| A shopkeeper shows two books penned by Khushwant Singh — Train to Pakistan and The Company of Women — at a stall in Patna on Thursday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
He lived life king size. He is no more.
A pall of gloom descended on the literary circle in the city on Thursday, as noted author and journalist Khushwant Singh passed away at his New Delhi residence. From authors to booklovers, everybody unanimously felt the void in the world of writing after him would be near-impossible to fill.
Shaileshwar Sati Prasad, a retired teacher of English of Patna University, said: “Singh stood apart from other writers because he wrote in different zones efficiently. Be it his short stories, novels or features in newspapers, everything he scripted with extraordinary flair.”
Singh’s Train to Pakistan is still close to Prasad’s heart. “He beautifully described the plight of the people during the partition. Apart from depicting the political turmoil in the country, Singh described the sufferings of the people vividly. In his other novels, he delved deep into different characters of women.”
Rashmi Singh, an author from Bihar who has penned The Untold Story of Arundhati and The Black Emperor, told The Telegraph over phone from New Delhi: “Among Khushwant Singh’s novels, my favourite is Portrait of a Lady. He wrote about the way he used to see his grandmother in the book. I found the description of his grandmother that her face was full of wrinkles but even then she was the most beautiful lady he had seen very much interesting. It shows the love and affection of grandchildren towards their grandparents. His novel Women, Sex, love and Lust is also a must read.”
Maya Shankar, a professor of history department of Patna University, said Singh’s demise was a great loss to the literary world. “I met him in a programme few years ago in New Delhi. He came in a wheel chair. I was really very happy to meet him. I found him very humble,” said Shankar.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar also condoled the death of Singh. He said Singh was a strong pillar in the field of journalism and literature and his demise was an irreparable loss to both these fields.
Senior BJP leader C.P. Thakur also expressed his condolence. Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav said: “May Singh’s soul rest in peace.”