Khushwant Singh (born Khushal Singh, 2 February 1915 – 20 March 2014) was an Indian author, lawyer, diplomat, journalist and politician. His experience in the 1947 Partition of India inspired him to write Train to Pakistan in 1956 (made into film in 1998), which became his most well-known novel.
Khushwant Singh was bestowed with the Padma Bhushan in 1974. But he returned the award in 1984 in protest against Operation Blue Star in which the Indian Army raided Amritsar. In 2007 he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India.
1. He once described what it takes to be a writer: “Sometimes you will sit for hours staring at a blank sheet of paper. You will have to have the determination not to get up till the sheet is filled with writing.”
2. Singh had said that his belief in India’s political system was disturbed once he noticed the after-effects of the anti-Sikh riots that broke out in the country after Indira Gandhi’s assassination.
3. He advocated good diplomatic relations between India and Israel and not displease Arab nations where Indians worked. On his visit to Israel Singh was impressed by their progress.
4. Khushwant Singh was against all organised religions. According to him, “One can be a saintly person without believing in God and a detestable villain despite believing in him. In my personalised religion, there is no God!” Singh had further said that he did not believe in rebirth or reincarnation of man and the day of judgment, heaven or hell. He believed in the concept that death is final.