Fact file

Globes were his favourite room decoration

Parag Khanna (left) and his new book Connectography.
Parag Khanna (left) and his new book Connectography.PHOTO: PARAG KHANNA

In 2014, the Indian-American thinker Parag Khanna sent a swab of his inner cheek to National Geographic magazine.

He was taking part in its worldwide Genographic Project, along with people from 140 countries.

As Khanna, 39, writes in his new book, Connectography, the ensuing analysis of his swab showed that his DNA was "a blur of 22 per cent Mediterranean, 17 per cent South-east Asian, 10 per cent Northern European and only about 50 per cent South-west Asian".

"And I thought I was just an un- exotic Punjabi," says Khanna, who has a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and is among the most influential thinkers today on power plays globally.

While his wife Ayesha, who he calls "the only compass I need", is also Punjabi, she is from Pakistan, whose people are still ostensibly at odds with India for having hived it off as a separate country in 1947.

"Ayesha and I met in New York, where two Punjabis from either side of the Radcliffe Line forming a union and marrying is nothing out of the ordinary."

On Aug 17, 1947, the Radcliffe Line - named after British judge Cyril Radcliffe, who drew this demarcation - became the internationally accepted border between Hindu-majority India and Muslim- majority Pakistan, India's former territory.

Thus was Pakistan hived off in the wrenching separation known as Partition.

Khanna and his wife's union has produced daughter Zara, seven, and son Zubin, three.

They have written a book together, Hybrid Reality (2012).

Mrs Khanna, 42, is the co-founder and chief executive of tuition and enrichment hub The Keys Academy here.

When they announced to their friends and family that they were "moving to the future", he says "we didn't realise just how true it would be".

He bats away concerns about increasing anti-foreigner sentiment here: "We wouldn't live here if we didn't absolutely love it with the fervour of converts, so to speak."

His childhood fascination with maps feature a lot in Connectography.

"Globes were my particular favourite to decorate my room with," he recalls in an e-mail interview with The Sunday Times.

Suggest to him that his release of Connectography might be poorly timed as Europe's migrant crisis and bellicose US presidential candidate Donald Trump are turning many people against most things foreign, he muses: "There is what populist politicians in America and Europe say, and then there is what they do... Readers should care much more about the actual trends and the genuine needs of their societies than about politicians who will be gone tomorrow."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 03, 2016, with the headline 'Globes were his favourite room decoration'. Print Edition | Subscribe