasurer of the National Association of Women Business Owners in 2003.

Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi
The British Labour party politician was elected as a member of parliament in 2017 and the shadow minister for the railways this year. He is Britain’s first turbaned Sikh MP. In 2019, in a fiery parliament speech, he demanded apology from the UK PM Boris Johnson for racist remarks against Muslim women. He also recalled racist remarks about his turban while growing up in Britain. The speech was greatly applauded and went viral. Johnson had written in a column that the burqa was ‘oppressive’ and described those who wear it as ‘letterboxes’.

Preet Gill
The first female British Sikh MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, Gill belongs to the British Labour and Co-operative Party. Born in Birmingham, her father was a bus driver and mother was a dressmaker. Her father was the longest serving president of the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick. She has also been serving as the shadow secretary of state for International Development since April.

Ajit Pai
The chairman of the US Federal Communications Commission, the American lawyer grew up in Kansas. After earning a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School, he worked with the US Department of Justice and the US Senate Judiciary Committee. Nominated by Trump in 2017, he is the first Indian-American to hold the office. His doctor parents migrated to the US in 1971 where he was born in Buffalo, New York. He loves to acknowledge and be in touch with his native language Konkani.

Rishi Sunak
The British politician, who belongs to the Conservative party, is the Chancellor of the Exchequer since February this year. Born in Hampshire, he belongs to a Punjabi-eastern African family. He is married to Infosys founder Narayan Murthy’s daughter Akshata. After pursuing MBA from Stanford University, he worked as an investment banker and was elected as an MP for Richmond in 2015.

Alok Sharma
The British Conservative party politician was recently made secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He has previously served as the International Development secretary, housing minister and employment minister. Born in Agra, Sharma moved to Reading, Berkshire, when he was five years old.

Valerie Vaz
Valorie Carol Marian Vaz was born in Aden, but her family comes from Goa. A solicitor by profession, she set up her law firm Townsend Vaz Solicitors and later worked at the British Treasury Solicitors Department and the ministry of justice. She also worked as a presentor and interviewer for BBC. The Labour Party politician is serving as a member of parliament for Walsall South since 2010. In 2019, she was appointed to the Privy Council, a body of advisers to the Queen.

Priti Patel
Born to Ugandan-Gujarati parents in London, the British politician is serving as secretary of state for the Home Department since 2019. A Thatcherite, she also served as secretary of state for International Development in 2016.

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