Khushwant Singh - A prolific writer who left a mark on readers

New Delhi, Mar 20: One of India's best-known authors and journalists, Khushwant Singh elevated English writing in India with uninhibited wit and humour and was equally facile with his pen on serious issues like partition in the classic 'Train to Pakistan'.

He ruled the literary pages with his satirical take on contemporary issues but attracted controversy over what his critics called his obsession with writing on sex.

Easily switching roles between author, commentator and journalist, Singh wrote on as diverse issues as poetry and politics. He began his dealings with media as information officer of the Government of India in Toronto and Canada and was Press attaché and public officer for the High Commission in the United Kingdom and the Embassy in Ireland in 1948-50.

Later he started his writing career with Yojana, the Planning Commission's journal which he founded and edited. Singh left a mark in the field of journalism, working as editor of the now-defunct Illustrated Weekly of India, the National Herald and the Hindustan Times.

His weekly column 'With Malice Towards One and All' was so popular that it was syndicated in many dailies till a few years ago when failing health checked his prolific writing.

Son of Sir Sobha Singh, a civil contractor and a prominent builder of Lutyens' Delhi, Khushwant was born on February 2, 1915 in Hadali (now in Pakistan).

Singh had worked on a classic two-volume history of the Sikhs, a number of translations and non-fiction books on a variety of subjects including nature, current affairs and Urdu poetry.

At 95, Singh had authored the novel "The Sunset Club".

His autobiography, "Truth, Love and a Little Malice", was published in 2002. His short story collection includes 'The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories', 'A Bride for the Sahib and Other Stories', 'Black Jasmine', 'The Portrait of a Lady' and 'A Love Affair In London'.

Singh was known to have a good equation with former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and even supported the Emergency she had clamped between 1975-1977.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condoled the passing away of the author, describing him as "a gifted author, candid commentator and a dear friend" who lived a truly creative life."

As news of his demise spread, tributes poured in from his fans in the social media. "Oh no Khushwant Singh is no more. He made our lives so much richer by his literary contributions," actor Shah Rukh Khan tweeted.


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