Sachin Pilot’s life becomes a little more interesting than the usual dynastic politician primarily because of his off-political-stage love story. Son of Rajesh Pilot, one of Rajiv Gandhi’s close coterie, Sachin belongs to the Gujjar community of Rajasthan. Not exactly famous for being a modern community, this scion of a prominent politician did something in the realm of unacceptable by the community – he fell in love with a Muslim girl- Sara Abdullah, daughter of Jammu and Kashmir ex-Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah and sister of current Chief minister, Omar Abdullah.
As conservative as the Rajasthani Gujjars are, Kashmiri Muslims are equally so. This romance that started in college (reportedly they met and fell in love as students in London) was not smooth sailing. Despite the fact that both hailed from political families, the relationship was frowned upon by both sets of parents. When they expressed desire to marry each other, for many years that didn’t come to pass because of familial opposition.
Sister of J &K Chief Minister and Daughter of Farooq Abdullah is married to Congress Hindu Leader Sachin Pilot. pic.twitter.com/4zEANbAygb
— Nitin Gadkari BJP™ (@NitinTweetBJP) August 10, 2013
Finally, Sachin managed to convince his family but the Abdullahs wouldn’t budge. The couple got married in 2004 in a low key quiet affair with only close family and friends. It is not even clear whether the wedding took place by Hindu or by Muslim rituals and ceremony or whether the couple opted for a registered marriage. What is certain is that the Abdullahs didn’t show up at the wedding. This boycott was strange coming from the Abdullah family which has a history of mixed marriages: Farooq Abdullah is married to a Christian, Molly. Omar Abdullah’s wife Payal is Sikh girl. Another Abdullah daughter is married to an African Christian. But it was speculated that Farooq had disowned Sara.
The rumors and speculations ended when Farooq Abdullah came around later – but that happened after the marriage. The couple has twin sons and Sara has strongly supported and actively participated in her young, fast-growing husband’s successful political career (currently Sachin, an MBA graduate, is Union Minister of Corporate Affairs and President of Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee).
It indeed seemed like a quintessential “Happily Ever After”.
But 2013 rocked the boat. Rumors and reports of a breach in the marriage started doing rounds – to the extent of claiming that Sara had returned to her parental home in Kashmir. The alleged reason for this was Sachin’s “closeness” with another lady friend of his. (An aside: 2013 didn’t bode too well for the Abdullahs did it? – Omar and Sara’s marriages seem to have charted stormy waters in that year.)
This rumor hasn’t had much follow up but it remains to be seen whether Sara will be seen campaigning in Kashmir for her brother or whether she will be in Rajasthan striving to help Sachin retain his MP seat. The current downturn in Congress fortune has affected quite a few of its members and seemingly, Pilot is unsure about retaining his Ajmer seat and is reportedly looking for a change on constituency; he wants to move from Ajmer to Bhilwara. This may be a time when Sachin needs his partner and help-meet, Sara the most. Will she be there?
By Sujata Garimella