The Indian literary legend Khushwant Singh passed away on Thursday at the age of 99. Singh was a well-known journalist, the founder-editor of Yojana and editor of the Illustrated Weekly of India, the National Herald and the Hindustan Times.
Singh’s best known novel was his 1956 Train to Pakistan, which was set during the summer of 1947 in a village between India and Pakistan and recalls the bloodshed and distrust of the time. And DNA India notes that his book The Company of Women “was considered to be a work reeking with explicit sex, infidelity and questions of the trust and sensuality.”
Released when he was 98, Khushwantnama: The Lessons of My Life, Singh’s last book, kept much of the humor, poetry, and unabashedness for which he was known. In 1974 Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan, one of India’s highest civilian honors, but returned it a decade later in protest against the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Singh passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by family. [DNA India and Firstpost]
Several news outlets, authors, celebrities and ordinary readers paid tribute to Singh via Twitter.
No one has invented a condom for the pen yet- RIP Khushwant Singh
— Lisa Ray (@Lisaraniray) March 20, 2014
Khushwant Singh, you don't need an RIP. I don't see you ever seeking rest, or peace. Enjoy.
— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats) March 20, 2014
Oh no Khushwant Singh is no more. He made our lives so much richer by his literary contributions. “With Malice towards one and all” RIP
— SHAH RUKH KHAN (@iamsrk) March 20, 2014
Khushwant Singh. End of an era. Only KS could say 'There's no condom for a pen." And prove it!
— Shobhaa De (@DeShobhaa) March 20, 2014
Khushwant Singh's first attempt at a novel stopped dead after five pages. It was called "Sheilla". http://t.co/r6PwqIH4AU
— Nilanjana Roy (@nilanjanaroy) March 20, 2014
The obituary is the best place to tell the truth for dead men file no libel suits: Khushwant Singh. #India
— Soutik Biswas (@soutik) March 20, 2014
— AndrewBuncombe (@AndrewBuncombe) March 21, 2014
— Sonia Faleiro (@soniafaleiro) March 20, 2014
Mourning the passing of the irrepressible, inimitable Mr Original himself. A great loss for the world of ideas&letters. Khushwant Singh RIP.
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 20, 2014
We lost a national treasure in every sense of the word today. Go out and get a #KhushwantSingh book. It just might change your life.
— Vir Das (@thevirdas) March 20, 2014
RIP Khushwant singh @ 99 ! Bradmensque average! Salute!
— vikram sathaye (@vikramsathaye) March 20, 2014
— ELLE India (@ELLEINDIA) March 20, 2014
Lovely line in bachi karkaria's tribute to khushwant singh. Take your work seriously and yourself lightly.
— Naomi Datta (@nowme_datta) March 21, 2014
RIP Khushwant Singh, My favorite writer, The only one who never wrote anything boring. You will always live through your unique books.
— shalini kardam (@shalinikardam) March 21, 2014
Priya Arora is a graduate student at New York University, studying Human Development and Social Intervention with a research focus on mental health in LGBTQ youths. Born and raised in California, Priya has found a home in New York, and hopes to go on to become a mental health counselor. Follow her on Twitter at @thepriyaarora.