27 January, 2021

Strains Of Sensitivity

Strains Of Sensitivity
All those who associate Khushwant Singh with just his inexhaustible ability for prurient writing need only read his biography of Ranjit Singh, maharaja of the Punjab. Or his erudite two-volume history of the Sikhs. And his novels, Train to Pakistan and Delhi. They'll realise that he can drink scotch and enjoy a bawdy joke as easily as he can spend time on serious research.

Khushwant's biography of Ranjit Singh was first published in 1962 by George Allen Unwin in the UK. A new edition was overdue, especially as Ranjit Singh is again in the news, and Penguin India took it upon themselves to republish this definitive work.

Ranjit Singh was indeed a remarkable man. He was not only a foremost military strategist but also a capable leader and astute statesman. One example would suffice to illustrate this. When in 1799, he captured Lahore, he issued a warning to his soldiers that looting would be punished with death. His first public act was to pay homage at the royal mosque, the Badshahi Masjid, built by Emperor Aurangzeb. When the incumbent of the Lahore Fort,...



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