Khushwant Singh is one of the most prominent Indian novelists and journalists. He is known for his humour and love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behavioural characteristics of Westerners and Indians was laced with his inimitable wit.
Khushwant Singh was born on February 2, 1915 in Punjab. His father was Sir Sobha Singh, a prominent civil contractor in Lutyens Delhi. He received his bachelor’s degree from a Government College in Lahore and was later qualified as a barrister from King’s College, London.
Khushwant Singh’s Legacy: How He Shaped Indian Literature and Journalism
Singh’s weekly column, “With Malice towards One and All”, published in The Telegraph and several other newspapers in India, has been one of the most widely read columns in the country. Bold and brazen, endearingly enigmatic, the weekly column was like a breath of fresh air in an otherwise moribund world of desi english journalism.
In August 1947, days before the independence of India and Pakistan, Khushwant Singh, then a lawyer practising in the High Court in Lahore, drove to his family’s summer cottage in the foothills of the Himalayas.
From there he went on to Delhi, along 200 miles of strangely vacant road, until he came upon a jeep full of armed Sikhs who boasted that they had just massacred a village of Muslims. The same killing was occurring in what was about to become Pakistan, with Sikhs and Hindus among the million victims.
Khushwant Singh About Life
Khushwant Singh has been the editor of Yojana, a government journal for two years; The Illustrated Weekly of India, a society journal; The National Herald, a newspaper; and Hindustan Times, one of the most popular English newspapers in India.
During his time as the editor, The Illustrated Weekly of India became hugely popular, and after him, it suffered a huge drop in readership. He was also a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament until 1986.
Khushwant Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the President of India for his services to the country and society in 1974. He returned the honour in 1984 in protest to the siege on Golden Temple by The Indian Army.
In 2006, Roli Books in New Delhi published a new edition of Singh’s 1956 novel, Train to Pakistan, about the India-Pakistan partition. The new edition is illustrated with 66 of photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White’s pictures of the aftermath of the violence. In late 2006, Roli was hoping to find an international distributor for the edition at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In July 2000, Sulabh International Social Service Organisation awarded him, “Honest Man of the Year Award” for his courage and honesty in his “brilliant incisive writing.”
At the award ceremony, Chandrababu Naidu, the then Chief minister of Andhra Pradesh described him as a “humorous writer and incorrigible believer in human goodness with a devil-may-care attitude and a courageous mind.” The then Indian External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh of BJP said that the secret of Khushwant Singh’s success lay in his learning and discipline behind the “veneer of superficiality.”
On February 20, 2006, the Canadian High Commission in Delhi gave a rare felicitation to Khushwant Singh on his long and eventful writing career which had its inception in the years, he spent in Canada as a young diplomat at the Indian High Commission.
In 2007, he was conferred with Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India, and in 2010, he was awarded Sahitya Academy fellowship by Sahitya Academy of India. His new release was The Sunset Club, 2010.