MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA APRIL 02, 2014 00.15 A.M.
This obituary is a much delayed blog post . I wanted to write it immediately after sad demise of Shri Khushwant Singh ji . He died on March 20, 2014 at the age of 99 . But due to work pressure of my acting institute , I was , unfortunately , not able to do that .
I came to know about him in 1969 . In my life , 1967 is a watershed year . I left Deoria , my home town in Uttar Pradesh and landed in Allahabad for higher studies . In the hostel of Government Inter College , Allahabad , I was introduced to new horizons , unknown vistas and leading Indian luminaries .
In 1969 , after completing intermediate , I took admission in Allahabad University . I started living in Sir Ganga Nath Jha Hostel . There I got to know about Khushwant Singh , who shot into fame because of the unprecedented success of The Illustrated Weekly of India . In the reading room of my hostel , for the first time , I had a chance to glance the above mentioned weekly magazine . A bearded Sardar ji sitting in a light bulb with volumes of books , bottles of booze and photos of buxom beauties , attracted my attention . I read his editorial page week after week and became a life – long fan . As I started knowing him more , my admiration for him grew .
Just look at the startling facts of his fascinating life :
+ In 1938 he started his professional career as a practising lawyer . He worked at Lahore Court for eight years.
+ In 1947 he entered Indian Foreign Service . He started as Information Officer of the Government of India in Toronto, Canada . He was Press Attaché and Public Officer for the Indian High Commission for four years in London and Ottawa .
+ In 1951 he joined the All India Radio as a journalist .
+ Between 1954 and 1956 he worked in Department of Mass Communication of UNESCO at Paris .
+ From 1956 he turned editor. He had edited Yojana , an Indian government journal ; The Illustrated Weekly of India , a newsweekly ; and two major Indian newspapers , The National Herald and the Hindustan Times . During his tenure, The Illustrated Weekly became India’s pre-eminent newsweekly, with its circulation raising from 65,000 to 400000 .
I still have some old , dog – eared and pale copies of The Illustrated Weekly of India in the study of my Deoria house . I felt sad , when I read that one day on 25 July 1978 , a week before he was to retire, the management asked him to leave ” with immediate effect ” . He was the editor of the magazine for 9 years , from 1969 to 1978 precisely . The circulation rose to 4,00,000 from the previous 65,000 . After his departure it plummeted again .
I read that he woke up at 4.00 AM each day to write his columns by hand . His works ranged from political commentary and contemporary satire to translations of Sikh religious texts and Urdu poetry . He also wrote his highly popular column ” With Malice Towards One and All “ regularly . It was widely syndicated in all the famous news papers .
Books of Khushwant Singh :
- The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories, 1950
- The History of Sikhs, 1953
- Train to Pakistan, 1956
- The Voice of God and Other Stories, 1957
- I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale, 1959
- The Sikhs Today, 1959
- The Fall of the Kingdom of the Punjab, 1962
- A History of the Sikhs, 1963
- Ranjit Singh: The Maharajah of the Punjab, 1963
- Ghadar 1915: India’s first armed revolution, 1966
- A History of the Sikhs, 1966 (2nd edition)
- A Bride for the Sahib and Other Stories, 1967
- Black Jasmine, 1971
- Tragedy of Punjab, 1984
- Delhi: A Novel, 1990
- Sex, Scotch and Scholarship: Selected Writings, 1992
- Not a Nice Man to Know: The Best of Khushwant Singh, 1993
- We Indians, 1993
- Women and Men in My Life, 1995
- Uncertain Liaisons; Sex, Strife and Togetherness in Urban India, 1995
- Declaring Love in Four Languages, by Khushwant Singh and Sharda Kaushik, 1997
- The Company of Women, 1999
- Truth, Love and a Little Malice (an autobiography), 2002
- With Malice towards One and All
- The End of India, 2003
- Burial at the Sea, 2004
- Paradise and Other Stories, 2004
- A History of the Sikhs: 1469–1838, 2004
- Death at My Doorstep, 2005
- A History of the Sikhs: 1839–2004, 2005
- The Illustrated History of the Sikhs, 2006
- Why I Supported the Emergency: Essays and Profiles, 2009
- The Sunset Club, 2010
- Agnostic Khushwant: There is no God, 2012 ISBN 978-9-381-43111-5
- The Good, the Bad and the Ridiculous, 2013 (Co-authored with Humra Qureshi)
Short story collections
- The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories. London, Saturn Press, 1950.
