How do you eulogise a man who raised irreverence to an art form? Whose spirit the world could not contain even though he was confined to a light bulb?The third edition of the annual Khushwant Singh Lit fest -- the first after his death in March this year -- got going in the pristine Kasauli hills on Friday. As the sun set with an air of poignancy, it was clear that there would be no sunset for the grand old man of Indian literature. His love for India, his sadness at having to leave Pakistan and his concern for Kasauli’s declining ecology were some of the topics that were dear to his heart.
Was he really the alcohol-soaked womaniser he portrayed himself to be? Not according to author-columnist Shobhaa De, who laughingly claimed he was terrified of his wife. Khushwant Singh was a proud Sikh, but a man who took no nonsense, as was highlighted by an incident mentioned during one of the sessions. He received a letter from the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), telling him to stop cracking ‘Sardarji’ jokes, but all they got was a very emphatic ‘Go to hell’. They never wrote back. KS was a man whose love for humanity was greater than his love for any country.
An ambassador of humanity, he was saluted by Shobhaa De and Pakistani art historian Fakir Syed Aijazuddin.