Khushwant Singh : The Man In Bulb


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 02, 2014           00.15 A.M.

Khushwant Singh's Iconic Image on Editor's Page of The Illustrated Weekly of India

Khushwant Singh’s Iconic Image on Editor’s Page of The Illustrated Weekly of India

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 .

Khushwant Singh : In The Winter of His Life

Khushwant Singh : In The Winter of His Life

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 .

Khushwant Singh I Know

Khushwant Singh , I Know

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 .

Collage of Books

Books of Khushwant Singh :

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

Play

Television Documentary: Third World—Free Press (also presenter; Third Eye series), 1983 (UK).

 

Book - 1

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 .

Shri Lal Krishna Advani - A Lifelong Admirer

Shri Lal Krishna Advani – A Lifelong Admirer

It is strange , as well as unique . I am baffled and amazed .

 

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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 . ]

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No Place For Old People In Young Party of New India


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MARCH 28 , 2014           11.55 P.M.

 

” Never lose sight of the fact that old age needs so little but needs that little so much . ” – Margaret Willour

” Our society must make it right and possible for old people not to fear the young or be deserted by them , for the test of a civilization is the way that it cares for its helpless members . ” – Pearl S. Buck

” In youth the days are short and the years are long : in old age the years are short and the days are long . ”  – Nikita Ivanovich Panin

” Growing old is mandatory ; growing up is optional . ” – Chili Davis

” Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man . ” – Leon Trotsky

” Inside every older person is a young person wondering what happened . ” – Jennifer Yale

 

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Election times are always strange times in India . One can witness many unusual happenings , many bizarre scenario . One such thing is clamour for young blood in politics . There is nothing wrong in the demand per se . In fact young blood is always welcome and it should be more than welcome in the arena of politics .

But what would you say when a 76-year-old Mr. Jaswant Singh is replaced by a young ( ? ) candidate Col. Sonaram Choudhary in Rajasthan , who is 71-year-old ? He is a Congress turncoat , and Shri Jaswant Singh is a loyal party worker and old party war – horse , but it becomes insignificant in the young party of new India . What would you say when there is a cacophonous clamour for the retirement of Shri Lal Krishna Advani from public life ? Several crooks are ruling the roost and Shri Advani has unblemished record of service in public life . His only fault is his age . Unfortunately he is 86 . Is old age sin in our country ? Is it a crime to get old or be old in new India ?

Not always . Former Communist Chief Minister of Kerala , Shri V. S. Achuthanandan [ Velikkakathu Sankaran Achuthanandan ] , the grand old patriarch of CPM is 90 and is still active .

M. Karunanidhi [ Muthuvel Karunanidhi ] , the DMK patriarch , also known as Kalaignar , is 89 . Both , far from saying good-bye to public life , are on election trail . Both are going through rigorous and tortuous daily routine during election time in this hot , unbearable Indian summer . They are yet to bid adieu .

Take the case of world leaders . Oldest ruling monarch is 85-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej , the King of Thailand . This year he completes 67 years as the King of Thailand .

Queen Elizabeth II of United Kingdom is 87 years old and she is firmly in the saddle . She ascended the throne in 1952 . This year she completes 62 years as the reigning queen . Far from retiring , these two monarchs are still calling the shots and are much respected and revered in their respective countries .

Let us take few examples from the world of cinema .

 

Hollywood Actors :

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1 ) – At 82 , Clint Eastwood is still very much involved in the movie making business. In 2012 he plays an aging baseball scout in “Trouble With The Curve ” [ 2012 ] .

Clint Eastwood  also keeps his plate full directing movies . His most recent films are ; ” Invictus ” [ 2009 ] , ” Hereafter ” [ 2010 ] , ” J. Edgar ” [ 2011 ] and ” Jeresy Boys ” [ 2014 ] . Thus from 1955 to 2014 , its 59 year-long and uninterrupted career .

2 ) – At 90 , Christopher Lee is still acting in Peter Jackson’s ” The Hobbit “ movies .

