nce a Sloane Ranger, now a Sikh woman ‘warrior’: Meet Alexan
An English girl has hit the headlines in the UK for embracing the lifestyle of a devout Nihang Sikh.
Alexandra Aitken, daughter of disgraced British Cabinet Minister Jonathan Aitken, used to be better known for her addiction to parties and nightclubs. But Alexandra exchanged her tight dresses and plunging necklines for the more sober white tunic and five ‘K’s’, including the kirpan and the karha.
More recently, she was spotted in Punjab wearing a Nihang-style purple and white turban. She was clutching a tall spear in one hand and a bag of bananas in the other. It was in January last year when 32-year-old Alexandra surprised her family by announcing that she was marrying a Nihang Sikh - Ludhiana-bred Inderjot Singh, also known as Janbazz. Alexandra currently stays at Bani ashram, close to Anandpur Sahib, with her husband.
Shortly before her marriage, Alexandra changed her name to Harvinder, but when her husband said the name was meaningless, she changed it once again to Uttrang Kaur Khalsa, meaning victorious return of the warrior after battle.
Describing the first meeting with Janbazz, she said: "I was sitting on the roof of the Golden Temple at about 3am, and the most beautiful man I'd ever seen in my whole life walked in. He seemed 100 per cent man, gentle and intuitive and poetic and sensitive, but also extraordinarily strong and manly. And you don't see many of these around. So I was like: "Oh wow!"'
Following their wedding, her friends received an email message which read: “Hi, heavenly friends. A very funny forgiving huge hearted saintly hero was adventurous enough to marry me! We'll have celebrations in London and LA soon. Hope you'll join us.”
By her own admission, Utrrang said her parents were upset as they could not attend the wedding, which had been arranged at such short notice. But they were soon reconciled. “'When I said, "Daddy, I might be wearing a turban the next time you see me" it was a bit of a shock. But my father loves my husband - its impossible not to. He's happy for us,” she said.
Former Cabinet Minister Aitken tried suing the Guardian newspaper over an article about his links with Saudi arms dealers. But Aitken himself ended up in jail after he was found to have repeatedly lied. Uttrang's journey to Sikhism started after she moved to California where she studied yoga, subsequently explaining that it was always her destiny to become a yogi. In a newspaper interview last year, she explained her conversion to Sikhism. "I don't really think of Sikhism as a religion. It’s more a path for anyone who is looking for something more spiritual.”
"We live in a computer age where life is increasingly stressful . . .people are desperately trying to find a way to relax, to escape from everything. As I see it, you've got one of two options: you can either find a drug dealer, or you can find something that's going to give you a natural high. Everyone is looking for something. I've found Sikhism,” said Utrrang.
"But I didn't just jump on the first bus going. I did my homework; I've read just about everything," she said. "Frankly, if someone had told me 10 years ago, when I was living the party girl lifestyle in London, that a decade later I'd be a teetotal vegan (and living in an ashram) I wouldn't have believed them,” she quipped.