The Telegraph
Friday , March 21 , 2014
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Man, how he ran!

Khushwant Singh’s son Rahul (left) and daughter Mala outside his residence in New Delhi on Thursday. (PTI)

February 2, 1915: Khushwant Singh was born to Sardar Sobha Singh and Sardarni Varyam Kaur, at village Hadali in Sargodha of what is today Punjab in Pakistan. Singh recalled his early life under his parents, who were diplomatic in their relations with the British, in the book, I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale. He wrote of his grandmother’s influence on him in a short story, Portrait of a Lady

1930: Singh joined St. Stephen’s College in New Delhi after completing school at Modern School, Barakhamba Road. He moved to Government College, Lahore. He played hockey at both colleges, and his proximity to sports led him to write Man, How the Government of India Run!

1934: He joined King’s College, London, for higher studies, returning for summer breaks where he boasted of his exploits with British women. He wrote of the Indian fascination for western women in Mr. Singh and the Colour Bar, The Sardarji and the Starlet, Maiden Voyage of the Jal Hindia and The Great Difference

1938: He trained for the Bar with the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple, London, and returned to Delhi where he married Kaval Malik. Singh began working as a lawyer in Lahore, befriending fellow lawyer Mansur Qadir who went on to become a foreign minister and Supreme Court judge in Pakistan. He wrote of this period in the essay Mansur Qadir

1947: As India gained Independence, Singh, upset over Partition, returned to New Delhi. Partition shaped his famous Train to Pakistan. He became information officer at the Indian high commission in London, where Krishna Menon was independent India’s first envoy. Menon didn’t like his friendship with Sudhir Ghosh, Singh’s immediate boss at the mission who hoped to replace Menon. Singh was sent back to New Delhi, and then posted in Ottawa. He wrote about his relations with Menon in Not a Nice Man to Know. Singh resigned from the foreign service in 1951

1951: Singh began his formal career as a journalist, working with the All India Radio and then editing the Planning Commission’s Yojana magazine

1966: He won a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation that allowed him to research for his landmark, two-volume A History of the Sikhs

1969: Singh became editor of The Illustrated Weekly of India

1975: He received the Padma Bhushan

1977: He quit The Weekly, allegedly pressured because of his proximity to Indira Gandhi — something the new government under Morarji Desai did not like. Singh joined Indira’s National Herald

1979: Singh took over as editor of the ABP Group’s New Delhi magazine

1980: He became editor of the Hindustan Times. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha

1984: Singh returned the Padma Bhushan in protest against Operation Bluestar, the assault on the Golden Temple in Amritsar

March 28, 1984: Indira and her daughter-in-law Maneka Gandhi had both spoken to Singh about their growing tensions, and Indira had asked him to request Maneka to “behave”, according to Singh’s autobiography. But on her return this day from London, Indira threw a sobbing Maneka out of the house

2007: Singh received the Padma Vibhushan

2013: Singh’s last book, The Good, the Bad and the Ridiculous, co-authored with Humra Qureishi, was published

February 2, 2014: Singh celebrated his 99th birthday with close friends, including Soli Sorabjee, Qureishi, retired diplomat Dalip Mehta and his publisher and family friend Nandini Mehta

March 20, 2014: After a morning crossword, Singh lay down at 10am, never to wake up again.