3 ) – At 96 , Kirk Douglas , the star who starred in ” Spartacus ” [ 1960 ] , worked last in ” Empire State Building Murders ” [ 2008 ] . From 1946 to 2008 , it is 62 year-long career .

4 ) – At 96 , Olivia de Havilland , who enthralled audiences world over in the classic ” Gone With The Wind ” [ 1939 ] , is still working . Her last film ” I Remember Better When I Paint ” [ 2009 ] . It is incredibly 74 year-long career which started in 1935 .

 

Indian Actors :

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1 ) – The ever – green Ashok Kumar’s career spanned for 61 long years . Right from ” Jeevan Naiya ” [ 1936 ]  to ” Aankhon Me Tum Ho ” [ 1997 ] , Dada Muni , as he was fondly called , was working till he was 86 .

2 ) – Pran is another gem in the crown . He was active till the age of  83 . From ” Yamla Jat ” [ 1940 ] to ” Kiska Dosh ” [ 2003 ] , it was 63 year-long career .

3 ) – Dev Anand , another indefatigable legend , worked for 65 years . From ” Hum Ek Hain ” [ 1946 ] to ” Charge Sheet ” [ 2011 ] , it was an awe – inspiring 65 year-long journey of perennial glory and ever – lasting super – stardom . He was 88 when he died . He released his last film ” Charge Sheet ” same year , which was written, produced and directed by him . He also starred in it as the main protagonist . It is unbeatable record in the world of cinema in India .

There are such people in the world of literature also .

Writers :

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1 ) – Khushwant Singh , the age – defying author ; novelist , historian and journalist , died at the age of 99 .  He wrote till he was 97 years old . ” The Mark Of Vishnu and Other Stories ” [ 1950 ] to “Agnostic Khushwant : There Is No God ” [ 2012 ] , he enjoyed 62 unquestioned active years as an author of repute .

2 ) – Maya Angelou , the American writer , poetess and civil rights activist , is writing since 45 years . She is 85 now . Yet to retire , she is widely respected and revered in the U.S.A.

 

So why this clamour for the retirement of Shri Lal Krishna Advani or denial of ticket to Shri Jaswant Singh ? I feel it is not related to age . This is power – struggle . New satraps want to remove old guards unceremoniously and they are taking positions behind the age factor . A person should be respected for his / her age and should not be despised . Age is a boon . When I read comments related to age I am peeved . A person serves his organization from the young age . He gives his life in the service of his party and organization . And suddenly one day a new ascending leader appears on the scene and simply orders the banishment of the old guard . Though the old person in question is not infirm or incapacitated . No one is questioning why Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee is not given a ticket . Everyone knows that he is bed – ridden and can’t even speak or recognize people . But Shri Lal Krishna Advani is still active and mentally alert .

” A man is not old untill regrets take place of dreams . ” – John Barrymore

No one can stop new leaders or younger people from ascending the firmament . But it does not mean curtain for older leaders , who are still fit and can still serve the country. I feel sad , when I see that contribution of Shri Lal Krishna Advani is being overlooked . Malicious , derogatory and abusive comments are continuously being posted on the various social networking sites , so that he should get dejected and retire . Suggestions are being dished out by so-called party – sympathisers that old people should accept the new order and should not crib or demand any special privilege . It was recently said by the alleged member of the alleged ” Club 160 “ said that old guard should learn to accept ” no ” to their demands and they should accept the dictate of younger dispensation with graceful silence . It was said that they should learn to get adjusted to the new , changed ways of the young party of the new India . It could be argued that it is true to some extent . But the tone and tenor of this statement was contemptuous , smug and full of hubris . It was disrespectful .

