Khushwant SinghKhushwant Singh at a reading in New DelhiBornshahsank Singh15 August 1915Hadali,British India(now inKhushab District,Punjab, Pakistan)Died20 March 2014(aged 98)New Delhi, IndiaOccupationJournalist, writer, historian, criticNationalityIndianAlma materSt. Stephen's College, DelhiKing's
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Khushwant SinghKhushwant Singh at a reading in New DelhiBornshahsank Singh15 August 1915Hadali,British India(now inKhushab District,Punjab, Pakistan)Died20 March 2014(aged 98)New Delhi, IndiaOccupationJournalist, writer, historian, criticNationalityIndianAlma materSt. Stephen's College, DelhiKing's College London(as issued byUniversity of London)SpouseKawal Malik(died 2001)ChildrenRahul and MalaRelativesSobha Singh(father), Vira Bai (mother)SignatureBorn in Punjab, Khushwant Singh was educated inNew Delhi, and studied law atSt. Stephen's College,Delhi, andKing's College London. After working as a lawyer in Lahore Court for eight years, he joined theIndian Foreign Serviceupon theIndependence of India from British Empire in 1947. He was appointed journalist in theAll India Radioin 1951, and then moved to the Departmentof Mass Communications ofUNESCOat Paris in 1956. These last two careers encouraged him to pursue a literary career. As a writer, he was best known for his trenchant secularism,humour, sarcasm and an abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behaviour characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit. He served as the editor of several literary and news magazines, as well as two newspapers, through the 1970s and 1980s. Between 1980-1986 he served as Member of Parliament inRajya Sabha, the upper house of theParliament of India.Khushwant Singh was bestowed with thePadma Bhushanin 1974.But he returned the award in 1984 in protest againstOperation Blue Starin which theIndian ArmyraidedAmritsar. In 2007 he was awarded thePadma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India.Early lifeKhushwant Singh was born inHadali,Khushab District,Punjab(which now lies in Pakistan), in aSikhfamily. He was the younger son ofSir SobhaSinghand Veeran Bai. Births and deaths were notrecorded in his time, and for him his father simply made up 2 February 1915 for his school enrolment atModern School, New Delhi.But his grandmother Lakshmi Bai asserted that he was born in August, so he later set the date for himself as 15 August.Sobha Singh was a prominent builder inLutyens' Delhi.His uncleSardar Ujjal Singh(1895–1983) was previously Governor ofPunjabandTamil Nadu.His birth name, given by his grandmother, was Khushal Singh (meaning "Prosperous Lion"). He was called by a pet name "Shalee". At school his name earned him ridicule as other boys would mock at him with an expression, "Shalee Shoolie, Bagh dee Moolee" (meaning, "This shalee or shoolee is the radish of some garden.") He choseKhushwant so that it rhymes with his elder brother's name Bhagwant.(He declared that his new name was "self-manufactured and meaningless". But he later discovered that there was a Hindu physician with the same name, and the number subsequently increased.)He entered Delhi Modern School in 1920 and studied there till 1930. There he met his future wife, Kawal Malik, one year his junior.He continued higher education atGovernment College, Lahore,St. Stephen's CollegeinDelhiandKing's College London, before reading for the Bar at theInner Temple.CareerKhushwant Singh started his professional career as a practising lawyer in 1939. He worked at Lahore Court for eight years. In 1947 he enteredIndian Foreign Servicefor the newly independent India. 