Noted writer and journalist Khushwant Singh dies at 99


Khushwant Singh dies at 99Khushwant Singh, the grand old man of Indian literature, has died at 99.

The renowned author and journalist died peacefully at his home in Sujan Singh Park in Delhi, his son Rahul Singh told. He will be cremated this afternoon.

One of India’s best known raconteurs, Mr Singh was famous for his acid wit and liberal political views.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called him a “gifted author, candid commentator and a dear friend” who lived a truly creative life.

Tributes poured in from writers across the world, who celebrated his indomitable spirit.

“A fearless writer; a man of great discipline yet full of zest for life; a great Indian who embodied our national values of affection, tolerance and understanding; and a true friend,” said author Vikram Seth.

Mr Singh was born on February 2, 1915, in Hadali, now in Pakistan’s Punjab.

He was the founder-editor of Yojana and went on to head The Illustrated Weekly of India, the National Herald and the Hindustan Times.

Millions of his fans today remembered his classics like “Train to Pakistan”, “I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale” and “Delhi – A Novel”.

News of his death set off a frenzy of messages, tributes and anecdotes on social media.

“The bulb is extinguished …Goodbye Khushwant Singh,” tweeted Ashok Malik.

“We lost a national treasure in every sense of the word today. Go out and get a #KhushwantSingh book. It just might change your life,” wrote Vir Das.

Even a few years short of a century, he was an unstoppable force. At 95, he wrote the novel “The Sunset Club.”

His acclaimed works of non-fiction include the classic two-volume “A History of the Sikhs”, a number of translations and works on Sikh religion and culture, Delhi, nature, current affairs and Urdu poetry.

His autobiography, “Truth, Love and a Little Malice”, was published by Penguin Books in 2002.

Mr Singh was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1986. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974 but returned it in 1984, in protest against the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar by the Indian Army. In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan.

“He liked to call a spade a spade. He hated hypocrisy, fundamentalism, and was a gentle person,” his son told.