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Khushwant Singh

Khushwant Singh born 2 February 1915 in Hadali, British India, now in Punjab, Pakistan) is a prominent Indian novelist and journalist. Singh's weekly column, "With Malice towards One and All", carried by several Indian newspapers, is among the most widely-read columns in the country. An important post-colonial novelist writing in English, Singh is best known for his trenchant secularism, his humor, and an abiding love of poetry. His comparisons of social and behavioral characteristics of Westerners and Indians are laced with acid wit.

Life and career

Singh received his bachelor's degree from Government College, Lahore and subsequently qualified as a barrister at King's College London. His father, Sir Sobha Singh, was a prominent builder in Lutyens' Delhi.
In August 1947, days before the partition of India and Pakistan, Singh, then a lawyer practicing in the High Court in Lahore, drove to his family's summer cottage at Kasauli in the foothills of the Himalayas. Continuing on to Delhi along 200 miles of strangely vacant road, he came upon a Jeep full of armed Sikhs who boasted that they had just massacred a village of Muslims[1]. Such experiences were to be powerfully distilled in Singh's 1956 novel Train to Pakistan. (The 2006 edition of Train to Pakistan, published by Roli Books in New Delhi, also contains 66 photographs by Margaret Bourke-White that capture the partition's violent aftermath.)

Singh has edited Yojana, an Indian government journal; The Illustrated Weekly of India, a newsweekly; and two major Indian newspapers, The National Herald and the Hindustan Times. During his tenure, The Illustrated Weekly became India's pre-eminent newsweekly. After Singh's departure, it suffered a huge drop in readership

From 1980 through 1986, Singh was a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament. Awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974 for service to his country, in 1984 he returned the award in protest against the siege of the Golden Temple by the Indian Army. Undeterred, in 2007 the Indian government awarded Singh an even more prestigious honor, the Padma Vibhushan. As a public figure, Singh has been accused of favoring the ruling Congress party, especially during the reign of Indira Gandhi. He is better viewed as an establishment liberal. Singh's faith in secular forces has been shaken by events such as anti-Sikh riots that followed Indira Gandhi's assassination, in which major Congress politicians were alleged to be involved. But he has remained resolutely positive on the promise of Indian democracy, 2003-2005. All Rights Reserved.
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