Remembering Sardar Khushwant Singh!
Noted author and journalist Khushwant Singh, one of the finest Indian writers in English in contemporary times, died recently at the age of 99. The veteran writer, who was ill and had faded from public life, passed away peacefully. We remember him as a fearless author, who never allowed anybody to take control over his words and opinion. His wit and sarcasm has such versatility that generations would celebrate his greatness. There’s one more thing, which is very unique about KS (Best-suited initials for him), he replied to every letter he received, personally.
One of our readers, Nilima Saigal, shared few letters that he replied over the years to her, and while feeling nostalgic about the preserved postcards, she shared, “Khushwant ji, always replied to my letters. When my father died, I wrote to him and he replied “Today onwards your father may not take his daily drink every day. But be happy!”. After that, whenever I got his letter, I was happiest.”
A recipient of Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour and author of some internationally renowned books like Train to Pakistan, I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale, A History of the Sikhs, The Company of Women and Delhi…. still he preferred to reply on a post card. Which is rather strange for new age writers, but it was a comfortable habit for him. “I spoke to him on his landline telephone numbers, weather he was in Delhi or Kasauli. I always wondered, why he replied on postcard. May be he wanted to keep the art of writing letter alive.”
Here we present some of his replies depicted on post cards, when he was over 90 years of age.