19 June, 2021

Sikhness & Health

Sikhness & Health
That Khushwant Singh has some enemies is hardly a secret. These foes, mainly men, are people of his generation—some his contemporaries—who maintain that the crafty old codger has got vastly more praise than he deserves. They say in his long and astonishingly successful career he has essentially been a shrewd sycophant (of the Indira Gandhi clan) masquerading as fearless critic. They cite his naive political judgements highlighted by his admiration for that dim-witted thug Sanjay Gandhi. They cite his less-than-clear position on the Emergency. They cite his assiduous creation of a personality cult around himself. Much of the resentment Khushwant arouses is the result of plain envy. He has had a remarkably full life in which pleasure and industry are inextricably linked, and this mix is reflected in the prodigious body of work he has produced. Not all of it, admittedly, is of even quality; nevertheless, it is an extraordinary oeuvre. In 1974, when I was editor of Debonair, I threw a big party. Khushwant came at 7 pm and left at 8 pm because he had work to do the next...

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