Alexandra Aitken, Her Sikh Husband, and What His Friends and Family Really Think About Their Marriage
Gethin Chamberlain and Patrick Sawer, Telegraph (London), February 13, 2011
Following a spectacular ceremony near Amritsar–organised at such short notice that her father, Jonathan Aitken, the disgraced former Cabinet minister, and her mother were unable to attend–the former society hell-raiser declared her intention to live a life of humble simplicity with “the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen”.
But while most cross-cultural marriages are likely to bring their own particular strains and difficulties, the union of Alexandra Aitken and Inderjot Singh may have to bear more than most.
Already, some of Mr Singh’s relatives have stepped in to denounce the marriage as contravening Sikh traditions, saying that it threatens to dilute the family’s bloodline.
Members of his family have also cast doubt on Alexandra’s widely publicised claim that her husband is a member of a devout Sikh warrior sect and that dozens of holy men left their caves to attend the wedding.
Furthermore, there are question marks over quite how religious Mr Singh actually is, with friends coming forward to point out that he used to be quite happy living a party lifestyle.
Alexandra Aitken’s marriage to Mr Singh is the culmination of a tortuous journey, from party girl to yoga devotee and Sikh convert, that has seen her dabble in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Kabbalah along the way.
She told how their wedding was attended by 150 holy men who took the unusual step of leaving the “caves” where they spend much of their time meditating. Alexandra, 30, who, after her conversion, calls herself Harvinder Kaur Khalsa, described her husband as a pious man who spends much of his time helping to feed and clothe the poor.
She also proudly asserts that 27-year-old Mr Singh is a member of the Nihang, an armed order of the Sikh faith which she calls “the SAS of the religion”.
The reality, however, may be more complex.
While Mr Singh’s parents appear to be happy with their son’s choice of bride, not everyone in the family shares their delight.
His uncle, Nacchator Singh, said: “I was decidedly against the marriage. It is the mixing of races and races should not be mixed.”
He claims Mr Singh has polluted their pure bloodline by marrying a British girl.
“No foreigner should marry a Punjabi. We had another foreign woman come and marry a boy here and she stayed for a couple of years and then left him and took a lot of money,” he said. There are fears Alexandra may soon tire of living amid India’s poverty, contrasting as it does with her privileged upbringing.
He [Fateh Singh, a member of the Nihang] said: “His friends came to the wedding wearing the Nihang clothes but they are not Nihang either. And they don’t live in caves. They all belong to good families.”