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 ajournalist. Between 1954 and 1956 he worked in Department of Mass Communication of the UNESCO at Paris.From 1956 he turned to editorial services. He founded and editedYojana,an Indian government journal in 1951 -1953;The Illustrated Weekly of India, a newsweekly; and two major Indian newspapers,The National Heraldand theHindustan Times.During his tenure,The Illustrated Weeklybecame India's pre-eminent newsweekly, with its circulation raising from 65,000 to 400000.After working for nine years in the weekly, on 25 July 1978, a week before he was to retire, the management asked Singh to leave "with immediate effect".A new editor was installed the same day.After Singh's departure, the weekly suffered a huge drop in readership.In 2016 Khushwant Singh entersLimca Book of Recordsas a tribute.PoliticsFrom 1980 to 1986, Singh was a member ofRajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. He was awarded thePadma bhushanin 1974 for service to his country. In 1984, he returned the award in protest againstthe siege ofthe Golden Templeby the Indian Army.In 2007, the Indian government awarded Khushwant Singh thePadma Vibhushan.As a public figure, Singh was accused of favouring the rulingCongress party, especially during the reign ofIndira Gandhi. He was derisively called an 'establishment liberal'. Singh's faith in the Indian political system was shaken by theanti-Sikh riotsthat followed Indira Gandhi's assassination, in which major Congresspoliticians are alleged to be involved; but he remained resolutely positive on the promise of Indian democracyand worked viaCitizen's Justice Committeefloated byH. S. Phoolkawho is a senior advocate ofDelhi High Court.Singh was a votary of greater diplomatic relations withIsraelat a time when India did not want to displeaseArabnations where thousands of Indians found employment. He visited Israel inthe 1970s and was impressed by its progress.Personal lifeSingh was married to Kawal Malik. Malik was his childhood friend who had moved toLondonearlier. They met again when he studied law at King's College London, and soon got married.They had a son, named Rahul Singh, and a daughter, named Mala. His wife predeceased him in 2001.ActressAmrita Singhis the daughter of his brother Daljit Singh's son - Shavinder Singh and Rukhsana Sultana. He stayed in "Sujan Singh Park", nearKhan MarketNew Delhi, Delhi's first apartment complex, built by his father in 1945, and named after his grandfather.His grandnieceTisca Choprais a noted TV and Film Actress.Religious beliefSingh was a self-proclaimed agnostic, as the titleof his 2011 bookAgnostic Khushwant: There is no Godexplicitly revealed. He was particularly against organised religion. He was evidently inclined towards atheism, as he said, "One can bea saintly person without believed in God and a detestable villain believing in him. In my personalised religion, There Is No God!"He also once said, "I don't believe in rebirth or in reincarnation, in the day of judgement or in heaven or hell. I accept the finality of death."His last bookThe Good, The Bad and The Ridiculouswas published in October 2013, following which he retired from writing.The book was his continued critique of religion and especially its practice in India, including the critique of the clergy and priests. It earned a lot of acclaim in India.DeathSingh died of natural causes on 20 March 2014 at hisDelhiresidence, at the age of 98. His death was mourned by many including thePresident,Vice-PresidentandPrime Minister of India.He is survived by his son and daughter. He was cremated at Lodhi Crematorium in Delhi at 4 in the afternoon of the same day.During his lifetime, Khushwant Singh was keen on burial because he believed that with a burial we give back to the earth what we have taken. He had requested the management of theBahá'í Faithif he could be buried in their cemetery. After initial agreement, they had proposed some conditions which were unacceptable to Singh, and hence theidea was later abandoned.He was born inHadali,Khushab Districtin thePunjab Provinceof modern Pakistan, in 1915. According to his wishes, some of his ashes were brought and scattered inHadali.In 1943 he had already written his own obituary, included in his collection of short storiesPosthumous.Under the headline "Sardar Khushwant Singh Dead", the text reads:We regret to announce the sudden death of Sardar Khushwant Singh at 6 pm last evening. He leaves behind a young widow, two infant children and a large number of friends and admirers. Amongst those who called at the late sardar’s residence were the PA to the chief justice, several ministers, and judges of the high court.He also prepared an epitaph for himself, which runs:Here lies one who spared neither man nor