Remembering Khushwant Singh

by Sneha Sadarangani

Indian literature lost an important voice today. Acclaimed writer and journalist Khushwant Singh has passed away at 99.

With a total of 45 novels and short story collections – including the classics Train to Pakistan and I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale – Singh has left behind a legacy that speaks to his ribald humour, love for poetry and active interest in the political landscape of the country. Never one to reach for subtleties when hit-you-between-the-eyes frankness would do, he was writing, nay, wielding his controversial opinions and chronicling his intimately human and hilarious stories until the very end.

Here is a list of signature Khushwant Singh truisms.

  • "A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip."

  • "Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't."

  • "The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."

  • "Children: You spend the first 2 years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next 16 years telling them to sit down and shut up."

  • "Why is a bad government like a bikini? Answer: Because people marvel at what's holding it up. And they wish it would fall."