Salman Taseer's Indian link

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 05, 2011 05:21 hrs

New Delhi: Salman Taseer, governor of Pakistan's Punjab who was assassinated on Tuesday, had an all-too-real India connection: he married and divorced Indian journalist Tavleen Singh and had a British-born son Aatish, who grew up in India and has authored a novel dramatizing a son's search for a father.

Salman Taseer came to India in March 1980 to promote a laudatory biography of Pakistan's leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. According to columnist Khushwant Singh, Taseer met Tavleen Singh at the Oberoi hotel where he stayed and fell in love with her. The two married briefly, but fell apart swiftly, leading to much bitterness.

Aatish Taseer, Salman Taseer's son from Tavleen Singh, has written a book 'Stranger to History: A Son's Journey through Islamic lands' that captures the anguish of a son who felt betrayed by his father for abandoning his pregnant mother.

Born in London, the 30-year-old Aatish grew up in Delhi and went to a boarding school in Kodaikanal. Graduating from Amherst College, Massachusetts, Taseer now lives in London.

Taseer's second book, The Temple-Goers, was published last year in which he explored the tensions around religion and class in a changing India. He satirised the feudal culture in Pakistan in a much-quoted article Travels with the Mango King, which was published in Prospect magazine.