I am told that the population of India is now around 1.2 billion. So it is slightly surprising that many of the politicians I have met over the last couple of days seem to be related to each other.
On Monday I met Omar Abdullah, a young and charismatic MP, who represents a regional Kashmiri party. The conversation on the future of Kashmir and Pakistan was fascinating – the only distraction being several large dogs frolicking behind him in the garden. (I thought I spotted a St.Bernard – I do hope not, since it’s a long way from the Alps.) When we took our leave, I mentioned that we were going on to see Sachin Pilot – a young Congress Party MP. He turned out to be Abullah’s brother-in-law.
Today started with an interview with Manvendra Singh, a rising star in the BJP. It ended with a chat with Jaswant Singh, a former Indian foreign minister – and Manvendra’s dad. The next door neighbour was Farooq Abdullah – who turned out to be Omar’s father. Jaswant Singh’s other neighbour was Manmohan Singh – otherwise known as the prime minister and, surprisingly enough, no relation.