(Last Updated on : 02/03/2012)
Khushwant Singh was born on 2nd February, 1915 at Haldi in Punjab
. This place is now under Pakistan .His father, Sir Sobha Singh was a prominent builder in Lutyens` Delhi. He took his early education from The Modern High School and St. Stephen`s College
, New Delhi. He passed his graduation from Government College, Lahore. Then he became barrister from King`s College, London. While he was practising in the Lahore High Court in 1947 he had to come to his family`s summer cottage at Kasauli
in the foothills of the Himalayas
following the partition of India and Pakistan.
Early Life of Khushwant Singh
Khushwant Singh was practicing law in the High Court in Lahore before the partition of India and Pakistan. He joined the Indian Ministry of External Affairs
in 1947. After that he began a distinguished career as journalist with All India Radio
in 1951. Since then he has been founder-editor of Yojana from1951to1953, editor of the Illustrated weekly of India from1979 to1980, chief editor of New Delhi
from 1979 to1980 and editor of the Hindustan Times from 1980 to1983. He has written for all most all the major national and international newspapers in India as well as abroad. His Saturday column "With Malice towards One and All" in the Hindustan Times
is the most popular column. The Illustrated weekly suffered huge loss in the readership after Khushwant Singh! He also served UNESCO in Paris.
The experience of his journey to his family`s summer cottage at Kasauli in the foothills of the Himalayas later reflected into his write ups. He reached Kausali in a jeep. A jeep full of armed Sikhs
who were talking in a self-admiring way about the massacred of a Muslim village by them. Such experience resulted in the novel "Train to Pakistan
" in 1956. He distilled his experience in the novel powerfully. This book won him the international fame and the Grove Press Award in 1954. His work "Maharaja Ranjit Singh" reflects the secularist view of his. His comments on Bhagwat Gita
also reveal his secularist view. Other best-known novels of Singh are "Delhi" and "The Company of Women".
The Sikhs community "Order of Khalsa" honoured him with the highest decorum. In 1974 he was awarded the "Padama Bhushan". But in 1984 he returned the honour as a protest to Government of India against the attack of Golden Temple
by the Army. In 2007 the Government of India
awarded Khushwant Singh with even more prestigious `Padma Vibhushan`. In July 2000 he was also awarded with "Sulabh Award" for "upholding moral values and being a person of impeccable character and exceptional integrity". He was honoured by Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar with Doctorate of Literature.
From 1980 to 1986, he was a member of Rajya Sabha
. Although it covers a very small period of time yet it reflects his courageous spirit.
He is great storywriter, historian, political writer, essayist biographer, translator novelist and journalist. Since independence he has been the country`s most well- known English writer. His major works are The Voice of God and Other Stories, 1957, The Sikhs Today, 1959, The Fall of the Kingdom of the Punjab,1962 , Black Jasmine, 1971 , Delhi: A Novel, 1990, Women and Men in My Life, 1995, The Company of Women, 1999, Truth, Love and a Little Malice (an autobiography), 2002, The End of India, 2003 , Paradise and Other Stories, 2004, Death at My Doorstep, 2005 , The Illustrated History of the Sikhs, 2006.
The role of a lawyer, diplomat, critic, journalist, novelist, humorist, naturalist and politician makes Khushwant Singh a man of larger than life.
Dr. Bideshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International, says, "Khushwant`s biggest attribute is that he speaks what he feels. He is honest to the extent that he offends even his friends and icons revered by people. It does not matter to him that it jeopardizes his chances in life. I think it is this quality that made Gandhi into a Mahatma." In Indian literary history Khushwant Singh`s name is bound to evolve as one of the finest historians and novelists, a forthright political commentator, and an outstanding observer and social critic. He is attributed with freethinking. Kushwant Singh`s comparisons of social and behavioural characteristics of Indians and Westerners are the examples of his acid wit. He brought history to our doorsteps and quite ideally therefore India describes him as "The Capital`s best known living monument".
Awards Received by Khushwant Singh
* Padma Bhushan
by Government of India
(1974)[He returned the decoration in 1984 in protest against the Union government`s siege of the Golden Temple
* Honest Man of the Year, Sulabh International (2000)
* Punjab Rattan Award, The Government of Punjab (2006)
* Padma Vibhushan
, Government of India (2007)
* Sahitya academy fellowship award by Sahitya academy of India (2010)
* Rockfeller Grant,1966
Books Written by Khushwant Singh
* The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories, 1950
* The History of Sikhs, 1953
* Train to Pakistan, 1956
* The Voice of God and Other Stories, 1957
* I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale, 1959
* The Sikhs Today, 1959
* The Fall of the Kingdom of the Punjab, 1962
* A History of the Sikhs, 1963
* Ranjit Singh: The Maharajah 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, 1967
* Black Jasmine, 1971
* Tragedy of Punjab, 1984
* Delhi: A Novel, 1990
* Sex, Scotch and Scholarship: Selected Writings, 1992
* Not a Nice Man to Know: The Best of Khushwant Singh, 1993
* We Indians, 1993
* Women and Men in My Life, 1995
* Uncertain Liaisons; Sex, Strife and Togetherness in Urban India, 1995
* Declaring Love in Four Languages, by Khushwant Singh and Sharda Kaushik, 1997
* The Company of Women, 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, 2010
Short Stories by Khushwant Singh
* The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories. London, Saturn Press, 1950.
* The Voice of God and Other Stories. Bombay, Jaico, 1957.
* A Bride for the Sahib and Other Stories. New Delhi, Hind, 1967.
* Black Jasmine. Bombay, Jaico, 1971
* The Collected Stories. N.p., Ravi Dayal, 1989.
* The Portrait of a Lady