Wish to Be Remembered for Making People Smile: Khushwant

New Delhi
Wish to Be Remembered for Making People Smile: Khushwant

Khushwant Singh, who passed away today, wanted to be remembered as someone who made people smile and wrote his own epitaph some years ago in which he described himself as one "who spared neither man nor God".

In Khushwantnama: The Lessons of My Life, released last year, Singh had wrote, "On Independence day, 2012, I turned 98, being aware of my state of health, I know that I will not write another book... The truth is that I want to die. I have lived long enough."

He wrote he had everything in life which he wanted to do.

"I would like to be remembered as someone who made people smile. A few years ago, I wrote my own epitaph: 'Here lies one who spared neither man nor God; Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod; Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun; Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun."

Singh had presented the first copy of Khushwantnama: The Lessons of My Life last year to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur, to whom he dedicated the book.

In the book, published by Penguin, Singh, who has over the years enlightened and outraged his readers in equal measure be it with his humour or his sharp insights and observations, reflects on a life lived fully and the lessons it taught him.

The author offered his views on subjects as diverse as old age and the fear of death; on the joy of sex, the pleasures of poetry and the importance of laughter; on how to cope with retirement and live a long, happy and healthy life.

Singh had written his epitaph in his book Death at My doorstep.

Son Rahul said his father had a peaceful death without any sufferings.

"He had his regular peg of whiskey last night, read a book, solved crossword in the morning and passed away within minutes," he said, adding, "The sad part is he could not complete his '100' which was just 11 months away."

Known as one of the finest Indian writers in English in contemporary times, he was reading last night too, perhaps to review a book.

"He was reading The Resourceful Fakirs by F S Aijazuddin last night, totally unaware that he was reading for the last time. Perhaps he wanted to review the book," said his nephew Pushpender Singh.

Journalist-author Kuldeep Nayar who among others to pay tribute at his residence said, "He was my professor in Law College in Lahore. I have always seen him as a legendary icon. It's a big loss to the literary world as well. His account of Sikhs was one of the most credible text available on the subject," Nayar told reporters.

Sharing the sentiments, former India cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi said, "He was much senior to me but we shared a great rapport. He lived a great life and the died the way he wanted to. It should be celebrated and not mourned."

Socialite and author Bina Ramani, who has been close to Singh's family for decades said, "I have known him for over 55 years. Whenever I used to come from London I used to stay with their family, he was like an elder brother to us. His death is not only a huge loss to his family but for the country as well."

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

"We have lost one of the most prolific and versatile authors. Friends will miss the large peg," said Pramod Kumar, Founder & Publisher, Roli Books who published five of his books including The Train to Pakistan and Death at My Doorstep.

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