As a child I didn’t have any clue I have been reading and laughing on jokes of the matchless, exceptional, incomparable and one of the most contentious writer in the history of Indian authors.
I assumed Khushwant Singh to be another Jaspal Bhatti cracking jokes after jokes in his books. But as clueless as I was about the epics being written by this fearless writer on most ticklish and sensitive issues of Women and Sex, Pakistan, Hindus and Muslims, India and its Politicians, Indian History, Death, Eunuchs and some more of Women and Sex.
Amidst his innumerable books, I have till now flipped just a few of them and I already feel I have known him quite closely. Perhaps some very minute characteristics of him have been telepathically communicated into me while reading his joke books. Since childhood I never missed anything written on, about or by Khushwant with a prospect of reading something funny, oblivious to the fact that I aspire to be a Journalist or a writer or a dedicated reader of his sincere books. In fact when I first read his first book ‘Train to Pakistan’ I scribbled in my diary about how at times his thoughts match to that of mine.
Nevertheless Khushwant Singh has been densely criticised and often referred as ‘nasty old man’ for his bold and promiscuous writings. Many of my friends rather most of them hate him and never touch his books calling him insane while I as a teenager postponed reading him imagining his books to be too serious for my age (although that was true). It’s not that I condemn people’s criticism because Khushwant really gets nasty many times and writes daringly on the most hidden curiosity of human mind that they always deny facing even to their conscience!
I take him quite realistically, considering his explicit writing as his inquisitive fascination on several subjects and belongingness towards the nation. Apparently that’s the reason Pakistan, Partition, Muslims, Sikh, Death and Dead, Unapproachable, mysterious and secretive characters, Ghosts and Eunuchs have been his major area of concern. Of course Khushwant remains incomplete if I don’t mention something that he has been disapproved most, even now in the age of 97. How could we forget the diversity in age and class in women, their femininity and their nationality that always appealed him more to first experience and pen them down later in his books? Try to think privately with just yourself; don’t you feel an impression of a mischievous child in that old nasty man? Weird enough to be intrusive, to annoy, irritate, stand to rebukes of readers; Yet research and opine on the topics only he is interested in.
Well, I would call this old nasty man of 97 years ‘a true Sardar’ and alternatively ‘a true writer’. Really. He chose his own style of freedom in his thoughts, works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and short stories, even as a tourist guide and in unfolding the beauty of women and their characteristics. He wrote what he was not asked for but what he felt is wanted..that should be the spirit of a writer. C’mon you can’t deny he is still one of the most incompetent authors in the country.
Read him once and you would know the quality of knowledge he has to serve, his vocabulary and perfect usage of words would convince you to believe, he is a man of wisdom, just that he writes bluntly doesn’t take his intelligence away.
Although he is 95+ now, and suffering from "a declining body, impaired vision, impaired hearing and soon, no doubt, mental degeneration", Khushwant's output, both written and spoken, remains uninterrupted.
The man who persistently had ‘malice towards none’, now with ‘death at his doorstep’ rests peacefully on his armchair with a realisation that there are still many who has ‘malice towards one’….