One of India’s leading writers and columnists, Khushwant Singh passed away at the age of 99. He has been an inspiration for budding writers throughout the world. His humor, scathing views on secularism and deep bent for poetry, have drawn billions to the delight of reading his books. One of the highlights of Khushwant Singh’s career was his column ‘With Malice Towards One And All’. Here are six best books written by the legendary author; in case you haven’t read them, we suggest you should.
Regarded as an enormous, erotic and cheeky work of art by critics and readers, Delhi: A Novel is a tale that moves around the history of Delhi. The narrator, most probably the author himself, is a journalist facing the roughest phase of his life. On coming back from England, the narrator who is a lewd and aging reprobate falls in love with Delhi. Here, he picks up Bhagmati, a eunuch sex worker, from roadside, offers her shelter and ends up having a relationship with her. Khushwant Singh takes turns episode by episode and displays his matchless control over narration and literal humor, taking both the history of Delhi and his sex life along!
The book features Pandit Preetam Sharma, Sardar Boota Singh and Nawab Barkatullah Baig as the three main characters that have been close friends for more than forty years and are in their eighties now. They are habitual of gathering in Lodhi Gardens during the sunset, gossiping about everything from daily-life events, news and politics to religion, love and sex. At occasions, ‘The Sunset Club’ turns to nature and then goes on throwing light on the common complexities of the typical Indian society, with the lonesomeness of the aged being the central idea.
A highly decipherable and worthwhile prologue to one of the world’s most ancient, gigantic and developed civilizations, India: An Introduction depicts the entire journey of India and its people right from the beginning to the new age. Khushwant Singh has beautifully come up with a detailed and authentic saga of the turmoil India went through for a long time and how it formed the modern India. Everything that is related to India and can provoke one’s curiosity has been brilliantly underlined, including the ethnic miscellany, diversity of religions, art and culture, customs, philosophy and political background and currents. Since the author’s absorption with the theme is splendid, the reader gets a hefty dose of whatever can and should be known about the country!
Widely acclaimed as the finest novel by Khushwant Singh, I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale has its plot set in the Amritsar City of Punjab. This is the peak of India’s freedom movement and revolutionaries and nationalists are taking on the British to force them to quit India. Where the family of Sardar Buta Singh who’s a first-class magistrate is widely recognized for its unshakable fidelity to The Raj, Sher Singh, Buta Singh’s son, has been chosen the leader of anti-British revolutionaries. The story also has some connection with Shimla where ser Singh’s sister and wife are caught up in a drama of their own.
The autobiography of Khushwant Singh, Truth, Love and a Little Malice is a captivating chronicle of how keen a witness the legendary writer and journalist has been to almost all foremost events in the great Indian politics and history. The plot is doubtless as complicated, contentious and amusing as the figure it documents. The book traces the entire life story of Khushwant Singh and deals comprehensively with his immediate family history as well as relations with several political personages.
A historical novel of all times, Train to Pakistan was published in the year 1956. Since the classic recounts the malice of the Partition of India that impinged on the lives of countless people in 1947, a tremendous taking everywhere made it the best of Khushwant Singh. Instead of portraying the Partition majorly in terms of the political affairs only, Singh brought the reader closer to a human dimension that reflected a lively sense of realism, terror and plausibility. In fact, this was what made it such a huge success!