He became the MP for the Langbaurgh constituency, as was, at a 1991 by-election, but lost the seat to the Conservative candidate in the 1992 election. Following re-organisation, he won his present constituency at the 1997 election. Before (and between) his periods of election, he worked in British Steel's Teesside Technical Centre as a research scientist, and an accomplished one. He took great pride in being an Indian-born MP representing a mainly white area and a Labour representative of a constituency with some history, in its various forms, of being a relative Conservative stronghold in the Labour-oriented North. His political interests reflected his expertise and passions, rather than a self-serving desire for power.
I worked at the same institution for a year, after finishing school in the summer of 1992 and before going to university in the autumn of 1993. (And two summers afterwards, as well.) For some of the time, I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Kumar, who was doing his day job in between his two periods of office. I was involved with modelling fluid flow dynamics. Dr. Kumar understood the science behind the fluid mechanics; to me, it was a fancy computer programme on a mainframe computer (running VMS), the like of which I would never get to play with (and that's how it felt, though we were all quite serious about it) again. I was quite tickled to read that, in internal transactions, the computer time I used in a year was valued in six figures.
A highlight was going to present at a conference for users of the fluid flow software in question; I went, as presenter, along with my boss, Dr. Kumar and one of Dr. Kumar's associates who understood the mathematics. I have happy memories of us all going out for an Indian meal in Harrogate afterwards. I had a thali, and my eyes were bigger than my stomach.
My memories of working alongside Dr. Kumar are entirely positive; the phrases "young man" and "cool jazz" in his accent spring quickly to mind. I never saw him again after leaving British Steel, though I had no reason to - and any reason to re-establish contact and try to make some capital of our previous working relationship would have been a selfish one. His conduct is a large part of the reason why I have such time for the political process in general: evidently there are some noble, honourably inclined MPs out there. 53 is far too young for one of the good ones to go.
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