By Siddhant Vora
Not often do we come across people who laugh at others with the same ferocity as they laugh at themselves, sham others as much as themselves, who grant none, nonetheless, spread fresh enlightenment as has been the case with the revolutionary ambassador of the Indian literary elite, Khushwant Singh. “With Malice Towards One and All,” Khushwant Singh bid us adieu at the age of 99 witnessing a peaceful death at his New Delhi residence, Suraj Singh Apartment.
At the mournful news of his passing away, the least we, the youth can do is pay a homage to this realist. Not only a novelist, but also a short story writer, a columnist, a journalist and an editor, he has been one of the best presenters of the pragmatisms of our deluded lives and history. True to what he thinks, he was always a keen observer which eventually helped him attain thorough knowledge of the urban and rural Indian. Undeterred in his political ideals and his downright secularism, he was decorated with the Padma Bhushan which he returned in protest against the army taking capture over the Golden Temple of Amritsar. It only led him to be a receiver of the grand Padma Vibhushan.
In his recent writing of “How to live and die”, he had mentioned himself of not losing sleep over the illusionary concept of death but often bewildered over its aftermaths:
There was a Door to which I found no Key
There was a Veil through which I could not see
Some little Talk awhile of Me and Thee
There seemed—and then no more of Thee and Me.
The publication of his first novel, Train to Pakistan, showed the extensive horizon Indian Literature could achieve in nationalist movements. Many have criticized his writings to be obsessed with gross mockery but in hindsight, his bold take on issues has made him the talisman of ink slinging, giving Indian writers the platform to pen their opinions dauntlessly.
Leading Indian journalist, M.J. Akbar is known to have commented: “I have this unreserved gratitude for him. I was a kid, 20-year-old in a newspaper, and he really picked us up from nothing. He gave us opportunities which were undreamt of for any young person wanting to do anything,”
He was always known to have stood by the fact that parties based on religions will destroy India and he made concrete attempts to direct minds into influential writings. He may have been vaguely suggestive in his sensual works, but the majority of his publication has been regarded as the awakening for the youth.
The sign outside his apartment may have read “Please do not ring the bell unless you are invited” but his work shall continue being a clarion call in the hopes that we eventually reach his scholarly stature.
Siddhant Vora is an engineering student at MIT,Manipal pursuing the diverse field of Mechatronics. Being passionate about writing, seeking awareness and debates, it seems absurd to see the reluctance of few towards policy, law, economics and politics only because it does not concern their education domain. You may not be concerned, but these shall always concern you.