She is to the manor born. A part of one of the first families of politics and married into another. Yet, when you ask politico Farooq Abdullah’s daughter Sara Pilot about the mantra that’s governed her life to date, the answer provides no hint to her lineage.
“I don’t take advantage of my surname,” she starts. “Sure, I’m proud of my family but it doesn’t open doors for me; I can do things on my own feet.”
At her home enjoying a cool, humid morning that only a monsoon can lend to Delhi, Sara comes across as someone who has followed her heart — whether it has meant marrying the son of late Rajesh Pilot, Sachin Pilot, or her work which is far from the bastion of politics, that brother Omar and her husband are engaged in.
She’s very clear when it comes to the subject. “Politics is not my choice of career. I do accompany Sachin on campaigns, but that’s it. My own work is fulfilling and it’s not just a PR thing that will look good for Sachin, it’s from my heart.”
While it is this very work that has her trying to change the lives of underprivileged women through CEQUIN (Centre for Equity and Inclusion), it is also something that gave her a life-changing moment a few years ago. “After a job with UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women, a part of UNICEF), I felt that helping others was right for me. I wanted to be part of a larger movement to reach out to others,” she explains. When CEQUIN happened, “It helped me understand that the situation was so grim.”
But through the grind, it’s Sachin who is her anchor. “He’s great, I often pick his brains and ask him for advice,” she laughs. “I tend to be a little trusting and Sachin gives me a reality check. The thing is I can’t fake it and that isn’t always helpful but that’s how I am. It’s also tough to do a juggling act as I’m also a hands-on mom to my boys Aaran and Vehan — but at the end, it’s rewarding too.”
Sara’s also thrilled when comparisons to her strong-willed father arise. “Of course I’m ‘dad’s daughter’,” she says, adding, “I have the best of my mum too.”
Her growing up years in the Valley may be past but Sara’s
ensuring her kids are a part of it now. “I do miss Kashmir, seeing and doing so much there. I want the kids to have their link to it.” And while she may not have enough time with brother Omar whom she adores, she says, “When we get together, it’s like we just met yesterday.”