God;Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod;Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun;Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.He was cremated and his ashes are buried in Hadali school, where a plaque is placed bearing the inscription:IN MEMORY OFSARDAR KHUSHWANT SINGH(1915–2014)A SIKH, A SCHOLAR AND A SONOF HADALI (Punjab)'This is where my roots are. I have nourished them with tears of nostalgia ...'Honours and awards*.Rockefeller Grant,1966*.Padma Bhushan, Government of India (1974)(He returned the decoration in 1984 in protestagainst the Union government's siege of the Golden Temple, Amritsar)*.Honest Man of the Year,Sulabh International(2000)*.Punjab Rattan Award,The Government of Punjab(2006)*.Padma Vibhushan, Government of India (2007)*.Sahitya Akademi Fellowshipby Sahitya academy of India (2010)*.'All-India Minorities Forum Annual FellowshipAward' byUttar PradeshChief MinisterAkhilesh Yadav(2012)*.Lifetime achievement award by Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Litfest in 2013*.Fellow of King's College London in January 2014WorksThis sectionneeds additional citations forverification.Books*.The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories, (Short Story) 1950*.The History of Sikhs, 1953*.Train to Pakistan, (Novel) 1956*.The Voice of God and Other Stories, (Short Story) 1957*.I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale, (Novel) 1959*.The Sikhs Today, 1959*.The Fall of the Kingdom of the Punjab, 1962*.A History of the Sikhs, 1963*.Ranjit Singh: The Maharaja 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, (Short Story) 1967*.Black Jasmine, (Short Story) 1971*.Tragedy of Punjab'"*.The Collected Stories of Khushwant Singh, N.p., Ravi Dayal Publisher, 1989*.Delhi: A Novel, (Novel) 1990*.Not a Nice Man to Know: The Best of Khushwant Singh, 1993*.We Indians, 1993*.Women and Men in My Life, 1995*.Declaring Love in Four Languages,by Khushwant Singh and Sharda Kaushik, 1997*.India: An Introduction,by Khushwant Singh*.The Company of Women, (Novel) 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, (Novel) 2010*.Gods and Godmen of India, 2012ISBN 978-9-350-29244-0*.Agnostic Khushwant: There is no God, 2012ISBN 978-9-381-43111-5*.The Good, the Bad and the Ridiculous, 2013 (Co-authored with Humra Qureshi)*.More Malicious Gossip1989 - Collection of Writings*.Sex, Scotch & Scholarship,1992 Collection ofWritings*.Big Book of Malice,2000, Collection of Writings*.Khushwantnama, The Lessons Of My Life,2013*.The Freethinker's Prayer Book and Some Words To Live By,2012Short story*.The Portrait of a Lady*.The Strain*.Success Mantra*.A Love Affair In London*.ना काहू से दोस्ती ना काहू से बैरPlayTelevision Documentary: Third World—Free Press (also presenter; Third Eye series), 1983 (UK).See also*."Karma", a short story by Khushwant SinghNotes1.^abSengupta, Somini (20 March 2014)."Khushwant Singh, provocative Indian journalist, dies at 99".The New York Times. Retrieved25 February2018.2.^abSubramonian, Surabhi (20 March 2014)."India's very own literary genius Khushwant Singh passes away, read his story".dna. Diligent Media Corporation Ltd. Retrieved7 May2015.3.^abTNN (20 March 2014)."Khushwant Singh, journalist and writer, dies at 99".The Times of India. Retrieved21 March2014.4.^"Padma Awards"(PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived fromthe original(PDF)on 15 November 2014. RetrievedJuly 21,2015.5.^TNT (28 January 2008)."Those who said no to top awards".The Times of India. Retrieved7 May2015.6.^abSingh, Rahul (2008). "The Man in the Light Bulb: Khushwant Singh". In Dharker, Anil.Icons: Men & Women Who Shaped Today's India. New Delhi: Lotus Collection, an imprint of Roli Books.ISBN 978-81-7436-612-2.7.^Singh, Ranjit (2008).Sikh Achievers. New Delhi: Hemkunt Publishers. p. 168.ISBN 978-8-17-01036-53.8.^Singh, Khushwant (19 February 2001)."The Kh Factor".Outlook. Retrieved7 May2015.9.^Singh, Khushwant (25 November 2006)."DON'T WORRY, BE HAPPY".The Telegraph. Retrieved7 May2015.10.^Vinita Rani, "Style and Structure in the Short Stories of Khushwant Singh. A Critical Study.", PhD Thesis11.^Singh, Khuswant (2000). Bhattacharjea, Aditya; Chatterji, Lola, eds.The Fiction of St. Stephen's. New Delhi: RaviDayal Publisher. p. v.ISBN 978-8-17-53003-09.12.