Khushwant Singh: The Writer Who Made Reading An Interesting Affair!

I would not remember Khushwant Singh as a writer who dealt with women, wine, kisses and sex in his writings, but I would always remember him as a writer who made it easy for me to write simple English in an age when writing has got wedded to complexities!

I would not remember Khushwant Singh as a writer who dealt with women, wine, kisses and sex in his writings, but I would always remember him as a writer who made it easy for me to write simple English in an age when writing has got wedded to complexities!

I have always been a great fan of writings of Khushwant Singh. That’s because his style of writing made reading an interesting affair, an engrossing episode. In fact, I did not subscribe to his ideological leanings but, nevertheless, I always found enough time to have a look at his write-ups. In literary circles, he was known for bringing forth history of Sikhs. It was a voluminous affair and he did that with perfection. Besides that novels like Train to Pakistan substantiated his fame as a writer.

I remember well that I had habit of reading novels in college days but slow reading never allowed me to finish the novels in one go. Being student of English Literature my bond with English novels deepened with each passing moment in those years. One of my classmates, who loved to buy novels in his limited pocket money, bought this novel but kept it a secret, knowing well that if by chance I came to know about the whole thing, the novel would soon become a history for him. Unfortunately, all things hidden secretly are spotted easily by me. I carried this novel to my home, much against his desire, but I returned this novel to him just after few days. It came as a huge surprise for him since I was infamous for keeping novels for months at my home. I told him that this novel was written in such a lucid way that it made reading a pleasant affair.

Train to Pakistan records tragic events related with Partition of India. It was a complex theme of which I had become aware of through TV serials like Tamas. And so I was not interested in reading again anything related with same theme but once I started reading this novel not for a moment I found reading becoming a dull task. It was written in such a soul-stirring manner that you were left with no other alternative other than to read from start to finish, devoid of long breaks! That explains as to why he emerged as such a popular writer among all the class of people. His writings were devoid of flamboyant and bombastic expressions. He wrote in simple English- something that you also notice when you are reading works of R K Narayan- which attracted even those readers having aversion for anything written in English!

Nowadays I meet many readers who complain that reading has become such a difficult task because modern day writers, especially award-winners, have given way to complex phrases, weird expressions, and meandering sentence constructions which more often than not leave them confused and irritated. However, this was not the case with Khushwant Singh. His column “With Malice towards One and All” which featured in English dailies and “Na Kahu Se Dosti Na Kahu Se Bair” which found space in Hindi newspapers broke all records of popularity. The anecdotes, and daily dose of humour which marked these columns served as life-line for many readers besides ensuring a respectable circulation.

Now having turned writer myself, I feel grateful to writers like Khushwant Singh, R K Narayan and Ruskin Bond, who taught me the art of writing simple English. I mean they taught me how to narrate serious episodes in easy language without compromising with seriousness inherent in them! I would not remember Khushwant Singh as a writer who dealt with women, wine, kisses and sex in his writings, but I would always remember him as a writer who made it easy for me to write simple English in an age when writing has got wedded to complexities!

One of the most important works of Khushwant Singh!

One of the most important works of Khushwant Singh!

Pics Credit:

Pic One

6 responses

  1. Kusum Upadhayaya, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, said:

    Will miss his column …

    Author’s Response:

    I am too sad…Death lays its icy hands on this prolific writer-someone who taught me the art of keeping writing above pretentiousness of all sorts! Anyway, be they philosophers, writers and scientists, all end up in the arms of death one day! However, likes of Khuhwant Singh stay in our memories in form of their exceptional achievements. He was a living legend, who embraced admiration and brickbats with a great degree of equanimity!

  2. Many thanks to these readers who made their presence felt on this post:

    Smriti Singh, Baran, Rajasthan; Badri Prasad Pandey, Advocate, Mumbai; Parul Sood, Chandigarh; Kripa Shanker Pandey, Mumbai; Pinku Pandey; Rekha Pandey, Mumbai; Akash Chaudhary, Chandrapur, Maharashtra; Anupam Verma, Mumbai; Rohit Mehra, New Delhi and Lukwago Godfrey, Kampala, Uganda.

  3. I always love to read your article whenever I get free time,you articulate the things in a lucid manner which attracts me more and more to go through your article.Best wishes ahead for your writing career.

    1. @ Sudhir…

      ….And it’s always a great feeling to receive such encouraging feedback from readers like you, which make gloomy landscape of mind filled with bliss 🙂 This write-up makes one realize the way I came to refine my writings …

  4. Author’s words for Pradeep Verma, Senior Advocate, Allahabad High Court, Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh:

    Really happy that someone so deeply involved with Allahabad HC has struck such a conscious bonhomie with my write-ups..I came to notice so many “likes” of yours on various posts..As far as this post is concerned, it’s obvious that it is a tribute to legendary writer Khushwant Singh..The write-up also unfolds the way I came to work on my writings to make it on par with global standards…


  5. Preyash Mishra said:

    Congrats friend on drawing inspiration from KS!!! yes, you’re right on one count, …he made an ‘interesting affair’ I doubt if it was ‘he made ‘interesting affair’ a reading is what you meant. If it was not what you meant then my apologies friend. Keep drawing inspiration!!!

    My suggestion would be move on, you’ll find many more interesting writers, you’ll find worthy to draw inspiration from. Try Shobha De next 😉

    Author’s Response:

    At least I need to thank you for not ignoring my source of inspiration 😛 By the way, there is always a scope to notice few things in any infamous individual!! ..I have merely done the same 🙂

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