Boris Johnson’s India Connect: Khushwant Singh, Saif and Sara Ali Khan, a 'Rogue' Kerala Elephant
The flamboyant Brexiteer and former UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson succeeded Theresa May as the new Prime Minister of Britain after beating Foreign Secretary and rival Jeremy Hunt with an over 45,000 votes.
What do Khushwant Singh, Saif and Sara Ali Khan and a temple elephant in Kerala have in common? Boris Johnson, it seems.
What do Khushwant Singh, Saif and Sara Ali Khan and a "rogue" temple elephant in Kerala have in common? Boris Johnson, it seems.
The effusive Brexiteer and former UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson succeeded Theresa May as the new Prime Minister of Britain after beating Foreign Secretary and rival Jeremy Hunt with an over 45,000 votes.
While the media is full of stories about the flamboyant face of the 2016 Brexit referendum, here's one that might be of some interest to India in particular - the one about Johsnson's India connection.
Believe it or not but the former Mayor of London who is a fan of making wooden model buses out of discarded wine crates is related to author Khushwant Singh as well as actors Amrita Singh and Saif Ali Khan.
Now we know that the rubicund Johnson does not look the Indian type but give this a read.
Johnson's estranged wife Marina Wheeler and daughter of reputed journalist Sir Charles Wheeler, whom he is currently in the midst of divorcing after 25 years of marriage and four children together, is part Indian. Her mother, Dip Singh was Sikh and formerly married to Khushwant Singh's younger brother Daljit Singh before she married Wheeler and had Marina and another daughter.
If that's not all, Dip's older sister Amarjit was married to Khushwant Singh's older brother Bhagwant Singh. That's right, two sisters married to two brothers. If that wasn't Bollywood enough, then this surely is: Bhagwant Singh's niece is actor Amrita Singh, who was previously married to Saif Ali Khan when they together had Sara Ali Khan.
According to several media reports, Johnson is no newbie to India. As Wheeler's husband, Johnson visited India several times and stayed with Wheeler's Indian cousins on her mother Dip and sister Amarjit's side.
It appears that on one of those trips to India, Johnson visited Kerala and was even attacked by a temple elephant and lived to tell the tale, If that doesn't qualify for a desi connect, we don't know what does.
According to an immensely entertaining thread on Twitter post by journalist Nidheesh MK, Boris had visited Kerala in 2003 for a wedding. Like many fancy Kerala affairs, the wedding had an elephant named Gopalan. (Elephnats for decor - just Indian wedding planner things) that incidentally went rogue. Apparently, it was the wedding of the grandson of Khuswant Singh's older brother Bhagwant who, as previously established, is married to the sister of Johnson's mother-in-law. Nidheesh went on to mention the "explanation" that the beloved author had penned for the behaviour of the "rogue" elephant:
"One (version) is that it did not like white people; when one of them wanted to take a close shot of it in her camera, it made its displeasure known by grabbing her in its trunk and hurling her on the ground."
"Another is that it had never seen so many turbanned sardars and expressed its disapproval by giving my nephew (the bridegroom’s father) a resounding kick which sent him sprawling with many ligaments torn. Altogether eight members of the party were hospitalized."
Nidheesh also mentions that Johsnon was so psyched after having been almost killed by a raging elephant in far-off India that he even wrote a column about it.
So much for "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Well, in this case, what didn't kill him definitely made him closer to India. We wonder if these touching India connections will reflect in Britain's relations and investments with India.
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