^Press Trust of India (20 March 2014)."Khushwant Singh could easily switch roles from author to commentator and journalist".The Indian Express. Retrieved21 March2014.13.^abcde"Life and times of Khushwant Singh l". India Today. Retrieved21 March2014.14.^"Yojana". Retrieved18 September2013.15.^abPTI (20 March 2014)."Khushwant Singh, renowned author and journalist, passes away".The Economic Times. Bennett, Coleman & Co.Ltd. Retrieved21 March2016.16.^ab"Khushwant Singh, 1915-".The South Asian Literary Recording Project. The Library of Congress (New Delhi). 2016. Retrieved21 March2016.17.^abcKhushwant Singh (1993). "Farewell to the Illustrated Weekly". In Nandini Mehta.Not a Nice Man To Know.Penguin Books. p. 8.On 25 July 1978, one week before he was to retire, he was abruptly asked to leave with immediate effect. Khushwant quietly got up, collected his umbrella, and without a word to his staff, left the office where he had worked for nine years, raising theIllustrated Weekly'scirculation from 65,000 to 400,000. The new editor was installed the same day, and ordered by theWeekly'smanagement to kill the "Farewell" column.18.^"Khushwant Singh's Journalism: The Illustrated Weekly of India". Sepiamutiny.com. Retrieved9 August2009.19.^"TRIBUTE - Khushwant Singh". Limca Book of Records. Retrieved20 June2016.20.^"Those who said no to top awards". The Times of India. 20 January 2008. Retrieved5 November2008.21.^Singh, Khushwant, "Oh, That Other Hindu Riot of Passage," Outlook Magazine, November, 07, 2004, available at22.^Singh, Khushwant (18 October 2003)."THIS ABOVE ALL : When Israel was a distant dream". The Tribune. Retrieved27 March2014.23.^"Making history with brick and mortar".Hindustan Times. 15 September 2011. Archived fromthe originalon 5 December 2012.24.^"Grandniece Tisca Chopra remembers granduncle Khushwant Singh".IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved20 March2014.25.^Nayar, Aruti."Staring into The Abyss: Khushwant Singh's Personal Struggles With Organized Religion".sikhchic.com. Retrieved21 March2014.26.^Khuswant, Singh (16 August 2010)."How To Live & Die".Outlook.27.^"Veteran Writer and Novelist Khushwant Singh passes away at 99". news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved20 March2014.28.^Tiwary, Akash (21 March 2014)."Khushwant Singh's demise bereaves India of its most articulate agnostic".The Avenue Mail. Retrieved21 March2014.29.^"President, Prime Minister of India condole Khushwant Singh's Demise".IANS. news.biharprabha.com. Retrieved20 March2014.30.^"Excerpt: How To Live & Die". Outlook India. Retrieved23 March2014.31.^Train to Pakistan : 201432.^Singh, Khushwant (16 October 2010)."How To Live & Die".Outlook. Retrieved7 May2015.33.^PTI (20 March 2014)."Here lies one who spared neither man nor God: Khushwant's epitaph for himself".The Hindu. Retrieved7 May2015.34.^Masood, Tariq (15 June 2014)."Khushwant Singh: The final homecoming".Tribune. Retrieved7 May2015.35.^ab"Khushwant Singh awarded Fellowship". King's College London. Retrieved21 March2014.36.^Mukherjee, Abishek."Khushwant Singh and the cricket connection".The Cricket Country. Retrieved21 March2014.37.^"Akhilesh honours Khushwant-Singh".The Times of India. Retrieved21 March2014.38.^abcdefghijklmnopqrstu"Khushwant Singh".Open University. Retrieved21 March2014.39.^Singh, Khushwant (1963).A History of the Sikhs.Princeton University Press.40.^Singh, Khushwant (1966).A History of the Sikhs(2 ed.).Princeton University Press.41.^Singh, Khushwant (2004).A History of the Sikhs: 1469–1838(2, illustrated ed.).Oxford University Press. p. 434.ISBN 9780195673081. Retrieved7 July2009.42.^Singh, Khushwant (2005).A History of the Sikhs: 1839–2004(2, illustrated ed.).Oxford University Press. p. 547.ISBN 9780195673098. Retrieved7 July2009.43.^"Third Eye: Third World – Free Press?". BFI. Retrieved21 March2014.References*.Chopra, Radika."Social Criticism through Social History in Khushwant Singh's non-fiction". Muse India Journal. Issue 44. July–August 2012.*.Chopra, Radika. "Fiction as Social History:A Study of Khushwant Singh's Novels". The IUP Journal of English Studies Vol 1. viii, No. 2 June 2013. pp. 59–77.