Writer Khushwant Singh dies at 99

March 20, 2014

Khushwant Singh, one of India’s best-known writers and columnists, died of a heart attack on Thursday. He was 99.

Singh was the founder-editor of Yojana and served as the editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, the National Herald and the Hindustan Times. He practised as a lawyer before moving to journalism and writing, eventually authoring as many as 85 books.

In his last days, Singh had been interested in political developments ahead of the general election in April, his son Rahul told reporters in New Delhi on Thursday.

“Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party], who all are contesting, such discussions used to happen,” Rahul said. “He did not talk much but listened.”

“Train to Pakistan” (1956) was among Singh’s most popular novels. “Truth, Love and a Little Malice”, his autobiography, was published in 2002.

Singh was a member of the Rajya Sabha between 1980 and 1986.

Here are some reactions on Twitter (lightly edited for clarity):

Manmohan Singh, prime minister
A gifted author, candid commentator and a dear friend. He lived a truly creative life.

Narendra Modi, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate
My condolences on the passing away of noted author and journalist Khushwant Singh. May his soul rest in peace.

Ramachandra Guha, author

There was nothing petty or insecure about Khushwant; unlike other famous Indians, he welcomed jokes at his own expense, and criticism too.

Amitav Ghosh, author
Very sad to hear of the death of Khushwant Singh – great historian, novelist, editor, columnist, and a wonderfully kind, generous man. RIP.

Penguin Books India, Singh’s publishers
We are deeply saddened that our beloved Khushwant Singh has passed away. He has been an inspiration to us all and will be missed sorely. RIP

Shashi Tharoor, Congress minister
Mourning the passing of the irrepressible, inimitable Mr Original himself. A great loss for the world of ideas and letters. Khushwant Singh RIP.

Siddhartha Basu, television personality
The light died out in his bulb just short of a century. The spunky Sardar with the sassy prose now belongs to the ages. RIP Khushwant Singh

Shah Rukh Khan, actor
Oh no Khushwant Singh is no more. He made our lives so much richer by his literary contributions. “With Malice towards one and all” RIP

Shekhar Kapur, film-maker
An institution says adieu. His final joke upon us. RIP Khushwant Singh.

Tushar Gandhi, great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi
Khushwant Singh, goodbye to the colourful editor of the black and white age.

(Editing by Tony Tharakan; Follow Tony on Twitter @TonyTharakan and @ Shashank @shashankchouhan | This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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