” Never lose sight of the fact that old age needs so little but needs that little so much . ” – Margaret Willour

Then what is the solution . In my opinion there should be a fine balance between old and new generation . For every young Arjun , there has to be a sagacious Bhishma Pitamah and an experienced Dronacharya . For every imperious and bellicose Duryodhana , there has to be a sagely Vidur and a stoic Kripacharya . If this fine balance in the time of yore could not save us from a devastating Mahabharata , what will happen , if today we will have only inexperienced Arjuna and imperious , bellicose and belligerent Duryodhana in our mist ?

Think India , think ! And be afraid . Be very afraid !

” There is one more terrifying fact about old people : you are going to be one soon . ” – P. J. O’Rourke

 

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I urge for the respect of elders and pray for the betterment and well – being of my country .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre also pray for our beloved India and out age – old ethos .

 

[ I have taken information about world and Indian leaders from Wikipedia . For Hollywood actors , I have taken information from a website ; http://www.pajiba.com I am indebted ]

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Adieu Mario Miranda !


Mario Miranda

Mario Miranda

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 13 , 2011           01.10A.M.

This Sunday on December 11 , 2011 , I woke up in the morning and again came face to face with a sad reality . Through twitter I came to know about the sad demise of Mario Miranda .

Since my adolescent years I love cartoons . When I went to Allahabad for higher studies , I came to know about ” Shankar’s Weekly ” , the most renowned magazine of cartoons . There was a library in the compound of Government Inter College , Allahabad . It was just in front of my hostel . I used to spent my evenings there as I had no interest in sports or any other activities . There I used to devour the latest issue of ” Shankar’s Weekly ” . I remember the day when ” Shankar’s Weekly ” was published for the last time . That was one of the saddest day of my life .

Later on when I started subscribing The Times of India , I came to know about legendary R. K. Laxman . I became a huge fan of R. K. Laxman and every morning I used to discuss about his cartoons with my friends . Going through the cartoons of R. K. Laxman first was a ritual , which I followed every morning . Even most important news had to wait .

During my Allahabad University days , I started subscribing ” The Illustrated Weekly of India ” and thus came to know about Mario Miranda . Legendary Khushwant Singh was the editor of ” The Illustrated Weekly of India ” and his sketch , which has now become immortal , was created by Mario Miranda . Khushwant Singh sitting in a bulb along with some photos of ladies and a bottle of liquor and of course with pen and paper is still fresh in my memory and every man and woman of my generation remembers that sketch . Existence of Khushwant Singh is synonymous with this sketch of Mario Miranda.

I am a huge fan of R. K. Laxman and his creation , the Common Man .In fact the Common Man Of Laxman is part of my being . But ” The Illustrated Weekly of India ” was my passion and Khushwant Singh and Mario Miranda represented that . So they became part of my intellectual being .

The Common Man as drawn by Laxman

Common Man of R. K. Laxman

In my humble opinion , R. K. Laxaman is Lata Mangeshkar among cartoonists and Mario is Asha Bhosle . To say that Mario was merely a cartoonist is denigrating his genius . He was a cartoonist , an illustrator , an artiste and a painter with his lines . His mural at Cafe Mondegar at Colaba , Mumbai is the telling testimony of his versatility .

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE cafe mondegar, metro house, ...

Mario's Mural at Cafe Mondegar

Padma Shri and then Padma Bhushan Mario Miranda was born in Daman . He later moved to Goa and died there in his ancestral village Loutolim at the age of 85 . He worked for Times of India ‘s various publications and specially for ” The Illustrated Weekly of India ” under Khushwant Singh .

His characters Miss Limboopani , Bundaldas and Napolean are immortal and no fun-loving person of my generation will forget them ever . These characters , along with R. K. Laxman’s Common Man , have become an intrinsic part of my life .

Mario Miranda was an unofficial ambassador of Goa . His works about Karnataka , Paris and Germany are world-famous . ” Goa With Love ” , ” Germany in Wintertime ” , and ” Impressions of Paris ” are there to enthrall his fans and keep his memory alive even though his mortal body has left us .

Farewell Sire ! You will be sorely missed . With your demise a very important part of my life is lost forever .

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