Rishi Sunak’s grandfather ‘trained Mau Mau militants who fought the British in Kenya’: PM’s late relative Ramdas Sunak taught the rebels guerilla techniques and was part of a Hindu supremacist group – despite being on the UK’s colonial payroll, book claims
Even by the formidable standards of 20th Century carnage, the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s was a blood-soaked affair. Up to 25,000 people are estimated to have died as Kenyan militants revolted against the British Empire in their quest for self-rule.
It is now emerging that one key figure on Kenya’s side was none other than Rishi Sunak‘s paternal grandfather – a man whose CV also reveals close links with an extremist paramilitary group.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Ramdas Sunak was a member of a Hindu supremacist outfit called Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was modelled on fascist organisations like the Nazis. It has been accused of widespread violence and one of its members was responsible for the 1948 assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
According to family sources – who do not want to be identified – Sunak Snr, who moved from the Punjab to Nairobi as a young man, was involved in schooling Mau Mau militants in guerrilla techniques.
Ramdas’s activities were carried out despite him being on the British colonial payroll. He was a trained accountant who worked as a clerk and then a senior administrator in the finance and justice departments.
Ramdas Sunak, a man whose CV also reveals close links with an extremist paramilitary group
TIES: Rishi Sunak as a boy at the temple his grandfather founded
The revelations come as this Tory administration has paid almost £20 million compensation to 5,000 elderly Kenyans who suffered abuse at the hands of the British during the uprising, which lasted from 1952 to 1960.
Last night, commentators spoke of the irony of Mr Sunak occupying the highest office in the land after his own grandfather had fought British rule. Ramdas is believed to have become involved in the fight for Kenyan freedom through Makhan Singh, a childhood friend from India who became a prominent trade unionist in Kenya and a sympathiser of the Mau Mau rebels.
But Ramdas later decided to move countries again when post-independence Kenya turned unpleasant for Indians, many of whom were subjected to racism.
In 1971, he headed for Britain, already home to two of his adult sons studying at university.
Settling in Southampton, Ramdas helped to establish the Vedic Society Hindu Temple – although he died, aged 63, before it opened its doors to worshippers.
VICTORY: Mau Mau troops in 1963, shortly after Kenya’s independence
The year of his death, 1980, also marked the birth of Rishi Sunak, whose father, Yashvir, followed in Ramdas’s footsteps to become a trustee of the temple.
In a documentary made last year about the temple, boyhood photos showed the politician-to-be enacting scenes from Hindu mythology there. The programme also featured footage of Mr Sunak, a practising Hindu, at the temple in 2019 as Chancellor of the Exchequer, making chapatis in its kitchen.
Details of his grandfather’s past have been uncovered by award-winning journalist Shyam Bhatia, who is set to publish his findings in a book. Political observers say Ramdas’s links to the RSS are likely to be embarrassing for the PM, as the group was banned in India three times for its extremism.
The UK branch of the RSS, known as the HSS, was investigated by the Charity Commission after an ITV documentary in 2015 revealed how pupils attending a summer camp were told that the number of good Muslims ‘can be counted on one finger’. Last night, No 10 officials declined to comment, saying it was a personal matter relating to the PM.