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In Praise of Khushwant Singh

by Newsweek Pakistan


Pakistan’s former high commissioners to India remember their friendship with the renowned author and journalist.

Islamabad’s former high commissioners to New Delhi have sent a letter of condolence memorializing author and journalist Khushwant Singh to the Indian press.

“We would like to add our tribute to the late Sardar Khushwant Singh to those which have flowed in from all over the world,” said the letter signed by Humayun Khan, Riaz Khokhar, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and Aziz Ahmad Khan. “We have a special reason to do so because, among the many things he will be remembered for, was his love for Pakistan, the land of his birth,” it added.

Singh, a Sikh born on Feb. 2, 1915 in what is now Pakistan, is best remembered for his historical novel Train to Pakistan, which recounts the tragedy and bloodshed of the Partition of the subcontinent in 1947 into India and Pakistan.

Memorializing one of India’s best known authors, the letter said Singh was a “larger than life character” whose writings “enriched our lives with his friendship.” It added: “He relished his privacy, but his doors were always open to visitors from Pakistan. In his later years, he avoided public occasions, but always found time to spend an evening at our embassy.”

The former ambassadors praised Singh’s approach to Pak-Indo ties, saying he was “rational and genuinely emotional” in his dealings with them. “He took pride in having Pakistanis as his best friends,” it said, adding, “Because of this, we were able to enjoy, in addition to his wit and his wisdom, his fraternal affection.”

The ambassadors also hoped Singh’s admirers would learn from his example. “In remembering this great man, we must all continue to strive for the ideals he promoted and the courage, the humor and the total lack of hypocrisy that he always displayed.”

Singh was cremated in Delhi on March 20. He is survived by his son, daughter and a niece.

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