MUMBAI: Her surname is Vikhe Patil, but for one belonging to a family that pioneered the co-operative movement in Maharashtra, 33-year-old Nila’s focus isn’t sugar but Stockholm. Great-granddaughter of the founder of Asia’s first co-operative sugar factory, Vithalrao, and granddaughter of late MP and sugar baron Balasaheb Vikhe Patil, Nila has just been reappointed — after an initial two-year stint — as political advisor to the Swedish Prime Minister’s Office.

Nila Vikhe Patil is the daughter of Balasaheb’s son Ashok, who heads the family’s ‘Pravara’ chain of educational institutions in the family borough of Ahmednagar district and beyond. Born on Swedish soil to a Swedish mother, Eva-Lill, whom Ashok met on a business trip to Stockholm, Nila spent her pre-school years in Ahmednagar as part of a joint family. Her parents later separated and she moved with her mother to Sweden, but not before picking up a smattering of Marathi words and a love for Maharashtrian food. “I love pithla, bhakri, and varan bhaat (dal rice),” she told TOI, adding that she speaks to her father over the phone every day. And her heroes are Indian: her granddad, an “idealistic” man with whom she had many conversations on life and politics before he died in 2016, and the late President Abdul Kalam, “a truly striking personality” with “sharp intellect.”

She might need a bit of both in her role in Swedish PM Stefan Lofven’s office. “My primary responsibility is financial issues such as budget, taxation, banking and regulation, Constitutional issues and monetary policy,” she said.



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