Pukaar News speak to Baroness Verma in an in-depth interview at her family home in Leicester.
From growing up in the city to starting a business at the age of 19, and then entering politics in 2006, Baroness Verma has accomplished a lot in her life, but still speaks fondly of growing up in the city, and how much her family have supported her throughout her career.
Growing up in Leicester as a girl of Asian origin in the 1960’s and 70’s was tough, she had to deal with many challenges, but talks of how much the city has changed over the years, “it was a city where first of all there were very few people that looked like me and now look at it, 21st century half of the city looks like me”
“As a child growing up, it was tough, it was tough on two fronts, one because the city itself was quite a racist place, but secondly we had parents that still wanted to try and retain a part of India in the UK, and finding that balance for a kid growing up in the 60’s was quite tough for a child of Indian origin”
Born in Amaritsa in India, her family moved to the UK when she was one year old.
She quickly took an interest in politics, “Ive always wanted to have a public life, I looked at Indira Gandhi when I was a kid and saw this wonderful strong woman and she sort of inspired me to look at politics, so I was very young when I looked at politics, I was only eleven when i wrote in an essay that I wanted to be Prime Minister of India”
She also talks about the challenges she faces being an Asian politician, “I dont think its easily understood by the Asian community how difficult it is to actually get into front line politics, you still face a lot of barriers, I dont think our people are always mindful of that and I dont think their very supportive either”
Baroness Verma first got in to government in 2010 as a whip in the department for intentional development, on 13 May 2015, she was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Development, talking about her new role she said, “I am so so pleased to be their because it really ties in with all the work that I love doing, so the United Nations, the Common Wealth, the work around aid, develop developing countries, its just a wonderful portfolio”