21 June, 2021

'I Don't Know One Editor In India Who Is Well-Read'

At 91, he talks about his greatest love which came to him rather late in life, when he was already in his fifties: journalism.

T. Narayan
'I Don't Know One Editor In India Who Is Well-Read'

Journalism a bastard child of literature? Nonsense, scoffs Khushwant Singh. If it was not for journalism, he could hardly have had the kind of fame he now enjoys. At 91, his "scribblings" and weekly columns are still being snapped up by a growing line of publishers and turned into inevitable bestsellers. His worst sin, he confesses, is "I don’t know how to sit still and do nothing". Considering that he has just spent the last couple of hours ensconsed in his usual sofa chair merely staring into the flickering orange light of his quaint magical heater, bought over half a century ago from Paris, when he decided to kick his "soul-killing" UNESCO job for the till then unheard-of profession of writer/journalist, this seems a bit much. But it’s true: he has just mailed the manuscript of his new book (he has written a 100-odd)—a translation of Urdu poetry from Ghalib to Ali Sardar Jafri "without cheating" i.e. in rhyme and metre. And already his eyes are straying to the notebook he’s brought up to Kasauli, just in case...

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