- The Voice of God and Other Stories. Bombay, Jaico, 1957.
- A Bride for the Sahib and Other Stories. New Delhi, Hind, 1967.
- Black Jasmine. Bombay, Jaico, 1971
- The Collected Stories. N.p., Ravi Dayal, 1989.
- The Portrait of a Lady
- The Strain
- Success Mantra
- A Love Affair In London
- ना काहू से दोस्ती ना काहू से बैर
Television Documentary: Third World—Free Press (also presenter; Third Eye series), 1983 (UK).
I am his admirer and shall always be that , till I am alive . It is strange that he attracted large number of people , who became life – long fan . Though he was a Gandhi – Nehru sympathiser , still he had my unflinching admiration . Even Shri Lal Krishna Advani is an admirer , whom he vehemently criticized for his role in Ram Janma Bhoomi Movement of Ayodhya .
It is strange , as well as unique . I am baffled and amazed .
On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I offer my condolences to the family and legions of admirers of Khushwant Singh ji.
VIDUR Editing Studio , and VIDUR Club also pray for the departed soul .
May you REST IN PEACE Sir ! I , a believer and idol worshipper , will always miss an unapologetic atheist and crusader iconoclast like you .
[ Acknowledgment : I have taken some facts of his life and information about his books from Wikipedia . I have copied the list from Wikipedia and posted it here . Expressing gratitude . ]
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
Filed under: Obituary Tagged: | A Bride for the Sahib and Other Stories, A History of the Sikhs, A History of the Sikhs: 1469–1838, A History of the Sikhs: 1839–2004, Acting Institute, Agnostic Khushwant : There Is No God, All India Radio, Allahabad, Allahabad University, Ayodhya, Black Jasmine, Burial at the Sea, Death at My Doorstep, Declaring Love in Four Languages, Delhi: A Novel, Deoria, Department of Mass Communication of UNESCO at Paris, Diction Trainer, G. N. Jha Hostel, Ghadar 1915: India's first armed revolution, Government Inter College Allahabad, Hindi Teacher, Hindustan Times, I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale, India, Indian National Congress, Information Officer of the Government of India in Toronto, Kamal Nayan Chaturvedi, Khushwant Singh, Lal Krishna Advani, Maharashtra, Mumbai, MUMBAI - MAHARASHTRA - INDIA, Not a Nice Man to Know: The Best of Khushwant Singh, Obituary, Paradise and Other Stories, Politics, Press Attaché, Public Officer for the Indian High Commission London, Ram Janma Bhoomi Movement Ayodhya, Ranjit Singh: The Maharajah of the Punjab, Sex Scotch and Scholarship: Selected Writings, Sir G. N. Jha Hostel, Sir Ganga Nath Jha Hostel, The Company of Women, The End of India, The Fall of the Kingdom of the Punjab, The Good the Bad and the Ridiculous, The History of Sikhs, The Illustrated History of the Sikhs, The Illustrated Weekly of India, The Man In Bulb, The Mark Of Vishnu and Other Stories, The National Herald, The Sikhs Today, The Sunset Club, The Voice of God and Other Stories, Tragedy of Punjab, Train to Pakistan, Truth Love and a Little Malice (an autobiography), Uncertain Liaisons Sex Strife and Togetherness in Urban India, University of Allahabad, UP, Uttar Pradesh, Vidur, VIDUR Acting Institute, Vidur Chaturvedi, VIDUR Club, VIDUR Editing Studio, Vidur on Twitter, Vidur's Blog, Vidur's Students, We Indians, Why I Supported the Emergency: Essays and Profiles, With Malice Towards One and All, Women and Men in My Life, Yojna