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Khushwant Singh, writer who targeted all with wit, dies

Khushwant Singh, writer who targeted all with wit, dies
Writer, journalist, one of India's best known satirists and former editor of Hindustan Times, Khushwant Singh, died on Thursday. He was 99.

The man who spared none and spread ribald cheer with his celebrated column — With Malice towards One and All — was Hindustan Times editor between 1980-1983.

He was born in Hadali (now in Pakistan) on February 2, 1915.

His son and journalist Rahul Singh said he passed away very peacefully at his residence in Sujan Singh Park in Delhi. “He led a very full life. He had some breathing problems,” said Rahul Singh.

The man who made a place in the heart of millions of Indians with his irreverence and love of poetry will be laid to rest at the Lodhi Road crematorium at 4pm.

He shrugged off intellectual trappings and promoted jokes in a way that no other writer had ever done before him, or since.

Khushwant Singh was nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the government under late Indira Gandhi. He was a Member of Parliament from 1980 to 1986.

He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1974 but returned the decoration in 1984 in protest against the storming of the Golden Temple in Amritsar by the army.

In 2007, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan.

He was known for his classics such as ‘Train to Pakistan’ and ‘I Shall Not Hear the Nightingale’ among a host of other works.

Speaking at an event in February, Rahul Singh had said his father was politically naive and foolish and someone who spoke from the heart.

“He became close to Indira Gandhi but championed the cause of Maneka Gandhi after the death of Sanjay Gandhi. Later, he fell out with the same Maneka.”