A gutsy sardar has been felled on the last of the nervous nineties just short of a memorable century. The man who dared to differ and court controversies enjoyed the admiration of even his most vocal critics. Khushwant Singh -the unforgettable Sardar with a Scotch and a leer endeared himself to men and women alike as he could speak of their base instincts with the ease which was the envy of most. His Illustrated Weekly of India was the altar at which yours truly was baptised into the realm of current affairs. The ravishing portraits and sketches apart, it presented the other side of the famed Goenka version of Emergency. His malice was an education to look at things with varied perspectives. In later years, this made each of us wonder whether we were hypocritical in not voicing these concerns or emoting as he did.
An unforgettable piece was on the demise of his wife and also as to how he rated Advani though a teetotaller to be impractical. Any other person who had half the temerity of the Sardar would have invited a violent reaction from the saffron brigade but not this evergreen hero. His penchant to needle the people in power and his lust for life remain remarkable but ---
his best would remain the Train to Pakistan which in all probability introduced the mega serial concept to Indian Television by Buniyaad. The Train to Pakistan would make a Godse think of the other side of the coin. It freezes the blood of a post Independence born and makes the peninsular India which was largely insulated to hope for the moment of healing of the wounds. The range from this to his Joke book have been amongst my favourites and the desire to celebrate his life in the form of this tribute could not be held back for long.
Sardar Khushu -as yours truly fondly referred to him - Good night!!! Happy Journey!!!